Saab is keen to demonstrate that it has become the first car manufacturer to offer an alternative fuel engine choice in every model in its line-up. With the launch of a new four-cylinder engine in Geneva
, the 9-3 range follows the path blazed by its larger stable mate, the 9-5.
All three derivations of the 9-3 model will be powered by Saab's flex-fuel engines thanks to a new 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder pot optimised for duty. The BioPower engine is claimed to emit 50-70 per cent less CO2
when running on bio-ethanol E85 in comparison to its 1.8t petrol engine equivalent.
The fuel is also said to be instrumental in creating 17 per cent more power and 10 per cent more torque in the engine. Maximum power for the 1.8t climbs from 150bhp to 175bhp and torque output is raised from 177lb.ft to 195lb.ft when running on E85. Saab claims this translates to a 0-62mph acceleration time of 8.4 seconds, with 50 to 70mph (in fifth gear) achieved in 13.9 seconds; effectively shaving a second off the times set by the petrol version.
This engine is the third Saab BioPower powerplant launched in the UK since the initial offerings went on sale within the Saab 9-5 shell last year. Saab has apparently seen the sales figures for the 9-5 model soar and aims to increase its range in Europe with the BioPower 9-3.
The cars will be available with manual or automatic transmissions and will go on sale in the UK, Ireland and Nordic markets following their Geneva debut. Sales across Europe are scheduled to start later this year.
Eric Gallina - 2 Mar 2007