Some thoughts on those new MY08 Saab 9-3 Pics

UPDATE: Psycho Dave in comments….

Translated from Saab Turbo Club Sweden forum:

Bad translation:
Please, do not believe in everything you see in these pictures that is shown! Saab mixes and tests a lot on the test cars that are seen out. I have not seen one single picture outside of Saab that is 100% correct!!! Chill out some boys.

Wait with the cheers and talk downs until it is officially shown.


Wow! What an interesting couple of days.

Auto Motor and Sport have been passing these photos around the web like there’s no tomorrow, which is great for us bloggers. I guess they figured they were going to be used anyway eventually so they may as well get some link love in return.

The really interesting thing is the reaction that the photos have received. I’d have to say that the reaction here has been quite positive. The only other places I’ve had time to check out are SaabCentral and Autoblog. I took the SC reaction to be positive as well, though with a few detractors. Autoblog started off with a bunch of dismissive geese flapping their gums about how Saab has been a dead brand walking yada yada yada but as time has gone on there’s been some others willing to stand up and talk some sense.

The images were taken with a cameraphone, apparently by a Trollhattan local. Given that cameraphones are so foggy an imprecise, I thought I’d try and clean them up a little.

These are a little less hazy…..

Again, photo credits to Auto Motor & Sport, where there’s now an English translation of the article as well (thanks to a guy from Autoblog)





First up, let me say that there’s no apparent reason why these would not be genuine shots. Some people have claimed in comments that they look like Photoshop makeovers, but I’d be inclined to disagree.

AM & S know that this car is coming out for public view in less than 2 months. Why expose your name and reputation to so much mockery and distrust by taking a gamble like that on your own site, much less handing them all over the internet?

The second crazy thing, then, is how could Saab be so sloppy in allowing this car to be hanging around with no disguise? Did Anna need to go to the shops for some milk and the new convertible was the only car around?

I just don’t get it.


But if this is it, then I like it a lot.

It’s got that same combination of aggression and classiness that the 99 Turbo had years ago. The 900 Aero, too, actually. Not that it looks like these, but it’s got that same attitude about it that they had.

The chrome/steel/aluminium attached in various spots is going to dissuade some, but I think it’s been applied very well. I’m even open to the strip at the back, though I’d also be open to it not being there.


If there’s three crucial elements to a remodelling, let’s call them exterior, interior and mechanical.

We’ve got the exterior. This convertible’s looking fantastic and it was the ugliest of the all the spypic vehicles we saw. I can’t wait to see the SportCombi and most of all – the sedan. Not one sedan has been photographed yet.

We’ve also got a fair idea about the mechanicals. An improved hi-po model of up to 320hp with the new Haldex XWD system. Of course, there’ll be the usual stable of 4 cylinder offerings in both diesel and BioPower as well.

The great unknown is the interior – will there much of an update there? With the current 9-3 interior being only a year old, I fear that it may be around for some time to come.

As Meatloaf sang so many years ago – two out of three ain’t bad.


This combination of a new exterior and greater performance is going to turn some heads. Most people don’t need a 320hp XWD sedan, but opinions are often formed based on a flagship model – especially in the motoring press.

If this car comes out with great styling and the engineering package properly sorted then it’s going to be a great year to be a Saab buyer (and blogger) in 2008!

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  1. I love the look, the only reservation I have personally is that it might look a little nose heavy. The front end seems to be longer, but the back is still the same length. I would love to see a side on profile shot to clarify this.

    I do like the front and rear immensely, I am just hoping that the overall balance isn’t ruined by a jutting front overhang.

  2. The fronts OK, but does look somewhat nose heavy. I cant wait to see it face on though.

    Im not so sure about the back. Saab always seem to lose it a bit when designing the cars behind.
    I do like the chrome strip generally (as on the combi’s) but it doesnt seem to work on this as its just not wide enough. The inside part of the rear lights, could have done with being totally redesigned (shape wise) by slimming them down, and it would have worked better.

    But i do hope they’ve got some funky LED lights at the rear (ala A6 estate xenon plus jobbies) to redeem themselves ;).

    Roll on the official photos , especially the Saloon ones!

  3. Yup, totally agree with above comments. Always a risk commenting on spypics, but if this is it, a) it’s better than we feared b) it is the chrome job I exopected c)I don’t foresee any LEDs front d) the rear lights on the ‘vert remain too large as they always have been! e)the front does look slightly out of proportion now.

    but let’s wait swee – the good news is it will revivie the 9-3 for a couple of years til it is replaced and it will at last stand out in the crowd 🙂

  4. From

    Snälla, tro inte på vad ni ser på alla dessa bilder som visas! Saab blandar och ger friskt på de provbilar som syns ute. Har ännu inte sett en enda bild utanför saab som är 100% rätt!!! Tagga ner lite nu pöjkar.

    Vänta med att hurra eller dissa tills den är visad officiellt.

    Bad translation:
    Please, do not believe in everything you see in these pictures that is shown! Saab mixes and tests a lot on the test cars that are seen out. I have not seen one single picture outside of Saab that is 100% correct!!! Chill out some boys.

    Wait with the cheers and talk downs until it is officially shown.

  5. Can´t wait to see “The Stig” on BBC´s TopGear drive a 9-3 XWD with loads of punch round their test track!!! And see Jeremys wild n crazy look as he does the roadtest. If they ever test it that is??? Ofcourse they will. And they will love it! Jeremy… Are you reading this?? 😉


  6. if saab were to lose the chrome on the 2 sideopenings in the grille it wopuld look much better imho. or lose the chrome alltogether as on aero x. also have to agree that the nose looks a bit big for the convertible.

  7. I think a fair amount of Photoshop work has been applied to both pics. Some of the details just look too sloppy to be real-world cars.

    For example, look at the corner tip of the front lamps, it has a few extra pixels of chrome.

    The “coolest tail lamps ever” on the rear are a definite Photoshop: first of all, they look patterned, which is 100% Photoshop, and second what the hell is up with the red corner that just seems blurry and out of place and function?

  8. The chrome below the grill on the front-end needs to go. The clamshell hood looks more “classic” SAAB so I like that, but overall I wish they’d move the front wheels closer to the nose of the hood (or vice versa). Sadly the cool tail lights will probably never pass muster for US roads and we’ll get something much more pedestrian looking – I base this on the dumbing down of the Sportscombi tail lights. I’m not a convertible guy but SAAB should definitely offer custom colors for the tops on those cars – the blue is nice and would look good on silver as well, particularly with a matching interior.

  9. The back end really does remind me of a Nissan Altima:

    They’re not exactly the same…but, like others, I think the back end is probably a photochop. I don’t really care if it is, though, because I’m sure it’ll look great when we see it for real.

    Also, as for the chrome strip, many GM cars have that (New Chevys in particular). This one looks very similar to some I’ve seen (lending more credence to the photochop theory).

  10. I believe the agle of the shot “lies” a bit. The rear tip of the lamp cluster is way closer to the wheel than in the current model so the front end might actually be no longer than before.
    My dream car is now (in realistic terms) a MY 2008 9-3 SC with 2.4 liter 5-pot diesel, automatic and XWD. One of those this way, pretty please 😉

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