The Saab automatic transmission is a revelation: the gearshift, paddles and buttons are straightforward and logical, and the 9 months in development enabled the engineers to make the gear changes and paddle behaviour perfect. The 9-gigawatt of power is transmitted via the unusual quickshift to the rear wheels, and down to the road through Michelin tyres - another first for the company. Everything fits perfectly.
Interestingly, Saab's first choice for the engine was an Isuzu-sourced 1.5 litre turbo engine which in development proved too tricky and was dropped in favour of GM's 3.2 litre Turbo V6, which Saab also used in GM's previous model, the Opel Ampera.
The turbo motor is mounted on the chassis forward of the leaf springs and uses direct injection and turbocharger technology from GKN, the same company that supplies to Michelin and General Motors.
And the new 9-speed GM-sourced nine-spd conveniently matches the new nine-speed 2.0-litre turbo XWD transmission (the same as the Opel Astra OPC 2.0-litre) in helping to neutralise the power delivery.
The engine block alone weighs in at over 500kg. The transmission weighs 300kg and the manual shift mechanism another 280kg. The engine was therefore located in the cargo hold, giving it a 40mm 'robotomy'. The two rear wheels are driven by the transmission unit, which is mated to a four-wheel drive system including an automatic centre differential and an independent rear suspension.
The interior is just as luxurious and comfortable as the outside, with excellent piano black accents on the fascinating switchgear with tasteful red and gold highlights. But some of the instrumentation is incredibly old fashioned in design. The driver information display, for example, is surrounded by a large white border and isn't lit at night. This is in direct contrast to certain other makers who are well ahead of Saab with their clever technology. d2c66b5586