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The Saab 9000
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The Saab 9000

Saab built the 9000 from 1984 to 1997 and was introduced as a replacement for the 900. The 9000 was shorter overall but had a longer wheelbase and was the first Saab imported into the United States that was classed by the EPA as a large car. The 9000 was designed along with a model built by Italian automaker Fiat.

The first 9000 was built as a 5 door hatchback in 1984 and later in 1988 a 9000CD was produced with a 4 door body style and the hatch being replaced with a trunk lid. A turbo charged version was also built and although it increased the price it gave more performance to what was considered an executive car.

In 1989 the smaller 2.0 liter four cylinder engine was replaced with a 2.3 liter engine and again some models were equipped with a turbo charger. The Aero was released in 1993 with a 225 hp engine due to a larger turbo charger being added. It had more aerodynamic body molding and spoilers, larger sixteen inch wheels and Recaro designed seats. It was reported to have been faster accelerating from 50 to 75 mph than a Porsche or a Ferrari. The Aero ceased to be manufactured in 1997.

In 1991 and 1992 the 9000 was updated with a much lower streamlined front end and integrated headlights. The rear of the car was also updated with more rounded quarter panels and bumpers. The new model still came with a in-line four cylinder engine with or without a turbo charger.

Also in 1991 Saab released a special version called 9000 CD Griffin that had special green paint, all electric powered options, a separate air conditioning system for the rear occupants, all walnut trim and blinds on the rear windows.

In 1995 a 3 liter V6 engine was introduced but was only used in the United States for one year, although the V6 engine was offered in European models until 1997.

Saab ended production of the 9000 in 1997. In all approximately 503,000 were built over the 13 years that they were in production.

Saab experimented with several innovative ideas on the 9000, one prototype they built was a convertible. Another was a car that had steer by wire installed with a joy stick type controller instead of a steering wheel. The steering input was carried by an electric wire to a sensor. It was hoped this would remove the possibility of injury in an accident by removing the steering wheel and would make air bag replacement cheaper.With the demise of Saab it is hard to tell what innovative ideas there would have been, but maybe under the new ownership some green technology may evolve. Only time will tell.


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