Luxury Complement to the Swedish Hatchback Line of Cars
A newcomer to the Swedish Saab line of cars for 1981 is the new Saab 900 fourdoor notchback sedan. This departure from the distinctive Saab hatchback styling is available with both the Saab Turbo engine and with the normally aspirated engine, and takes the place of the 1980 five-door hatchback models.
The Saab 900 Sedan was previewed early this year at the Geneva International Automobile Show and was hailed as one of the really new models at this show.
"The reaction to this new model was most encouraging," says Sten Wennlo, Chief Executive of the Saab Car Division. As a matter of fact, the response was so encouragin that the original decision to just offer this model with turbocharged engine was changed, so that it now is available with two different powerpl ant options.
The Saab 900 four-door sedan will be available through some 315 Saab dealers throughout the United States about November 15. along with the rest of the new 1981 Saab line of cars. The sedan model is available in the Saab 900S line, powered by a 110 bhp (SAE Net) fuel injected four-cylinder engine; and
with the 135 bhp (SAE Net) turbocharged Saab engine. It is offered with either automatic or manual five-speed transmission.
The automatic transmission option for the Saab Turbo -- on both the new fourdoor and the distinctive Saab 900 three-door hatchback -- is another major innovation for the 1981 Saab line.
Even Better Comfort
In the Saab 900 Sedan body, the rear section has been designed to harmonize with the front section. Through modification of major parts of the basic construction, it has been possible to increase the interior space in several key areas, which has resulted in vastly improved seating comfort and increased load carrying capacity.
Headroom in the rear seat has been increased by making the roof beam more slender, but with undiminished strength. The roof beam forms an integral part of the Saab's famed "safety-cage construction", which practically envelops the passenger in a cage of sturdy steel beams.
The rear end modifications have added up to an increase in rear seat headroom
by more than one inch, and also provide improved rear view vision for the driver. Rear seat comfort is further enhanced with new seat padding, with five
times as many coil springs as previously, and with the new luxurious velour upholstery.
The unique recessed thresholds provide extremely easy entry to the rear seat.
Large Luggage Space
The Saab hatchbacks are already well known for their cavernous luggage compartments. This spaciousness has been maintained in the Saab 900 Sedan through modifications of the rear section of the floor. The spare wheel is now housed out of the way below the flat floor of the trunk, and the entire luggage compartment is lined with carpet, to deaden sound and protect luggage.
The capacity of the luggage compartment in the Saab 900 Sedan is 14.? cubic feet (SAE), and easy access is achieved, thanks to the low sill and the large opening angle of the trunk lid. A set of tools is housed in a special toolholder on the underside of the lid covering the compartment for the spare wheel.
Saab's traditional semi-station wagon feature, which makes it possible to greatly enlarge the luggage compartment when needed, is also retained in the Saab 900 Sedan design. It is a simple matter to fold down the rear seat to open up a flat floor, almost six feet long, for carrying long and bulky loads. With the rear seat folded down, the luggage volume expands to approximately 53 cubic feet.
Substantial Weight Reductions
A major effort of all car manufacturers when designing new models is to save weight. Considerable work was devoted to this matter, of course, in the design of the Saab Sedan -- work that has also been of benefit to the Saab oo threedoor hatchback models.
itself weighs about 25 pounds less than its predecessor. But in many other parts, weight reduction has also been achieved.
'One of the major body elements in the Sedan, the rear panel, is now being made of aluminum," explains Fienrik Gustafsson, technical director of the Saab Car Division. "The use of 'ultra light' materials, such as carbon fiber, is not yet feasible for cost reasons," he adds, "but there is considerable know-how at Saab-Scania of the applications of these materials in the future, especially since Saab-Scania is also an aircraft manufacturer."
The result of all the weight reduction efforts must be regarded as significant, Mr. Gustafsson feels. In the Sedan model the total weight reduction is about 90 pounds, in comparison with the corresponding 1980 hatchback models. This weight reduction, he added, was achieved despite a two-gallon increase in the fuel tank volume, which of course worked opposite to the weight saving effort.