2008 Saab 9-3 – Here it is!

UPDATE: Real Pics HERE!!

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Djup Strupe has been at it again……

Here’s the first official teaser pics to come in to my inbox. These are still CGI’s rather than photos, but are very, very close to what we’ll see next month. You may remember that when the Aero-X was coming, we got some initial CGI’s prior that were very close to the real thing. Think of those in that way. These are great – the real thing’s going to be even better!

I gotta say – I’m absolutely loving this. Right from the first pics we saw this looked more aggressive and purposeful. It’s a great evolution and combined with the mechanical changes (the XWD option in particular) this is going to be a great thing for Saab.

Click to enlarge. And there’s more info below…..

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This is not just a facelift. Things we know about the MY2008 Saab 9-3:

The new Saab 9-3 for 2008 is set to make its international debut at the Saab Festival in Trollhattan, Sweden, on Sunday June 10th, 2007. This will be 60 years to the day since the first Saab model was unveiled.

The 2008 Saab 9-3 will have an option for a new all-wheel-drive system, for which they’ve registered the name XWD. It’s a new generation Haldex system. The car will also feature a new active stability control program.

The new MY2008 car will likely be available shortly after it’s unveiling, but it’s believed that the XWD versions of the car will not be available until later in 2007, most likely October or November.

There is also a new project in house called Black Turbo, which will bring the output to a rumoured maximum of between 290 and 320hp. Obviously this will also make use of the XWD system to put the power to the ground. This is believed to be available from March or April 2008 (oh, it’s so hard to wait!).

There is also believed to be a twin-turbo diesel offering on the way for the European market. It’s believed to be similar to the Opel Antara Concept engine which produced 212hp and 400Nm of torque.

The full body of knowledge on the 2008 Saab 9-3 is available here.

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64 Comments

  1. Wow, let me be the first to say that this looks awesome! Sweet front end, the tail lamps haven’t won me over yet but, with a little time anything can happen.

  2. I’m really happy with the way it looks 🙂 And I’m quite sure it will look even better in the flesh!

    But will they touch so lightly on the rear-end?

    Cheers!

  3. think it ooks great, even thou i could do some more bruched alluminium on the lower bumper and maybe LEDS.

    Anyone who knows when the XC version will be presented?

  4. I love the progression. I am, however, glad that those tail lights won’t be coming to the USA. I prefer the old lights.

  5. Excellent, it looks better than i’d hoped. The rear looks as sleek as with those lights. Roll on the new 9-5 :>)

  6. I don’t like brushed aluminum. It’s just a fad, and the last thing I want Saab to do is follow fads. Maybe as an option.

  7. I don’t know about those rears.. if theyre clear they better be gorgeous, otherwise they scream cheap. I like the black border around the lights if what I am seeing is correct, it will make the lights look a bit smaller and less Aleroish 😉

  8. It’s a hell of an awesome Saab !!! This will go in to history as one of the best, no doubt. Those wheels on the rear shot are magnificent now that we are on that theme. If only they could produce a 2 door coupe the sales will simply sky rocket. It wouldn’t be that hard migrating from the cabrio. All there needs is the will to do so !!! I will be certainly planning to get the AWD one for sure.

  9. So… I graduated college last May, can I get a raise in time to trade in the ’97 900 hatch and get this thing? I love it, but the GM interior is such a waste, I hope they made some changes that can rival the looks of this great exterior.

  10. 1. the u-shaped hood crease is missing;

    2. good–no door strips;

    3. the new lines give the impression of more overhang. hmm. it’s probably a small price to pay for more “aggression.”; and

    4. hypothetical wishlist: thinner or no “wraparounds.”

  11. I’m really liking it – aggressive but not over the top. I can’t wait for the official official pics now!

  12. It looks very good. Even though rear lights are exactly the same as we´ve seen on those spy shots. And BLS doorhandles are there. Canges to the rear are not that visible. If those will be the bumpers, it will be even more expensive in the future to fix scraped front lip.

    “1. the u-shaped hood crease is missing;”

    To me it seems that the shape is actually there. It´s just not so visible from this angle and lightning.

    Let´s wait for the official list of changes. I bet there will be quite many. XWD + reasonably priced twin T diesel and you can sign me up too!

  13. ‘The new MY2008 car will likely be available shortly after it’s unveiling’
    The SaabUSA website lists the current pricing as good until July 9, 2007.
    Might the pricing for the ’08 be introduced on July 10?

  14. And here was me all worried that they would bugger it up! Looks like Saab is still my favorite car after all!

    I think it looks great!

    Zippy is happy!!

  15. Swade, Are you able to verify that these are leaked official cgi’s, as their is a number of issues in the images that do not match up with tht “spy” photos.

    1. 9x is correct about the u shaped crease. although it may look like it is still there it is only the curve of the existing bonnet (look at the edge of the grill) it is not hard edged like the spy shots.

    2. the spy shots show chrome trim around the driving lights, even the spy shots you can see ripples in the black, meaning that it is tape over.

    3. The the indicators colour and configuration in the light clusters is different to the spy shots

    4. The bottom lip of the front bumper is thiner in the middle then the corners on the spy photos. Thesse show the same thickness right across.

    I am also hoping against hope that they are going to update the rear end of the sedan, as being the oldest of the three shapes it needs to be modenised some what more then just new lights and a splash of silver.

  16. I also need to add a fifth.

    5. the whole bumper surounds of the driving lights is different especialy the configuration of the pillars between the driving lights and the lower grill.

  17. Trent, I’m quite confident of the source of these images and the fact they’re actual GM cgi’s.

    Go back to the Aero-X category of the site and have a look at the cgi’s we got first up of that car. They’re were also somewhat rudimentary compared with photos but accurate. Lacking in detail is probably an accurate description.

    From what I’ve heard in the quiet of my inbox, the AM&S pictures of the Convertible are the most accurate pictures there are in terms of actual photos.

  18. I suppose the inglorious task of criticizing our new baby falls to me, since everyone else seems to have fallen in love. Seriously, where are the real Aero-X headlights? These are altogether too pointy and weird. It’s not as bad as some of those cameo shots, but it’s not what I like. And those rear lights. All we can do is blank the lights out? The black strips? Come on. The 9-5’s taillights are derivative, but at least they’re deriving a European car, not a star of Pimp My Ride. I was hoping for true frosted tail lamps a la the Mercury Mountaineer or the Saab 9-5 E100 concept.
    It does look more modern, but to me, the current 9-3, in its unsinister, wedge-shaped goodness, is the true classic.

  19. In that case Swade, it is only going to look better. Currently have the house on the market to free up money for one.

  20. MJL:

    Those weird headlights are cool, they look like the headlights on my older Saab…I mean, they never said that every element of Aero-X would be put into future Saabs…as much as I like the Aero-X, it was pretty gaudy for a Saab and I’m glad that they’re not Aero-X-ing the cars totally. I mean, the grille was the only thing I DIDN’T like about the Aero-X (that’s just taste, though), so I’m glad they didn’t use TOO much of it here.

    As for the tail lights, I’m not getting them here anyway, but I’m glad about that…I think frosted taillights are oogly, and I think the ones on those cgi’s are oogly too.

  21. I don’t want to be rude, but what exactly is “Aero-X” about this styling? It looks more like they incorporated design features of the Darth Vader 9-5 than the Aero-X.

    Swade, any chance you can post pics of the Aero-X next to these CGIs and circle commonalities between the Aero-X and this car’s styling?

    Also, is there any interior re-design? Did they improve the materials that everyone complains about?

    The overall exterior styling evokes thoughts of the Acura TL to me. All they did with the rear is change the taillights and add that silver strip? Why didn’t they incorporate some of the Aero-X rear end (which is one of the things I really like about the Aero-X)?:
    http://blog.vehiclevoice.com/Saab_06_aeroX_bl_rear.jpg

    I’m incredibly underwhelmed. Well, I guess I can look forward to seeing if the next-gen 9-5 returns to some of SAAB’s roots…

  22. If we look at other competitors out there everyone is following the others and the “trends” that the market is dictating. No doubt that everyone’s product has to follow the trends to sell. I have no doubt that the new 9-3 AWD options will have to give Audi’s A4 equivalents a big run for their money as this will be the bench mark for pricing. We consumers may be in to get some good bargains as the opposition will not allow too much sales going to Saab. I was under the clear understanding the new generation 9-5 is the one that will get most of the Aero X design approach. The 9-3 was only going to get some bits and have the AWD as a major upgrade. In any case this will be a huge step forward for Saab anyway.

  23. Gripen’s bummed-outness is a matter of personal taste, Joe, but the Aero-X comparo disappointment is based on something else.

    I don’t know how much is Ok to divulge, but Mike was basically told quite explicitly from someone inside Saab that the 9-3 would take on quite a bit of the Aero-X’s design language.

    There’s an interpretation of it here in this new car, but it’s far from what Mike was told it would be, hence his invitation for the comparo (which i’m not going to do as the (lack of) direct comparison is obvious enough).

    I completely understand his position.

  24. Totally agree w/ Gripen1985. Everyone keeps saying there are the Aero X cues and I simply dont see it. Aero X was beautifully radically. This is bland and boring. When I saw this, I also immediately thought of the Acura TL. So rather than replicating cues from the Aero X, looks like SAAB is replicating Honda. I hope we’re not relying on this 9-3 to bring SAAB to profitablility. With this **yawn** design, it aint gonna happen.

  25. I think we are going to argue for a while on the similarities with the Acura TL. This model is not available Down Under. We have the Euro Accord which is somehow like the Poor Cousins Honda version of the Acura TL. Since its release here (about 5 years or so ago)this model had many similarities to the older 9-3 SS. Many locals saw the Euro Accord as following the 9-3 in many areas. So, who’s following who ???

  26. What, did you think they were going to rip the front and back ends off of the Aero-X and stick them on the 9-3? You were kidding yourself. The middle port in the grille droops down a little bit more than before and the headlights are more aggressive. That’s the Aero-X influence.

  27. I’m not excited by this. I see mostly a copying of design trends developed by other manufacturers (BMW, Audi) over the past 5 years – nothing innovative, just “me too”.

    But I’m happy to have a site that posts these images so quickly!

  28. I am salivating 😉 It looks absofu**inlutely fabulous. As I posted earlier and now more than ever I want a twin-turbo diesel XWD SC.

  29. BEAUTIFUL, but I could do without the clear tailight lens (unless they’re ice blue like on that 9-5 60th anniv. ed).

    Anyone want to go in 50/50 with me to buy one ? I’ll promise to only drive it on the days that end with “Y”.

  30. Well i must be going blind. Apart from the fact that it’s a 4 door car in the same segment size wise as the BMW 3, Audi A4, Honda Accord i really can’t see any resemblance to them. I’d love to see the new sport combi.

  31. Paul, I am with you on the resemblance part. This new car is distinctively a Saab no matter what else everyone sees in it. If you are looking for monkeys you may see monkeys as opposed to humans !!!

  32. What a car! Somehow it’s not much different but on the other side it’s completely new! I love it! How the sport combi will look like?

  33. For the dates … what I heard is that the last date for ordering factory customized MY07 (= non-stock piece) is June, at least here by our European dealers.

  34. I don’t think this is the final look, the lower section of the front bumper is totally different to the spy shots. but it’s a really nice computer work. Z!

  35. How much do consumer tastes (target and real) dictates the design language of design houses (Giorgio Giugiaro, Carozzeira Pininfarina, Bertone and etc) or designers for lack of a better word?

    I fail to understand hoopla of I do not like this piece or the interpretation of the AeroX them here. Perhaps we need to find out what the brief was and then comment on the application thereof.

  36. I just can’t express how disappointed I am seeing Saab walking the “big-grill-way”. Of course, the design itself doesn’t look that bad. But in truth, the visual impression a car leaves always consists of a combination between the design impression and the “feeling” a car describes through its lines and curves, which is of course different for every person. Different kinds of forms and attributes are connected with different emotions and previous experiences by each observer, and to me, the new 9-3 is nothing I can connect with the experiences I’m connecting the current model to.

    I prefer jetting past cars with “aggressive” grills with ease over having such a show-off-grill myself. I also liked the old tail lights alot more, as Saab didn’t apply this milky-bluish touch we saw, but instead made them clear like those cheap after-market tuning lights available for nearly every car in Europe.
    The overall sleekness, coolness and discretion of the car has been ruined in my eyes, and now it could happen that when I get into my 9-3 in the future – if it was a new one – I’m not the only one aware that I’m in truth boarding a jet fighter.

    The key values described in one of the recent Trollhattan newsposts have never really been significant to me, I can get performance, comfort, etc. from other brands too. The only things that ever really made a difference were the emotions.

  37. And that is precily where the hiccup lies: emotions are distinct to individuals. The balance the designer and the manufacturer has to strike is to please a wider audience (to garner in the net profit), including the softer issues of emotions when you get behind the wheel. Miss that, and you most likely will have to can the project. Jeremy Clarkson said he could not understand why every single driver behind a Saab wheel had that smile or grin on his/her face, and at the end of blasting the MY02 9-5 Aero, he intimated he couldn’t get it. Perhaps many of you are simply just not getting it. At any rate, let’s wait for the real beast in flesh and over a mug of welldrawn goatmilk (a delicacy in this part of the world), discuss the design language and what we have in the metal.

  38. Oh my god, you’re so right! It IS an Acura TL. I never saw it before now! And really now, those taillights. Every time I see them I get a little more disappointed.

  39. I was told flat-out by a high-level SAAB employee when discussing the spy shots I had seen at the time, “do you like the Aero-X? Because the 9-3 IS Aero-X”.

    That would imply to me we should be staring the Aero-X in the face with this refresh.

    He also did say that the evolution would be eventual, with the refresh getting some Aero-X design language and the new 9-5 getting even more.

    I’m not the world’s biggest Aero-X fan (I don’t dislike it either), so it’s really not that much of a disappointment to me, I’m just underwhelmed. I was expecting a lot more.

    This car needs to increase sales. Not short term. Long term. I see the inclusion of AWD taking customers who would have normally bought the AUDI A4 Quattro or the BMW 328xi or 335xi. I really don’t think the styling alone is going to convert a lot of people. That’s just MHO, as always though.

    This refresh was not really the styling overhaul I was hoping for. Everything but the front end was only lightly modified (removed strips from doors to make them look more flat, slab-sided and taller waistline, added Acura TL/Chrysler Sebring/Cadillac BLS/every-other-car’s door handles (yet another SAABism lost…), changed the body colored strip on the rear to chrome and added Fast-and-Furious cheap-looking clear taillights).

    What SAAB could have done more than anything to increase sales would be to increase reliability, quality, and interior materials. Those are the three things people complain about most about our SAABs and I don’t know that any of them were addressed with this refresh. I hope I’m proven wrong.

    Man, I sound negative. To my friends at SAAB, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. But this is how I feel right now. Hopefully you can change my mind at the SOC when I see it in person, but I was already promised I’d be “wowed” when I see the final result and so far the only thing that “wows” me is the fact that SAAB appears to have ignored the most important things they had to address.

  40. Joe Lobo, actually the Euro Accord is the cousin of the Acura TSX here in the States. The Acura TL is the equivalent of the U.S. domestic version of the Honda Accord.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acura_TL#2004_.283G_TL.29

    For better pics do a Google Image search for “Acura TL rear”. I specify the rear because the back of the two seem VERY similar to me, though the overall shape is similar.

  41. damn, with every new photo looks the my08 better and better….
    very aggresiv style….YEAH, YEAH, YEAH…. and thanx for the cool swedish style rear light….
    except the new door handles .. BÄH…this are not saab like…

  42. ..the CGI addresses my main issues with the appearance of the new 9-3. The new hood doesn’t appear aerodynamically clean..and SAAB is supposed to be an aircraft manufacturer…

  43. Guys,

    I’d like to hear more about mechanical changes to the linear or equivalent as this is the model i will be looking at. Any new on this?

  44. Guys,

    I’d like to hear more about mechanical changes to the linear or equivalent as this is the model i will be looking at. Any news on this?

  45. Gripen, you are dead right. If SAAB haven’t addressed the concerns i’ve read from existing owners it will be the first nail in the SAAB coffin. I would hate to see this. It is up to SAAB fans to coomunicate this loud and clear…

  46. Gripen, you are dead right. If SAAB haven’t addressed the concerns i’ve read from existing owners it will be the first nail in the SAAB coffin. I would hate to see this. It is up to SAAB fans to communicate this loud and clear…

  47. Is anyone else having browser fits with this post? All day long this post in particular (and for the first time ever) has caused weird pane freezes on my browser. I have to close the window and open another to recover as any site I visit afterward is also messed up.

    I’m running Firefox on Mac OS X. Is anyone else experiencing this problem? If it’s just me I apologize for wasting your time.

  48. No problem here on IE and none last night on Firefox and OS-X. The server’s been going overtime and done around 22,000 pages in the last 24 hours so maybe it’s occasionally taking a breather, but that shouldn’t effect other pages, should it?

    I know very little about these things.

  49. I recently had troubles with my local SAAB dealer and they ordered a car for me giving me first chance at it when it came in if I wanted it. Now that I see this 08 – there is no way I want the 07 (which is already two weeks late)! I do have a couple questions about the 08 somebody may hopefully be able to shed some light on . . .

    1) PRICE? has anyone heard if this car wil be similarly priced to the 07 models or are we looking at a hefty price increase?

    2) I cj write early in this section of comments that the US version will not have the black trim on the tail lights –why not, what will they have?

    3) and this is a big one – any idea of availability dates???

  50. Unfortunately newSAAB, we don’t have answers to any of those questions and I could only speculate.

    1. I’m guessing that there will be a slight price increase on this car, but nothing that will put it at a competitive disadvantage with the competition. From what the common speculation has been the first ’08s we’ll see will not have AWD as an option, so I’m guessing will be Linear or Arc trim. The Aero will likely have AWD so I don’t expect to see it until well into calendar year 2008. Then there’s the “Black Turbo”, whatever they decide to call it (Viggen?) which should also be out in calendar year ’08 as a special edition, much like the SPG was to the 900 and the Viggen was to the NG900/9-3. I’m figuring the Aero and Black Turbo with the AWD will be MUCH more expensive than the current Aero. Probably closer to what an S4 costs, but a little less. However, with the ’07 you just bought I’m guessing you got a very good deal on it. You won’t be able to get such a good discount on an ’08. I can’t say this enough: these are all GUESSES on my part.

    2. I think CJ was referring to the taillights not having the clear treatment here in the U.S. As we saw with the 9-3 SportCombi, U.S. DOT regulations don’t allow for those clear-type lenses so we get special “normal” red lenses here.

    3. Nobody knows availability, but I think I’ve read some speculation (perhaps here) that they’ll start selling June 10th. The SAAB Festival in Sweden is June 7th through 10th and on the 10th there’s supposed to be a “special event” which everyone speculates will be the unveiling to the public of the 9-3 refresh. So it would make sense that they would start selling them on that date (the exact 60th Anniversary of SAAB Automobile).

    There’s supposed to be some special unveiling in the U.S. at the SAAB Owner’s Convention in late August, which I’m guessing will be the U.S. debut of the 9-3 refresh, but that doesn’t make sense as they would have already been on sale for more than a month (and three months from our first official viewing of pictures). Maybe the U.S. won’t start selling them until late August, but the ROW will get them in June?

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