Saab 900 2nd generation
|Assembly||Trollhättan, Sweden Uusikaupunki, Finland (Convertible) (Valmet Automotive)|
|Class||Entry-level luxury car / Compact executive car|
|Body style||2-door convertible 3-door hatchback 5-door hatchback|
|Engine||2.0 L B204 I4 2.3 L B234 I4 2.5 L B258I V6|
|Transmission||5-speed manual 5-speed "Sensonic" manual 4-speed automatic|
|Wheelbase||102.4 in (2,601 mm)|
|Length||182.6 in (4,638 mm)|
|Width||67.4 in (1,712 mm)|
|Height||56.5 in (1,435 mm) 1997-98 Hatchback: 56.6 in (1,438 mm)|
|Related||Opel Calibra Opel Vectra Vauxhall Cavalier Saab 9-5 Saturn L-Series|
|Designer(s)||Björn Envall, Aina Nilsson Ström (interior), Einar Hareide|
The second or 'new' generation Saab 900 (also referred to as the GM900 or NG900 among enthusiasts) was built on GM's Opel Vectra platform as a replacement for the "classic" first-generation Saab 900. This all-new 900 was produced in the 1994 through 1998 model years. In Mid 1998 it received over 1100 individual improvements (although some were actually introduced on the 1998 model 900), and was renamed the 9-3 (in most markets; in the US the name change was introduced for 1999). As the 9-3, the NG900 was produced through 2002.
Variants included 900i (4-cylinder, non-turbo), S (4-cylinder, non-turbo) and SE (4-cylinder turbo or V6) models in three-door, five-door and convertible body styles. For 1997 and 1998 only, there was also a special edition 'Talladega' model, after a record-breaking endurance test in 1996, on the Talladega racetrack.
Depending on market, the NG900 was available with a choice of 2.0 L or 2.3 L Saab 16-valve DOHC engines (Saab engine codes B204, B234)
2.3i S Performance
|Top Speed||131 mph|
|0-60 mph||9.5 secs|
|Miles Per Tank||418 miles|
in naturally aspirated or turbocharged form (2.0 L only), as well as a 2.5 L version of GM's European 54° V6 engine.
2.5 SE V6 Performance
|Top Speed||140 mph|
|0-60 mph||8.2 secs|
|Miles Per Tank||418 miles|
Engine management for the turbos was by Saab Trionic 5 with Direct Ignition (SDI) and Automatic Performance Control, and for non-turbos by Bosch Motronic fuel injection. A distributor-operated ignition system was provided for naturally aspirated engines in some markets.
In contrast to the 'classic' Saab 900 with its longitudinally mounted engine and front-hinged hood (bonnet), the NG900 had a more-common transversely mounted engine with rear-hinged hood (bonnet).
The 'Sensonic' clutch variant, (available on Turbo models only) provided a manual gear lever as in a standard manual transmission car, but omitted the clutch pedal in favor of electronics which could control the clutch faster than an average driver.
When a driver started to move the gear shift knob/gear selector lever, a computer-controlled actuator operated the clutch. With the car in gear but stationary, the clutch was released only when throttle was applied. If neither brake nor gas pedal was depressed, a warning tone sounded and a message flashed on the on-board display, and if no action was taken after 7 seconds, the engine was shut off.
A "Hill Start" function for Sensonic-equipped cars (as described in the owner's manual) was intended to assist in getting underway on hills, by engaging the car's clutch to prevent rolling backward. However, this feature was not actually implemented on the car.
Sensonic was discontinued after a short time, as it proved unpopular.
|Fuel Capacity||68 litres|
Saab Information Display
The NG900 introduced the Saab Information Display, or SID (available on S or SE models only), which gave the driver real-time information while driving, such as fuel efficiency and outside temperature. Base specification cars had a digital clock in place of the SID and a non-digital instrument panel with a mechanical odometer (as opposed to the digital odometer on higher spec models). Interestingly the SID also controls other vehicle components, including but not limited to audible warnings for turn signals and the vehicles horn.
- 2.0 L B204I normally aspirated 16-valve four cylinder, 130 PS (96 kW; 128 hp)
- 2.0 L B206I normally aspirated 16-valve four cylinder with no balance shafts, 133 PS (98 kW; 131 hp)
- 2.0 L B204L 16-valve turbo intercooled, 185 PS (136 kW; 182 hp)
- 2.0 L B206I turbo-charged 16-valve four cylinder with balance shafts, 185 PS (136 kW; 182 hp)
- 2.3 L B234I normally aspirated 16-valve four cylinder, 150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp)
- 2.5 L B258I 24-valve 54º V6, 170 PS (125 kW; 168 hp)
One Saab innovation, inspired by the company's roots in aeronautics, was the 'Black Panel' feature (available on S or SE models only), which extinguished most instrument panel lights at the touch of a button on the SID, to eliminate distraction from dash lights during night driving. While active, this feature permitted darkened instruments to re-illuminate themselves when they required driver attention - if say, the engine speed increased alarmingly or if the fuel level should drop below 15 litres (4 US gal).This feature was later renamed 'Night Panel' in Saab 9-3 and Saab 9-5 models. In the later Night Panel version, the speedometer is only illuminated up to the 87 mph/140 km/h mark. The remainder of the scale will only be illuminated if the speed of the car exceeds 84 mph/135 km/h.
Under the wings of General Motors, Saab was reckoned as a luxurious brand. This meant that the NG900 would be more expensive than the Opel Vectra, which shared the same platform. Also, it would even make the bottom of the range 900i more expensive than the Vectra. This followed the prices of the 900i to be dropped, making it lack a rear-window wiper, the exclusive SID, and having a different instrument layout with a mechanical odometer instead of a digital.
The 900i was only available in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan as a three-door or a five-door with a choice of a 2.0 or 2.1 L engine. It did not sell very well in the UK and Australia, where the S and SE models were more popular among most Saab drivers. Though it was popular as a cheaper alternative to the S and SE models among many drivers.