NORCROSS, Ga., Dec. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Saab launches an entire new range of cars at Detroit's North American International Auto Show, Jan. 10-19, 1998 -- featuring the world premiere of the new 1999 Saab 9-3 (pronounced "nine three") Convertible, Coupe and five-door, and the North American debut of the new 1999 Saab 9-5 premium performance sedan. Scheduled to go on sale in spring of 1998, the new Saab cars are powered exclusively by turbocharged engines, and feature a host of new safety innovations such as the Saab Active Head Restraint (SAHR), a world-first safety system that reduces the risk of whiplash injuries. The new Saab 9-3 is the result of extensive refinement and re-engineering of the popular Saab 900, including a subtle restyling of the 900's sporty and distinctive exterior, and more than 1,000 technical improvements and interior design changes. The 1999 Saab 9-3 goes on sale in the North American market during April, 1998. For the new Saab 9-3, chassis engineers have significantly refined the handling, steering precision and ride comfort of the car. New front seats and revisions to the instrument panel improve driver ergonomics and emphasize the interior's cockpit feel, while an upgraded climate system improves the interior comfort for the occupants. The already high standard of crashworthiness has been improved further by the Saab Active Head Restraint and side-impact airbags included as standard on all Saab 9-3 cars. The car's appearance has been enhanced by a restyled rear section, new bumpers and a new grille featuring a sleek, wing-shaped center bar. A 185-hp 2.OL Turbo four- cylinder engine powers all variants of the Saab 9-3, while the Convertible receives a newly designed hydraulically powered soft top that is even faster and quieter than the previous generation top. The all-new Saab 9-5 sedan is not simply a new car model; it is a showcase of innovation and intelligent engineering. Combining the best elements of Saab heritage with advanced automotive and aviation-inspired technology, the 1999 Saab 9-5 includes superb aerodynamics, comfort, safety and performance for a new standard in the luxury sedan segment. With Saab's distinctive styling cues and character lines, as well as a drag coefficient of only 0.29, the 9-5's sporty profile is supported by an all-new chassis with four-wheel independent suspension and two turbocharged powertrain choices. The new Saab single-bank turbo 3.0L V6 is the world's first asymmetric turbocharger design. An integrated low-pressure turbocharger on the front cylinder bank feeds compressed air to the entire transverse-mounted engine, boosting low-end torque to 229 lb.-ft. at only 2,100 rpm. With four valves per cylinder, the asymmetric Turbo V6 develops 200 hp, and is matched exclusively with an electronically controlled 4-speed automatic transmission. The newly developed 2.3L Turbo four-cylinder engine shares few parts with the engine it replaces in the Saab 9000. Extensive refinements result in reduced weight and significantly lower internal friction, improving fuel consumption by about 5 percent. This new 170-hp engine produces 207 lb.-ft. of torque at a mere 1,800 rpm. Both engines feature new electronic "drive-by- wire" technology, controlled by a new generation Saab Trionic engine management system. Saab 9-5 safety systems include an exceptionally rigid safety cage, triple-path five-stage front-end crash structure, Saab Active Head Restraint, four airbags (front and side), front-seat belt pretensioners and a "collision deflector" side-impact protection concept. At night, an advanced instrument/control panel -- Saab Night Panel -- displays information on a need-to-know basis, with a choice of illumination modes and variable brightness. Other technical highlights include a cabin double-filtration system, an independent "temperature zone" for the driver, an air-conditioned glovebox, and optional ventilated front seats that pull trapped warm air away from the driver or front passenger through perforated leather upholstery. An engine-immobilizing alarm system, with free-wheeling lock mechanism, is among the best anti-theft protection in the world. Saab's excellent warranty protection includes a four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper coverage with 24-hour roadside assistance, and six-year coverage for perforation, with no mileage limit.