9-3 Viggen Chassis


Chassis enhancements give 9-3 Viggen both sports performance and touring composure

Norcross, GA - Underneath the exclusive Lightening Blue aerodynamic shape, the new Saab 9-3 Viggen Coupe is endowed with both the soul and the systems to maximize its performance capabilities. To harness all of the Viggen's substantial power and direct it properly, an exclusive new Saab sports suspension comprised of springs, dampers, anti-roll bars and steering rack mounts has been developed.

Working with engineers from Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR), Saab's Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) group optimized the suspension elements to provide crisp handling and maximum grip while maintaining ride compliance for comfortable long drives. Ride comfort was achieved by shortening the springs at all four corners by only 10mm, maintaining a good amount of suspension travel with the 17" wheels and tires. Visually, the Viggen's stance is substantially lower, courtesy of the exclusive Viggen aerodynamic package, while ride height is maintained with 1Omm taller wheels and tires. The larger diameter wheel and tire package fills the wheel arches more fully, enhancing the lower, more aggressive stance of the Viggen. To coordinate the balance of the suspension with the improved aerodynamic balance of the body, the rear springs were stiffened over 25% while the front springs were stiffened only 5%. These spring rates, along with the recalibrated valving of the dampers, reduce the initial body roll on turn in, while still allowing a high level of ride comfort at speed. Optimizing the anti-roll bars with the rest of the suspension, the rear bar is left unchanged at 26mm diameter while the front bar diameter was reduced 2mm, to 24mm, to improve traction while accelerating out of corners. Transferring the 9-3 Viggen's prodigious power to the pavement are 17"x7.5" light alloy wheels with 215/45 x 17" low profile Z-speed rated high performance tires. The Dunlop SP Sport 2000 tires were developed in conjunction with Dunlop to match the suspension tuning of the 9-3 Viggen. "We're very pleased with the results," says Sven Wernstahl, Saab chassis engineer for the 9-3 Viggen. "The sidewalls are soft enough to provide the ride comfort we were looking for, and the tire compound generates the traction necessary to match the Viggen's sharpened handling characteristics."

In developing the Saab 37 Viggen jet fighter, one of its key attributes had to be the ability to land and stop in short distances to make use of Sweden's highway bases if necessary. Stopping ability was equally critical to the development of the 9-3 Viggen. The larger 17" wheels enabled Saab to utilize larger brakes and provide deceleration capabilities to match the Viggen's performance potential. The new front ventilated brake rotors are over three-quarters of an inch larger in diameter (12.13" versus 11.34" on the standard 9-3s), and matched with larger calipers housing new brake pads of increased surface area. Coordinating the balance of front/rear braking potential with the suspension tuning and aerodynamic package, rear rotors and calipers are the same size as the standard 9-3 models. All four rotors incorporate the use of grooves machined into the rotor surfaces to improve initial "bite" and provide better cooling for repeated fade-free stops in demanding driving situations.

The Viggen also incorporates the use of a larger brake master cylinder with a twin diaphragm brake booster to provide confidence inspiring brake pedal feel. As with all Saabs, Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and a four channel Anti-lock Braking system are incorporated as well. Stiffer steering rack mount bushings were developed and incorporated to give the pilot of the 9-3 Viggen more precise and direct steering feel.

Note from Nick Taliaferro at GenuineSaab.com:
Front Viggen bar is 22mm (se is 24 and base is 19)
Rear are all 14mm (measure ~16mm with epoxy coating)

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