The Reality and the Rumourmill

First some reality from somewhere on this rock where we live:

A MY07 9-3 arrived yesterday ………… First thing aaahhhh they have changed the note of the indicator tic-toc, but overall, seeing it in the flesh is good. The radio and the ACC controls are nice but I will miss the SID display on top. Driving it last night you keep looking up to check it and all you can see is the sun sensor but I suppose ill get use to it. But the dash mounted SID was such a nice feature – i’ll miss it. To control the SID display all you do now is just use your left thumb to scroll up and down.

One other thing there is no SRC button to change between the Radio/CD/AUX which means you have to take a hand off the wheel to change it. There is a change in the display of the number on the clocks which is nice. I did not get the full tech spec but it does seem a lot quieter than a MY06 and it even had a 40% increase in sound proofing, but still a MY05/04/03 never seemed noisy to me.

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Now the rumourmill:

Some interesting and well thought out speculations I’ve received recently. Sources will remain anonymous….

XXXXX indicated that Saab has made the decision to offer all-wheel drive on all its models as soon as it can, for MY ’08 or ’09. I did hear three things at the SOC that make me think this might be true.

(1) There will defintely be an AWD option for the 9-3ss in the future. Didn’t specify a timeframe. But it’s coming.

(2) It has finally dawned on Saab that the 9-5 is not competitive, and that it needs to be replaced ASAP. Apparently there had been some talk about waiting until 2010 to do the new 9-5, because at that point the Russelheim factory will be fully capable of producing both the 9-3’s and 9-5’s. But the need to get the new 9-5 out as fast as possible means that the next gen 9-5 will be made in Trollhattan – they can’t wait for Russelheim (a true win-win, IMHO).

(3) I had a nice chat with ………………. He told me that they’re looking at competing with the Audi A6 with the next 9-5. He was actually enthusiastic about the prospect of going head-to-head with the A6. He didn’t say anything about AWD, but Saab could not credibly compete with the A6 with a FWD-only car.

All of this is highly unconfirmed gossip from the convention. But it rings true to me.

Jay Spenchian……… knows what he’s doing, and that the next 9-5 will have a lot of his input into the design (think Aero X, because Jay really likes the Aero X). Jay strikes me as an ambitious guy, not just in a corporate sense, but in “I want to do something bold and successful” sense. So I think the next 9-5 has the potential to be an absolute killer car. Which means AWD.

So there you have it – the logic of this leads to the conclusion that both the 9-3 and 9-5 are likely to have AWD options probably for model year ’09, available for sale in the fall of ’08.

Sound logic, and that time frame will be fantastic if they can meet it. I think the other thing the 9-5 will need is a V6 option. It’s the flagship afterall and much has been made of it’s ageing setup and lack of comparative refinement.

Of course, there’s also the upcoming “9-4x” which will be AWD. If they replace the 9-2x with an AWD smaller car then Saab may become all-turbo and all-AWD.

All-Biopower for the non-diesel lineup too?

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And whilst we’re talking SOC, I have received a bit of chatter eluding to the possibility fo the 2007 SOC being held in Detroit with some serious Saab USA input for what will be an anniversary year for Saab.

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For you Euro types, I can’t translate any of it right now, but there’s apparently some talk floating around on the Saab Turbo Club of Sweden forum about a new 200hp diesel setup, as well as a facelifted and AWD 9-3.

Any translations welcome now, otherwise I’ll get my dodgy internet translater on to it later.

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12 Comments

  1. i saw to opel vectras driving past the Saab advanced concept center yesterday. they were wide-bodied and sounded much more aggressive both were white and looked a bit funny. My brother said what’s that and as I looked I was thinking new 9-5 under. Funny thing both had Saab wheels on them

  2. andreas, Another “Toad” perhaps?

    I hope Saab doesn’t go all-AWD. I hope they have an AWD version for every model, but I would like to see FWD stick around. There’s no need to pay the extra cost if you don’t need AWD.

  3. Guys, the real competitor of 9-5 is not the Audi, because it’s much more expensive.
    The real competitor is (even maybe sounds strange) the Mazda 6 MPS!
    It has 2.3l direct injection turbocharged engine with 260 PS/380 Nm (more torque than 9-5), has a slightly better acceleration, has similar parameters (length, weight, etc.).
    Even it doesn’t have a “premium” image, but it has more reliable image than Saab. All parameters of this car are positioning it higher than the usual Mazda cars.
    And last but not least: it’s AWD and it’s price 25% cheaper than 9-5 Aero! 🙁

  4. yesterday, i heard about the new bmw 3-series: 300-hp! all i could think about was that saab is falling farther behind. (by the way, i’ve never driven a bmw, and have no desire to start.)

    if saab is ever going to be serious competition with the “euro-status symbols” (merc, bmw, etc.), it has to move up in horsepower (among other things).
    fwd won’t allow saab to do that. the power has got to be able to stay on the ground. rwd isn’t appealing–too “nascar.” therefore, i’d like to see awd.

    besides, i tired of being the last one off the line. i feel “gifted” once i get to 40mph; but takes too long to get there.

  5. yesterday, i heard about the new bmw 3-series: 300-hp! all i could think about was that saab is falling farther behind. (by the way, i’ve never driven a bmw, and have no desire to start.)

    if saab is ever going to be serious competition with the “euro-status symbols” (merc, bmw, etc.), it has to move up in horsepower (among other things).
    fwd won’t allow saab to do that. the power has got to be able to stay on the ground. rwd isn’t appealing–too “nascar.” therefore, i’d like to see awd.

    besides, i tired of being the last one off the line. i feel “gifted” once i get to 40mph; but takes too long to get there.

  6. MuzX,

    $40.6k (for the 335i).

    fred,

    if awd is a hoax, i hope saab can stay with fwd but figure out a way to soup-up the horsepower and not have a car that slides all over the place.

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