Saab began sketching the 1994-98 900 as early as 1983. Initially, Saab planned on replacing the 900 series with the 9000 car but as the market changed so did Saabs thinking. The basic form and functions of the "Classic 900" would remain intact as the New 900 began its development! Technically, the 900 would undergo more that just a few changes, For example: The chassis would be completely redesigned (The basic size and shape would remain the same), The suspension would undergo radical changes, The interior design began to show GM influence and The engine mounting system was shifted to a transverse design.
The New Generation Saab 900 (called the NG900 among enthusiasts) was a compact car replacing the "classic" Saab 900 in 1994. Influenced by General Motors after a substantial investment in the company, the car based on the Opel Vectra chassis was introduced.
Safety Features: As far as Safety was concerned the new 900 out performed the "Classic 900" by a significant margin in areas such as direct frontal impact and 30 degree frontal impact! Although many typical Saab enthusiast shunned the advent of the new 900 series, overall sales continued to increase and eventually led to the development of the Saab 93 series vehicles in 1999!
The drag coefficient was improved to 0.30. There were S and SE versions in both the 3 door, 5 door & convertible model. There was also a "Talladega" version name after an endurance test on the Talladega racetrack. which tested the durability of the 2.0 liter Turbo engine.
This new generation 900 was equipped with 2.0 liter Turbo, 2.3 liter Non-Turbo & a 2.5 liter V6 version of GM's European 54° V6 engine (3.0 L). Engine management was operated by Saab Direct Ignition Automatic Performance Control (APC) + Bosch LH Jetronic or Saab Trionic unit, although in 1996 the distributor operated ignition was re-introduced for 2.0 and 2.3 L naturally aspirated engines (not in the USA). The turbocharged versions powering the NG900 (B204) used the Saab Trionic 5 system.
As opposed to the "classic" Saab 900, it has a transversely-mounted engine (meaing the engine belts were directed toward the passenger wheel) and a rear-hinged hood verses the traditionally front hinged hood on the 79-94 Saab 900.
2.0 L B204 full pressure 16-valve turbo intercooled, 175 hp DIN (129 kW)
2.0 L B204 full pressure 16-valve turbo, special with a red APC controller (see below), 185 hp 136 kW)
2.3 L B234 normally-aspirated 16-valve four cylinder, 150 hp
2.5 L 54° V6, 24-valve, 170 hp DIN (125 kW)
Saab made over "2000 improvements" to the NG900 in mid-year 1998, and rebadged it as the Saab 9-3. Some 1998 model year vehicles were the older NG900 style and later model year 1998 vehicles were the newer Saab 93 specification. A total of 273,568 NG900 vehicles were made.
Suspension: There were several problems that existed with vibrations in the front end due to out of round steel rims and general front suspension design flaws. In mid 1995 Saab actually came out with a new suspension upgrade which changed the position of the stanchion arms and sway bar connections to the control arms. That suspension was much better than the 94-95 models and can easily be updated using the suspension upgrade kit found in the link below. The upgrade for the suspension stayed on the 93 cars as well up to year 2003.
AC evaporator/Heater core Issues: When the vehicle was released in 1994 a problem existed where the ac evaporator and the heater core were too close together which caused water to pour into the passenger floor after running the ac for a while. The cure for this was to insert a screen between the two items to break the condensation issue and that seem to remedy the problem rather easily.
V6 Engine: The 2.5 liter engine was available from 1994-97. Contrary to what some may think the engine itself was an excellent engine. The real problem with the engine was the pulley configuration for the timing area. The timing cover seal would get pulled into the belt area and cause the engine to jump time. Because the engine is an interference engine the valves would get bent and in some cases the ring lands would get crushed meaning the engine would need to be replaced because you could never get it to stop smoking after a rebuild. When a problem occurs with this V6 engine we highly recommend replacing the 2.5 liter engine with a 3.2 Opel engine that we offer. The timing area pulley configuration is much better and makes for a much more reliable V6. For more information click the link below:
1995 Convertible top issues on Convertible models: Likely the number one issue with this car in the early release of 1995 was constant updates to the convertible top programming that had to be done by Authorized Saab dealers. This was a very detailed job. Most of the update information can be found in our faqs page although most convertible cars that are still in existence have already been updated.
1995-1998 Convertible top chattering: The tonneau motor assembly located in the passenger rear quarter panel (accessed through the trunk) would fail causing the tonneau cover to chatter when trying to come up. What generally occurs is the teeth on the motor assembly strip causing the top to only retract half way. We sell the rebuilt units. The Factory units are no longer available.