13 June 2007

Swede and lowdown

Revised 9-3 gets four-wheel drive and a new twin-turbodiesel TTiD engine

Saab 9-3

At first glance, it looks like a straightforward mid-life facial tweak for the Saab 9-3, but under the skin, the Swede has had some serious re-engineering.

Prime among the revised 9-3's new technology roster is four-wheel drive or, in Saab-speak, 'cross wheel drive'.

The 'cross' part of the name comes from the rear axle's ability to divide power between the rear wheels to behave like a limited slip differential and optimise grip.

The four-wheel-drive system can also divvy up power between the front and rear axles, sending up to 100 per cent thrust to one end or the other if necessary.

The pre-facelift 9-3's engine range remains, but is now joined by the twin-turbocharged 1.9-litre TTiD diesel with 180bhp and 295lb ft of torque to trouble that new 4x4 system.

No performance figures yet for this new diesel, but Saab says it offers the same in-gear acceleration as the turbocharged 2.8 V6 petrol (read blog), but hopefully without the wallet-clenching trips to the pumps. Which makes it fast and frugal.

Prices for the new Saab 9-3 start at £18,575 when it goes on sale in September.

The twin-turbodiesel TTiD will come in sporty Aero trim only and costs from £26,495. It is also available in the SportWagon estate and Convertible models.


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