2004 9-3 Convertible Interior Design

The finely sculptured interior incorporates high quality materials and a standard of fit and finish is everything you would expect - and more - from a premium-class manufacturer such as Saab.

The lines of the large door panels are beautifully extended through into the rear side panels, creating a single sweeping shape to integrate the front and rear passenger areas.

Front shoulder width is increased and rear passenger access greatly improved by the adoption of sliding front seats and the elimination of B-pillar mounted seat-belts.

Both rear seating positions are well shaped and upholstered, with deep squabs far superior to the flat, narrow bench seats that are often seen. Saab has ensured the angle of the back-rest is kept at a comfortable 21° from vertical and not compromised by packaging requirements.

Fixed-head Ambience

With the roof up, convertibles are often criticised for being rather gloomy or claustrophobic inside because of the usually black headlining. Saab has now addressed the issue and the new 9-3 Convertible is first on the market with a soft-top offering a light color inside. The headlining, header rail and side frame components are either beige or light grey, depending on the interior 'room' color that is chosen.

An important aim of the interior design team was the achievement of a sedan-like ambience inside with the roof in position. This has been accomplished by adopting a headlining that fits almost seamlessly, giving occupants the impression they are sitting under a fixed roof.

Unique Front Seats

The front seats, with integrated seat-belts, are comfortable yet sporty looking and have been specially designed for the Convertible. Both the seat cushion and back are deeply bolstered, giving excellent lateral and under thigh support without reducing the space to sit comfortably.

The seats have also been designed to provide easy entry/exit for rear seat passengers, moving forward on their runners up to 243 mm. On manual seats this is done by simply lifting the solid aluminum lever on the outboard corner of the back-rest and pushing the seat forward. For electrically-adjustable seats, the seat automatically moves while the lever is lifted and the seat-back folded down.

A feature unique to the segment is the exceptionally fast forward movement to allow quick rear access. It is twice the speed of the normal fore/aft adjustment for the driver or front passenger. A neat memory function automatically returns the seat to its previous position when the operating lever is raised.

Rear entry/exit is also greatly facilitated by the adoption of integrated seat-belts, which are also easier to use, more comfortable for the wearer and are not prone to any flapping in open air driving.

Driver focused

The main instrument panel gently arcs round the driver, as in the Sport Sedan. In typical Saab fashion, the controls are all logically grouped, those most frequently used bring nearest to hand and closest to the driver's natural field of vision. The short gear shift lever is just a hand span away.

The Profiler function, fitted a standard, offers great scope to tailor a wide range of interior functions by selecting pre-settings according to personal preference. The single button for operating the Convertible's roof is also located in the Profiler control panel.

Saab's unique Night Panel feature, which allows the driver to switch off all main instrument illumination at night (except for the speedometer) is, of course, standard fitment. This removes visual 'clutter' and potential distraction, providing a more restful driving environment.

A high-positioned Saab Information Display is located in a binnacle at the top of the fascia, near the base of the windscreen. For safety reasons, this is as close as possible to the driver's natural field of vision so that information, including navigation directions, can be seen without any head movement or much eye re-focusing.

A particularly neat innovation is the 'disguised' handbrake, which is beautifully integrated in the edging trim of the console. It is a Z-shaped lever, self-adjusting and with a positive, easy-to-use action. On the other side of the console, mirroring the integrated handbrake, is a 'Smart Slot' detachable storage sleeve for small items, which also accommodates accessory cup, CD and ice scraper holders.

In true Saab tradition, the ignition switch continues to be located alongside the handbrake. It is now entirely electronic in operation, the reverse manual gear lock being replaced by an automatic, electronic steering column lock.

Interior Themes

Hydroblox , a unique, water repellent textile has been specially developed for convertible seat upholstery. Interiors can be specified in a choice of three 'Forms', or interior design themes, all Scandinavian-inspired for with a distinctive, modern feel. Each form can be specified in a 'light room' (parchment) or 'dark room' (gray) color scheme.

The line-up starts with 'Linear', a line or base element in architecture, although the trim is hardly basic as the seats are upholstered in the innovative Hydroblox textile. 'Arc' adopts a newly-developed, embossed leather upholstery and 'Vector' is more progressive and performance-focused, the mood changing to 'industrial high tech' with the leather seats having contrasting black panels.

'Aero' is, of course, the ultimate performance expression of the new Convertible. Here the interior is similar to Vector and the exterior specification includes aerodynamically-tested spoilers and flared sill extensions which help reduce lift forces.

Heating and Ventilation

All variants are fitted with highly efficient, Saab developed air conditioning systems, either manually (AC) or automatically controlled (ACC), which have been adapted for the specific needs of a convertible. This includes, for example, ensuring a smooth engagement of the ACC system when the roof is closed under hot conditions and re-tuning of the software control, taking into account the different thermal properties of the soft-top and the smaller side window area.

Both AC and ACC systems draw air into the interior through an extremely efficient, electrostatically-charged filter which can extract dust, pollen and particles as small as 3 microns in size. The ACC can be programmed via the Profiler and operates on a 'dual zone' basis, allowing different temperatures to be selected for the left or right hand side of the car.

The Saab ACC system automatically shifts to manual control, offering 10 heat settings, when the roof is open and reverts to automatic mode when it is closed, a feature unique to the premium convertible segment.

'Infotainment' Systems

The electrical architecture includes the automotive industry's most extensive use of fiber optic technology, which provides a signal capacity 50 times greater than conventional wire connections. It forms a communications platform with the capacity to handle all likely developments in the fast-moving fields of 'infotainment' and e-services.

The particular acoustic requirements of a convertible have also been carefully examined. For example, a microphone has been installed in the driver's side A-pillar to make it easier to use a hands-free phone, particularly with the top down.

Saab is one of the first auto manufacturers to introduce Bluetooth ™* wireless technology with the launch of the Sport Sedan and the Convertible benefits from the same technology. A short range, high frequency radio link to replace cable connections. The integrated GSM telephone is equipped with a Bluetooth-certified radio transmitter/receiver operating on the globally available 2.45 GHz bandwidth. An effective range of up to 10 meters allows the convenience and flexibility of wireless connections in and around the car with, for example, a laptop, palm pilot or a work organizer.

(* Bluetooth is a trademark owned by Bluetooth SIG Inc. and used by Saab Automobile AB under license. It is named after Harald Bluetooth, a 10th century King of Denmark, who encouraged improved communications between his subjects. )

There is a choice of three modular 'infotainment' systems, each of which can be changed or upgraded easily.

The Saab Audio system, fitted a standard for all specifications, includes an RDS radio and a Premium 70 sound system, which incorporates a 70 watt amplifier, four speakers and a single antenna integrated in the windshield. It can be upgraded to Premium 150 level, including a CD player and two amplifiers for 150 watts playing power through 7 speakers.

The optional Saab Infotainment system includes a monochrome display, a telephone keypad, an SMS capability and is prepared for Bluetooth™ communication. It incorporates menu functionality for easy use and the Premium 150 sound system. Saab Infotainment Plus adds a color display. Both systems can be upgraded with an integrated telephone, including voice recognition, a GPS/DVD-based navigation system and a WAP browser. A Prestige 300 system with 300 watts playing power and 13 speakers can also be added.

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