Car history: Saab 9-3 Viggen
|   Saturday, July 23, 2016
The colorful history of Saab has two heroes. The 99 Turbo and the 900 Turbo. Hear the Viggen in that list home?


The 99 Turbo hit like a modest bomb. It was not the first car with turbo; Chevrolet, BMW and Porsche had previously. Saab Turbo used the technique to compensate for the lack of a V6. There was not chosen for maximum power, but a broad torque curve. The Saab 900 took over again thin. With those two models Saab two decades managed to offer a genuine alternative to the competition in the luxury middle class.


Saab 900 Turbo Coupe & Saab 900 Turbo Liftback

In 1994 the second generation was 900, this time under the direction of General Motors . For the purist, the Saab 900NG was an eyesore. It was too much of an Opel Vectra, on which the 900 was based. GM auditors found that bad and the buying public initially; brand purists are rarely customers. Indeed, thanks to Saab NG900 even made ​​a small profit in 1995. The range of engines was not wrong, but a bit tame. A 2-liter with 130 hp and even a V6 from the Calibra with 170 horses. If goedmakertje although there was a 900 Turbo (185pk) but really special was that model no. It was just a coincidence 900 whose engine had a turbocharger. For Sweden, it was clear that there had to be a Halo model NG900.

Saab commissioned two teams to revive from the 900 Turbo, the spirit again. The first team was the Special Vehicle Operations department at Saab, the second team was TWR (Tom Walkinshaw Racing). SVO was responsible for the exterior and interior while TWR would worry about the technology.

Saab 900 SVO Concept, Monte Carlo Yellow

In late 1995 Saab 900 SVO showed the Concept. 900 Coupe with a 250hp four-cylinder turbo engine and an impressive body kit, in Monte Carlo yellow painted. Later this was accompanied by a blue convertible. The reactions of the (Saab) audiences were extremely enthusiastic, so Saab decided to take this model into production.

CSR and TWR took their time to develop the car because it took more than two years before they came up with a production-ready copy. The 900 was facelifted in the meantime and had been named 9-3. This is in line to run with the 9-5 , Saab's new flagship. The type name SVO was replaced by 9-3 Viggen (thunderbolt), called the Saab 37 Viggen fighter Saab Aerospace.

The production was just as special as the car. The base of the Viggen lay in Trolhättan, Sweden. The carriage, transmission and chassis were manufactured there. Then, the 9-3 was transported in a sealed container to specialist Valmet in Finland. There the Viggen got his body kit and the car was sprayed (the first series all in Lightning Blue ). It was also there where the final assembly. This did not apply to the Cabriolet, it was in fact already built there, along with the Porsche Boxter and uh, Lada Samara Baltic.

In terms of engine Messrs techies did a good job. Instead of the 2.0 something to tickle it was jettisoned in favor of the B235R unit, a 2.3-liter four-cylinder with a Mitsubishi TD04 turbocharger-HL15. In cooperation with the Trionic 7 engine management system good for 225 hp and 342 Nm. The 9-3 Viggen took its name because it was on paper a smooth car. The standard sprint took 6.8 seconds and the top speed was 250 km / h.

B235R (225pk/342Nm)

A wonderfully thick body kit and a top engine: it must have been a great car? No. To be fair, the Viggen was actually a drama. Also thanks to that engine. It seems that the Viggen has firmer springs, firmer damping, larger (perforated) brakes and a heavier clutch plus pressure group. It was not or barely noticeable. Every time you pressed the gas pedal, the wheels went in all directions. Torque steer ( issues ) was given a whole new meaning to the 9-3 Viggen.

This competitor had to be in the BMW 330Ci, but it did not even come near it. The handling was called almost comical. 9-3 understeering, skated and hobbled through turns and fast sweeping turns. And then you had to accelerate. You did, you were treated to a few cubic meters of smoke from the spinning front wheels.

The biggest joke was yet to come, because just after the Coupe also came Viggen Convertible. This combined the loeisterke engine with one of the weakest carriages 90s. The torque was limited in the first two gears, probably to avoid 'he'd split at a stoplight sprint into two parts. Remember, this was then the most expensive Saab (€ 60,406) that you could buy. You might well expect for that money.

Saab 9-3 Convertible, Lightning Blue

Was the 9-3 Viggen than a complete failure? Not quite. Ok, the Viggen Coupe was not a BMW 3 Series Convertible and the release was a moving Panna Cotta . However, there was a third alternative, namely the 5-door liftback. That was brilliant.

The liftback was still not a driver's car, but that did not matter. At the Liftback, the priorities were different. This was a family car, casual smooth. In the spirit of the Volvo 850 T-5R , but a cooler. Almost as large as a wagon, almost as practical. In the trunk you could take all diaper bags and pots Olvarit. There was plenty of room for a child, baby seat and Beagle. The front bucket seats had Viggen fantastic: you were comfortable clamp. Just for daily rides with a comfortable 9-3 docile engine. It was just a Saab, so you could get in anywhere for the day: Saab drivers simply are very smart and have taste.

Saab 9-3 Viggen Liftback, Steel Grey

But why not just buy a normal 9-3? For dad. At the time the family was on vacation and heading off via the A31 towards Italy. Insert the Autobahn, a truck gets another one in. 80 in the left lane rushes a thick E46 330ci full in the mirror. That was exactly the situation in which the Viggen excelled. Put the gearbox in some loose his third and wait until the truck passes over track. Pedal to the metal. Immediately the Viggen grabs lot of yards on the 330i. Indeed, even an M3 to put out all the stops to keep that crazy Swede.

A short about attitude, a table mountain of torque, a very conservative declaration of assets and some Swedish magic. The 80-160 sprint was the specialty of the Viggen. Then the Viggen was completely in his element. Harder could also, as mentioned was the 250 km / h are feasible, but the shortcomings come back up. Above 220 was the driver already take off the feeling. Get yourself if such a device named after a fighter jet .
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