Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2007 18:13:58 +0100
From: Colin Stamp <>
Subject: Re: Have Saab reintroduced hatchback yet?

On Sat, 22 Sep 2007 16:00:40 +0100, "DervMan" <> wrote: >You're taking it to the extreme and I didn't put it very well. Because of >the length of the chassis, a small movement in degrees can lead to a fairly >chunky movement in millimetres. That's better. As the front of the car >goes over a bump, if the chassis flexes, even by a tiny amount, this gives >the car a loose or bouncy feeling. The suspension is softened as a result, >otherwise you can get a nasty double bump sensation over an undulated road. > >Because the suspension has been softened up for a decent ride, when you come >to a corner it starts to flop about a bit. That's how my 9-3 feels - decent >ride, bit floppy in twisty stuff. > ><If you've tried the current Volkswagen Fox, this car manages it probably >with a stiff chassis set up, heh,> > >It isn't that I dislike the 9-3 - I bought it as a high mileage motorway >tool - but I have the luxury or the misfortune (take your pick) to drive a >whole bunch of new and old machines alike. More modern stuff has the ride >of the 9-3 but is much more responsive on a twisty road. > >Hmm. My Ka's ride, with a braced chassis and Ford Racing suspension, was a >hoot but that's something else. > >With a stiff chassis, the suspension can (and is) made harder for no loss in >ride comfort, but a meaningful improvement in what in marketing speak is >called "vehicle dynamics." Wish they'd just call it "the fun factor" meh. > We've drifted away from the original point here. It had been suggested that saloons had better handling than hatchbacks because they had a smaller opening at the rear. If this extra large hole in the hatchback shell really was moving by such a large amount as to affect the suspension geometry, there would be enormous problems with the unstressed hatch trying to fill that hole whilst it constantly changed shape. This doesn't happen because the opening just isn't changing shape that much. If the chassis flex isn't being caused by the hatch opening then, even if it does affect the handling, it isn't a hatchback problem. >>>It'll only be subtle, the bodywork will be built to a tolerance, so you >>>probably won't notice it - not to mention that windscreens are structural >>>components. But bits move ever so slightly. At the same time the >>>suspension components are also moving. Of a sort, the chassis is >>>partially >>>acting as the suspension. Of course, over a tight corner, the suspension >>>is >>>better at being suspension than the chassis twist. >>> >>>This is partially the reason why your 9-3 will have a top mounted chassis >>>brace in the engine compartment. The other is that it improves crash >>>robustness. >> >> My guess is that the strut brace is more of a marketing ploy than >> anything else - same as the boot spoiler. > >Sorry to disappoint - but the strut brace is both subtle (unlike my Ka's >brace, hehehe) and present in lots of modern stuff. Just because lots of marketing departments have decided to fit one, doesn't make them worthwhile from any perspective other than selling cars. The one in the 9-3 is a particularly cynical example. It turns towards the rear and runs just a few inches away from the bulkhead. It's really not doing anything that the bulkhead wasn't already doing. It's not completely useless though. It makes a really good place to wedge the extension bar when you need to take the tension off the drive belt. >The rear spoiler - is yours the larger, SE-style? It's an Aero one - with a gap underneath. >- helps scrub the rear windscreen of water. We >had four 9-3s and the S model didn't have such as effective rear windscreen >scrub as my SE. Not sure about rear screen clearing, but whilst I was in a Saab dealership a while ago, they had a large poster proudly proclaiming that one of their upgraded spoilers increased the aerodynamic downforce at the rear of the car by a massive 40% thus giving the rear tyres "loads more grip". What it failed to mention was that the downforce only accounts for a vanishingly tiny proportion of the force on the rear tyres - the vast majority of course, comes from the weight of the car. what they should have said was "a completely insignificant amount of extra grip". > >I didn't buy the SE because of the spoiler, of course... :) > I completely ignored the spoiler on mine too. I bought it mainly because of the speaker grilles. >Ford won't stop making the Focus. Actually - yeah - the Focus has a much, >much stiffer chassis than the Escort, it rides and handles so much better, >but it's also between one and two adults heavier... I think the Focus would be a bit small for me. I'm in Mondeo territory, but my 2.5L limit causes problems there. At the moment, If the 9-3 caught fire tomorrow, It looks like the top favorites for the replacement would be a Mazda6 MPS or a Skoda Octavia VRS... Cheers, Colin.

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