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The Saab 9-7X is especially well equipped for the demands of the American market for which it was developed. As the company’s first entry into the SUV segment, it will be positioned in the $37,000 to $45,000 price bracket. Its high-performance version, incorporating the new Gen IV 5.3-liter V-8, with an estimated 300 horsepower (224 kW) and 330 lb.-ft. (447 Nm) of torque, is particularly destined to be an attractive offering among its peers. The vehicle’s stan-dard 4.2-liter Inline 6 produces 275 hp (205 kW) and 275 lb.-ft. (372 Nm) of torque. Both all-aluminum engines are coupled to an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmis-sion.

The Saab 9-7X will receive the new Gen IV version of GM Powertrain’s hallmark small block 5.3L V-8. This engine is distinguished from other Vortec 5300 engines by its cast-aluminum engine block. It has pressed-in iron cylinder liners, similar to the 5.7L LS1 and LS6 aluminum Corvette V-8s. Due to the lighter block, a fully dressed engine weighs 100 pounds less than a comparable iron-block V-8. Saab expects that up to 70 percent of all 9-7Xs sold will be pow-ered by the 5300 engine. The V-8 is equipped with high-flow, cast-aluminum cylinder heads similar to those in the renowned LS6 Corvette engine. This, plus larger intake valves and an increase in valve lift (to 12.2 mm from Gen III’s 11.6 mm), results in significantly increased engine airflow. A new, flat-top piston profile combined with the chamber volume of the new cylinder head increases the compression ratio from 9.5:1 to 9.9:1. Flat response knock sensors mounted on the engine block allow optimal spark and knock control during hot conditions and/or with poor fuel quality conditions.

Another distinguishing feature is what engineers call a “pan-axle” oil pan. Both the 5.3L and the 4.2L engines share this unique design, saving undercarriage space while reducing interior noise. The all-wheel drive system is bolted directly to the engine's oil pan (rather than the chas-sis), and a half-shaft passes through the pan via a cast-in passage. Typically, the differential shaft crosses underneath the pan, and in turn, the engine must be raised. In this application, the shaft is designed to pass through the oil pan, which helps in engine packaging and, in turn, styl-ing, visibility and noise reduction. This design helps to eliminate noise transmission path for axle/driveline going into the vehicle compartment.

Because the engines operate so smoothly and quietly, both feature an algorithm called Smart Start that prevents the starter from engaging when the engine is running.

Among its advanced features are technologies such as variable exhaust valve timing (cam phaser), electronic throttle control, coil-on plug ignition, a state-of-the-art powertrain control module, a roller follower valve train, and the unique oil pan axle configuration mentioned above.

The 4.2L engine impresses with a dramatically extended torque curve through the majority of the speed range. Peak torque is 275 foot-pounds (372 Nm) at 3,600 rpm, with 90 percent of peak torque already available at 1,200 rpm. EPA fuel economy numbers are estimated to be 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway – numbers that are fully competitive with primary competitors.

The Hydra-Matic 4L60-E electronically controlled automatic transmission is standard on all versions of the new Saab 9-7X. It is noted for its smooth operation, performance across the full torque curve, rugged durability, precise shifting and economical operation. The 4-speed transmission is electronically controlled with automatic overdrive and a torque converter clutch.

An important element of quality is quietness. The Saab 9-7X engineers incorporated insulation measures, including:

An acoustically laminated windshield
Laminated front door glass
Door primary seal designs providing sealing and windnoise attenuatio;
Passenger compartment mat assembly, constructed of both a sound barrier and a sound absorber
Engine-side front-of-dash sound absorber
More than a dozen sound absorbing insulators in the doors, pillars and panels made of composite and/or fiberglass materials (strategically located around speakers, door handles or body structural gaps and openings).
The Saab 9-7X uses a special acoustic water deflector assembly, consisting of both a barrier and an absorber, for exceptional sealing/noise attenuation. This assembly is used on the inside of all four of the doors on the Saab 9-7X to absorb noise and provide a protective seal against water and dust intrusion.
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