Saab has a long tradition of successful work with car safety. In surveys of real-life accidents carried out by the US Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) and the Swedish insurance company, Folksam, Saab cars have consistently shown well, several times being ranked best in their segment. And in a recent Euro-NCAP crash test study, the new 9-3 Sport Sedan achieved a maximum five star rating.
Crash impact resistance benefits from the introduction of a series of new structural and occupant protection measures that have enabled Saab's engineers to adopt the same crash safety performance targets as those of the Sport Sedan.More 'Real-Life' Crash Configurations
Saab crash testing is designed to replicate what happens in real accidents on real roads and is based on the findings of a database covering more than 6,000 real-life collisions involving Saab cars.
In the new 9-3 program, Saab evaluated the results of 75 different crash configurations, which is a record number for Saab in the development a new model. Only 15 of these configurations are legally required.For the Convertible, Saab has also helped to pioneer one of the world's most comprehensive rollover crash test programs, involving no less than eight configurations that account for most instances of this relatively rare type of road accident. Safety Structure
At the heart of the 9-3 Convertible is immensely strong steel structure that is designed to protect the passenger compartment by resisting any high forces that may pass through the front and rear crumple zones. Its reinforced elements are: the A-pillars and windscreen header rail, the front and rear seat cross-members, a substantial torsion box between the rear wheel housings and enlarged side sills.
The front and rear crumple zones are made up of carefully shaped steel members designed to absorb, distribute and deflect as much impact energy as possible, effectively shielding the passenger compartment.
For structural side impact protection, Saab engineers have developed the lower B-pillar, the side sills and door beams to function as a single unit, transmitting energy down and away from occupants into the floor, its cross members and the rear torsion box.DynaCage Rollover Protection
Although rollovers are comparatively rare events, the consequences are often serious and Saab has installed an 'active' protection system in the new 9-3 Convertible. Its DynaCage concept combines pop-up rear roll bars, seat-belt pre-tensioning in all seating positions and substantial reinforcement of the A-pillars to provide an integrated protection system.
The two spring-loaded rollover hoops recessed behind the rear head restraints are made from aluminum alloy for low mass, to aid quick deployment, and high strength. They are mounted inside the car's torsion box and a released by a small pyrotechnic charge when the car's central sensing and diagnostic module (SDM) detects the onset of a rollover. Just as important, all four seat-belt pre-tensioners are activated at the same time to firmly locate any occupants in their seats.Integrated front seat-belts
Despite the use of airbags, seat-belts are still the single most important restraint system in any car and the front occupants of the new 9-3 Convertible benefit from the first integrated belt system to be fitted by Saab.
The seat-belt is mounted entirely on the frame of the front seats. As there are no B-pillar or floor fixings, the belt's geometry is optimized irrespective of the seat position. The belts are also easier to reach and the top mounting in the seat back ensures a closer fit over the shoulder without prejudicing seating comfort.Saab Active Head Restraints (SAHR)
Crash investigation findings by the Journal of Trauma and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the US and the Thatcham insurance research center in the UK have all shown Saab Active Head Restraints (SAHR) to be extremely effective in helping to prevent neck injury.
SAHR help to provide protection for front seat occupants during rear end impacts. The system is entirely mechanical and is activated as soon as an occupant is pressed back into the seat by the force of inertia during a collision from the rear. A pad in the seat-back is linked to lever which pushes the head restraint up and forwards, minimizing head and neck movement during the 'rebound' phase.
Adaptive front airbags and Two-stage side airbags Adaptive airbags are used for a more occupant-friendly deployment in frontal impacts. Sensors detect impact severity, seating positions and whether or not the belts are being worn. This data is sent to the centrally located SDM which, within milliseconds, chooses between activation of the belt pre-tensioners alone, or in combination with a single (low pressure) or two stage (high pressure) inflation of the airbags.
Front seat occupants are provided with additional side impact protection by the installation of airbags in the outer edge of each front seat-back. The airbag has two chambers, one to protect the chest and the other to safeguard the head.