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Saab - 2000 9-3 Aero Convertible
Saab - 2000 9-3 Aero Convertible

Saab - 2000 9-3 Aero Convertible

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Saab 9-3 Aero Convertible The Saab 9-3 is a compact executive car that was originally developed and manufactured by the Swedish automaker Saab. The 9-3 was first based on the GM... More »
Saab 9-3 Aero Convertible

The Saab 9-3 is a compact executive car that was originally developed and manufactured by the Swedish automaker Saab.

The 9-3 was first based on the GM2900 platform and subsequently changed to the GM Epsilon platform. Other vehicles using this platforms included the Opel Vectra and Cadillac BLS. Saab's last owners, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) were assembling the 9-3 sedan (saloon) as Saab's only model, but the company declared bankruptcy after a few hundred cars.

The car was badged as 93 starting in the 1998 model year, when Saab revised the naming strategy of their small car to match that of the larger 95. The model was advertised as 9-3, pronounced as "nine three". The Saab 9-3 was launched in 1997 for the 1998 model year essentially as a rebadged 2nd Generation Saab 900 (1994-1997 model), and succeeded by a redesigned 9-3 for the 2003 model year. It is not to be confused with the Saab 93, pronounced "ninety three", which was a car produced by Saab from 1955 to 1960.

First generation (1998-2002/3)

The first generation 9-3, an improved Saab 900 (NG) was launched in 1998 for the 1999 model year. It was known to enthusiasts as the OG 9-3 (old generation) and internally as body style 9400. It continued as a full line through the 2002 model year. (In 2003, Saab produced only the convertible model of this line - other models were replaced by the second generation 9-3). Saab claimed that 1,100 changes were made, including a revised suspension in an attempt to tighten up the handling characteristics of its predecessor, the Saab 900 (1994-1998 model). It featured revised styling with some models receiving a black rear spoiler and removed Saab's trademark centrally mounted "snow flap". It was available as a three or five-door hatchback, and as a two-door convertible. It was the last small Saab to use the company's H engine. Improvements over the Saab 900 (NG) included ride and handling, as well as crash-worthiness with standard side impact airbags with head protection and active headrests. The 9-3 continued the Saab safety tradition of performing a moose test.

The 9-3 was available with a new variant of the B204 engine (B204E, 154 hp (115 kW)), a low pressure turbo (LPT) engine based on the B204L used in the last generation Saab 900. For the U.S. market, all 9-3s were turbocharged petrol engines with the "full pressure turbo" (B204L, 185 hp (138 kW)) as the standard offering, and a "HOT" (B204R, 200 hp) variant in the SE models for the 1999 model year. The 2000 model year saw a revision from SAAB's Trionic 5 to Trionic 7 engine management system. The T7 based engines were the B205L with 185 hp (138 kW) and the B205R HOT engine with 205 hp (153 kW). The first generation 9-3 was also the first Saab available with a diesel engine, also found in the Opel Vectra, Astra G, Signum, Zafira A.

A Saab innovation is the 'Night Panel', carried over from the Saab 900, which permits dousing of the instrument panel lighting, except for essential information, for less distraction when night driving.

A total of 326,370 first generation 9-3s were built.

First generation 9-3 engines

Other than the diesel engines, all the first generation engines were versions of the Saab H engine. Other than the Saab 9-5, the first generation 9-3 was the last to utilise this all Saab engine design. All versions of this engine feature a DOHC 16-valve design with Saab's Saab Direct Ignition. All turbocharged engines utilise Saab's Trionic engine management system which works hand in hand with the Direct Ignition's IDM module (mounted to the top of the engine, directly engaging the sparkplugs). The later two technologies were migrated into other GM products during the ten years that GM controlled Saab. All of the engines, other than the normally aspirated version and the low-pressure turbo, had high specific power outputs. The B205R generated 102.5 horsepower (76.4 kW) per litre and 252 lb·ft (342 N·m) of torque.

Second generation (2003-2014)

The second-generation model was launched in January 2002, at the North American International Auto Show for the 2003MY. Originally, the 9-3 was due to début with the Opel Vectra in October 2001, at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but in July 2001, it was announced that delays had forced General Motors to postpone the introduction. Both cars were eventually introduced in March 2002, at the Geneva Motor Show. The convertible version of the second-generation 9-3 began with the 2004MY. This body style is known to enthusiasts as the 9-3 SS and was known internally as the 9440 style.

The new 9-3, like all other Saabs, remained a front-wheel drive car. The most drastic change from the former generation was the elimination of the hatchback design. The second-generation 9-3 is available as a four-door saloon, an estate (introduced late in 2005, known as the SportWagon, SportCombi or Sport-Hatch depending on the markets), and a two-door convertible (introduced in 2004). It includes Saab Active Head Restraints (SAHR II) to reduce whiplash and ReAxs, a passive rear wheel steering design and passive toe-in to help reduce understeer under heavy braking.

The new 9-3 departed from the EcoPower engine used previously for a new 2.0 L inline-four engine Ecotec engine from General Motors' for the petrol powered models. There are three different versions of the turbocharged inline-four, with the amount of turbo boost determining the power output. The 150 hp (110 kW) version (though two-litre, it is called 1.8t) was standard in the non-U.S. market Linear form (trim-level). The 175 horsepower (130 kW) version (2.0t) was standard in U.S. market Linear or non-U.S. market Vector form, mated with a 5-speed manual transmission or a 5-speed 'Sentronic' which is a traditional automatic, not to be confused with SAAB's earlier 'Sensonic' which was a manual transmission which allowed for shifting without a clutch pedal. The 210 horsepower 2.0T (B207R engine) was available in both the Arc and Vector forms, (and Aero in the United Kingdom), and the automatic transmission was available, though in the Vector, paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel were added. In 2003 Arcs and Vectors, the manual transmission was a 6-speed.

The 9-3 and the Opel Vectra were the first of the global GM Epsilon platform, which was then lengthened to accommodate four new cousins, the Chevrolet Malibu/Malibu Maxx, the Pontiac G6, and the Saturn Aura. A proprietary fiber-optic electric/electronic system, the possibility of AWD (exploited from 2008 on, dubbed Saab XWD), and ReAxs as described above, are just a few of the features exclusive to the 9-3. On February 22, 2012, the final 47 Saabs were built. They were all 9-3 Independence Edition convertible models built by one of Sweden's largest car dealers, ANA, in Trollhättan.

There were 21 LHD cars, and 26 RHD ones. The final Saab was a Saab 9-3 Aero Independence Edition TTiD convertible.


The Vector form was replaced with the Aero in the USA. In addition, the Arc received the 5-speed manual in place of the 6-speed.


United States versions were sold with 16-inch wheels standard (17-inch for the Aero) unlike the 15-inch wheels which were previously found in the Linear version. In the United States, but not in most countries, the 2005 was the last year of the Linear and Arc versions. In addition, the 6-speed manual was dropped and both the Arc and Aero received the 5-speed manual.


A special "20 Years Edition Aero Convertible" for the American market was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in January 2006 to celebrate 20 years since the introduction of the Saab 900 convertible. For 2006, the two optional engines were a 2.0-litre turbo 4-cylinder and a new 2.8-litre turbo 6-cylinder. The 4-cylinder option had 12.3 psi maximum turbo boost pressure and turned out 210 hp (160 kW), while the 6-cylinder had 8.7 psi boost and turned out 250 hp (190 kW). The 2.0-litre 16-valve turbo four-cylinder model was marketed in the United States as the 2.0T, replacing the Linear and Arc models sold until the 2005 model year. The United States 2.0T version was similar to the 2005 Arc except for U.S. Linear wheels were used. The Linear and Arc versions continued to be sold in most other countries.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from Wikipedia.
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