Currently reading: Saab and BMW in engine tie-up
Deal signed today sees Saab get BMW's 1.6 turbo petrol engines for next-gen cars from 2012
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2 mins read
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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WooDz 30 September 2010

Re: Saab, BMW in engine tie-up

Wait till we get in to compression charged ignition on petrol cars (HCCI). (approx. 2 years away) then we'll see some problems with companies and supermarkets selling low grade fuel.

jollopster 30 September 2010

Re: Saab, BMW in engine tie-up

Jaydub wrote:
Massive issues in the UK with the latest 2.0d and 3.0d relating to poor quality diesel. Seems being efficient has downsides
I guess every manufacturer running high pressure common rail must have a similar problem? Trouble is, modern diesels are so complicated, anything breaks and it's big bucks.

optimal_909 29 September 2010

Re: Saab, BMW in engine tie-up

Jaydub wrote:
Massive issues in the UK with the latest 2.0d and 3.0d relating to poor quality diesel. Seems being efficient has downsides
I'm not an engineer but what I learned that is poor quality diesel harms the high pressure pumps as it is the lubricant, and also the injectors as the holes on the head are really tiny (if the fuel is not clear enough it is obviously a problem). Being efficient means also higher fuel pressure so the effects are also worse. On the other hand, lean burning produces lot of NOx and other particles that cause problem if the exhaust gas is recilculated via EGR, partially because it forms deposits on the valves (leading to loss of compression, for example). Again, I'm not an engineer so if anyone knows it better a correction is more than welcome.

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