The improved chassis dynamics of the new Saab 9-3 Convertible are complemented by the outstanding driveability and refinement of an all-new powertrain package, as first seen on the 9-3 Sport Sedan. Saab has added a smoother, more linear power delivery to the typically strong, mid-range torque of its engines.Lightweight Powertrain
The all-aluminum, four-cylinder 2.0-liter engine, configured for 175 or 210 bhp, is 15 kilos lighter than its predecessor and is smoother, quieter, more compact and better packaged. It has a four-valve cylinder head, maintenance-free chain-driven camshafts, counter-rotating balancer shafts, a dual mass flywheel and an integrated oil cooler. It is controlled by the latest Trionic 8 version of Saab's own, in-house engine management system, the most powerful for turbocharged engines in commercial production. All main internal components are unique to Saab's turbocharged application.Improved Driveability
Saab is alone among the world's premium car-makers in developing its own engine management system. Ignition timing, fuel injection, turbo boost pressure, air mass measurement and the throttle setting are all key engine functions controlled by the Saab-written Trionic software. Trionic 8 now also incorporates more sophisticated engine start-up and temperature control and further developments for improving torque management and throttle response to give better driveability.
The power delivery of the engine is generally more progressive or 'linear', encouraging the driver to hold intermediate gears for longer periods. In effect, its driving characteristics are more like those of a naturally-aspirated engine although, of course, it still delivers more torque at an given throttle opening.
Uncomfortable jerks, which can be experienced when suddenly lifting off or stamping hard on the accelerator pedal, are also largely eliminated. Trionic is able to 'read' and anticipate every driving situation, cushioning the transitory effects of large throttle movements by comparing parameters such as road speed, engine speed, engine loading and gear selected. The end result is a smooth, powerful and extremely pliable powertrain, devoid of 'shunting'.
A further refinement is the programming of the signal from accelerator pedal. At low road speeds, there is more movement for a given amount of power in order to make the car easier to control, such as when parking and reversing. At higher speeds less pedal movement is required, which gives a quicker throttle response, particularly useful when overtaking, for example.
Adaptive automatic transmission and 6-speed gearbox A new 'smart' five-speed automatic transmission includes Saab Sentronic , a sequential manual gear shift, and the option of steering wheel gear change buttons. The greater control offered by Saab Sentronic means that 'sport' or 'winter' mode settings are no longer required.
This transmission is adaptive to both the driver and road conditions and is programmed to fully exploit Saab turbo power characteristics. For closer driver involvement, the shift lever can be moved across the gate to 'manual' Sentronic mode, giving sequential 'up' or 'down' changes with full lock-up in 3/4/5th gears.
A completely new, compact 6-speed manual gearbox, capable of handling exceptionally high torque loadings, is fitted as standard to the 210 bhp engine.