MY 2008 9-3 in the Freep

The Detroit Free Press has just published its intro article on the new 9-3 range and whilst there’s nothing there that we haven’t already covered here on the blog, there is some official confirmation with regards to XWD and timing.

As has been mentioned several times here, we shouldn’t expect the XWD vehicle to be available immediately with the initial release of the MY2008 vehicle.

This appears to be confirmed by SaabUSA General Manager, Steve Shannon:

In addition to the refreshed design, Saab Automobile USA General Manager Steve Shannon said Monday there are two other factors that he expects to boost sales of the 9-3 wagon version, known as the SportCombi: an all-wheel drive option that will become available a few months after the 2008 launch and the wagon’s fuel economy.

It appears from the article that they’re going to make a stronger pitch to the SUV crowd with the SportCombi, which I think is the exact place they want to be.

Good news!

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  1. What’s not clear from the article is whether the 9-3 sedan will have all-wheel drive. I hope the sedan has that option as well.

  2. Blackacre you make a good point. I have been asking how SAAB fitted AWD to a chassis that was only designed for FWD. How would it fit? Look at the transmission tunnel in an A4 or a 3 series between the rear seats – much higher than a 9-3, the boot floor would need to be raised too. Swade however was adamant that the 9-3 was coming with AWD and that is good enough for me. Then there was the report last week from a haldex insider that the 9-3 would NOT get AWD and then we were told that AWD would be released as a MY08.5.

    Maybe the answer is that SAAB will offer an Audi Allroad cross over estate with jacked up ride height (answering my question of how they would fit AWD to an epsilon chassis). AWD would not be offered in the saloon but the crossover would be sold as a separate line in the 9-3 family to be launched in late 07 – early 08. This model could still be sold when the new 9-3 is launched in 2009/10 making the investment in the drive train worthwhile.

    If you read the full article and look at the phrasing it would tie in with this theory.

    And if I am wrong then you still get a full AWD range 🙂

  3. I will take full (probably undeserved) credit for giving SAAB USA the idea to pitch the Combis against SUVs with the information I gave to Swade which he posted here a few months ago showing that the SAAB Combis “out-SUV” many 2WD small SUVs on the market in fuel economy, interior cargo space, and towing capacity.

    I even helped a SAAB employee decide to trade-in his SUV for a 9-5 Sport Combi! Hey SAAB USA: I can be had on the company payroll for the right price! 😉

  4. This article makes it sound like only the SC will get AWD…. Maybe this is a foreshadowing for the “XWD and Black Turbo” combo in the SS ?? I have a feeling my dreams of an XWD 9-3 SS in my driveway in January is not gonna’ happen….

  5. Correct me if I´m wrong CTM.. But didn´t Saab make good progress in AWD development for the 9-3 back in 03? Has there not been test vehicles with AWD before but GM descided it to be to expensive and gave it the axe? Talonderiel I belive you should keep hoping.. SC testvehicles equiped with XWD has not been any higher than the standard hight.


  6. I totally agree with Jon. I believe Saab has been cheeky, but honest, in their media wording. I think the 9-3SC XWD will definitely be spun off as a different “model” (could the the 9-4/9-4X ?). It remains to be seen if the SS and CV will get XWD but so far none of their press material elude to that.

    IF the 9-3SC XWD is to be sold as the 9-4/9-4X, I wonder if the new CUV being developed with a Cadillac sibling may be named the 9-6X, to be launched in ’09 while the 9-7X gets retired ?

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