9-3 Safety


Saab Automobile - the technological innovators

NORCROSS, Ga. -Saab cars have been lauded for innovation in design and technology ever since the first Saab 92 was unveiled for the press in 1947. Designed by aircraft engineers not limited by conventional automotive thinking, the early Saab cars attracted much attention for their advanced aerodynamic exterior design, front wheel drive, strong monocoque body shell and other unconventional solutions aimed at improving occupant safety, roadholding and driver control. This legacy is held in trust by today's Saab engineers. The 1999 Saab 9-3 models offer a number of innovative features such as the Saab Active Head Restraint (SAHR), dual-stage head and torso protecting side airbags, the Saab Trionic engine management system and the Saab Night Panel.

Saab Active Head Restraint (SAHR)
The Saab Active Head Restraint (SAHR) was originally launched in the Saab 9-5 as the world's first active head restraint system. The SAHR system effectively reduces movements of the occupant's head following a rear end impact, thereby reducing the risk of whiplash injuries. The system is entirely mechanical and is based on the lever principle. The padded head restraint is connected to a pressure plate inside the backrest of the front seat. In most rear-end crashes, the occupant's body will be pressed into the backrest, pushing the pressure plate rearward. As a result, the head restraint will move up and forward, and will "catch" the head of the seat occupant before the dangerous whiplash motion has started.

Head and Torso Protecting Side Airbags
Dual-stage head and torso protecting side airbags are standard on all Saab 9-3 models. Located in the outside bolster of each front seatback, to be correctly positioned regardless of the occupant's seat position, the side airbags have an air volume of 25 liters and are divided into upper and lower sections. When activated, the airbag inflates in two stages. While the top section begins gradually inflating, the bottom section is fully inflated first to protect the torso, which is the part of the occupant's body initially at risk from side-impact collision forces. The top section of the airbag then fully inflates to offer protection for the occupant's head which, at the moment of impact, is further away from the side structure of the car and thus reacts to the crash forces with a certain time delay. The entire process takes only a split second. The crash sensor triggers the gas inflator in the airbag five milliseconds (0.005 seconds) after the crash process has started. The lower part of the airbag is filled after 15 milliseconds, and the top part after 30 milliseconds.

All Turbocharged Engine Range
All 1999 Saab 9-3 models are turbocharged. Two different engines are available - the 185 hp turbo engine for that classic turbo surge of power, and the new 200 hp high output turbo engine for the driver in search of exceptional sports performance. Saab has been optimizing turbocharging technology for over 20 years to deliver real-world power and performance on demand without having to increase engine volume. With its newest 200 hp high output turbo engine, Saab now provides 100 hp per liter of engine displacement - an efficiency virtually unmatched in a family car, and traditionally only found in ultra high performance sports cars. With these two Saab turbo engines, maximum torque is available very early in the rev range and maintained for at least 2,300 rpm, providing quick - and therefore safe - overtaking, greater ability to avoid potential hazards, or just plain sporty driving. The unique combination of high performance, low emissions and good fuel economy has always been a hallmark of Saab turbocharged engines.

Saab Trionic Engine Management System
All Saab 9-3 models are equipped with the Saab Trionic engine management system, a computer capable of over two million calculations per second. The heart of Trionic, a 32-bit microprocessor, monitors and simultaneously controls the Direct Ignition timing, air/fuel mixture ratio and turbo boost pressure, enabling Saab to control the engine's performance, economy and emissions with great precision. Rather than utilizing an engine knock sensor, the Saab Trionic system analyzes the combustion process by applying a weak voltage across the gap of every spark plug after each combustion to measure the degree of ionization in the cylinders. The amount of current flowing back to the control unit is dependent upon the number of ions that have been formed, which provides a measure of whether the air/fuel mixture has ignited and burned correctly. If not, the system adjusts the fuel quantity, the Direct Ignition timing or the turbo boost pressure.

Pendulum Effect on Side Impact
A safety enhancement acquired from the Saab 9-5, the door pillar of the Saab 9-3 is designed to behave as a pendulum in the event of a side collision. Because crash energy from an impact will take the path of least resistance, Saab's engineers have designed into the "B" pillar a safer path that dissipates the crash energy downward. The center section of the pillar is very stiff to prevent the pillar from deforming and intruding in the middle into the interior. The top of the "B" pillar is designed to perform as a "hinge" and retain its position when the lower half of the pillar is displaced inwards like a pendulum. As a result, it is the most robust parts of the human body (the pelvis area), rather than the weaker areas above the waist, that will be subjected to most of the crash energy. This reduces the risk of injury to the more fragile parts of the body - the rib cage, head and torso.

Advanced Data Bus Communication System
The Saab 9-3 is equipped with an advanced instrument data panel bus system which transmits information between the various electronic control units by means of a digital network. The data bus system employs only two cables to which the various control units are connected, instead of every control unit communicating with the others by means of separate cables. The information needed for several different systems to perform correctly, such as information on the speed of the car, is continuously sent to the network instead of every system having to gather its own information from its own dedicated sensor. The various control units continuously send updated information on the data bus system. Depending on the type of information, the data is updated at intervals varying between 10 milliseconds (0.01 second) and 8 seconds, making up-to-date information continuously available.

Saab Real-life Safety
All safety systems in the Saab 9-3 have been developed in line with Saab's Real-life Safety concept - cars must be as safe as possible in accident situations that occur in the real world. To achieve this goal, Saab has investigated more than 5,000 accidents involving Saabs in Sweden since 1971. Data from these investigations become the starting point when designing new Saab models. In addition to providing invaluable information regarding the real-life crash safety properties of Saab cars, this data also helps Saab engineers perform more lifelike crash tests. The Saab 9-3 has been subjected to more than 40 different crash tests, including car-to-car, car-to-truck and car-to-dummy-moose. Saab performs almost four times the number of tests mandated by government standards.

Enhanced Saab Night Panel
A direct influence of aircraft ergonomics, the Saab 9-3 is equipped Saab's Night Panel function in the dashboard. This feature allows the driver to focus more attention on the road when traveling at night, achieved by darkening all gauges and lamps in the main instrument cluster except the speedometer. In addition, the background lighting intensity of the various illuminated driving controls is dimmed. An electronic monitoring system activates each instrument automatically as soon as the driver needs to be alerted (in the same way as in the latest aircraft), such as if the engine speed is increasing towards the redline, if the fuel level is getting low, or if the engine temperature begins to rise.

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