MY08 Saab 9-3 Update for the US



Some info just in from Djup Strupe – a few initial MY08 Saab 9-3 specs for the US market:

Xm Standard
Onstar Standard
Rain Sensing Wipers Standard
Two new colors: Snow Silver Metallic and Pepper Green Metallic
Grey Leather dropped, replaced by Black
Semi-aniline leather available
Aero V6 upped to 255 hp
New 16″ wheel
Xenon Cornering Headlamps (part of Premium package)
Express up windows standard on all Aero’s and convertibles. On sedans it comes when you get the car with a sunroof
All convertibles have remote opening top standard
Optional 17″ wheel on 2.0
Daytime running lamps Standard
Tire pressure monitor Standard
New premium Bose audio coming later – option on 2.0T and standard on Aero – SS and SC only

More info will be posted as it comes to hand.


UPDATE: the optional 17″” wheel on the 2.0T appears to be the split 5-spoke Anniversary wheel.

The 16″ wheel is below – a 14-spoke wheel that may look a little familiar to some (tho I didn’t recognise it but it’s before I was blogging).



UPDATE 2: As was previously guessed, the photos we’ve seen are the Aero model, and only the Aero model will have the “matt chrome” inserts in the front spoiler.

The convertible will retain the previous generation’s door handles.

And what are the “color-matched Aero rocker panels” that will be available on all models?



There’s nothing I can see in the material I’ve received about Bluetooth being available for the US market. It looks like in the presence of OnStar, the aftermarket Bluetooth solution must continue.

There’s also nothing about adaptive cruise control. Those little things that looked initially like sensors near the fog lamps are most likely adjusting points for the lamps. I tend to agree with Paul Humpage, who said in comments “If you’re driving in traffic heavy enough that your cruise control needs to adapt then you shouldn’t be using it in the first place.” This is, IMHO, technology for technology’s sake and won’t be missed.

Whilst there is a mention of daytime running lights, there’s no mention of LEDs

Whilst the seats will have options of a higher quality leather, there doesn’t appear to be any material changes to the dash area. The audio unit is the same as MY07 by the looks of things, though as noted above, a higher spec Bose unit will become available later in the model year.

There’s a “Fun and Sun” package mentioned, but no details available.

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  1. Wikipedia says this about aniline.
    “Like most volatile amines, it possesses a somewhat unpleasant odour of rotten fish, and also has a burning aromatic taste; it is a highly acrid poison. It ignites readily, burning with a smoky flame.”

    So it’ll only smell KIND OF like rotten fish. Awesome.

  2. Hell yea! US gets raped by ONSTAR AGAIN!!! What does that mean? Come on, you know it….you know it, NO BLUETOOTH AGAIN!!! Because right now bluetooth is only available on non-onstar cars. What a F…ing joke. At least the Radio is not MOST anymore.

  3. 255hp…Hummmm, I wonder if the 300hp XWD will feel more powerful or will the added weight and friction of the XWD make it comparable to the FWD w/255hp … That will be my deciding factor for waiting until MY08.5

  4. I seriously doubt SAAB is going to use leather that smells like rotten fish, burnt stuff or anything else. The completely awesome seats in the Viggen had a somewhat “smoked salmon” smell in damp weather but unlike the current leather in the 9-3SS it felt and smelled like ***real*** leather rather than some sort of faux leather. I think it’s a great idea to offer better leather seats as an option.

    OnStar is a parasite and you can bet if there’s no bluetooth it can only be blamed on the OnStar virus. Note that other manufacturers have managed to make OnStar and bluetooth coexist.

  5. true, but incomplete: Aniline leather
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Aniline leather is a type of leather in which high quality hides have been treated with aniline as a dye. This produces a delicate, soft, supple leather.

    Typically, leather is coloured both for aesthetic reasons and to conceal bleamishes. However, aniline leather is not coloured. Often the term naked leather is used. This allows the leather to breathe better, making the leather more comfortable in both hot and cold weather.

    However, extra care is required when using furniture made from this leather. It is particularly susceptible to discolouration by sunlight and vulnerable to liquid spills.[1][2][3]

  6. So at first I was happy at all the new features – then the Onstar BOMB.

    Surely they must have figured something out with bluetooth so they can box co-exist.

    They couldn’t be that stuuuuu–piidddd, could they?

  7. …and no mention of the LED lights. Does this mean it’s a no-go for the US, or they are just not releasing everything again until June….?

  8. some of the details will for sure be hidden until the official unveiling in June or whatever. It is also possible that the Onstar and Bluetooth can coexist.. Maybe there’s an update with Onstar going all digital?? Or does this plague Bluetooth already?

  9. I actually think that adaptive cruise control is a really good safety option as, where I would see it most usefull is driving in moderate to heavy freeway driving where you are constantly following the car infront but with speeds fluctuating between 80-100km/h. You could set this and not need to concentrate as hard knowing that you will not have a nose to tail crash and also causing the driver to be not a tired after completing 200-300km of this type of driving. Here is Brisbane we have the busiest freeway in Australia between Brisbane and the Gold Coast and in a lot of cases I am not able to set the cruise because of the constant fluctuating in speeds, but I am still driving around the 100km mark

  10. Steven,

    Where is the XWD and the V2V (SIDI)?

    Will these specifications be forthcoming? Both of those additions were supposed to be on the MY2008 models, correct?

  11. A few .02c’s….

    XM and Sirius, the juries still out. It certainly should be a buyers choice.

    Onstar is totally worthless, esp with the nearly impossible to lock in ones car remote?

    Dont know what semi-asinine leather is, but if theyre going black leather without the 95s ventilated seats, might as well go “all the way”.

    Always hated V6s, still do. When the 2.3L I4 Turbo puts out same, why subject the 93 to this 30kg heavier engine…maybe for the 95 or 97s replacement.

    Rain sensing, express closing, remote top open? After seeing the sorry Katrina pics, how bout rain-sensing automatic closing top and windows w/pinch protection of course. Granted it wouldnt have helped on that dreadful day.

    Tire pressure? If it works this time fine. Otherwise forget it.

    Sound-systems should have been top-notch years ago. No excuses.

    Finally fire the dorks responsible for this BS “Dame Edna” thick chrome look.

  12. Due to the fact that saab dumped MOST, you could probably just add aftermarket bluetooth, like parrot with an aftermarket harnes, however standard ONstar kills any factory b.t

  13. Ryan,

    As mentioned a few times in the last few days, XWD (or AWD) will not be in the initial release and is most likely going to be a MY08.5 addition.

    I haven’t heard (or mentioned) anything about V2V.

  14. I like everything in here…I don’t care about Bluetooth, as I have no reason to use it, so I’m pretty much happy with all of this.

    The 16″ wheels look like the wheels on an S40.

    I’m glad that the gray leather has been dropped. Dark interiors are the only way to go (unless you’re doing triple red or triple white).

  15. I have to say that I like it. Am rather impressed by the way saab have selected to share pictures etc… First spy shots that are clearly planted, then pictures just on the front, to keep the expectatons up for the rest (even thou there might not be much).

    A few thoughts based on what we have seen on how saab will be branded in the future.

    Clamshell hood, wrap around lights and frosted tail lights will all be standard characteristics of saabs. Its starting to look sharp

    Also noticed that saab did not mention safety as the core brand caracteristics.

    Edmunds have a good coment as well..

  16. Regarding the 14 spoke rim update:

    I was never a fan of the rim because with the wrong brake pads or not enough care, they had a habit of getting very dirty and making the 9-3 look bad. I’m hoping they go with a different rim style.

  17. Swade started out this post by saying these are initial specs on the MY08 9-3, so I’m sure there are plenty of things left out. What interests me most is the leather, as the current 9-3 leather feels so fake. Everyone loves beautiful leather, so this asinine leather or whatever it is better be good đŸ™‚

  18. Yup, that 14-spoker is a time-consuming monster – unless these are kept immaculate (and frankly even then), they do nothing for the car and I would avoid them at all costs.

    As for LEDs etc, look at the Aero-x microsite within saabglobal website and you’ll see clearly the halo headlight and LED eyebrow that we now see on the refreshed 9-3. Bring it on!

  19. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of 08 9-3, and have been planning in my head the options, colors, etc. I want to go with when I get one next summer when my current lease is up.

    I even came to terms with not having Navi in exchange for Bluetooth over the weekend when I took my father’s 9-3 vert down the shore (w/o navi). Then I read this – that OnStar is standard which means that there won’t be factory installed Bluetooth – what crap is that?

    Bluetooth to me is an important safety feature, and Saab can’t put it in these cars that are supposed to be safe? They can slam into a moose, but forget about talking on your cellphone. What a joke.

    I can get a Nissan Sentra for $15K with Bluetooth, but not in the $35+K “luxury” Saab?


  20. Couple responses:

    1) The ‘verts aren’t retaining just the old door handles; they are retaining the old doors … the SS & SC aren’t getting BLS handles; they are getting BLS doors which already exist sans molding. Saab/GM isn’t going to spend the money for new doors on the ‘verts when they will be replaced in 2-3 years.

    2) There is no choice between XM and Sirius … the two are in the process of merging

    3) Taller drivers need the extra headroom that ~not~ having a sunroof affords them. A standard sunroof would mostly preclude anyone over a certain height from even considering the car.

    4) Talking on your cell phone while driving is never “safe”, even with hands-free solutions, as it provides an unneeded distraction from the act of driving

  21. There is mention of LEDs… Sort of.
    What do you think “Signature” lighting means in the Press release?

    Go to the Countdown article above and look at the comments… ( don’t feel like repeting) and then look at the press release and see for yourself…….

  22. 93Aero:

    1. the SS and SC are scheduled to be replaced in 2-3 years too, why did GM see fit to replace the doors on those, but not the ‘vert?

    2. XM and Sirius were talking about merging, but were declined approval to do so by the FTC as it would constitute a monopoly on satellite radio. The technology is still different. I’m sure if there was mention of Sirius it was a mistake as XM is GM’s satellite radio provider of choice.

    3. Who is so tall that they can’t fit into a SAAB? The very tall Scandinavians seem to fit just fine. Maybe they should do some testing in The Netherlands (the tallest people on average in the world). I have this vision of Grape Ape with his head sticking through the sunroof on a SAAB. đŸ˜‰

    4. Agree that it’s the act of speaking on the cell phone rather than the physical manipulation of a handset that is most distracting. However, people will do it whether it’s safe or not and OnStar encourages it just as much as Bluetooth would.

  23. Gripen:

    1) They replaced the sedan/combi doors with already existing BLS sedan/combi doors … there aren’t any BLS ‘vert doors & the ‘vert is a different body/platform … I think the math is simple; they chose to keep the doors they had rather than make new “BLS-style” ones to match the other models. In fact, to take the line of reasoning further, I seriously doubt the designers chose to mimic the BLS doors; but that’s what they had to work with at no additional cost

    2) Didn’t know they were shot down …

    3) In the most upright of seating positions (not the seat bottom raised all the way) there is scant clearance between my head and the trim around the sunroof and I’m only 5’ 10″

    4) I agree OnStar isn’t a better “solution” … I simply meant that the argument posted up there that Bluetooth was a “safety” feature was fallacious

  24. I’ve been interested in purchasing a saab for a very long time and am finally taking the plunge! I’m going to wait until the 08 models show up but wanted to know if the navigation system is just in km? I read somewhere that they only display kilometers and not miles. Anyone have info on this?

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