New info came in overnight, which I’ve added to this post and noted in bold font. Remember, this is the US market version of the 9-3. OnStar and XM radio are US-specific, but I’d imagine the rest of the gear mentioned below should make it to other markets as well.
I could tell you the name of the horse’s mouth from which this came, but then I’d have to kill you (and said horse would probably kill me).
I thought it might be timely to tie in all the info we know so far about the 2008 Saab 9-3 in one posting. Here it is….
The 2008 Saab 9-3 range will make its public debut on June 10, 2007, at the Saab Festival in Trollhattan, Sweden, and will have it’s official US debut on August 1, 2007. The unveiling in Sweden will be followed up with 3 weeks of press testing. It’s important to remember at this point that this is not an entirely new car. There’s substantial changes coming, but this is at most, a pretty comprehensive mid-cycle enhancement. An all-new 9-3 is expected in a few years time.
As per the photos that we’ve seen so far, the exterior of the car features numerous changes that incorporate the styling of the Saab Aero-X concept car. The hood features an Aero-X bulge whilst incorporating the clamshell look of Saabs dating back to the 1960s.
Every panel except for the quarter panels and the roof has been changed for this new model.
The front end looks all together more aggressive, especially in the Aero version that will feature a bit more of the matt chrome trim in areas such as the fog lamp surrounds etc.
The sides of the car no longer have the grey bump strip and the doors feature a new handle. Bump strips and oringal 9-3 door handles will remain on the convertible, however, but the bump strips will be body-colored.
The rear of the car features a new tail-lamp unit, which will have a clear ice-block look in some markets, though not likely in the North American market. There’s also a matt-chrome strip on the rear above the licence plate area.
The US market will retain the 2.0T and Aero specifications. The 2.0T retains the 210hp output from the 07 model and the Aero will have a mild bump up to 255hp from the 2.8l V6.
Other markets will also have diesel and BioPower variants as per local market demand. There is talk of a new, more powerful twin-turbo diesel being made available in the European market, however confirmation and timing is unsure at this point.
Specs known for the US market at this point were mentioned in a recent posting here. Their status for other markets is unknown, but most non-US specific items (e.g. OnStar) are likely:
Rain Sensing Wipers Standard
Two new colors: Snow Silver Metallic and Pepper Green Metallic
Snow Silver Metallic will be available for all three body styles
Pepper Green Metallic will be available for Sedan and SportCombi only
There will also be a new color for the convertible in the spring. The name has not been released yet, but
Monte CarloSaffron Yellow, perhaps?
Chili Red and Lime Yellow will be dropped from the color palette
Grey Leather dropped, replaced by Black
Semi-aniline leather available but only on Sports seats – available in parchment or black
Parchment headliner standard
Aero V6 upped to 255 hp
New 16″ wheel for 2.0T, pictured below:
Optional 17″ 5-spoke wheels on 2.0T, which is the Aero wheel from the previous MY, below:
The Aero will feature the 17″ deep split Anniversary wheels as standard (see silver car at top)
Xenon Cornering Headlamps standard on Aero and part of Premium package for 2.0T
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
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 – called Centrepoint Surround and worked on between Saab and Bose. Available after October
Improved cupholder with aluminium core for better feel and operation.
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.
There will be “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. The European market will have Bluetooth as an option.
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.
There’s no definite mention of LEDs, however there is some news via comments that the “Signature” lighting mentioned in the press material is made up of LEDs at the front (above the headlamps – the daytime runners) and that at least the Aero will have LED’s in the rear.
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, 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.
For those who skimmed the above, I’ll repeat it here:
According to my knowledge, the interior of the 2008 Saab 9-3 is going to be fundamentally the same as the outgoing 2007 model. Whilst there are numerous changes, the main visible ones are the upgrade option to the semi-aniline leather sports seats and the parchment roof liner.
The rest of the changes address insulation and rattle and squeak issues.
The corporate GM audio system remains, but as mentioned above, a new Bose system will be available from October 2007 called Centrepoint Surround. It gives 5-channel surround sound using Bose’s chip technology to create the surround effect from your standard digital music source (CD, MP3 etc).
Whilst Saab have licenced the name “XWD” it’s unclear as to what they’ll call it at this point.
The XWD system is a new Haldex unit. Whilst it was said initially that the Epsilon platform couldn’t take AWD, this new unit must get around whatever restrictions there were.
IMPORTANT: As stated several times, XWD is not likely to appear on the initial release of the 2008 Saab 9-3. My mail has it appearing as a MY08.5 addition to the range.
There is talk that there will be a slighly raised version of the 9-3 SportCombi that will also feature the XWD system to take on the Subaru set.
With the introduction of the XWD syste, there’ll also be a new “proactive” stability program introduced, which will boost power to the wheels needed to restore stability to the car.
Not much has leaked out about this one. This is reputed to be the big momma. The one that will fully take advantage of the XWD system and put some serious power on the ground.
Hints are tha the Black Turbo release may coincide with the XWD system coming out and if so, it would be the showpiece for that new system.
My latest mail on this (received just this morning!) is that the output will be 320hp and the rumoured 0-100 is in the mid-five second range.
19 inch wheels have been mentioned at a couple of sources, as have twin rectangular shaped rear exhaust outlets.
I’ve also heard mention mate of exclusive trim options for this car, which you’d probably expect anyway at this performance and price point.
Anything I’ve missed, let me know……