What a bumper week it was for 9-3 watchers.
I first broke the news of a re-skinned Saab 9-3 for MY2008 back in October 2006 and prior to it breaking I don’t think anyone had an idea of how big or how fundamentally different this new 9-3 would be.
Make no mistake, this will be a huge boon for Saab in 2008.
The week started with a look around the Haldex website, where we managed to gather some information about what they’ve been doing, the crucial part of which was the development of a fourth generation all wheel drive system that was actually referred to on the Haldex site as “XWD”.
As it happened, I received an email from Jacob, who’d done a search and picked up that Saab Automobile AB had trademarked the term “XWD” in July 2006 for use in standard characters on automobiles, sport utility vehicles, trucks, vans, engines therefore and parts thereof.
Then the photographs came and all hell broke loose:
Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet ran this photo and a series of others showing different views of a test mule that was spotted in northern Sweden. This image shows the obvious Aero-X influence that’s been incorporated into the front of the new 9-3.
It gets a deeper grille. The headlamps appear to be more rounded at the sides and there’s some solid talk of a strip of LEDs running across the top of the headlamp as daytime running lights.
The hood is now a more Saab traditional clamshell shape, though it will likely still open from the back rather than the front.
Other images, much clearer, debuted at Left Lane News shortly afterwards (and were subsequently removed from TS). These images showed that the 9-3 will get flatter shaped doors, with handles similar to those on the Cadillac BLS.
The front and rear bumpers on the SportCombi mules that were sighted appear to be new as well and the rear lights of the SportCombi have been rumoured to feature LEDs as an option.
Finally, there was this photo, from which a friend of mine and a former Saab tech could identify the rear differential – the first proof in photos that the XWD system was in testing.