Tony O'Kane | Feb 25, 2009

From mid this year, Saab's entire Australian line-up will be compatible with the ethanol-heavy E85 fuel, making Saab the first automaker in this country to fully embrace the largely plant-derived fuel additive.

The Swedish manufacturer will also be extending its pollution-reducing two-stage turbocharging system across its diesel offerings, adding yet another string to Saab's eco-friendly bow. The E85-compatible engines will fall under Saab's BioPower range, with a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder spearheading the line-up. Thanks to the higher octane rating of ethanol, Saab's BioPower engine generates 147kW and 300Nm, 18kW and 35Nm more than a comparable engine running on regular ol' petrol.

Saab BioPower

Granted, E85 isn't exactly widely available across the country, but the performance benefits are hard to ignore. There are also environmental bonuses, as the vegetable matter used to create the ethanol in E85 absorbs carbon dioxide during its lifetime; the result being a fuel that has less than half the overall co2 emissions of petrol.

The 9-3 Aero TTiD is one of the first models to receive Saab's 1.9TTiD two-stage turbodiesel powerplant, and it punches out a respectable 132kW and 400Nm from its 1.9 litre engine. It's available in both manual and automatic flavour, and it drinks just 5.7 litres of diesel per 100km when fitted with the manual 'box.

The new E85 engines will be available across the 9-3 and 9-5 model lines, while the two-stage turbodiesel donk is currently only available in the 9-3 for the time being.

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