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SAAB VIGGEN TO LAND IN CANADA

The high-performance Viggen of the Saab 9.3 will arrive in Canada this fall, in three versions.

Prices in Canada aren't final yet, but Peter Nikell of GM of Canada's Saab operation says that the 2000 Viggen 3- and 5-door hatchback models will carry $49,900 sticker prices, while the Viggen convertible will go for $63,500.

Viggen is a souped-up, tarted-up version of the 4-year-old 9-3 model and comes with an engine that Saab likes to point out delivers 15 per cent more horsepower and 52 per cent more torque per litre than the 2000 Porsche 911's engine does.

Specifically, the 2.3-litre, turbo-charged inline-4 provides 230 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque from 2500 to 4500 rpm.

To reduce the effects of severe torque steer, the engine management system limits the power in first (to 184 pound-feet of torque) and in second (to 243 pound-feet).

For better handling, the rear springs were stiffened by 25 per cent while the front springs are five per cent stiffer. With these spring rates and recalibrated valves in the dampers, Saab says, the Viggen's initial body roll will be reduced and the ride kept optimal.

Viggen runs on P215/45R17 Z-rated high-performance tires, which cover the bigger disc brakes with improved rotors and calipers at each corner.