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GM Adds More Powerful Flex-Fuel Engine to Saab European Lineup

GM is introducing a more powerful flex-fuel 2.0-liter turbocharged engine to the Saab 9-5 and SportCombi range in Europe. The new 2.3t BioPower model promises 14% more maximum power and 11% more torque when running on E85 than on gasoline.

Running on E85, the new Saab 9-5 2.3t BioPower engine delivers maximum power of 210 hp (157 kW) and 310 Nm of torque, compared to 185 hp (138 kW) and 280 Nm when using gasoline. As an example of the increased performance, the sedan with manual transmission accelerates from zero to 100 kph (0-62 mph) in 7.9 secs and 80-120 kph (50-75 mph) in fifth gear in 11.0 secs, compared to 8.5 and 12.6 secs when running only on gasoline. (Figures are provisional, pending homologation.)

E85 has a much higher octane rating (104 RON) than gasoline (95 RON), and turbocharging allows the use of a higher boost pressure and more advanced ignition timing—giving more engine power—than is possible on gasoline without risk of harmful pre-detonation (knocking). The only hardware modifications necessary are more durable valves and valve seats, and the use of ethanol-compatible materials in the fuel system, including the tank, pump, lines and connectors.

Saab’s Trionic engine management system monitors fuel quality and automatically adjusts ignition timing and fuel/air mixture to optimize running on E85 and/or gasoline in any combination.

The new Saab 9-5 goes on sale in Nordic markets, UK and Ireland later this year, with other European countries to follow, joining the current 2.0t BioPower model.

In January, Saab unveiled a 2.3-liter 310-horsepower 9-5 Aero BioPower Concept midsize wagon at the Los Angeles Auto Show. That turbocharged engine delivered 310 hp (231 kW) and 440 Nm of torque. (Earlier post.)

Saab has also shown as concepts an E100 hybrid 9-3 convertible (earlier post), and the 400 hp E100 Saab Aero X (earlier post).


joe padula

Great! More power. Just what we needed. I guess there is no way to use E85 to get better mileage...
Gm's goal must be to use the Most alternative fuel.

James White

Why doesn't GM announce that Saab is the first major automobile manufacture to produce a plug in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV)? See Green Car Congress' previous article at:




The 9-3 BioPower concept is not a plug-in. Besides, it's only a concept, and that doesn't count as 'producing' in my book.

As for the 9-5 BioPower Aero, 310 hp is way to much in that chassis. Torque steer anyone?


Ok i found some rumours via that article that the 9-3 BP is supposedly a plug-in. I say it's bullshit.

The source for that is Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet, and I wouldn't trust them on anything whatsoever. Especially Robert Collin, he's a total jerk.

The battery back and the motors on the 9-3 BP are way too small to be useful in a plug-in. 53 kW in a 1500 kg car? 10-20 km range? It wouldn't classify as a plug-in even if the rumours about the socket where true.

Rafael Seidl

Saab's a performance brand, they will never produce a plug-in. Good thing too, PHEVs make little sense unless you use your car primarily for short commutes - in which case, you should consider an electric bicycle.

Beefing up the top engine option in the 9-5 is in keeping with competitors like BMW and Audi. Ethanol contains 30% less energy by volume than gasoline does. Ergo, a tank of E85 will get you about 75% of the range of pure gasoline, at the same or a higher price.

I hope the refinieries ignore this E85 nonsense and just replace all regular gasoline with E5 or E10. All vehicles can use it, you don't need a new distribution infrastructure, the range and cost penalties are acceptable and you're getting started on the long road to renewable energy in transportation.

Remember, Detroit is only touting flex-fuel now because they've been quietly building such vehicles for several years now. Why? Because of a loophole in CAFE that got them off the gas guzzler hook. Smoke and mirrors...

Max Reid

Yes E85 is nonsense.
In Brazil, they have E100 vehicles and I guess even American companies are selling E100 vehicles there.

The E100 vehicles can be introduced here as well.

James White

In response to Fredrik's comment, who's BS-ing who? Fredrik writes, "The battery pack and the motors on the 9-3 BP are way too small to be useful in a plug-in. 53 kW in a 1500 kg car? 10-20 km range? It wouldn't classify as a plug-in even if the rumours about the socket where true."

The Prius weighs in at close to 1500 kg and only has 25 kW. With additional batteries and a plug, it qualifies as a PHEV. The Saab with 53 kW would give it twice the acceleration of the Prius in the all-electric mode. If you want breakneck performance, step on the accelerator and the low-in torque assist of the electric motor with the E100 2.1T engine beats the 2.3T E85 engine by a full second (6.9 s vs. 7.9 s) in 0-62 mph. While you might not classify 10-20 km all-electric range as being a plug-in, Dr. Andy Frank, the father of PHEV's, CalCars, and City of Austin Electric do. Adding a plug to charge the batteries each night is a simple AC to DC charger. With a plug-in at work and home, a 10-20 km electric range would cover 90% of many people's daily needs.

While the Saab hybrid may only be a concept, they demonstrated that plug-in hybrids can have outstanding performance and get great gas mileage using off-the-shelf technology. Saab could easily have announced they had a plug-in hybrid if GM had wanted them to. The big question is why didn't they make such an announcement? It sure couldn't hurt their stock value.


Of course would E100 be better than E85, because the fuel efficiency would be about 20% better. In Sweden they are being introduced in the near future.
Regarding the USA, today E100 IS NOT POSSIBLE, because your guys over there have only 600 pumps in the whole country. Is that so difficult to understand??
And then this gossip about plug-in hybrid. Forget about all those hybrid concepts. Also forget about fuel cells. 95% of the consumers (including me) never would buy such a vehicle. One should be realistiv regarding the alternative options. Realisticly alternative fuels for the short- and medium term will be:
- cellulose ethanol which will cover approx. 40% to 60% of ALL FUEL CONSUMPTION in USA.
- Coal to liquid, which will cover the rest of the fuel consumtion
- the number of hydrogen powered cars will rise. The start point here is the "hydrogen Highway", in California. In 2007, BMW will launch for official sale a V8 powered car from the 7 series. It will have almost 250 hp. There is no need to develop fuel cells, when you already can use hydrogen in slightly modificated standard enginges.
All this can come true, PROVIDED, that the price of oil is not falling below 60 $. In that case,all the alternative fuel efforts would be stopped.

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