Getting the best tuning mods for the SAAB 9000.

"9000 + tune/remap = lots of fun."

The face lift model arrived in 1991 and made the 9000 a very credible alternative to the usual German executive cars.

The only downside with the SAAB 9000 is expensive repairs but thankfully they are pretty reliable cars.

They are also very well built, with all of their crash protection and insulation to cope with the cold Scandinavian climes.

Engine choices 2.0 Turbo delivering 175bhp good for a 0-60 sprint in under 8 seconds.

The 2.3t Turbo upped power to 200bhp and ran 0-60 in a shade over 7 seconds, then there is the massive 3.0 v6 engine which offers 210bhp and a 6.7 sprint to 60.

All models return around 30mpg with the 2.0Turbo being the most frugal and will reach typically 32-33 mpg around town.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums


Remaps on the Turbo engines are the best way to go, but don't overlook the braking or the handling.

SAAB 9000 Engine Tuning modifications.

The following modifications are usually performed by our members, decide how far you want to go before you begin.

  • 2.0 L B202 I4
  • 2.0 L B202 turbo I4
  • 2.3 L B234 I4
  • 2.3 L B234 turbo I4
  • 3.0 L B308 V6

Getting the right mods for your planned usage of the car is vital. Stage 3 (competition) mods just don't work well on the road.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best Engine Mods for your car

  1. Engine Tunes - engine tuning/remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road cams are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they're doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  3. Intake and Exhaust - Note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - forced induction is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. It is one of the most costly upgrades but provides the best gains.
  5. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.
  6. Typical stage 1 mods often include: Exhaust, Panel air filter, Engine Tunes/Remapping, lighter flywheel

    Typical stage 2 mods often include: Fast road cam, ported and polished head, fuel injector & fuel pump upgrades,

    Typical stage 3 mods: Engine balancing, forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), competition cam.

    Power on the 2.3T can be lifted to somewhere between 240 to 260bhp with a combination of tuned/remapped ecu, sports exhaust and induction kit with a cold air feed pipe.

    We would recommend limiting power to 250bhp for the best compromise as traction becomes a major issue when you exceed this.

    Your aim when tuning should be a nice flat torque curve and a wide power band as we are always mentioning.

    Fast road cams offer one of the biggest performance gains as far as a bolt on part goes.

    You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will need to uprate the fuelling if power is increased beyond 40%. Look to aftermarket parts suppliers for uprated injectors and fuel pumps and in some cases you'll find that your manufacturer offers uprated options as fitted to performance models.

    Saab 9000 Intake and exhaust modifications.

    Let's move on to the engine intake and exhaust and ensure proper flow through the engine.

    The cone filters or 'Induction kits' are only recommended if you have significantly increased the cars need for air, particularly on turbo engines and larger engines (providing they are fitted with a suitable cold air feed or air box), for the smaller 9000 engines you should go with a sports panel air filter made from a high flowing medium.

    A good high performance sports exhaust is an essential to balance your engines need for free flowing air, just adding an induction kit on it's own will do little to increase your power.

    See our article on performance exhausts for details of the issue around large bore exhausts and how to choose the right size for your engine.

    Getting a professionally flowed head with larger valves can fully release the engines power.

    A good fast road power clutch will help to keep that power going where it should. Never just hope that a standard worn clutch will cope.

    Remaps offer significant power gains on all turbo charged cars. On NA (naturally aspirated) engines the benefits are doubtful but there are merits if you've done other mods and want to fully release the power.

    However a tune/remap on a NA (naturally aspirated) engine will help unleash the potential if you have done a lot of mods.

    The largest power gains for NA (naturally aspirated) engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. Superchargers are generally easier to add than turbos.

    With a turbo the boost curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it hard to map.

    The nice steady boost to rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them easier to map. Decreasing the engines compression ratio will allow you to add forced induction, water injection may also help prevent detonation.

    Cars are heavy due to the strength and impact protection it offers so a bit of weight reduction will shave precious seconds from your 0-60 sprint times.

    Carbon fibre panels seem to be the way to go - if you can source some. The 9000's are built for the cold regions of Scandinavia and offer superb heating/climate controls, and the braking is noticably sharp.

    Improve the handling with an adjustable spring and damper kit. This will make the car a lot more fun drive on bendy roads and give more driver feedback. An fuel boost valve and piston type diverter valve also works well on the petrol engined models.

    Read through our tuning articles to see the pros and cons of each modification and join our forum to discuss all aspects of SAAB modifications with our enthusiastic and friendly members.

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    One Response to “Tuning the Saab 9000 2.0 2.3 Turbo engines”

    1. bill crazen says:

      The later 9000 is like 3300lbs, about the same weight as an E46 rwd coupe. Not a particularly heavy car.

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