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About the same time I was previewing the 1990 Saab 9000...

Time:2018-02-11 19:39Turbochargers information Click:

About SAME Time 199 previewing

Maybe the 1991 models will show some GM influence, but the 9000 Turbo I tested is all Saab. At a base price of $32,495 the tester falls a few hundred dollars short of being Saab's most expensive model. A pretty nifty price tag, but then again, a pretty nifty car.

All Saabs are powered by the same engine, a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, dual overhead camshaft, that is either naturally aspirated or turbocharged. Our turbo version, which uses a new reduced inertia Garrett T25 turbocharger to improve engine response at lower engine speeds, is rated at 165 horsepower. I found the engine had very little turbo lag, and I was pleased with the workings of the almost shift-by-itself, five-speed manual transmission.

The 9000 Turbo comes fully loaded, including a leather package that includes seating surfaces, driver's-side power seat, fog lights and electric sunroof. Options are very limited: a 4-speed automatic transmission ($765) and a choice of metallic paint or special black paint ($535).

For the 1990 model year an engineering enhancement found on the 9000 Turbos is Saab's patented Direct Ignition (DI) system. I saw this system demonstrated at the Saab plant in Trollhatten, Sweden, a number of years ago when it was still in the experimental stage and was impressed with its striking simplicity and efficiency. Now it's a standard feature on 9000 Turbos.

DI uses no distributor or high-tension ignition wires. Instead, individual compact ignition coils for each spark plug are encased in an alloy cartridge that sits on top of the cylinder head. The components are leakproof and weatherproof and, on cue from a microprocessor, put out 40,000 volts to the spark plugs at the optimum point of ignition.

Benefits of the new ignition system include better combustion for maximum engine output, easy starts, increased fuel economy (EPA-rated at 20 miles per gallon city/26 mpg highway; our mileage: 24.2 mpg average), minimal emissions and a five-horsepower boost in available engine output. When the car is started the system fires each spark plug about 50 times in a fraction of a second. This dries and cleans the plug electrodes. If for some reason the engine then fails to start, the system gives all the plugs a blast of about 1,000 sparks when the key is turned again.

The 1990 Turbo 9000 comes with a solid safety package. Driver's-side air bags and anti-lock brakes are standard and included in the base price. The Saab 900 model line also receives a driver's side air bag for 1990.

The Saab 9000 is a most ergonomically clean car, but I did find a quibbling point. Although it is rated as a full-sized car by the EPA - the only European-made car so designated - and therefore should have plenty of room to spare in all quarters, I found going a bit tight in the driver's seat. My knees were jammed against the steering wheel even with the seat positioned fully back. This lack of space between the top of the thighs and the steering wheel makes it hard to get in and out and interferes with driving.

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