According to Autoblog, Saab is looking at a few performance parts to help raise its standing with automotive enthusiasts, albeit in a limited fashion. Sources inside the Swedish automaker are reporting that the company is looking to upgrade the performance of the 9-3 and the new 9-5. Yet, despite their performance desires, Saab is tied down by an agreement signed with Saab’s previous owner that laid down a chapter-and-verse about what kind of power Saabs should have under the hood.
"We can’t modify these licensed architectures in such a way that it will compete with General Motors products," said the insider to Autoblog.
So, power from the company is out, so Saab is seeking other ways to go about upping performance.
Saab has been in talks with leading European Saab tuner Hirsch Performance AG to develop new dealer-installed performance parts. These performance Saabs would be on sale in North American and other markets. Since Hirsch is not a well-known name, Saab is debating on how to go about marketing these upgrades.
Dealer installed improvements should include ECU upgrades, aero kits, brakes, exhaust systems, and a few other modifications.
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Talks are ongoing, but Saab is looking at three names to give to the range of parts. These include Hirsch, Saab Performance Group, and even Viggen. All of these names have been used in the past on go-faster Saabs. It’s even possible for different names to be used in different countries. So, in Europe these vehicles could be called Hirsch, while in North America they would be known as Viggen.
At the Saab factory in Trolhatten, the company has state-of-the-art research and development facilities. These include a wind tunnel and emissions testing equipment and both figure to be used heavily on the development of these new products. How did Saab get all of these toys? Thanks to GM’s massive infrastructure development over the last decade, Saab is left with a brilliant facility.
Saab engineers will work closely with Hirsch, allowing them access to their facilities and knowledge. Saab also hasn’t ruled out the possibility of purchasing Hirsch and moving everything in house.
So, what kind of power upgrades should we expect from this new project? The new 2011 9-5 has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that puts out 220 horsepower. Engineers figure that the motor can easily achieve 260 horsepower. We can also expect the larger 2.8-liter turbo V6, in which Saab has already developed a 350-horsepower version that can run on ethanol.
The future development of such products ensures that Saab will build on its ’responsible performance’ motto. Saab is obviously keen to get cracking, but until the engine limitations with GM expire,Saab will have to rely on its dealers to sell the proper parts.