Saab Technology

How Stuff Works: Saab Sensonic (Clutchless Technology in Practice)

Probably many of you have not heard of the Sensonic transmission, developed by Saab. The Sensonic system uses electronics to automatically operate the clutch when needed. It is a normal type clutch with hydraulics linking it to a motor which takes the place of a pedal. The gearbox, with the exception of some added sensors, is again standard manual.

Unfortunately, although this system has significant advantages, the Sensonic system did not come to market acceptance, so it was quickly shut down. however, how the system works in practice, we can see in the special episoede of known UK TV show “5th GEAR” from 1997. watch the show and make sure this system works in practice:

1993 Saab has chosen to revive the automatic clutch with a new product made by Fichtel & Sachs. Used by dozens of makes before automatci transmissions were available, clutch control was usually electric or vacuum. With this solution, a microprocessor drives an electric motor that, in turn, operates a clutch master cylinder.

Saab Sensonic

Called “Sensonic“, the automatic clutch is smooth and engeges without any slip. In that time, Saab claimed the clutch will allow better car control and  then hoped to appeal to sporting drivers stuck in traffic. The automatic clutch was available as an option in vehicles with 2.0 Turbo engines.


  • I used to have NG900 Turbo Sensonic 1997.

    Brilliant car as long as you didn’t tune it.
    After putting stage 3 tuning kit to it (245 hp, 350 Nm) the clutch couldn’t take it anymore and I had to replace with manual clutch and Viggen’s clutch cover.

  • I had one and it was great until a rubber seal degraded and the oill killed the electrical side of the gizmo. Mine also had a disturbing tendency to creep forward sometimes.

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