Deal signed today sees Saab get BMW's 1.6 turbo petrol engines for next-gen cars from 2012
1 October 2010

The all-new Saab 9-3 will be launched with a least one UK-built BMW engine under the bonnet, it was revealed this morning.

The new 9-3 is due to go on sale at the very end of 2012 and will feature the 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine currently used in the Mini range.

Saab will only confirm use of the 200bhp version of the N18 engine so far, but further versions are likely, including a variant that runs on E85 biofuel.

It will also incorporate BMW’s fuel-saving stop-start and regenerative braking systems.

Read more on the Saab/BMW tie-up

A team of BMW and Saab engineers has already been formed to work on the installation of the engine in Saab’s next-generation platform.

Around 200,000 of these 200bhp engines will be supplied over the life of the next-generation 9-3, but it’s also likely to be used in the next-generation 9-5 expected in early 2015.

Saab sources refused to reveal who would supply future diesel engines to the company for the new 9-3, but the final green light for the deal is said to be imminent.

At the moment Saab uses GM-supplied engines for the 9-3 and 9-5 models but says it wants a variety of suppliers in future.

Saab has a record of buying in existing engines which it then modifies. It used a Ford-sourced V4 for the 95 and 96 in the late 1960s and also used the Triumph 'slant four' engine (also used in the Dolomite and half a Stag V8) in the 99, 900 and first-generation 9000 models.

The "Family Three' engine launched in 1992 and used in the 900, 9000 Mk2 and first-gen 9-3 was utimately based on the Triumph unit, but didn't use a single share component.

Saab has, though, been know for its innovative engine technology including advanced turbocharging systems, direct ignition and powerful Trionic engine management systems.

Saab Automobile chairman Victor Muller, whose buy-out of Saab prevented its demise earlier this year, said the use of a BMW-sourced engine would “raise the premiumness of the brand”.

Muller added that ‘Saab is now making decisions that are just good for Saab’, rather than being good for the wider General Motors family.

Speaking at Saab’s Trollhattan HQ, Ian Robertson, BMW’s board member for sales and marketing, said that the deal was part of the German maker’s strategy to increase engines sales to outside carmakers.

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Comments
18

29 September 2010

[quote Autocar]Our engines have a clear lead over the competition when it comes to fuel consumption, emissions and performance.[/quote]

There's little doubt in my mind that the BMW engines are some of the most efficient there is. Rather than having a few token hybrid engines in their range they've got efficiency across their entire engine line up.

You're still getting performance of a bigger engine, but not the running costs.

29 September 2010

[quote Symanski]

There's little doubt in my mind that the BMW engines are some of the most efficient there is. Rather than having a few token hybrid engines in their range they've got efficiency across their entire engine line up.

You're still getting performance of a bigger engine, but not the running costs.

[/quote]Agreed. And I sort of like the fact that they are helping out a real underdog (and potential competitor) Well done!

29 September 2010

It's dissapointing that SAAB can't fund it's own engine development. Even Jaguar Land Rover is developing it's own engines now, although they will also be used by TATA.

29 September 2010

Makes a lot of sense for both parties. The benefit to SAAB is obvious, but BMW want to shift more engines, particularly FWD set ups to help cut the cost per unit for its Mini and and other 'Maxi' projects. Hopefully the deal will include the 2.0 turbo 4 that BMW and PSA are working on once that comes on stream.

29 September 2010

Their diesel engines are really amazing units - so I hope that SAAB can get to use these in the near future as well.

To live is to drive

29 September 2010

Should PSA not get some credit in this too? Were the 1.6 Turbos not jointly developed? Glad to see Saab making some good tie-ups in the market regardless, hope it continues as good partnerships will probably be vital for them. Personally, I'd like to see the brand do well and while I dont know how the business case will work, they at least seem to be putting a fairly strong product plan in place - if they live up to their claims that is.

29 September 2010

[quote ischiaragazzo]Agreed. And I sort of like the fact that they are helping out a real underdog (and potential competitor) Well done![/quote] I agree! Really sporting of them :) I also think that of all the manufacturers of engines, BMW are one of the best! [quote TStag]It's dissapointing that SAAB can't fund it's own engine development.[/quote] Why? This way they get the best engines going, and can spend the money on developing cars people want to buy again.

29 September 2010

[quote jd28]Should PSA not get some credit in this too? Were the 1.6 Turbos not jointly developed?[/quote] As far as I know it is engineered purely by BMW - though not sure which one (or both?) manufactures it. Anyway, no heroism by BMW here, they can spread the costs that's all. I don't think Saab will survive in the long run anyway.

29 September 2010

BMW make a mean petrol engine and on the face of it a mean diesel engine. Think Saab are on to a winner here, they really cannot go wrong with the advanced tech that these engines hold.

Watch out for the new diesels though, they run so lean that injector and fuelling failure is becoming quite a problem in the UK

Global Warming.. My Rs

29 September 2010

I also think it's great that Saab are able to use these engines and concentrate their development costs on making a great chassis. Jaydub: Why would running the engines lean affect the injectors/fuelling system? Wouldn't they run either less flow or less pressure through them?

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