Some pics from the USA 2008 Saab 9-3 press event.

Following is a group of photos that 1985Gripen sent through from the drive day he did in the 2008 Saab 9-3, courtesy of Saab USA. He’s included captions for them.

There’s more of these and photos from SOC at Gripen’s Flickr account.

His writeup on the actual drive is coming soon, including his own thoughts on driving the XWD version of the car.

Two photos up front and the rest after the jump. Click any of them to enlarge to 640 x 480.


This is a lineup of some of the various MY2008 9-3s (the first in the country, of course) we got to drive on city roads all day. Nobody in the general public seemed to notice that we were driving cars that won’t be for sale in this country for at least a couple more weeks. We drove these cars on beautiful rural back roads in Northern Virginia, outside Washington D.C. Some of the cars were Sport Combis, but most were SS. One was a manual transmission, but the rest automatic. I kept trying to get the manual as I prefer it, but I never got it. It was the black SS.

This is the new 9-7X Aero, which acted as our support vehicle for the trip.

Saab 9-7x Aero

Couldn’t believe how nice the car looks in red, a color I traditionally don’t care for. SAABs look so good in black, gray, and
silver that an eye popping color like red isn’t very common.

2008 Saab 9-3 red

Another view of the red Aero SS. Note the same wheels as the MY2007 Anniversary Edition. They ran out of these I understand and later MY2007 Anniversary Editions had the wheels which were previously exclusive to the 9-3 Convertible 20th Anniversary Edition.

2008 Saab 9-3 red

There’s the Combi in the background. You can see which of these cars are the Aero and which were not by the chrome fog lamp surrounds, or lack thereof. These pictures still make the chrome look shiny, but in person I SWEAR that they look more like a brushed (satin) aluminum look or even a gunmetal at times…

2008 Saab 9-3

Another view of the red Aero SS. Needless to say none of the Aero 9-3s we drove that day (except for the one on the closed airfield) were XWD-equipped.

2008 Saab 9-3 red

An Aero SC. It’s actually a nice deep blue color (don’t know the name).

2008 Saab 9-3 SportCombi

A non-Aero frontal view.

2008 Saab 9-3 2.0T

Don’t know this color either but it’s nice in person. A little different than the typical color you usually see SAABs in.

2008 Saab 9-3

Why did I take so many pictures of the red one? Because it stands out!

2008 Saab 9-3

More of the “Big Red One”. This is the car Ryan and I drove back to D.C. at the end of the day. He ended up picking up one of the Swedes at the hotel in it when dropping me off and they were off to take pictures of it in front of the White House. I never heard how this turned out. I doubt he got the shots he wanted as Pennsylvania Avenue and all other streets adjacent to the White House have been closed-off for years for security reasons.

2008 Saab 9-3

The rear ends of some of the cars we drove. I asked Nik Miles what he thought of the tail light treatment and he told me that he doesn’t quite know, but he did say it’s distinctive, sort of like an aftermarket look. I guess that’s good that SAAB is doing something different than the rest of the pack though the jury’s out on the look, IMHO. I give bonus points for being different though.

2008 Saab 9-3

More of the 9-7X for the lovers out there (like Swade).

2008 Saab 9-7x Aero

The 9-7X Aero seats (note the key in the center console).

2008 Saab 9-7x interior

More of the 9-7X Aero interior.

2008 Saab 9-7x interior

The butt-end of the 9-7X Aero. Noteworthy that there’s only one exhaust pipe. You’d think it’d have two…

2008 Saab 9-7x

This is the closed airfield. It was a private airfield which is only used a couple times a year by a private pilot. The cones were set up in the grass and the grass was wetted-down for us to try-out the XWD.

2008 Saab 9-3

Banner at the airstrip.

2008 Saab 9-3

A very nice non-Aero.

2008 Saab 9-3

Interior of the 9-3.

2008 Saab 9-3

Can’t remember why I was taking so many pics of this car.

2008 Saab 9-3

Now THIS one is the first XWD-equipped SAAB 9-3 Aero in the United States. There were two reasons why this car was not allowed on public roads: SAAB wouldn’t allow it as this is a very early pre-production model and unique so it needs to be protected and it’s not registered in the U.S. Note the Swedish license plate.

2008 Saab 9-3

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  1. the car looks epic. i’m a big fan of red in general so i appreciate all those pics. i don’t know how anyone could decide between black, red, and snow silver.

    that said, my only complaint carries over from the 07 — that silver dash surround. i recently had a service loaner for a day and it was reflecting off the windshield the whole time….made the glass appear cracked.

  2. Sooo today I went to the dealer to order a MY08 9-3 and ended up driving an 07 9-3 2.0t convertible home…what an awesome car…the incentives were just too good to pass up. I am officially a Saab owner now!

  3. Nice pics Gripen – I like the Nocturne Blue but I’d really like to see the Pepper Green too (I take it the press event didn’t have any of that color). Any idea why we haven’t seen that color since June? The pdf brochure posted a couple days ago showed a square of the color – it looks to me more like a yellowish-brown than green.

    On the topic of the 9-3 borchure – jc7222 are you referring to the iceblock tailights? The ’08 US SportCombi has those too.

  4. Congratulations to both of you!! I’ll be happy to do a new Saabs post should you feel like sending pics.

    SG, I’ll be right over to contribute with TS links for your posts….

  5. Has anyone else pointed out how much the new 9-3 grille and lights, and the interior, resemble those of the 07 9-5? I welcome the improved “family” resemblance across the line. What color, ehall1? I got the only chilli red one in Canada back in February and the dealer promptly ordered another. Most people do want black or silver, but the colored ones are ey-popping. (Just keep any red car well polished with UV protection in the product used.)

  6. SG: we’re not family actually, we’re Saab fans with websites and we can write as we wish on our own but should treat another’s with respect.

    I really don’t think it’d be appropriate for me to come to your site and drop a short comment and a link to my story on the same topic. It’s incorrect netiquette.

    If you’re covering something at SH that I think is a worthwhile angle that I’m not covering, and if I want to cover that topic here then I’ll write about it briefly and link to your site. Quite happily. Have done so in the past and I plan to do that again in the next day or so in relation to the XWD event, as you know.

    It’s not OK, however, to just insert your links into comments here and I’d prefer you didn’t take that liberty in the future.


    Sorry to all for having to read this stuff, but sometimes you’ve got to speak directly and nip some things in the bud.

  7. Congrats to those who just bought a MY07.

    On the MY07/08 dilemma, Swade, if the 08 is now officially announced and they will be here in 2 weeks, when will the incentives be announced?

    I’m assuming after this holiday weekend?

  8. The car is too expensive so, yes, I am dependent on the incentives. Now, while many will argue the car is worth the price, yes, perhaps, but when push comes to shove it’s all about what you can afford.

    Some people have to stick within a budget, and unfortunately that’s me and my wife.

    The incentives could mean the difference between buying a 2007 or a new MY08.

  9. I’d still go for black, the car simply looks so mean in black. On the other hand, I do like how the different accents pop out on a non-black car.

    As a side note, I visited my dealer yesterday and from what I understand it won’t be until the last days of September, or even the first week of October, that there will be MY08 9-3s in Canada. Regarding black turbo, he mentioned they’d only be getting 4-5 units, so a preorder is essential. My guess is Canada will get 50 or so Black Turbos in total.

  10. Wha? Not sure where comment #24 came from but I assume Swade can see it’s not my usual IP/email address.

    If I want to start flame wars I’ll head over to slashdot (there are plenty of trolls there, but a /. troll is a bad thing).

    Bottom line: When you develop a blog – you get to make the rules. If I don’t like what you have to say I’ll start my own.

  11. #24’s IP comes from Finland and has been used before. It seems we have two genuine TimJ’s. Something I didn’t realise. Didn’t matter anyway, the tongue poking was in jest and there’s a lot to my prior comments that other’s won’t understand anyway. It’s just something that had to be said for once. I’ll leave it at that and deal with it offsite now if the need arises, but wanted to make that request publicly just once for the record.

  12. While out and about this afternoon, I happened to be near the local SAAB dealership. (How in the world did that happen?)

    I popped in and got a new MY 2008 SAAB 9-3 Convertible (pause, pause…) brochure. While I was there, I test drove the MY 2007 Aero ‘vert. Damn, it is an amazing car. The sales guy told me about the offers on the 2007s. How, there’s an awful lot of cash on the hood. I mean a LOT! I was tempted (still am), but I plan on holding out for a MY 2008 Aero ‘vert as soon as they are available in the States. My dealer (in the Washington, DC area) says that he expects to start being able to take MY 2008’ vert orders in mid-October. He says that there’s no definitive date on the first MY 2008s to arrive in our area, but he now really expects October.

    By the way, for comparison purposes, we also test drove today the Audi TT 3.2 quattro. A nice car. However, it really felt like it had no soul or spirit, not that I expected any such thing in a VW.

  13. Swade, where’s the aussie stuff mate? I know the US is big but there doesn’t seem to be much for aussies to digest.

    How much is SAAB Aust doing to make its presence felt? As you know mags like WHEELS seem to have a bug in their butt about SAAB and unfort people do listen to them.

    Even MOTORS recent glowing assessment of XWD (Johanssen interview) had a couple of barbs thrown in. For example, the article at the end mentioned the only impediment to the systems success was that “ came from a SAAB..”

    I have been following closely and criticisms such as “rubbery manual shift” ceased to be an issue with the intro of this years MY07 9-3. Obviously these journalists don’t care what improvements have been introduced to the car to test again (like they do with other brands).

    Do you know why the obvious bias against SAAB? I have just written to both these mags to find out why as other lesser euro brands/models get far more attention (often more than deserved).

  14. craig – I really think a lot of automotive journalists are scared to praise a car that comes from a marque with such slow sales. They assume that if the cars were really worth it, people would buy them. Automotive journalists tend to be kinda dumb, which is why it’s nice to read a car review that looks like it has thought behind it instead of NOT BMW NOT TOYOTA F+. :p

  15. Hi Jeff, I was thinking it was an australia thing. Clarkson (praise to him….) seems to have no problem praising them.

    Its a bit frustrating as it would like more frequent reviews on them rather than the more-of-the-same …..

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