My 0.02c on those official MY08 Saab 9-3 shots…

If you’ve been living under a rock and hevan’t seen them yet, click here to have a look at the two photos of the new Saab 9-3.

Now….

To Saab:

Thank You! Thank you for making the 9-3 a car that stands up and demands some attention. Thanks for a bolder face that’ll make all those A4-wannabe-S4 types take a second look as they see it in their mirrors. Thanks for progressing the design in a way that still says ‘Saab’ and yet moves it forward.

To everyone else:

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing this new car as much as I have. I think it looks absolutely sensational and whilst there will always be some that don’t like it, I think the response has been pretty convincing and positive in all the forums I’ve seen so far.

I’d like to address a couple of issues that have come up in comments to both the photos and the cgi’s.

1) This is the exterior only. We haven’t seen (and I haven’t heard) anything at all yet about the interior. I’m maintaining a very positive outlook on this car due to the styling (which I love) and the mechanical changes that have been mentioned in relation to it. But the interior’s going to be a big issue going forward and I fear we aren’t going to see much in the way of design or, more importantly, materials changes. If interior improvements are part of the package, then I’d go so far as to say that this car is even more significant a release than the initial release of the 9-3 Sport Sedan in MY03.

2) One of the detractions in comments has been the door handles. I truly value every comment and every person behind a comment, but please – IMHO door handles should only be significant if they’re overwhelmingly good or overwhelmingly bad. I’m much more concerned with the GMification of the sound system than the door handles, but that’s me.

3) Remember too, that these photos are most likely the Aero version of the car. It’s the one they always publicise the most as it’s got the full kit in terms of styling etc, and it makes the biggest impact. Linear and Vector spec cars will most likely look a bit tamer, use a bit less bling and look less aggressive. Perhaps the CGIs are a good example of what a Linear might look like?

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There’s been some talk in comments over at Autoblog that the Haldex XWD system may not be seen on this car.

We got confirmed today, source inside Haldex, that Saab 9-3 facelift will NOT get the new Haldex-differential (combined with the fourwheeldrive system). They say that it will be presened on a global platform 2008. VW, GM, Volvo, Ford? I dont know!

XWD is not expected on the initial release of the car. I wrote about this yesterday. But in addition to the photos we’ve seen of the XWD system in testing, the rego information of that test car showing it had XWD and the new ESP system that makes use of the XWD, I’ve also had several assurances from various Djup Strupes that XWD is confirmed for the 9-3, as is the Black Turbo model which would require XWD to get that power to the ground in an acceptable way.

It may be a MY08.5 thing (yes, they do have 0.5 and 0.75 model releases), but I’m quite sure it’s coming. If it weren’t, I’d have expected Saab to contact me and tell me to shut up about it as there’s a fair bit of expectation about this now and whilst they may not care about my reputation being tarnished,they should care about market expectations being fulfilled or massively deflated.

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And just for fun:

Olaf, from Germany, has some photoshop fun with the cgi’s…..wouldn’t it be cool if they surprised us all and unveiled a coupe version in June?

Click to enlarge.

9-3coupeS_1.jpg

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10 Comments

  1. Hopefully XWD will debut with the Black Turbo in the middle of the model year.

    As in “Hey, look at what we can do now that we aren’t forced to send all 300+ hp to just the front wheels.”

    A high-power Saab turbo without (alleged) torque steer may finally make Car & Driver sit up and notice.

  2. All that I have heard and this is since January

    All you see in these pictures
    wrap around lights
    Agressive Grill
    LED-Driving lights
    Clamshell hood.

    XWD system from HALDEX

    180hp Diesel – No mention of what engine.

    Allroader 9-3x

  3. Regarding the door handles, they really only bother me in the fact that they’re not unique to SAAB anymore. The door handles used to be one of those SAAB “quirks” I grew to like. Now they are a very common style. They might even be FUNCTIONALLY superior to the old ones as the old ones used to lift up and out, which seemed ergonomically odd to me.

    I just lament every new model and every new refresh losing a little something that used to make SAAB unique in an apparent effort to gain more mainstream acceptability in a “me too” sort of way. I just hope it pays off in increased sales past this coming year. SAAB needs the 9-3 to basically carry the brand for the next couple of years.

  4. I don’t care if the door handles are different now, since the new ones are better. I’d rather have the same good handle as everyone else than a different inferior handle. Now, if Saab could add a different superior handle…

    Of course they have .5 year releases…1970 1/2 Camaro, anyone? Probably one of the most famous.

    As for the sport coupe mockup, first off, the “We bring it back” made me think of “You like-a da juice? We get you more juice.” Also, I don’t like it…but I don’t like coupes unless they’re straight-up sports cars with 2 seats, so that’s why. I’ve just always seen them as impractical. That being said, I think it would sell a ton.

  5. I cannot understand why Saab can’t build a coupe now or why they everstopped. They obviously have the two door body set up ( the ‘vert) – why all the drama about just using tin instead of cloth? With the exception of Porsche ( boxter/cayman) the rest of the manufacturing world finds it easier to make coupes and then follow with the convertible.

    A hatchback ( or even not) coupe would be enormously popular with the Saab alskare. Saab/GM managers – if you read this consider the word enormous in a sentence discussing your sales incentive or bonus – thats what coupe would mean to you.

    Why is it so hard?

  6. I cannot understand why Saab can’t build a coupe now or why they everstopped. They obviously have the two door body set up ( the ‘vert) – why all the drama about just using tin instead of cloth? With the exception of Porsche ( boxter/cayman) the rest of the manufacturing world finds it easier to make coupes and then follow with the convertible.

    A hatchback ( or even not) coupe would be enormously popular with the Saab alskare. Saab/GM managers – if you read this consider the word enormous in a sentence discussing your sales incentive or bonus – thats what coupe would mean to you.

    Why is it so hard?

  7. Hopefully we will see the new XWD on a 9-3. If not, then all this fuss around the facelift is for nothing.

    Of course it´ll be nice to get cool features like led lights and so on. Most of the comments have been quite positive, but nobody said that they want this new model because of the look or some other features than XWD. This is critical.
    Should there ever be something like 290-300+ hp Black turbo, without 4 wheel drive it´s totally useless. In my opinion the present 9-5 Aero is right there on the limit.
    260hp/350Nm on a front wheels is quite a lot. And to me, it´s sometimes littlebit too much. I don´t enjoy torque steer, which is very much present when you floor the pedal on a 9-5 Aero (or 9-3 aero whatsoever) when overtaking and changing lanes.

    I don´t care much about the doorhandles or radio controls. It´s the whole interior feel, materials, functionality etc. And this has always been exceptionally good in a Saab. That, to me, is very important. 9-3 interior looks good, but there´s some flaws like chrome reflecting from the windscreen, air con buttons are so light that there is no feel when you turn them. Some materials look and feel cheap.

    I guess we should not be here discussing that if Audi has got led lights then Saab has to have them too. No. Saab should have something else, if something is needed. Is there really any use for led driving lights? Lower energy consumption perhaps? They should not be there only for the looks. That is (at least was) not the Saab way.

  8. Maybe the Black Turbo WILL be a coupe? :-o!

    Yes, with the convertible body style already there, a coupe would be a very quick win and would sell like hot cakes, especially if they give it a hatch opening 🙂 :), I can imagine all the Saab fans doing a mini sex wee at the thought – actually, scrub that, it’s an awful thought!

    Please GM, FIX THOSE INTERIOR MATERIALS!!!!! Use the Hirsch carbon leather dash as a quick fix if need be, would only add a few hundred $/£ to the overall cost of the car, but it would work wonders, and you would sell LOADS more as the only thing that many people have to moan about is the cheap feel of the interior.

  9. This is a 184kw car, according to reg info, so I belive this is the Aero version.
    It was taken into trafic the 5 of march and this baby weights 80 kg less than my loaded 9-5….Isn’t that i bit more than 9-3 Aero of today?

  10. vector220: all that chrome is heavy! ;-P

    Actually, the additional weight is probably from the XWD system (assuming this one is XWD-equipped). Maybe the additional weight is from those little apparent sensors in the fog light housing nobody seems to be able to figure out what they are… 🙂

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