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Leaked photos had been dripping out onto the web all last week, and today, Saab officially released the first photos of the facelifted 2008 Saab 9-3. In addition to the wagon that we've all already seen, we now get our first look at the sedan. The release after the jump (which comes via the automaker's Australian division) is very, very lean on details -- this is basically a teaser ahead of the full release that's coming next month, when we can expect to see the convertible and the rear ends of the sedan and wagon.

Obviously, the Aero-X-inspired styling is in play, with the cars getting new front ends, a clamshell hood, and new lighting. As for the other changes, the release plays coy, saying that "significant developments" in design, performance, and handling are being introduced with the car. In Australia, it'll bow with gasoline, diesel, and BioPower engines. We'll probably hear more from the US side later this morning, and will update this post accordingly. We wouldn't be surprised to hear that we'll get the BioPower E85 engine, but not any diesels.

The Australian press release is pasted after the jump.

UPDATE: When the car arrives in the US, it will be available in two trim levels: 2.0T and 2.8 V6 Aero. Sounds like the BioPower's not in the cards for this market (at least not at launch). The US press release has also been added after the jump.

[Source: Saab]


PRESS RELEASE (USA):
New Saab 9-3 range debuts for 2008 Model Year
Sharper Looks Showcase Enhanced Performance

Inspired by the award-winning Aero X concept car, the new Saab 9-3 range will feature bold styling and cutting edge technology for greater driving appeal.

With all-new front bodywork, 'signature' lighting, new door panels and rear styling features, the latest generation 9-3 acquires a more focused, assertive stance, reflecting the introduction of technical advances aimed at delivering an even more rewarding experience behind the wheel.

All new 9-3s are immediately recognizable by the sharper frontal styling, which adopts fascia, grille and surfacing themes first seen on the Aero X concept, together with a return of Saab's classic 'clamshell' hood design – first seen in the iconic 1967 Saab 99. The 9-3's new 'face' is reinforced by other exterior changes that all combine to give the range a clearer, more distinctive Saab identity.

"We are introducing significant developments across three key areas: design, performance and handling," says Jan Åke Jonsson, managing director of Saab Automobile worldwide. "The result is a major step forward in strengthening the visual and driving appeal of our core product line-up, which accounts for about two-thirds of Saab's global sales."

The new 9-3 portfolio continues to include Sport Sedan, SportCombi and Convertible models. Available as the 2.0T and 2.8 V6 Aero, the range is expected in United States showrooms this fall.

Saab is a division of General Motors Corp. Saab Automobile USA is the importer and/or distributor of Saab 9-3, 9-5 and 9-7X automobiles for Saab Automobile AB, Sweden. Visit www.saabusa.com for more information.

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PRESS RELEASE (AUSTRALIA):
New Saab 9-3 Range: Sharper Looks Showcase Enhanced Performance

Images of the new Saab 9-3 range released for the first time today, reveal the new 9-3 will feature bold styling, inspired by the award-winning Aero X concept car and cutting edge technology for greater driving appeal.

With all-new front bodywork, 'signature' lighting, new door panels and rear styling features, the latest generation 9-3 acquires a more focused, assertive stance, reflecting the introduction of technical advances aimed at delivering an even more rewarding experience behind the wheel.

Most noticeable is the sharper frontal styling, which adopts grille and hood themes first seen on the Aero X concept, together with a return of Saab's classic 'clamshell' design. This new 'face' is reinforced by other exterior changes that all combine to give the range a clearer, more distinctive Saab identity.

"We are introducing significant developments across three key areas: design, performance and handling," says Jan Åke Jonsson, Managing Director of Saab Automobile.

"The result is a major step forward in strengthening the visual and driving appeal of our core product line-up, which accounts for about two-thirds of global sales."

The new 9-3 range comprises Sport Sedan, SportCombi and Convertible models, each offering a unique 'tri-fuel' engine choice of petrol, diesel or BioPower (E85).

Available in three forms, Linear, Vector and Aero, the new range will go on sale in Australia before the end of the year.

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