Leo Ress designed the C9 with the assistance of technicians at PP Sauber AG in Hinwil, Switzerland, and Mercedes-Benz AG in Stuttgart, Germany. Though the V8 engine was based on a production unit, the C9 was a technical tour de force throughout. At the heart of the C9 was a rigid monocoque tub that integrated the cockpit and driver protection systems. Virtually every component of the Silver Arrow was bolted directly to the aluminum tub; the Mercedes-Benz V8 becoming an integral part of the chassis. Just like a modern F1 car, the transmission and rear suspension were mounted to the engine.
The suspension systems were unusual: the unique front geometry allowing for infinite adjustment and a so-called "rising gate" roll figure. The rear suspension utilized a machined aluminum rocker arm, operated by a short pullrod, that compresses the spring/damper unit.
The Sauber C9 was a "wing-car", developing massive downforce at speed. A flat area existed directly below the cockpit, per regulations, but two venturi tunnels beneath the engine sucked the racer down on the road. Development of the bodywork shape was completed in the Mercedes-Benz wind tunnel, with over 320 experimental configurations being tested before the first C9 was ever built. The end result was as slippery and efficient as it was beautiful.