First Sedan pic!!

Here’s a first look at the MY08 design as applied to the sedan.

The pictures were taken by “Lind” and posted to the Saab Turbo Club Sweden forum. I’ve reproduced one photo here, but there’s a few more there at STCS.




It really does (sort of) look like these are being put there to be seen a bit. Come on….the car’s just parked on a corner with a few bikes hanging around nearby? It’s got to be either deliberate or somewhat careless.


And a word about reproducing pictures…..

There’s various services that hunt around and take pictures like these to sell them to magazines etc. They’re generally watermarked as such and appear on commercial websites that have paid around US$50 or so per picture. If a Saab is featured on one of these I will generally show a portion of the photo and link back to the source so that people can view the entire shot(s).

This photo (and two others) were published without assertions of ownership on a public forum of which I’m signed in as a member. Without such an assertion of ownership or commercial interest, I’ve published one of the shots here with a link back to the source so that people can view the rest of the shots.

If this isn’t OK, can someone please let me know. I’m just trying to serve the fuller interest of the online Saab community.

You may also like


  1. I LOVE IT.

    Though I have to say, Richo, that there will probably be chrome. Just as there’s tape over the LEDs above the headlights, there’s also likely tape over the chrome of the grille.

    I hope not, but wouldn’t be surprised. Still, an AWESOME front. It’s mean.

  2. Yeah, I have to say I like the way the current one looks a lot more, what the heck is up with that huge grill? All i can say is that I hope when they re-design it in a few years, it’ll look like a car again.

  3. And still no rear end shot! This is a deliberate ‘leak’, the rear is being held back as it must be more of a change than the simple clear lens/silver strip we have seen on the ‘vert (let’s hope so anyway, that looked like a very low-cost cheapo way to update the vert).

    Also am I the only who WANTS chrome; perhaps I am one of the older ones who remembers when Saab certainly were not shy of chrome 😉

    IMHO the new ’06 9-5 was a great job on the front-end , rather less susceesful on the rear (shouldn’t have tried to copy BMW that time)…. Hopefully the 9-3 SS will not copy BMW the same way?

  4. Chrome is good, Americans like brightwork. It would be nice if the chrome trim was a standalone option though, because I know a lot of Saab people hate it.

    I, for one, lament the passing of true American brightwork (along with true two-tone paint). I regret that I missed the golden age of American cars. But that’s neither here nor there.

    I love it. It looks agressive, but not stupid, and it doesn’t look too much like its platform mates. I LOVE the headlights, they resemble the ones on my 900 and look much more imposing than the ones on the current model. I also love the clamshell hood. Oh, if only I had $35,000.

  5. I need to be quicker with my comments.

    I hate hate hate BMW’s back ends and I severely hope Saab doesn’t try to rip them off.

  6. Absoultely Jeff – wouldn’t be so bad, but even BMW has now realised how ugly its rears have been and is starting to change them (not necessarily for the better vis 3-series, but it starts to make the 9-5 rear (and hopefully NOT this 9-3) , look tired, passe and pastiche.

  7. Yeah there is some tape there. Look in the side grills, you can’t see between the luevers because of the tape. The thing that ruins it for me are those black bumper moldings, i think they ablsolutely break things up. The lower air dam looks great. I like the way the grill makes a V shape and the air dam makes an upside down V, it make the front look like an X. Sweet headlamps, can’t wait to see the rest of the car.

  8. I wonder why they are being so careless about leaving these things out in plain sight. It makes me wonder if they don’t have some sort of other little surprise planned.

    Also, my vote goes for a chrome grille.

  9. Okay, let me amend my statement:

    As long as the chrome doesn’t look like it does on the new 9-5 (tacky), I’ll be fine with it. Chrome’s not necessarily the evil, but it’d better fit in aesthetically, or otherwise it’s just like looking at someone with a big silver or gold front tooth- nice but a little too out of place!

  10. guys, enough with the chrome, this is grill has a direct resemblance to the aero x, which I have not heard. “that car would look so much better if i had a full black grill”. love the crome, just don’t go overboard like an old daewoo which were famous for their over chromed grills. Anyway if you have such a huge dislike of chrome you could always get it painted black. Also the bump strips are just tape they will not be there on the final model.

  11. Could be, Jeff. Pretty hard to tell from that front-on view though, and there’s no plate at the front like there is on the new pic.

  12. The new look makes the car nose heavy.

    And a LED strip, just like Audi already has introduced…? Is Saab nothing more than lookalikes nowadays?

  13. i like the bonnet but that grille is just way too big. the chrome on the new 9-5 is pretty awful too, but the old style, smaller chrome grille somehow just looks… right.

  14. Couple of things.

    Those new wheels look awesome! Loving them!!

    And also, the interior, I haven’t seen that two tone leather before. Yes there are seat inserts in the current option list, but these two tone seats are a whole lot different are they not?

    My ’07 vert will be with me within a week or two and my next rotation will be a ’08 model vert (around about October time). Looking forward to doing a comparison on both models.

  15. by the looks of it, by zooming in on the photos, the interior looks unchanged, which is a little disapointing but expected. I agree that these photos look staged. notice how the rear end has been cut out of the side shot. Almost every person out there with a camera would have placed the car in the centre of the picture. Also, notice the door handles as feared earlier with the combi photos.

  16. I also think this is such an obvious plant.

    The very fact that there is not picture of the rear virtually confirms it, as anyone who knows that this is the ’08 model and is aware enough to take a picture, is also probably aware enough that the rear is yet to be seen in any spyshot. Heck, it would be the first pic I would have taken if there.

  17. A step in the wrong direction I think. About the best I can say is it will look best in black, which will hide the grilles and joints.

    I’ll reserve opinion on the chrome. It could add some class if done right, or it could like like an ostentatious Buick.

    I continue to have the same problem that I had with the previous pictures. It looks like a jumble of thrown together, immitation parts by several people in a hurry. The parts don’t form a coherent whole. The don’t look like they were designed to work together. And to me, that’s offensive coming from a purportedly Swedish design house.

  18. Silver Aero,

    I have NO IDEA why you’re looking back there, but I don’t think it is. It looks like volvo v50 and vw bug had a baby, and that’s it.

  19. more more more!! i want more pictures! wow am I loving the new look, I can’t wait to see it without the chrome, those gas station shots a few weeks back were a nice teaser — And look at those WHEELS! Finally no strange designs, giving BMW a run for their wheels.. I really like em.. GO SAAB!

  20. Where does the edge of the hood detach from the rest? I always thought it would somehow open at the same lines that the c900 hoods open, but unless it comes forward, I don’t see it doing that.

    The line that splits the front light lense from the side corners, follows all the way up the hood. I guess it’s gona open there? 🙁

  21. I like it a lot but, I still think it looks like a 04-05 9-5. I prefer the 04-06 from the side profile but, I prefer this 9-3 from the front with the chrome accents that was shown some weeks ago.

  22. Those wheels are horrible. Long live the 5 spoke Aero!!!

    Still too early to tell. These shots tell us nothing more than we already know.

    Let’s hope the official pics are released soon. I think people say next week, right?

  23. Hi All,

    I think the grille could do with some reduction but its not bad and looks good. Chrome is a great touch as long as it doesn’t dominate.

    As for the hood, sorry but YUCK. I have said this befor but it looks like a tupperware lid. Please SAAB, get rid of it.

    It is a blight on a car which was coming along nicely. Have a look at the side-on shot of the car, you’ll see what i mean. It doesn’t look like it belongs, especially when you match it up with the rear.

  24. Saaboy, I’m kinda unsure about what you were trying to say about the hood, but all hoods hinge from the rear next to the windshield – the front hinging, like the c900, won’t be coming back. However I dont know if you mentioned this, but there are TWO lines running up the side of the hood, so I’m unsure where the hood ends and the body of the car begin. Obviously the prominent line is the one following the clamshell form, but theres a smaller line that follows the same form of the current hood. So this begs the question.. is the hood going to be clamshell or the same as now, and why two lines? Are we going to have a “fake” clamshell hood? That would be the lamest idea ever. Anyways I think this is a very big deal, I’m going to look over the other spy shots that we have seen and see if there is any consistancy.

  25. Either Saaboy’s writing to himself now, or Seth misnamed his comment, directly above this one.

    Anyway, the line on the top, soming out of the headlamps, so to speak, it believed to be a fake (like the sidestrips). It gives an impression of the old hood to someone glancing at the car.

    I believe the real hood line will be the clamshell one.

    These fake thin lines have been present on previous images we’ve seen too.

  26. I´ve got nothing new really to point out, but one thing I´m wondering is that present version has different front spoiler lip for Aero and other models. So how it will be in a future? Are we now looking only the aero front, because it seems that the lip only cannot make big difference anymore. I hope all the versions will get this bumper with lower grille as we´ve seen on the pictures.
    I´m still a bit suspicious about the led lights? Is there really such hidden under the mask, or is it just chrome line as it seems to be on those convertible shots? Anyway, the more I look to those pics the more I like the new front. It´s not too much different from the previous ones, especially 9-5 ´05. The hood looks also good, except the “old” opening line. If the hood will open now wider, I don´t understand why there´s the old line still visible. I hope that there´s still something more to show us when we see the real version.

    About the other post of one 4wd registered to Germany. I´d be more supprised if Saab had not tested 4wd version for a longer time. Like more than a year, or so. I believe that “mules” with ´06 or ´07 look has been running around for a while already. Hopefully we´ll see a really good decent 4wd system, not only a mar-keting trick or some poor unreliable system.

    I guess this facelift is quite important to saab, because 9-5 is getting older and selling less all the time. There´s still some years for the 9-3 to keep up with others.

  27. …looking at this again, i think the most aesthetically displeasing of this design is where the stamping of the hood is raised. I can live with the rest, but the shape around the middle of the hood is awful.

  28. Craig: You’re like the only person who doesn’t like the clamshell hood, which is cool, but since it’s totally awesome, I doubt Saab will get rid of it. It’s not supposed to look completely perfect, it’s supposed to be practical. And badass.

  29. To adD to what swade is saying, if you zoom in on the photos you can also see CROME glisening from cracks in the tape.

  30. The wheels are in my opinon not up to Saab’s usual standard. I checked the licence plate on the car and it’s a 110kW diesel. Some of the blacked out grille will probably reveal some chrome or better yet a brushed finish since chrome is so dated…

  31. Those side grills dont just look taped, they look like “fake” parts made just for the test vehicles.

    My bet is the production side grill look very different from this.

    and on the chrome or no-chrome note, haven’t saab grills been chrome since the 60’s?

  32. I hope those are LEDS under that tape above the head lights and just not chrome. The LEDS would stand out alot especially in early nights. I love the new Grill! I hope the Rear of the car will blow us away! For those that dont like the design of the AERO-X. It did win best of show at Geneva auto show last year FYI. Thats is a huge feat for Saab winning over the exotic cars like Ferrari.

  33. Jeff,

    Far from being the only person not linking the hood design, i don’t see how its design makes it practical.

    If i wanted a car this ‘practical’ i’d buy a camry.

    I remember well the clamshell hoods in saabs of the late 1980s. They didn’t look bad but they really showed up even the slightest misalignment of the hood.

    I’m cool that you guys like it, i just don’t. Unless there are some worthwhile mechanical improvements the MY07 for me.


  34. Oops, sorry swade that was my comment, not paying attention to what I was doing… how did you know? 🙂

  35. Guys,

    Just to illustrate my point, i read that many are getting excited about the aero-X concept and its influences on future designs.

    Would you apply this hood (or anything like it) design on the aero X?

  36. Well, personally, I think it looks better. I said it was convenient because bigger hood = more space to poke around in the engine bay. My car has a clamshell and it looks fine. Frankly, if it were misaligned, I’d worry more about why rather than what it looks like…And, just because one part of the car is practical doesn’t make it a Camry. I mean, sure, if you like impracticality, by all means, go buy a Hummer :p Saabs have always been pretty practical anyway, considering the huge trunks and high power-to-gas-mileage ratios…

    Also, I’ve never seen the Aero-X with the hood up (which makes sense, since that 400hp Biopower engine isn’t actually there). Anyone who’s seen it up close, what kind of hood does that thing have?

  37. They must be doing this just to have something to laugh at the coffee machine. “Look, Trohättansaab’s crowd running riots again!”. Still, I want to see the rear end! Grr… But, hopefullt just a few more days of waiting…

  38. Saaboy, the reason i ask of that is a sport ombi back there is if it is that might help indicate wheather this is a genuine spy photo or a deliberate leak. If it is a diliberate leak then the photo was probably done on company property, company proporty has more Saabs. See where i’m going

  39. I think it must be that familiarity breeds content.

    Lets face it SAAB, like any other car maker, has gone through its periods of questionable build quality.

    Having a design which exposes this further doesn’t make sense to me and i’ve found that the only handly thing to have when looking for room to move around an engine bay is either a large engine bay and/or a small engine.

    As for practicality, SAABS have their practicle (size, consumption) and their impracticle (insurance premiums, turbo, parts availability etc) side.

    As such, per my earlier comment, i could live with the clamshell and maybe get to like it but its shape is off the mark.

    I confess i will be a first time SAAB owner though have had some experience with them in the past. I just wonder what the “uninitiated” think about them as it will be new buyers which will ensure SAABs survival in a competitive market.

    For SAABS sake i hope these potential first time SAAB buyers don’t take one look at this and think “toilet seat”.

    I might be sounding like a harsh critic here but i do think SAAB deserves to survive and flourish. If given the chance i think they could show GM a thing or two about designing and building cars.

  40. I´m lovin´it!!
    To me it is just the right step towards “aggressive-looking” SportSedan/Combi/Cabrio.
    One of those (SC) with XWD, pretty please.

  41. As mentioned before, can anyone else not see the leather seats?!?

    Could it be a new two tone Alcantara seat option?

    Still think they should add the Hirsch Leather interior option as a standard feature for the higher end 9-3’s like Swade has mentioned in the past. The current interior does not cut it in the price bracket of the higher end 9-3s.

  42. I don´t know if this was already mentioned, but what is that tube on the roof over the passenger door? A camera?

    Clamshell hood is cool. Way to go. The more they change the design from existing 9-3 the more I like it. To me, this is quite much the same as C900 pre and post ´87 models. Quite big visual difference from some angles. Good to know that also diesel may get that lower airdam, and not only the aero version. Though these mules can have all kinds of combinations which we will never see in person.

  43. Cam: Many thanks for that link.

    That seat combo is not available as a standard option in the UK.

    The two leather insert options we have are black on slate grey and black on parchment.

    The insert option isn’t even available on the Aero models in the UK as the seat design is slightly different. will show you what I mean, click on build your saab when you see it.

  44. That tube thing could be for routing test equipment wires through when doing road tests. I’ve seen similar setups here around Trollhattan before…

  45. Regarding the rear… Maybe the guy is just wake enough to save the Pics of the rear for a car magazine in Sweden???
    That would mean dineros for him my friends 😉


  46. Am I the only one thinking that it appears as if the door handles remain the same.

    Maybe the pictures we have seen on the SC was just to fool us….

    I think it will look great. More aggressive

  47. I have to say that I think the refresh looks promising from this picture – more aggresive and “out-there” than the current 9-3. Getting back to what some others were saying before, I’m also a fan of chrome and I dont’ think it’s just an “American” thing. The grill on the ’98 9-5 and 9-3 was all chrome. The whole front grille and light area on the old SAAB 99 was chrome. I think it looks cool. Then again, I own an ’06 9-5, so my taste is obviously questionable 🙂

  48. Maybe the photographer didn’t shoot photos of the rear because it hasn’t changed. The rear of the c900 didn’t really change (save the bumpers) in ’87.

  49. They have always changed the back/trunk. I do not thin that the “rear” sides have changed, but the trunk has. That does not cost much. Even the 2nd generation face lift on the 95 had changes to the trunk.

    Not a chanse in the world that they do not change it give the fact that the 9-3 outsells the 9-5 2-1.

    The picture is clearly planted by someone. there is no driver and it stands in the middle of an intersection.

  50. 1. saab is getting better at facelifts, despite the patient looking “pinched”;

    2. if the “deeper” center grille is all they learned from the aero-x, then i’m worried about the brand; and

    3. i’m already fatigued about the circa-1994 wraparound headlights. the current ones are better because they look chiseled and not jaunty.

  51. I love the wraparound headlights…well, I love the headlights. They look very aggressive and whatnot. I like the wraparound because that’s what it does on my car and it looks cool.

    On a side note, I got my car back today and I’m so happy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *