My 0.02c on those 9-3 photos

These two photos are the ones that give us the most insight into what we’ll be looking at with the MY2008 Saab 9-3 range.



I’ve got to say, the first impression is bloody striking and just magnificent. This is just the aggressive look the 9-3 needed. The latest incarnation of the 9-5 was a little divisive (to say the least!) but so far, every reaction to this image that I’ve read has been totally positive.

The Aero-X influence is unmissable and beautifully applied to the car. Not only does the rounded pressing on the hood give the headlamps some aggressive eyebrows, it is also reminiscent of the old clamshell hoods of Saabs past (Vector 220 points oout in comment that it may actually be a clamshell and looking closely – he may well be right).

The photo above shows some blue/green accents to the headlamps, which give the impression of some Aero-Xism as well, with that channel running at the bottom of the main bulb in toward the grille. One thing I like about the lamps is that they seem to extend further around the side and appear to be rounded off, almost like the pre-MCE 9-5.

There’s a fair bit of blacking out going on in the front there, and I’m not sure that this front end is the one we’ll see on the production model, other than the hood, of course. I was expecting a more Aero-X style grille. Somewhat deeper than what’s pictured here, though this is definitely deeper than the current 9-3 grille, so maybe……

I’ve also heard on the grapevine that some LED daytime driving lamps might be integrated along te top of the regular headlamps. I can’t see any evidence of that here.

A few people in comments have mentioned that the door handles looked pretty similar to the Cadillac BLS door handles. This is true, but if they give me that front end and some performance characteristics that do it justice, then I won’t mind in the least.

My first impression is pure automotive lust. I can’t wait to see an Aero version of this car. It’s going to be absolutely awesome.

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  1. It is striking in an all matt balck finish, but how much chrome edging will there be to the 3 bonnet edge grilles -will the main orfice get a shiny edging, or will it be that and the two side grilles by the headlamps that get shiny treatment too?

    Still think the lower mouth ‘agape’ came off a Walter de Silva design for the revised Seat Ibiza we get in Europe, but
    it sure looks mean on this Saaby.

    I just worry that as with the ‘Dame Edna’ 95 -we get a new front thats all blinging, and a rear end that is unchanged…

    Surely they have to revise the rear end too- sallon and Combi..

  2. Lance, there are plenty of cars having some of the same designelemts, my 05 9-5 is also among them ( ). I could mention some few more. But that’s just how it is, it’s impossible to start from scrath with a design the world hasn’t seen before. Check out the profile on the latest Mercedes ML as an example. If you cover the car from the doorhandles and below most people would say it is a SAAB 9-5. I have tested this on my collegues….. ;/) I am really excited about the new 9-3, but I’m absolutely sure that the pictures ain’t showing us what it will look like when it goes to production.

  3. Just did a check in the automotive register here in Sweden….This car is owned by SAAB in Trollhättan and this is a diesel driven car, 110 kw strong and it was registered 9 January this year.
    Is this a mule for the all new 9-4x? The empty weight is 1630 kg, 200 kg more than a 9-3…

    Length: 4.65 meters
    Width: 1.77 meters

    Swedish info:

    Regnr: BYW331
    Färg: SVART (BLACK)
    Fabrikat: SAAB
    Årsmodell: 2007 (MY)
    Fordonsslag: PB
    Chassinummer: YS3FH51P589000006
    Senaste EU-regbevis: 20070119 (EU-approved)

    Ägare/Brukare (Owner)
    Postnr: 461 80
    Förvärvsdatum: 2007-01-08 (Date of purchase)

  4. And here comes the stuff that didnt fit in the last post….

    Försäkringsuppgifter (Insurance info)
    Försäkringsbolag: ACE
    Försäkringsdatum: 2007-01-08

    Fordonsdata (Vehicles info)
    Fordonsstatus: I trafik (2007-01-12)
    Antal ägare: 1
    Datum för första reg.: 2007-01-09 (Registered)
    Producentansvarig: 556258-8912 (Producer)
    I trafik första gång: 2007-01-12 (First time in traffic)
    Yrkesmässig trafik:
    Fordonet tillverkat:
    Direktimport: Nej
    Utredning: Nej
    Tillfällig registrering: Nej

    Besiktningstermin: 2009-11-01 – 2010-03-31 (Next time to the security check)
    Senast godkända besiktning:
    Föreläggande: Nej
    Körförbud: Nej
    Vägmätarställning, km:

    Skatteuppgifter (Tax info)
    Skattepliktigt: Ja
    Användningsförbud: Nej
    Årsskatt, kr: 5775 (Yearly tax)
    Debitering vid påställning, kr: 0
    Debiterad fordonsskatt, kr: 0
    Kreditering vid avställning, kr: 0
    Debiterad avgift, kr: 0
    Huvuduppbördsmånad: april
    Förfallen skatt/avgift, kr: 0
    Skrotningspremie, kr: 700 (Money back when taken the car out of traffic)

    Vägavgift (kr/år): 0 Betald till och med:

    Tekniska data (Technical info)
    Effekt kW: 110
    Antal passagerare: 4 (Number of passengers)
    Max släpvagnsvikt:
    Max släpvagnsvikt B-behörighet: 1410
    Max lastvikt: 460 (Max loading weight)

    Kopplingsanordning 1:
    Kopplingsanordning 2:
    Däckdimension fram:
    Däckdimension bak: 215/55 R16 93V (Tyre dimension back)
    Kaross: Kombi (03)
    Skattevikt: 1630
    Totalvikt: 2090
    Tjänstevikt: 1630
    Längd: 465
    Bredd: 177
    Drivmedel: DIESEL (Fuel)
    Alternativt drivmedel:

  5. I am excited to see the unmasked version as it is a little difficult to picture exactly how the front is going to look for production. I would imagine that the grille will be chrome. I thought I also read that the strip above the headlights will be chrome as well. My guess is that the chrome on the two portholes of the grille will lead right up to the chrome above the headlights, which I think could be a cool effect – a little less “bling-ed” 9-5, if you will.

    To me, the lower half of the front end looks a lot like the 2004-2005 9-5 Aero front end, which was very attractive.

    Anyways, looks like a promising sneak peak. Hopefully the production model will be impressive.

  6. I’m actually a little disappointed. I was hoping for a more new and ground breaking design. To me it looks like a blend of the 9-3/9-5/9-2x. But I’m sure I will love it when we get high quality pictures where the details shine through. 🙂

  7. Well folks, it’s just a facelift. The chassi itself is the same and there is a rather strict limit to what they can do. Just beeing able to mount some AWD is impressive.

  8. i agree with you arild about the incorporations of all the designs. i feel that they mixed the 9-2x and 9-7x which they should cause both those cars look beautiful from the front.

  9. Chris G,

    I think you’re right about the ’04-’05 9-5 aero front bumper. That’s the first thing I thought of when i saw these pictures. Looks good, I wish they did something with the rear…

    Is the under-picture supposed to be pointing at something important? If thers some kinda differential in the back, it must be tiny, cuz I dont see it..

  10. Not bad, but the “embossing” on the front of the bonnet is not the best part of the car…
    It’s a bit “rough”.

  11. I think the 9-3 Combi concept car that has the same frontbumper as this car; very attractive, with an some extra Aero-X added to it…

  12. Swade you said your first impression was “pure automotive lust”. I am gonna go out on a limb and say this is close to automotive porn, why? The aggressive look to the whole front end is going to get folks looking and anyone who sees this in their rearview mirror is gonna think they are being pursued by a rabid Rottweiler and move out of its way – quickly!!!

    The detailing is magnificent and I think we are looking at the real thing here with blacked out features. Remember the post ’05 pics of the 9-5 that surfaced long before said car went on sale? They were 100pc stop on!

    Swade – I will say it again – you are a god!

  13. I agree with lots of posts above — it looks great, but I think that it could have gone farther toward a unique look.

    About the clamshell hood (front-hinge design), I don’t see it. I appears that the front tapers to the front a little (hard to tell in these photos), which would make a 99/900 hood out of the question. Either way, the contour is a good move. I hate to say it, but Bimmer got there first.

  14. Oh yezzz.
    Back to the roots with some Aero-X Lines:

    Back to the MY05 9-5!
    > the headlights turn round the front
    > the very stylish 9-5 Aero Bumper
    > the hood stretches over the whole engine.

    It looks very aggressive and sporty and is thankfully no design-cut to the old grille:
    the grille made of 3 parts and 2 lights as units. That’s a classic saab front.

    I think we’ll see the aero-x front more consequently adapted on the new 9-5. For the 9-3 facelift this here is the right direction, also concerning to the sideshape and rear – the parts that often rest unchanged when they facelift a model. Just stick an aero-x front on the unchanged 9-3 body would not be the solution to become a balanced design (like the chrome-facelift of the MY06 9-5 for me everytime looks to me as »sticked on«, not designed for the well balances 9-5 body)

    Some disappointment:(
    Here in Germany nearly everyone that looks round my 9-3 sportcombi has only one big problem with the design:
    the white »tuning-style« rearlights.
    I hoped they change it more in the U.S. market style and make it LED-Red or more black-style. The white Rear-Lightdesign is really a problem for many people I know. Even I could accept more regular decent ones.

    But who knows…
    as many of you said: maybe this is not the final design. Dream on…


  15. Assuming for one moment that this is just a Linear / Vector model – what is the Aero version going to be like?

    Droool 🙂

  16. i was hoping it would incorporate more of the aero-x besides the hood crease. for example the aero-x’s lights jutting into the bottom of the side grilles would have been a beautiful inheritance of dna.

    i guess the big news on this one will be the much-needed awd.

    but, as far as design goes, it looks like a change, for the sake of a change; without, trying to maximize the opportunity.

  17. I think that TuuSar has identified the US on this as there does seem to be an appetite for shiny chrome on these vehicles. In Europe it is less common to see acres of chrome on vehicles, it is usually done in a less is more way.

  18. Yeah, but why? It seems that pretty much everyone here dislikes or despises excessive chrome, myself included, regardless of their geographic location. I think it only is acceptable on the grille.

    Also, the BLS door handles to me is a real problem. As Olav points out, there are only a limited number of general car shapes. That is why the details are so important. Headlamps and tail lights, the shape of the mirrors and where they are placed, aerodynamics(hopefully functional),etc. It is these smalls bits and details that allow a car to become distinctive and add or detract from its beauty. Door handles are no exception.

  19. John: I understand what TuuSar was implying. What I’m pointing out is that the tastes in the US are chnaging, and so are the tastes in Europe. We are moving toward each other.

    Really LOOK at US vehicles these days — the only ones with lots of chrome are the gaudy SUVs and pickup trucks. Cars aren’t ‘blinged’ from the factory. And if you think that Europeans don’t bling their cars, I’ve got an archive of counterexamples.

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