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  1. #1
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    2002 Saab 9-5 - Press Release - Australia

    The new Saab 9-5 Series for 2002 - key points


    • 1265 design and engineering changes to the new 9-5 Series
    • Aero receives power boost from 169 kW to 184 kW, while torque on auto models goes from 330 Nm to 350 Nm
    • Subtle changes to exterior enhance sporting character of the new 9-5 Series
    • New architectural forms strategy replaces current 2.0, S and SE model designations with Linear, Arc and Vector. Aero remains the performance model
    • Chassis revisions improve steering response for more communicative handling and better turn-in
    • New Electronic Stability Program enhances Aero handling and driver control
    • New bi-xenon headlamps provide class-leading illumination for Aero
    • New five-speed adaptive automatic gearbox for all models
    • New adaptive front airbags feature passenger-sensing system for intelligent deployment and retuned seatbelts for enhanced performance
    • Saab’s ‘luxury value’ position enhanced
    • On sale from November 01, 2001


    MORE CONTEMPORARY, more appealing and more sporting to drive, too. That’s the new Saab 9-5 Series. Both Sedan and SportEstate versions have received a significant range of enhancements to substantially strengthen Saab’s position in the luxury segment.

    One of the highlights is the bolstering of Saab’s high-performance Aero flagship with a more powerful engine and sophisticated improvements to the chassis.

    The new Aero now boasts 184 kW (up from 169 kW), auto models gain a new five-speed transmission to handle the engine’s full 350 Nm (previously limited to 330 Nm on auto models), while a super-intelligent Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) promotes more spirited driving and safer handling.

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    It is all packaged with an improved anti-lock braking (ABS) and traction control system (TCS) that is world-class in terms of technical advancement and maximising driving safety and enjoyment.

    The new five-speed auto, which constantly monitors its own performance and adapts to prevailing driving conditions, replaces the previous four-speed automatic on all Saab 9-5 models.

    The carefully crafted visual appearance of the new Saab 9-5 has been subtly reworked to give it a more sporting and contemporary look, including for the first time clear headlamp lenses that also incorporate a new standard-setting bi-xenon lighting system for Aero (from early to mid 2002).

    A new model designation scheme called “forms” replaces the previous 2.0, S and SE model hierarchy. These forms, which are drawn from the world of architecture, allow for clearer and more distinctive model identification. The new forms span the simplicity of Swedish design represented by the classic Linear through to the more contemporary Arc and on to the hi-tech feel of Vector. The ultimate performance derivative is the Aero with the 184 kW 2.3-litre High-Output Turbo (HOT) engine.

    The chassis, too, has been substantially reworked on all Saab 9-5 models to provide a sportier and more responsive drive, with crisper turn-in and greater steering precision.

    Finally the 9-5’s safety features, built on Saab’s robust Real-life safety philosophy of “balanced forces”, have been further upgraded. The new Saab 9-5 Series features new adaptive airbags with a passenger-sensing system, retuned seatbelt performance and new interior headlinings that meet the latest US requirements, as well as better knee protection for both driver and passenger.

    In all, no less than 1265 changes have been made to the new Saab 9-5 Series for 2002.

    “There have been a number of meaningful changes in virtually every aspect of vehicle development and design,” says Saab Automobile Australia Managing Director, Mr. Tony Jennett, “which makes the new Saab 9-5 very different from the car we launched in 1997. It is now sportier to drive and has a more modern appearance.

    “The new 9-5 remains the choice for individuals who value Scandinavian design, engineering integrity and Saab’s Real-life safety approach. And, of course, Saab's unique turbocharged driving experience.”

    The entry point to the Saab 9-5 Series has moved upward by $1900 with the Saab 9-5 Linear 2.0t, however this model gains almost $4000 in additional standard equipment. The price adjustments for the 2002 Saab 9-5 models is more than offset by gains in standard specification.

    A sharper chassis for a sportier Saab

    WITH THE NEW Saab 9-5’s looks comes a more sharper driving experience. Sharper in the way it steers; more positive in the way it handles. The result is an exhilarating and communicative drive with the emphasis strongly on Saab’s sporting character.

    The key changes have been made at the front of the car to provide more response and quicker reaction. The overall balance front to rear has also been honed to give the new Saab 9-5 Series a flatter, more consistent handling characteristic, while also eliminating cornering pitch.

    “We looked at what we had achieved with the Aero, which seems to have been universally liked, and then applied that car’s sportiness to the rest of the new Saab 9-5 range,” comments Sonny Bergman, head of vehicle dynamics. “But we also took the opportunity to upgrade the handling and performance characteristics of the Aero model at the same time. After all, there's always room for improvement.”

    Bergman and his team concentrated on improving the car’s front-end responsiveness and flattening out the pitch-induced roll during hard cornering. So the front springs have been stiffened by 10 per cent, while the diameter of the front anti-roll bar has been increased by 1.0 mm on all models.

    The damper settings have also been changed to accommodate the increased stiffness of the front springs and provide firmer control of the car’s balance and poise during cornering. Naturally, there are minor variations in spring and damper rates to allow for the differing weights of the new Saab 9-5 Series’ various turbo engines, but the behaviour has been designed to remain consistent from model to model.

    The upper strut mountings have also been strengthened to improve longitudinal rigidity and better lateral load response. Once more, this benefits a sportier driving characteristic at the expense of some ride compliance, but more in keeping with the new 9-5's sporting ethos.

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    Stiffer front subframe lightens the load

    The front subframe, used to isolate road shocks more effectively from the driving compartment, has received a significant upgrade, too. Like the springs, the subframe has been stiffened, but it has also been lightened to accommodate the extra weight of the new V6 turbo diesel engine (for Europe only at this stage).

    The steering rack, which is located at the rear of the front subframe, has been changed to match the more effective handling characteristics resulting from the spring and damper changes. New, longer steering arms are coupled to the existing steering rack. While initially lowering the gearing, it works more effectively with the sharpened front-end chassis modifications, offering a greater degree of driver confidence, comfort and control, while still providing excellent feedback.

    Stiffening the front anti-roll bar and retuning the steering valve gear has further enhanced steering feel. Although this means less steering assistance in the straight-ahead position, it greatly benefits steering feel. This means the driver is constantly aware of what is passing beneath the new Saab 9-5’s front wheels for enriched driver/chassis information interaction.

    The other change to the steering system concerns the steering knuckle, which is now made from aluminium, for reasons both of lightness and strength - as with the subframe. “We wanted to give the same performance characteristics throughout the range, but that also meant accommodating the extra weight of the new turbo diesel engine, despite its aluminium construction and compact nature,” comments Sonny. “That necessitated lightening as many items as possible within the engine bay so that the engine’s extra weight was neutralised. However, we did benefit from the engine’s size. It meant we could package it low down, which contributes to the sporty handling of the diesel.”

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  2. #2
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    Retuned rear suspension, too

    However, the Saab engineering team also turned its attention to the rear end of the car. The same spring and damper changes incorporated into the front suspension have also been applied to the rear suspension set-up.

    “It has made a big difference,” says Sonny. “The rear end used to ‘float’ too much. These spring changes make the back end respond more quickly and more consistently. You’ll notice less movement in the back. The ride’s firmer but the pitch has gone.”

    The multi-link suspension at the rear is also mounted on a separate subframe. It’s attached to the rear body structure by four large-volume elastomer bushes. To increase the responsiveness at the rear, the bushing in the system's trailing-arm set-up has been stiffened. Again, the benefit is a more responsive and sharper-handling chassis.

    The final changes concern the four corners - the wheels. There’s a new generation of Michelin tyres that have been specifically tuned to the requirements of the new Saab range. These are available in 15-inch, 16-inch and 17-inch sizes. The new tyres provide better stability and dead-centre feel, while also contributing to the chassis’ improved turn-in and lack of understeer.

    Twelve go testing - from Arizona to the Arctic Circle

    Sonny Bergman has overseen the 18-month development process with 11 other engineers. Three have been working on the steering feel, two on the engine mounting points, and six on the basic chassis parameters, such as tyre compatibility and shock-absorber rates.

    Initial testing was carried out at one of GM’s US test tracks at Mesa in Phoenix, Arizona, followed by time in the ice and snow of the Scandinavian Arctic Circle. Since last autumn, the team has been honing the final touches to the car in Spain.

    Benchmark cars to assess the Saab’s progress included the Audi A6, BMW 5-series, Mercedes-Benz E-class and Volvo’s S80. Each was assigned a parameter the Saab had to beat.

    “I think you’ll be impressed with what we’ve achieved,” says Sonny. “The steering, in particular, is excellent, which is matched by much better handling and a sportier ride. The car now feels like a smaller car to drive. It’s more agile, more sporty.

    “Yes, we’ve given it a very sporty flavour. I think you'll like it!”



    Chassis improvements - key points

    * Improved chassis control from Linear through to Aero models
    * Better and more responsive steering feel
    * Springs stiffened by 10 per cent
    * Anti-roll bar diameter increased by 1.0 mm
    * Damper settings slightly firmer for better control and poise
    * Sportier ride and performance characteristics
    * Stiffened front subframe
    * Changes to steering rack
    * Stiffer bushes for rear trailing arms
    * Pitch and roll dialled out for flatter, more neutral cornering behaviour
    * New-generation Michelin tyres tuned specifically for new Saab 9-5 range
    Class-leading ESP takes the nerves out of swerves

    THE NEW SAAB 9-5 Aero comes standard with a highly developed Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) for the very first time. Extra sensors have been added to the traction-control system and anti-lock braking systems to provide a highly sophisticated stability function.

    Coupled with the chassis improvements, the addition of ESP gives an even sharper edge to the latest Saab's sports performance dynamics, while providing the driver with a greater degree of car control.

    Although relatively late to the market, Saab engineers have tested the system extensively, in typical Saab fashion, by taking the proprietary Bosch hardware and then re-engineering the software to accommodate Saab's own particular preferences. The system was benchmarked against rival carmakers’ systems. The result is the most sophisticated and intelligent ESP system on the market, one that's able to read differences in surface grip.

    However, ESP Saab-style isn’t intended to work in extremis, or to smooth over chassis faults to dampen wayward handling behaviour. Saab’s goal was to enhance the driving experience, as Lars-Goran Warmark - manager of braking systems - explains. “Our target was to make the system ’scared’ before the driver was, instead of having a system that reacts vigorously once the levels of adhesion have been exceeded. It makes the driving experience more comfortable.”

    It took a good deal of testing by Lars-Goran and his team to achieve the desired goal. During this intensive period of development, though, the ABS system was also modified to ensure stability and control during avoidance manoeuvres without lengthening stopping distances.

    Six months were spent testing in northern Sweden on low-friction surfaces, before a test session on Germany’s Hockenheimring for high-friction surfaces. “Hockenheim was particularly appealing,” comments Peter Stavered, who was one of the development engineers. “It was close to our supplier Bosch, so feedback, consultation and recalibration were speeded up, while the circuit is a high-speed course with good grip characteristics. So we could also test the system at really fast speeds.”

    The result is one of the best ESP systems on the market, one that’s been thoroughly engineered to meet Saab’s driving-experience parameters and benchmarked against Saab's premium-segment rivals to provide superior performance

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    Bosch hardware fine-tuned by Saab

    The nuts and bolts of the system consist of a proprietary Bosch yaw sensor. The yaw sensor works in consultation with a steering-angle sensor mounted on the steering shaft, a pressure sensor on the anti-lock (ABS) unit, a hydraulic control unit (HCU) and the electronic control unit (ECU).

    Saab engineers have tuned the system by changing 20 of the pre-set Bosch parameters to meet Saab driving requirements. However, the testing procedure meant that over 100 parameters were changed, tested, assessed and then rejected or accepted for further development - that’s over 10 per cent of the pre-set Bosch parameters, a substantial workload.

    Saab's ESP works like this: it assists the driver in the direction of his steering efforts. If the driver goes into a corner on which there is less grip than counted on, resulting in an oversteering slide as the tail starts to lose control, the ESP system applies brake force to the outer wheels to nullify the yaw rate of the car and gently bring the car back into line. In that way it complements the driver at the wheel, rather than aggressively offering help at the last available moment.

    In many ways it’s like an anti-slip surface on the side of a swimming pool that prevents a swimmer from accidentally falling in, rather than a life-buoy that’s thrown to a swimmer who’s already toppled over the edge.

    The new Saab ESP system also works when a slippery road causes the car to understeer - when the nose of the car starts to push wide instead of following its intended trajectory - although ESP offers only marginal brake-force control to bring the car back into line. Too much assistance might suddenly switch the car from an understeered to an oversteered situation.

    “In most cases,” says Lars-Goran, “the driver will have backed off by then, or the Traction-Control System will have done its work.”

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    Latest ABS with TCS and ESP

    The new 9-5’s ABS system incorporates Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and, where fitted, an electronic Traction Control System (TCS), both of which were introduced at the time of the 9-5’s launch. However, the new ESP system always includes TCS, which requires a modified ABS system tuned to the parameters of ESP.

    ABS prevents the wheels from locking while the brakes are on by the action of a solenoid-operated ABS valve in the central hydraulic modulator. As soon as the onset of skidding is detected by any one of four sensors sited at each wheel, the system releases the pressure to the locked brake and diverts pressurised fluid to a supplementary low-pressure hydraulic reservoir. When the wheel accelerates back to the vehicle speed, pressure to the affected brake is restored by feeding high-pressure fluid from the ABS pump.

    The system can cycle in this fashion up to 12 times a second. In this way the wheel keeps rotating at the point of locking, allowing the driver to maintain steering control while stopping in the shortest possible distance.

    This ABS system also incorporates improved Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) which comes into effect during hard braking before ABS activation. It correctly balances the friction available at each axle with the braking forces being applied.

    The system is controlled by the integrated ABS controller, which compares the rear-wheel slip with the front as a reference point. As soon as significant differences are detected, pressure to the rear hydraulic system is modulated to provide the most balanced effect without operating the electric ABS pump, so the driver is unaware of the adjustments taking place.

    Traction control integrated with ABS

    TCS works in conjunction with the engine-management system to prevent the driving wheels from spinning if tyre grip is lost.

    The dual-mode system operates on the front brakes individually, to transfer torque to the wheel with the most available friction. Should it be necessary, it also signals the engine-management system to reduce engine torque by over-riding the electronically activated throttle. A warning lamp on the instrument panel lights up when the traction control is operating, alerting the driver to the hazardous nature of the roads.

    The TCS system is fully automatic in operation, but includes a cancelling switch for special circumstances (such as when snow chains are fitted). It can only be de-activated at low speeds (below 60 km/h).

    The system uses the ABS signals from the front wheel sensors to continuously evaluate the degree of wheel slip and acceleration on the driven wheels, comparing this data with similar information from the rear wheels. If excessive wheel slip is detected at only one front wheel (usually at low speed or when moving off on a slippery surface or a steep hill), its brake is applied to transfer engine torque to the other side of the differential, where more grip is available. If both wheels start to spin together, the engine-management unit reduces engine torque until grip is regained.

    ABS+EBD+TCS +ESP= more chassis control

    Saab’s ESP system uses all these inputs to calculate the car’s behaviour. But it also has the advantage of the extra yaw and steering wheel sensors, allowing smoother TCS and ESP control because the engine-management system is given more information to ‘understand’ the car’s behaviour and then react accordingly.

    “This is particularly crucial for us,” says Lars-Goran. “It means we can tune the parameters in a more sophisticated way, balancing the use of brake and torque management to provide a smoother system that works early.

    “But it only works if you have a good chassis to start with. You can’t make ESP work in the sophisticated manner we intended if it’s just compensating for chassis faults.”

    This is especially true when making quick lane change manoeuvres. ESP on a good chassis helps neutralise the weight build-up at the rear of the car as it changes direction, causing an oversteer effect, by gently dragging the car’s mass back into line by judicious and unfelt use of the brakes.

    “We like to think of ESP as a yaw damper,” comments Peter Stavered, development engineer. “You can steer any car and avoid something. But to come back into a lane after a quick change of direction is the toughest problem. You need to be a rally driver or to have ESP. And ESP is better than the rally driver because a rally driver can’t brake two wheels - he can only brake four. ESP can brake the two outer wheels. It makes the car’s behaviour more neutral, but it acts in such a subtle way that you don’t realise it’s working. To give you another analogy connected to rallying, it’s like driving in Sweden with a constant snow bank to softly correct the direction of your travel!”

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  4. #4
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    ESP system - key points

    * New Electronic Stability Programme offers best-in-class assistance and non-obtrusive intervention
    * Improved driver control, greater comfort factor
    * ABS and TCS revisions give smoother operation
    * ESP system tested in the Scandinavian Arctic and at Hockenheim race circuit, Germany
    * ESP benchmarked against rivals to produce superior, more ‘intelligent’ performance
    * ESP uses Bosch ‘hardware’, Saab ’smartware’
    * 100 pre-set Bosch ESP parameters re-evaluated, 20 changed to suit Saab requirements

    A sporting, more contemporary look for the new Saab 9-5 Series

    THE SAAB 9-5 has always possessed a sculpted appearance. It's a tautly drawn car, the masculine lines reflecting the Saab 9-5's engineering integrity, sporting performance and design functionality.

    By necessity, Saab designs have been enduring, and the crafted-from-metal execution of the Saab 9-5 is no exception. So Saab’s designers have done little to alter the basic appearance of the new 9-5 Series. Instead, they have concentrated on updating features to keep the appearance contemporary without compromising the original’s design integrity.

    The key changes centre around a sportier front appearance, emphasising the performance nature of the new Saab 9-5 range’s all-turbo driving experience. The bumper has been extended forward by 20 mm to give the frontal view a smoother, more aerodynamic aspect, while the traditional grille has been given a modern integrated execution with openings framed by chrome.

    The bumpers, too, are now more closely integrated. They curve around the front wings to meet the body and have been fashioned in a one-piece moulding for a smoother finish. The zone where the bumper and the body adjoin is now more tightly drawn to improve shutline appearance and enhance the new Saab 9-5’s air of solidity and quality. The wraparound front bumper also brings into clearer focus the original clamshell shape of the bonnet, a design feature so particular to Saab vehicles.

    The new Saab 9-5 range’s more modern execution is further enhanced by the addition of clear lamp lenses, which also house the new bi-xenon headlamp projectors for Aero.

    The overall effect of these subtle changes to the front is to endow the new 9-5 range with a more purposeful, dynamic and modern identity: glance in your rear-view mirror and there’s no mistaking the car that’s following you.

    The subtle enhancements continue at the rear. The bumper has been incorporated more fluently, bolstering the car’s authority and presence. The bumper also discreetly hides the exhaust tailpipes on all models, except the Aero, in which a single stainless steel oval pipe protrudes through the lower line of the bumper to emphasise the sporting nature of the Aero’s performance ability.

    The new clear-lens strategy is also carried through to the rear of the car with a slightly modified rear lens design and, for the SportEstate, new rear lamps and décor panel providing a tighter, more solid appearance.

    Another new identifying feature of the new Saab 9-5 Series is the engine designation display on the boot lid. However, the performance Aero model is differentiated from the Linear, Arc and Vector models by simply having the Aero name displayed.

    The other notable change is to the wheels, which, like the subtle changes to the front of the car, convey a more modern feel to the new Saab 9-5 range. There is a new cover design for the standard 15-inch Linear wheel for the 2.0t model, while the 2.3t model gains a 16-inch 10-spoke alloy wheel. This alloy wheel is model-specific to the Linear.

    There’s a separate 16-inch five-spoke alloy wheel for Arc models, and two 17-inch alloy wheels for the hi-tech Vector and performance Aero derivative. The Vector features a modern interpretation of the classic three-spoke Saab wheel, trisected by three thinner supporting arms. The Aero makes use of a 10-spoke alloy wheel.

    Other than these discreet enhancers and modernisers, Saab has left the sculpted appearance of the original design largely untouched. It is now marginally longer than before. The Sedan has increased in length by 22 mm to 4827 mm and the SportEstate by 20 mm to 4828 mm.

    Aerodynamics continue to play a substantial part in the new 9-5 range’s performance repertoire, which remains - despite the extra length - at 0.29Cd for the Sedan and at the exceptionally low drag co-efficient of 0.31Cd for the SportEstate.

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    Exterior styling of the new 9-5 Series key points
    * Smoother bumpers and clear-lens strategy provide more contemporary appearance and taut / integrated look
    * Crafted-from-metal appearance of original 9-5 design largely retained
    * New-design alloys modernise visual appeal of wheels
    * Engine displacement or Aero designation now displayed on bootlid
    * Sedan length increased by 22 mm; SportEstate by 20 mm
    * Co-efficient of Drag for Sedan is 0.29Cd and SportEstate is 0.31Cd
    * Rear bumper curtains exhaust pipes on all models except the Aero
    * Aero blasts off with 184 kW plus extra torque for new five-speed auto

    SAAB’S ULTIMATE 9-5 performance variant, the Aero, receives a welcome 15 kW power boost, taking peak power to a strong 184 kW - the greatest amount Saab has ever transmitted through the front wheels; aided by an intelligent Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) and uprated traction-control system (TCS) to promote more spirited and safer driving.

    The new top-end power, which accompanies the mid-range performance surge from Saab’s 2.3-litre HOT (High-Output Turbo) engine, provides both Sedan and SportEstate Aero models with an even sportier drive.

    The power hike has been made possible by revising Saab’s own 32-bit Trionic engine-management system to increase the available boost up to 1.5 bar in the engine’s higher rev range. Maximum torque remains unchanged at 350 Nm, with a 20-second overboost facility increasing torque to 370 Nm (manual only), to allow decisive and controlled overtaking of other vehicles.

    Automatic Aero models, which are now fitted with a new five-speed automatic gearbox (as are all 2002 Saab 9-5 models), also benefit from extra performance. Previously, torque was restricted to 330 Nm with the four-speed auto, but the new five-speed box allows full utilisation of the Aero engine’s 350 Nm torque reserves for improved mid-range responsiveness.

    “We haven’t had to make any changes to the engine itself because it was already robust enough to handle this amount of power,” explains Bertil Gustafsson, project leader on powertrain for the new 9-5 Series. “We’ve recalibrated the management system to take greater advantage of the variable turbo boost on offer. It’s something we’ve tested before but we were awaiting the opportunity to introduce it. Following the torque upgrades we introduced on the Aero engine last year, it now seemed exactly the right moment for the power upgrade.

    “Drivers will notice a difference at the top end and it's quicker 0-100km/h, but I expect the biggest change will be observed by drivers of automatic versions. Now that we have an auto box that can handle 350 Nm, the effects are really startling. So whether customers like to change gears manually, or prefer an auto to shift for them, both sets of owners will notice that the Aero is an even sportier drive.”

    Top speed remains electronically limited to a maximum of 250 km/h.

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    New five-speed automatic transmission

    To accompany the prodigious torque from the latest Saab 9-5 Aero’s 2.3-litre HOT engine, the automatic gearbox now has five forward gears. In fact, all of the new range Saab 9-5s sold in Australia have the five-speed automatic transmission.

    The new gearbox, manufactured to Saab’s design by Asin AW, is perfectly suited to all Saab’s turbocharged engines, but in particular the uprated Aero engine. With a five-speed box, the unit makes effortless use of the turbo power, crisply picking up the appropriate power points, while giving all automatic models a sportier but smoother drive, deftly engaging Saab’s mid-range turbo ’sweet spot’.

    Just as important, the gearbox is capable of handling the Aero’s high 350 Nm torque. The previous four-speed automatic was limited to 330 Nm of torque, so drivers opting for the new automatic in combination with the uprated Aero engine will notice not only a smoother and better-responding auto box but also appreciably more mid-range performance. In fact, Saab is one of the first European manufacturers to put this much torque through a five-speed auto in a front-wheel-drive configuration.

    Adaptive auto reconfigures to changing conditions

    The automatic transmission control unit continuously processes information it receives from its own sensors, and from other control modules, to ensure the correct gear is selected with respect to the prevailing conditions.

    The driver can be assured of smooth gear shifting throughout the total life of the vehicle, due to the constant monitoring of the gear change quality. The gear change performance is compared against an ideal gear-changing matrix within the software.

    As on earlier Saab 9-5 models, the new transmission also incorporates torque reduction during shifting, high temperature programme to protect the gearbox from thermal damage, and adaptive shift timing which holds a lower gear to avoid shift cycling during constant high loads (as would be experienced when ascending a steep hill).

    To achieve all of the above features, a high-speed CAN data bus provides the continuous flow of information from the Engine to the Transmission and visa versa .

    “It keeps on thinking all the time,” comments Saab's powertrain expert, Bengt Wallin. “It continues to monitor its performance throughout the car's working life.”

    To choose the sport setting, the driver engages the ‘S’ button. When this happens the drive-by-wire throttle becomes more sensitive to the driver’s foot pressure, effectively increasing the throttle angle at the same pedal position. This change will adapt the shifting points to provide a sportier drive by concentrating the gearbox’s best efforts on the engine’s mid-range power.

    In winter mode, which has a special shift pattern to suit slippery conditions, the engine engages third gear to ensure a smooth take-off on icy surfaces, so minimising any wheelspin.

    Slipping lock-up clutch gives greater efficiency

    The new five-speed automatic gearbox features a conventional lock up clutch within the torque converter to eliminate torque converter losses in fourth and fifth gears. This feature is further enhanced by adding a Slipping Lock Up mode. This mode is effective during moderate acceleration demands in fourth and fifth gears and will allow the lock clutch to partially disengage. In doing so, the higher gear ratio is maintained to utilise the Engine Torque characteristics, thereby reducing fuel consumption, without the normal associated ‘boom’ created when the engine is operating under load at low revs.

    “It’s good for fuel consumption,” comments Bengt, “because with this type of transmission the efficiency is so much better. The gain is two per cent. You couldn’t have direct drive all the time, because it would lead to unacceptable booming. So this slipping clutch is an excellent combination of responsiveness and efficiency.”

    New 184 kW Aero engine and five-speed auto - key points

    * Aero engine uprated to 184 kW
    * Five-speed auto now handles Aero's full 350 Nm (previously limited to 330 Nm with four-speed auto)
    * Temporary overboost lifts torque to 370 Nm (manual only)
    * Increased top-end performance now complements 2.3 Turbo's mid-range torque flow
    * Power upgrade achieved through Saab Trionic EMS changes and 1.5 bar turbo boost pressure
    * New five-speed automatic gearbox standard on all models
    * First gear reduced by 26 per cent compared to four-speed auto
    * Transmission constantly monitors environment and adapts automatically to conditions
    * Normal, Sport and Winter mode settings
    * Constantly slipping clutch minimises torque losses and improves fuel consumption

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