I’d say Gripen’s either between Washington and LA or he’s being grilled by SaabUSA to find out TrollhattanSaab’s secrets, but whilst we’re waiting for him to check in, there is some interesting stuff going around about the 2008 Saab 9-3 in other channels.
Car and Driver have posted their first drive impression. I’m not sure if this hails from Washington or Sweden, but I’ll go out on a limb and say C&D are playing fast and loose with the facts here by timing it to coincide with US drives whilst the writeup is based on a Swedish experience.
They’re also playing fast and loose with the specs:
Most of the 9-3’s competitors, for example, offer all-wheel drive, so after sufficient harping from Saab’s U.S. arm, 9-3 sedans and wagons will be granted that option on January 1, 2008. That $2000 goody will be available with the 210-hp turbo four-cylinder as well as the turbo V-6.
Everything I’ve heard so far indicates that the XWD system will be a V6 only job initially and that it will trickle down to other variants as time goes by. C&D seem to be indicating here that XWD will be available for the 2.0T in the US from the get-go, which is not my understanding at all. Perhaps we’ll hear more about that once Gripen checks in, but I’ll be (pleasantly, but very) surprised if that’s the case.
C&D’s conclusion seems to be a lot different from mine. My gearbox didn’t feel like it was connected with ropes. My car’s steering didn’t feel too light. Yes the seats felt superb (as always) but no, there wasn’t any excessive road noise. It’s another pointer to the fact that this article was probably based on a Swedish drive, where they were using pre-production vehicles that may not have been finished like vehicles for sale would be.
For those of you who were curious about what they all had for dinner at the House of Sweden the other night, AutoSpies was there and have a pretty good gallery of the night’s proceedings. There’s some people in the pics, though I couldn’t pick Gripen out. There’s one guy in a T-shirt though…..
Here’s dinner. Click through for the rest of the gallery.