About the Saab Viggen

Photos of my Viggen:

Front - Front Right - Rear - Rear Left - Rear Right - Side - Dash - Seats - Wheel - Doorsill - Emblem

The 2000 Saab 9-3 Viggen was, up until 2006, the fastest Saab ever made (excluding race-cars and fighter jets). It is still the fastest 4-cylinder car they've made. I own a 2000 model.

I created this page because everyone wants to know what I drive, but no one knows what a Viggen is. First of all, it's pronounced "VIHG-gun" (that's "ih" as in "in", not a long "ee" as in "vegan").

These are rare. The Saab 9-3 Viggen was developed jointly by Saab Automobile AB's Special Vehicles Operations team and the Oxfordshire, England-based TWR Group. Viggens were only made from 1999-2002 and were only available with a standard transmission, and limited colors (just blue in 1999, with silver and black added in 2000, other colors like red later). Basically, they started off with a standard 9-3, but put in a better engine from the 9-5, a larger turbo-charger, better computer, improved stiffer and lower suspension (springs, dampers, anti-roll bars and steering rack mounts), better 17" wheels, sportier and more aerodynamic trim (reducing aerodynamic drag by 8% to a 0.31 coefficient and reducing lift forces over the rear wheels by 60%), larger and grooved rotors, different spoiler, upgraded clutch assembly, larger diameter and stronger driveshafts and strengthened CV joints, improved seats, amongst other changes. The leather interior is also quite nice.

Less than 3000 Viggens total were made in 2000, with only about 800 total imported into the USA. My black 2000 4-door (well, they really call it "5-door") non-convertible is one of only 176 imported into the USA. I've heard of a couple 2-door blue 1999 Viggens in Vermont, but I've never seen one.

Saab has a tradition of creating limited-edition sport models, beginning with the Sonett. Another example was the 900 Turbo SPG (which I currently also own, but will be selling) and the 9000 Aero (not fond of 9000s myself, although my parents now own a red one. The 9000 evolved into the 9-5). The Viggen name (which means "thunderbolt" in Swedish) comes from one of Saabs flagship fighter jets, the Saab 37 Viggen (many people don't realize that Saab was first and still is an aircraft company). The Viggen logo is derived from the delta-wing design of this fighter. More info on the Viggen fighter jet can be found in the Wikipedia.

The first Viggens in 1999 were already impressive at 225 horsepower (@ 5,500 RPM) and 252 lb-ft of torque available at just 2,500 RPM all the way to 4,500 RPM. The engine is 2.3-litre turbo-charged 4-cylinder with 4 valves per cylinder. Maximum torque is available for 30% of the usable power band. In 2000 (mine) this was bumped up to 230 HP and 258 lb-ft of torque. In 1999 it was already able to beat the Porsche 911 Carrera in both efficiency of producing HP and torque per liter of engine displacement. In 2000 those improvements over the Porsche were 15% (HP) and 52% (lb-ft).

The Viggens large oil and water-cooled turbocharger produces maximum boost pressure of 1.4 bar, or a full 20 psi.

The Viggen's gear-ratios were also rather aggressive:

Final Drive

Other interesting specs are the transverse-mounted engine, 9.3:1 compression ratio, Saab's custom "Trionic-7" fuel-injection system, direct-ignition, 17 gallon fuel tank, 3,140 lbs curb-weight, anti-lock breaks, driver and passenger airbags, headlamp and rear-window wipers, and front-wheel drive. All these sport features didn't come at a price of fuel-economy, however, with the Viggen achieving up to 29 MPG on the highway.

Back in 2000 when you bought a new Viggen you also got a certificate for the "Viggen Flight Academy", a two-day intensive driver training session held by a team of racing professionals at the world-class Road Atlanta complex, located near Saab Cars USA's headquarters in Norcross, Georgia.

For more reading, you can look over the original Saab 5-page brochure for the 2000 Saab 9-3 Viggen or read an excellent review from Canadian Driver magazine. Also check out the Viggen Story from Abbott Racing.

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