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Saab's five-door thunderbolt

Swedish stormer: Saab's overtly sporting Viggen is now available in five-door configuration.

Saab's performance flagship gains more herbs and a couple of extra doors

1 Aug 2000

SAAB'S rapid Viggen models now offer even sharper performance and the range has also been bolstered by the addition of a five-door variant.

Although the Viggen was not exactly lacking in the grunt department it now offers 169kW instead of 165kW and torque has been bumped from 342Nm to 350Nm.

The 2.3-litre high-pressure turbo engine also offers impressive flexibility, with peak torque on tap from 2500rpm through to 4000rpm.

Viggen pricing starts at $77,886 for the three-door coupe, rising to $79,887 for the five-door sedan. The range is topped by the convertible, which costs $101,889.

Saab claims the manual-only Viggen can sprint from standstill to 100km/h in 6.8 seconds on its way to an electronically- governed top speed of 250km/h.

In view of its high-speed capabilities, the Viggen is equipped with an aircraft-inspired aerodynamic body kit that cuts lift forces by 50 per cent and reduces the coefficient of drag by 8 per cent.

Other changes to the range include the availability of a black exterior with an eye-catching black/flame ochre interior.

Viggen is Swedish for "thunderbolt" and the name is also used for Saab's Mach-2 fighter plane.

The Viggen comes loaded with the following equipment as standard: dual-tone leather interior, power front seats, climate-control air-conditioning, power sunroof, premium 160-watt sound system with six-stack CD player, cruise control and remote central locking with integrated immobiliser and alarm.

Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), twin front and side airbags, Saab's anti-whiplash Active Head Restraints and a body structure with optimised crumple zones and integrated safety cage.

Sales of Saab's 9-3 models have been somewhat disappointing this year, despite the addition of the Aero and Viggen variants.

Just 524 9-3 sales were registered until the end of June, compared with 887 for the same period last year.

Saab's overall sales also dipped from 1536 cars for the first half of 1999 to 1118 for the corresponding period this year.

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