Saab 9-3 ‘Design Edition’

I was taking an e-stroll through the for-sale ads here in Australia yesterday when I came upon a few of these convertibles noted as “Design Edition” models. I hadn’t seen these before, so I thought I’d have a click and take a look.

Saab’s special editions are always pretty good and this one turns out to be no exception.

I haven’t been able to find out much officially, but it seems the Design Edition was a 2001 model and came with a 2.0 litre turbo, Viggen body kit and wheels and some special Viggen-like trim. It’s not the same as the Viggen, mind you, as you’ll see from the interior shots below. The two-tone leather is in a slightly different pattern and it has the brushed aluminium dash trim instead of the carbon fibre.

It’s pretty nice, though. There’s actually three of these for sale here in Oz at the moment. All in New South Wales. Two of them are black and have the original Viggen wheels on them, and this one in silver has had the wheels changed for the double-Y 17-inch wheels, which actually look a bit better, I think.

Did other markets have the same thing? As mentioned, I’ve found nothing official about this one in Saab Oz’s press archive. I’d also like to know what the badge is on the side, too. I might have to call the dealer for a detail shot.

Saab 9-3 Design Edition

Saab 9-3 Design Edition

Saab 9-3 Design Edition

Saab 9-3 Design Edition

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  1. From what i have gathered these were used to run out parts for the 9-3’s as the new model was coming.

    the seats looked very cool as they had Saab embossed on the upper sections. they were were basically SE editions with the viggen kits bolted on.

    Saab Aust did a similar thing in the early 90’s with the 900i’s, they basically ran out the 900 coupes with aero kits on then and they are known as 900 aero-i’s as the GM 900’s were coming.

    from memory they were selling for about $39,990aud and i think they even came with a incentive thrown in from various dealers such as Plasma tellies or a Hoilday to basically clear stock

  2. I think I’ll have to disagree with you Al. These where comparable to the 2006 9-3 20th Anniversary convertible.

    Manual was AU$66,900 RRP
    Auto was AU$69,000 RRP

    Swade, If you want I can go to one of the dealers and get a few better pics

  3. Hi,
    I sold thes new in the UK. The ALU36 alloys pictured are a dealer fit option. The original Viggen style alloys were a little soft and prone to going out of shape and therefore impossible to balance! They also suffered fro failing laquer and subsequent corrossion (some were replaced under warranty). I am pretty sure it was available in LPT 150bhp.

  4. I don’t think that the design edition came with the Viggen kit on them at all… only the 2001 and 2002 9-3 Aero came with the Viggen kit, and well the Viggen of coruse too!

    The design edition came with the saab catalog sports kit, which was slightly different to the standard kit.

    The design edition also had a nice turbo badge embossed in the seats… but the seats were different to Viggen seats and no side bolsters.


  5. oh… also they never came stock with the 17″ Viggen rims, or the double evo rims as found on the 9-3 Aero.

    I remember seeing them at South yarra Saab when they came out… but cant remember the wheel style.


  6. and one more sorry…. the badge on the side is most likely an upper case “S”. There was no special badge designation for these cars on the exterior… and as I said the interior seats had the embossed plane logo.

  7. Sab, I have the feeling your confusing it with the MY02 Anniversary range.

    The 02 9-3 Anniversary convertible I had, had the word ‘turbo’ embossed on the seats and only had the 16″ wheels.

  8. The pictures don’t show a viggen kit or the “catalog” kit … that’s the standard-fare SE as far as the airdam/skirts/rear bumper … it seems this package was almost predominantly interior touches — as 17-inch wheels and the rear deck-lid spoiler were not uncommon in the SE range.

    Body-wise, the SE pieces “bolt on” to the base model bumpers (front and rear) — creating a seam (which can be seen) — and the so-called catalog kit fits under the bumper strip – creating a short seam between the bumper strip and the wheel well (but nowhere else). The Viggen kit is seamless, lower and does not recess in the front nearly as much.

    At least that’s the way it happened in the U.S.

    Am I wrong? Seeing things?

    I doubt this was to “run out parts” as they still had a couple years before the convertible switched to the new body style. (In 2003 the coupe switched, but the ‘vert stayed the same — but there was a line of SE “Viggen Clone” convertibles that were the emptying of the parts bins.)

  9. My previous Saab was a 2002 9-3 SE convertible “design package” that I leased in the US. As far as I can remember the things that were described to me as part of the design package were the two tone leather seats (black/red in the one I had) and the carbon fiber dash. It did not have the little spoiler that came with the sport package, but the dealer had slipped the sport package wheels on my car to use as a showroom model.

    Which leads to the story of picking it out. I told the salesman that I liked the interior and the wheels of the one next to his desk on the showroom floor. He told me that the design and sport packages were mutually exclusive, and I responded, “Well, how about I just take that one there.” Great car, but I couldn’t resist upgrading to a V6 Aero convertible when my lease expired.

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