The Saab 9000 is an automobile produced by the Swedish company Saab from 1984 to 1998. Representing the company's foray into the executive car scene, it was developed as a result of the successes of the turbocharged 99 and 900 models. The 9000 remained in production until MY 1998 and it was replaced by the Saab 9-5 in late 1997, although some final cars were produced into 1998. The Saab 9000 was only available with petrol engines and never as a convertible (except for one prototype).
Saab designed the 9000 as part of the Type Four platform in conjunction with the Italian automaker Fiat Automobiles. Fiat retailed similar derivative versions as the more basic Fiat Croma, the luxury-themed Lancia Thema, and the sports-oriented Alfa Romeo 164. Unlike the 164, which shares only the chassis, the Croma and Thema are outwardly similar to the 9000. As such, much of the bodywork appeared interchangeable between the 9000, Croma and Thema; for example, the doors. However, because Saab fitted heavier side impact protection they will not fit. Also the front of the Saab is radically different from the Italian siblings due to the much improved crash protection. Only seven parts are actually interchangeable. The 9000's body was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and Saab designer Björn Envall.
Despite being shorter overall than the 900 which was still produced in parallel, the 9000 has a longer wheelbase and greater interior space with 123-cu.ft. of interior space (23.5-cu.ft. in the trunk, 56.5-cu.ft. with rear seats folded), qualifying as an EPA-rated “large car", a distinction shared only with the contemporary Rolls-Royce in America. Unlike the 900, the 9000 kept the ignition switch in the more conventional steering column position rather than between the front seats. The inspiration for the seats was taken by Björn Envall from The Muppet Show's Pigs in Space, a sketch by the late puppeteer Jim Henson.
In total, 503,087 Saab 9000s were manufactured.
These are divided into:
216,385 Saab 9000 CC (MY 1985-1991)
174,525 Saab 9000 CS (MY 1992-1998)
112,177 Saab 9000 CD (MY 1988-1997)
The 9000 was launched to the motoring press at a conference at Kolmården Game Park on 24 May 1984 and 1985 in the European market. This original model was a five-door liftback, sharing much of its appearance and bodywork with the Type Four platform relatives—the Fiat Croma and Lancia Thema. Drag resistance for the original model is Cd 0.34, very competitive for the time. For MY 1987 a modern ZF automatic with four stages became available (and remained the only available automatic version until the end of production), and the 9000 was rolled out in the most important market for Saab: the US. In 1987 for model year 1988, Saab released a sedan variant of the 9000 known as the CD. With the introduction of the CD, Saab took the opportunity to re-style the front-end for the sedan. This involved smoothing the edges of the headlamps and grille, and sloping the front outwards. Saab adapted the design of the sedan to the current facelift of the Saab 900, which had already received a similar new front for the MY 1987. This re-design marked a departure from the more upright front styling of the 1984 original, which was also similar to the old design of the Saab 900 from 1978-1986. The fact that the older medium class model Saab 900 had received the facelift first seems curiously, also that the 5-door model still retained the old front design. The sloping front came only for MY 1991 with the 5-door model and was only available in this model year. Because the next bigger facelift for the Saab 9000 5-door variant was followed by release of a partially redesigned body for the 1992 model year, known as the CS. At the release of the CS, the original liftback variant from MY 1985-1991 was retrospectively designated CC to differentiate it from the newer version since MY 1992. The CC was continued to sell out of stock alongside in some markets as an entry-level model until early 1992.
The Saab 9000 was awarded Best Prestige Car 1985 by the French magazine L’Action Automobile.
Saab Direct Ignition was introduced 1988 with the 9000 CD and its B202 turbo engine. The same engine in the CC got the DI with MY 1989. Since then all new engine releases for the 9000 got the DI from beginning (except later entry engine B204i without turbo and later V6 which came from GM). For MY 1990 Saab introduced the new developed larger B234 2.3-litre engine, providing 150 hp (112 kW) in the normally aspirated engine. For MY 1991, the B234 became available also with a turbocharger, producing 195 hp (145 kW) and an impressive torque.
From 1988, all 9000 variants were equipped with a Saab Information Display (SID) which showed fuel consumption, distance to an empty fuel tank, alternator output voltage, outside temperature, and lowest battery voltage during vehicle start. If the outside temperature fell to −3 to 3 °C (27 to 37 °F), the temperature display is automatically selected to warn of possible "black ice" road conditions. A separate pictogram monitored door and hatch opening and exterior light bulb condition. 1988 also marked the introduction of pyrotechnic seat belt tensioners for the front seats.
A new turbocharger management system, Trionic 5 and later Trionic 7, was equipped from the 1993 model year onwards (the Trionic system used resistor spark plugs to detect for engine knock in place of the knock sensors incorporated into the engine block in the previous APC system).
For MY 1993 the model range was revised to provide some uniformity to the model designations on all markets. They became CS/CSE and CD/CDE:
- the CS / CD with basis equipment (which in principle already contained more equipment than the German competition in particular offered at the time)
- the CSE / CDE came with already most available equipment from factory
In principle, both equipment lines could be combined with the engines available in the respective MY. This means that even a "simple" CS could be ordered with the 200 HP turbo engine. The face lifted CS models and furthermore "old fashioned" CD were available in MY 1992 in most countries with the same four engines which had also powered the former CC:
- the old B202 with and without turbo
- the B234 with and without turbo
This changed for MY 1993: in the US a new two-litre engine, the B204, with also two balance shafts (like in the B234) became available as light pressure turbo on both CS and CD giving 150hp. The background of the new B204 engine was that Saab needed a suitable engine for the upcoming new Saab 902. Since Saab was always under high cost pressure, the new B204 and a forthcoming newly B234 engine were designed to fit both the new Saab 900/2 and the Saab 9000.
So worth paying attention to there were two generations of B234 engine, one made from MY 1990-1993 (called "long block"), the other from 1994 to 1998 ("short block"). The later motors had a revised oil sump system, head, timing cover, and different bell housing pattern.
Therefore over the years three different engine types developed from Saab itself were available for the 9000: B202/B204/B234 (with the old B202 phased out on all markets for at the latest MY 1994). The B204 and B234 both came as non-turbos and turbo variants which additionally split in so called LPT (low pressure turbo, also named "Ecopower") and FPT (full pressure turbo). Both systems used the same GarrettT25 turbocharger with a base boost pressure of 0.4 bar (6 psi), but the full pressure turbo is equipped with a boost control valve that is manipulated by the ECU. This allows the boost pressure to be increased as the ECU sees fit. Maximum stock boost on a full pressure turbo varies from 0.7 to 1.02 bar (10 to 15 psi) depending on the year and transmission.
For MY 1995 a 210hp three-litre V6, originating from General Motors and also found on the Opel (and Vauxhall) Omega, was introduced.
For MY 1996 the name “Ecopower” was now applied to all turbo engines regardless of FPT or LPT variants. The 2.3 litre injection engine (without turbo) phased out.
End of production:
As the CD and the Aero already expired after MY 1997, only 1400 of the Saab 9000 were produced for the last 1998 model year, and of these only 400 were exported to the United States, the main market for Saab. Saab already concentrated on the successor of the Saab 9000, the Saab 9-5.
9000 CC (liftback)
Originally known simply as the 9000, the original liftback variant was later given the CC identifier, standing for "combi coupe", to differentiate it from the CD ("Corps Diplomatique") sedan and later CS liftback. Saab also uses this different identifier for the Saab 900 versions. While originally equipped with an upright front design, this was replaced by the sloped version in MY 1990 that had earlier debuted on the 9000 CD (sedan) in 1988.
The original MY 1985 CC model (for this MY only available in Europe) was powered by an air-cooled, turbocharged, double overhead camshaft, 16-valve inline-four engine, providing 175 bhp without and 160 bhp with catalysator. Earlier on in the development, the PRV engine had also been considered.
The 9000 became available in the US for MY 1986, and since MY 1987 onwards the turbo-charger became water-cooled. 
As with the Saab 900 CC, the Saab 9000 CC had some special series in some countries, such as the "Saab 9000 turbo 16 SP" in France (SP stands for "Sport and Performance") with 185-204 hp with the B202 turbo engine, supplied by special control units and optimized fuel injection. In Germany and Switzerland there were also a special edition named "Saab 9000 Turbo 16 S", with an airflow kit and the B202 turbo with catalytic converter tuned up to 195hp (for MY 1990), and for MY 1991 and 1992 (also available as CD with the new 195hp B234 Turbo. But the most popular special series is the so called "Talladega" (Europe) or "Carlsson"(UK), both models available as CC and CD (sedan) versions. The “Carlsson” (models) takes its name from legendary Swedish rally ace Erik Carlsson, who secured numerous wins for Saab in the Sixties. In markets outside the UK, it was known as the Talladega in honour of the 19 endurance records set by three standard turbocharged 9000s at Talladega Speedway in the US in 1986. Since MY 1988 it was available both with and without catalytic converter. Saab had scared the power to 175 hp (160 original) in the catalytic converter engine and 192 hp (175) in non-cat. The pressure was around 1.0 bar. Furthermore, a new "black box" (APC) had been installed in the "Talladegas" which allows higher power. In the UK, however, it carried on the tradition of the Saab 900 Carlsson and took its moniker from Swedish rally legend Erik Carlsson. 9000 Carlsson models were produced with a paint-matched airflow body kit, only with a manual transmission, spoiler, and specially tuned turbocharged engine producing 195 bhp (185 bhp with catalytic converter) with the B202 turbo in MY 1990 up to 168 kW (225 bhp) in MY 1991-92 with the B234 turbo. The "Carlsson" was produced from MY 1990 to 1992 (changing from CC to CS design) with engine output up to 225 bhp and can be described as the precursor of the further Aero, which was introduced in MY 1993 with the CS design. A number of the Carlsson editions fitted with the B202 turbocharged engine were sold into the Australian market.
All four series, the "SP 16" (France), "Turbo 16 S" (Germany, Switzerland), "Talladega" (Europe, US) and "Carlsson" are rare items sought today from Saab fans around the world. Unfortunately many of the few remaining specimens are often not in good condition.
Total production numbers as 5 door variant Saab 9000 CC:
216,385 Saab 9000 CC (MY 1985-1991) (43% of all produced Saab 9000)
9000 CD (sedan)
1987–1994 Saab 9000 CD (US)
1994–1997 Saab 9000 CD 2.3t sedan (Australia)
The Saab 9000 CD Sedan model was presented in Nice in January 1988. The CD was the four-door sedan body style with from beginning a slightly more aerodynamic nose which the CC get not until MY 1991. Just as in the launch of the CC variant, the 9000 CD was initially available only with the B202 turbo engine, but Saab combined it right from the start with its new "DI ignition system" (the CC B202 turbo got the DI system in MY 1989). At the Birmingham Motor Show in September 1988, Saab premiered the non-turbo model of the CD with the naturally aspirated 2.0-litre inline-four. For MY 1990 Saab introduced the 150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp) 2.3-litre B234 normally aspirated engine for both body shapes, the CC and CD. Since then the CD was available with the same basic engines as the CC for all MY (except the 225 PS "Aero" engine). The CD kept its old front and back till MY 1994, when Saab redesigned the CD for the first time since its start now wearing the front and back similar to the CS. The sedan was phased out after MY 1997.
From the beginning, Saab had placed the CD and later the CDE above the hatchback model in terms of equipment and price. This was in keeping with the spirit of the times, which saw an expensive notchback model more as a car for business people (with or without a chauffeur) who did not need the cargo space of the CC. This is why Saab never offered the CD or CDE with a folding rear seat, which would have been at the expense of stability and peace and quiet in the interior. The CDE model was offered initially with only the 200 PS (147 kW; 197 hp) turbocharged engine.
In 1995, a 3.0-litre B308 V6 engine with 210 PS (154 kW) was introduced as standard for the CDE sedan and optional for the CSE liftback. The V6 was discontinued in the United States after one year along with the CDE model, but continued on in Europe until 1997. In some European markets, the V6 engine was offered as a high-spec CDE Griffin model with numerous luxury appointments, such as an optional second air conditioning unit in the boot for the rear occupants and with all available electric options, special eucalyptus green paint, a separate rear-seat air conditioning system, walnut trim and rear window blinds.
Total production numbers of the 4-door Saab 9000 CD/CDE:
112,177 Saab 9000 CD (MY 1988-1997) (22.3% of all produced Saab 9000)
9000 CS (liftback)
MY 1992–1998 Saab 9000 CS (US)
1992-1998 Saab 9000 CS (Australia)
1992–1998 Saab 9000 CS (Australia)
Saab presented an updated version of the liftback body variant in automn 1991 for the 1992 model year with the so called "CS". This replaced the CC. Featuring a lowered front fascia with new headlights, new grille, some minor changes at the doors and a substantially redesigned rear-end. Although the interior design remained basically the same, there were some changes in detail.
Here is an overview over the different versions of the different engine types used in the Saab 9000 CS Versions.
1995 Saab 9000 CS Aero (US)
After the old B202 engine phased out after MY 1993, there were in summary 9 different engine versions for the CS available in the upcoming years.
After the 1995 model year, the both naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines were discontinued in the United States.
A limited edition Anniversary model was introduced 1997 to mark Saab's 50th anniversary, featuring leather seats embossed with the classic, aircraft-inspired Saab logo and a colour-keyed body kit. The engine typ was freely selectable from the available turbo engines of MY 1997 except the Aero engine with 225 PS. The "Anniversary" could be ordered till the end of the 9000 production in 1998. In the last MY 1998 the "Anniversary" could be also ordered with the 225 PS engine. Today this model is sought after by aficionados.
A special version of the CS is the so called Saab 9000 CS Aero. Revealed at the Paris Salon in October 1992 for MY 1993, the 9000 Aero was the fastest Saab to date. It was powered by a 225 PS (165 kW) version of Saab's 2.3-litre B234 engine, with more power courtesy of a larger MitsubishiTD04 turbocharger. Automatic transmission-equipped Aeros were limited to 200 PS (147 kW) and kept the regular turbocharged models' Garrett AiResearch T25 turbocharger. Aeros were equipped with paint-matched body kit and spoiler, eight-way Recaro-designed heated sports seats, a sport suspension, and 16-inch Super Aero wheels. The Aero's in-gear acceleration was strongly emphasised, and period advertising boasted, “The 5-speed Saab 9000 Aero will streak from 50 to 75 mph faster than a Ferrari Testarossa or a Porsche Carrera 4.” The Aero was discontinued after model year 1997, so in the last MY 1998 the 225 HP engine was available for all Saab 9000.
Total production numbers of the Saab 9000 CS/CSE type:
174,525 Saab 9000 CS (MY 1992-1998) (34,7% of all produced Saab 9000)
A convertible version was constructed by Finnish Valmet, the prototype version is currently on display at the Uusikaupunki car museum near the Valmet factory. Other experiments included fitting of the Yamaha developed V6 engine most famously fitted to the Ford Taurus SHO. This was vetoed by Saab-Scania, Saab's owner at the time, as was the fitting of a VM Motori diesel engine which had been executed with the aim of increasing Saab's sales in central and southern Europe. A station wagon was never truly under consideration due to the expenses involved, not in the least out of concern for the often tiny Saab importers who were thereby saved the trouble of having to keep a larger inventory.
In 1993, Saab experimented with steer-by-wire technology as part of the pan-European programme "Prometheus" (Programme for European Traffic with Highest Efficiency and Unprecedented Safety). Their contribution to the programme consisted of a modified 9000 with the steering wheel replaced with a center-mounted joystick. This setup removed the risk of body and facial injury in the event of an accident. It also provided easier and cheaper airbag installation, as well as improved instrument panel visibility. This prototype was tested by Jeremy Clarkson in an episode of Top Gear; the segment was revisited in Series 18, Episode 5 of the current Top Gear series, where Clarkson and James May paid tribute to the fallen automotive marque.
At a visit to the American Sunroof Company, who helped design the Saab 900 convertible, the engineers spotted the building of a minivan based on the Chrysler's K-car (later launched as Chrysler Voyager). Gunnar Larsson thought it was a neat idea and when he came home he asked the head of bodyworks Dick Ohlsson if they could do something like that based on the Saab 9000. "No problem", was the reply and a small team started working on it in secret. They used the 9000 platform but lengthened and with higher roof and room for seven persons (even if the rear seat was mostly suitable for children). The full-scale model was finished in May 1985 two months after the first idea.
Saab 9000 Limousine
British coachbuilder Coleman & Milne extended several Saab 9000s into stretch limousine versions.
The Saab 9000 was available with a big variety of naturally-aspirated and turbocharged engines. The range consisted mostly of the Saab 2.0 and 2.3 litre engines, but there was also the 3.0-liter V6 made by Isuzu.
^Saab 9000 Service manual, vol 3, pp 381-2 to 381-3.
^Saab 9000 Service manual, model year 1997, p, 11.
^Svallner, Björn (19 August 1987). "Saab 1988: Äntligen en säker handbroms!" [Saab 1988: Finally a safe parking brake!]. Teknikens Värld (in Swedish). Stockholm, Sweden: Specialtidningsförlaget AB. 39 (18): 11.