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Through unknown circumstances-though possibly related to the crash of the Nemesis on Earth's moon with a cargo of protoforms-the being who would become Sari appeared in Isaac Sumdac's laboratory some years before the Autobots were awakened from stasis. Upon discovering the protoform, Isaac touched it, upon which it sampled his DNA and created Sari's alternate form of a red-haired female human child who otherwise shared many of Isaac's characteristics. The roboticist raised Sari as his daughter, though he apparently never took steps to have her legally documented and kept her true origin a secret from her for a number of years. Perhaps fearing for her safety, Sumdac had her home-schooled by robotic tutors and never allowed her to leave Sumdac Tower unaccompanied.
Sari eventually got out of the building after one of Isaac's experiments went horribly awry, and inadvertently made contact with the Autobots by stowing away inside Bumblebee. Sari would go on to become the Autobots' primary "human" contact, sharing with them aspects of Earth's culture and assisting them in other ways. Most notably, she was granted a key by the AllSpark that enabled her to repair or upgrade virtually any machinery, going so far as to save the life of Optimus Prime after he was fatally injured by Starscream. Though she would bond with all of the Autobots to varying degrees, her closest friendships lay with Bulkhead and Bumblebee, possibly due to their similar levels of maturity in many matters.
Numerous adventures awaited Sari and the bots, from tangles with Blackarachnia and other Decepticons to the machinations of Megatron. Sari would make her share of mistakes along the way, such as upgrading a toy with her key so many times that it became a self-aware robot and joined the Decepticons as Soundwave. She would also be abducted by Meltdown, a human geneticist turned corrosive mutant who sought to create an organic Transformer by using a developing child as his test subject.
Sari's life began to unravel after her father disappeared during Megatron's return to power and attempt to claim the AllSpark for himself. She briefly attempted to run her father's company, only to have it be usurped by corrupt businessman Porter C. Powell, who informed her that no birth certificate, adoption record, or legal documentation of any kind existed to verify that she even existed, let alone name her as Isaac Sumdac's heir. Forced to live with the Autobots, she continued to help them deal with various threats, such as the Constructicons, before helping Ratchet revive Omega Supreme. His aid enabled the Autobots to defeat Megatron's attempt to conquer Cybertron via the Spacebridge network, but in the process Sari was injured, revealing her true cybernetic nature. Isaac, who had been a captive of the Decepticons since his previous disappearance, then explained how he had found Sari to her, but Sari's fury over his secrecy initially led her to disbelieve him.
After manifesting Cybertronian abilities, Sari was reconciled to her father through Optimus' efforts, and Prowl also helped to explain Isaac's story by explaining the nature of protoforms. Unfortunately, Sari became determined to put her newly discovered Cybertronian nature to use, and used her upgrade key on herself to help the Autobots during an attack by a rampaging space monster. Sari's human appearance thus changed from that of a brown-eyed young girl to that of a teenager with blue eyes, but her new abilities overwhelmed her and set her on an uncontrolled rampage of her own. Fortunately, Ratchet was eventually able to stabilize her condition, and a semblance of normalcy returned. As time went on Sari gained additional abilities, such as being able to interface with Cybertronian technology and deduce what was wrong with it.
The past would come back to haunt Sari during one Christmas season when Soundwave returned and attempted to reprogram her fellow Autobots into Decepticons. Left without human help due to Soundwave brainwashing the city using replicas of himself created by Porter C. Powell after he was fired by Isaac Sumdac, Sari was forced to form an unlikely team of "reserve Autobots": Wreck-Gar, Scrapper, and Snarl. Fortunately, between these recruits and the Autobots' own willpower, Sari was able to free her friends and defeat Soundwave, who disappeared to parts unknown. Sari soon joined in the Autobots' effort to construct their own Spacebridge atop Sumdac Tower, and with her growing abilities was able to help Optimus use it to go to the aid of his old comrade Sentinel Prime when the Elite Guard flagship was overrun by escaped Decepticon prisoners.
Sari joined her fellow Autobots in defending Earth when Megatron returned with a scheme to clone Omega Supreme. After finding the crashed Nemesis on Earth's moon and discovering some remaining protoforms, Sari became convinced that she had at last found where she had come from. She then helped Ratchet to repair Arcee, and together the Autobots thwarted Megatron's scheming and took him back to Cybertron in chains. The creators later revealed that had the series continued, Sari would have gone on other adventures, including spending time on Cybertron trying to connect with her Transformer roots, battling Decepticons, and traveling to a mirror universe where the Autobots were evil and the Decepticons good.
A Shattered Glass version of the Animated universe revealed that Sari's counterpart was a homicidal individual who, after receiving her alt-mode from Isaac Sumdac's DNA, slashed her "creator" across one eye. Rather than eliminate her, Sumdac determined that she could be useful to him and upgraded her while also fitting her with a restraint device. This version of Sari resembled the original but with a swapped color palette and an outfit that consisted of a skirt and a top that exposed Shattered Glass Sari's midriff, rather than the orange and yellow dress that Prime Sari wore that fully covered her body.