Global V6 Turbo Power
For Saab 9-3 Aero



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Saab 9-3 Aero V6 Turbo range

ON 30/12/05
OF 2005

You'll see it
after midday

12th December, 2005

  • Saab 9-3 Aero V6 Turbo is the fastest-ever Saab
  • First petrol V6 designed specifically for Saab's turbocharged application
  • Light, all-aluminium construction
  • Twin-scroll turbocharger for smooth response
  • Variable cam phasing for improved breathing and emissions
  • Stainless steel exhaust manifolds for lower cold-start emissions
  • Tuned twin exhaust for sporty engine note
  • Sinter-forged connecting rods for extra strength
  • Assembled at GM Holden’s Port Melbourne Engine Operations

Powered by Saab’s 2.8 litre V6 Turbo, the 9-3 Aero Sport Sedan is the fastest accelerating car to carry the Saab badge.

With nearly 30 years of experience in turbocharging passenger cars, Saab has become a leader in the art of turbocharging.

The expertise and experience of Saab Automobile Powertrain is recognised by its role as a centre of expertise within General Motors for the development of turbocharged petrol engines.

Swedish engineers were closely involved during the conceptual design and development of GM's new global V6 engine, ensuring turbocharged application.

As a result, Saab customers can now enjoy the combined benefits of turbocharged power and six cylinder refinement in a purpose-built package. With the 184 kW V6 Turbo, Aero delivers impressive pulling power. Peak torque of 350 Nm is available between 2,000 and 4,500 rpm and 90 per cent available at 1,500 rpm.


The V6 Turbo has a 60 degree vee-angle between its cylinder banks for perfect balance and combines excellent multi-valve refinement with outstanding performance.

The all aluminium construction provides a light and compact architecture, well suited to its transverse, front-wheel-drive installation in the Saab 9-3 Aero. The Saab V6 Turbo is manufactured at GM Holden’s Engine Operations in Port Melbourne.


The twin-scroll, water-cooled Mitsubishi TDO4-15TK turbocharger, operates at 0.6 bar maximum boost with intercooling and an integral by-pass valve. It is mounted centrally above the transmission and fed by both banks of cylinders.

The use of two separate inlet tracts, one for each cylinder bank, separates the exhaust gas pulses, improving gas flow, reducing energy losses and raising turbocharger efficiency. The turbine wheel is made from a special high-grade steel alloy, commonly used in the turbocharged engines of world championship rally cars, which is resistant to erosion, cracking and creeping under high temperatures and centrifugal forces.

State of the art, and unique to this application, are the double-skin exhaust manifolds, which are hydroformed with stainless steel liners to improve cold-start emissions by minimising heat absorption to the manifold. Air injection into each manifold for up to 30 seconds after a cold-start also helps the central pre-catalyst, positioned upstream of the main catalytic converter, to achieve 'light off' (its effective working temperature) as early as possible.


The cylinder heads, each with double chain-driven overhead camshafts operating four valves per cylinder, are of high specification aluminium and unique to this turbocharged variant. The design ensures enhanced heat resistance as well as minimum maintenance costs.

Also unique are pistons with hard anodized ring grooves for durability and underskirt oil jet cooling, together with steel con-rods that are strengthened by sinterforging, a process that involves moulding metal in a powered form. The exhaust valves are filled with sodium to further enhance cooling. The cylinders have cast iron liners and a bore/stoke of 89.0/74.8 mm.

Variable Cam Phasing

For improved engine breathing, variable cam phasing on the inlet side is electronically controlled and hydraulically actuated, allowing continuously variable adjustment through 50 degrees of crankshaft rotation. On the road, this translates to a more flexible power delivery and better fuel economy under different engine loads.

A die-cast aluminium oil sump is designed to increase structural stiffness and the strong, four-bearing crankshaft is made from micro-alloy forged steel, a specification more commonly seen in competition performance or diesel engines.

Smart engine management

The 32-bit engine management system, with software calibrated specifically for the Saab 9-3 application, uses a torque-based engine control strategy and direct coil-over-plug ignition with a robust engine-mounted control unit. Ignition timing, fuel injection, turbo boost pressure, air mass measurement and the throttle setting are all key engine functions controlled by the software.

The sophisticated control strategy is designed to deliver smooth performance in all driving conditions. The system works with the vehicle’s transmission to modulate torque, providing stirring performance and excellent engine response. The system can also limit torque in low-traction conditions, helping provide confident, surefooted driving. Variable fuel pressure further contributes to smooth idle and driving characteristics.

Electronic throttle control

For driving comfort, control of the electronic throttle through the movement of the accelerator pedal is programmed to be sensitive to different driving conditions, with greater pedal movement introduced at lower vehicle speeds, such as when manoeuvring or parking. At low engine speeds, the engine control system also brings the turbo in quickly by momentarily opening the throttle slightly more than requested by the driver.

Power and torque

On the road the new 9-3 Aero V6 Turbo packs a formidable punch and the driver will immediately appreciate the smooth power delivery. Apart from the boost gauge in the dashboard, the only clue to the presence of a turbocharger is an uncannily effortless rate of acceleration.

Pick-up from tick-over at just 720 rpm is instant, due to the engine's relatively large multi-cylinder capacity. Around 1,000 rpm, the turbo begins to build an impressive wall of torque that is already in place by the time the tachometer swings through 2,000 rpm. It endows the 9-3 Aero with a level of performance never before seen in a Saab vehicle.

Maximum torque is generated all the way from 2,000 rpm to 4,500 rpm, with 90 per cent of this value available at an exceptionally low 1,500 rpm. Careful programming of the engine management software means that under a full throttle load, from take-off or low engine speeds, 90 per cent of maximum acceleration is delivered within one second.

The zero to 100 km/h dash is accomplished in just 6.7 seconds, but in-gear acceleration provides even more impressive evidence of this engine's outstanding elasticity. In fourth gear, the transition from 60 to 100 km/h can be reached in 6.2 seconds and in fifth from 80 to 120 km/h in just 7.9 seconds, which places the 9-3 Aero among the best in its class.

Twin exhaust

The fun-to-drive nature of this performance is also matched by an exhilarating engine note that can be heard inside and outside the car. This has been achieved by tuning the twin sport exhaust downstream of the main catalyst. It gives the new Saab 9-3 Aero a distinctive aural character in keeping with its position as the sporting flagship of the range.


The engine is offered with a choice of six-speed manual or a new six-speed automatic transmission. The close-ratio manual gearbox includes dual output shafts to reduce transmission vibration. Together with a dual mass flywheel this ensures smooth and refined performance.

The 'smart' Aisin AW automatic transmission adapts to driver usage patterns and prevailing road conditions. It can sense changes in engine performance, engine load, road gradient and altitude, quickly finding the right gear without an irritating 'hunting'.

For closer driver involvement, Saab Sentronic, a sequential manual gearshift, is also included. When the shift lever is moved across the gate to ‘manual’ Sentronic mode, ‘up’ and ‘down’ changes can be made with full lock-up in third, fourth, fifth or sixth gear. In the Saab you get the best of both worlds – you can manually select gears either by the gear lever itself or using the steering wheel controls.

Overall, the V6 Turbo generates class-leading levels of torque with a seamless, turbine-like power delivery. It combines the inherent advantages of a six-cylinder engine - refinement and a rapid throttle response - with the effortless, torque-boosting properties of turbocharging.

Saab’s 2.8 litre V6 Turbo
The Holden built Saab 2.8 litre V6 Turbo engine

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