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Click on the photo for a high-res gallery of the 2008 Saab 9-3 convertible

The crew at AutoCar in jolly old England recently had a first crack at the updated 2008 Saab 9-3 and they've published their initial impressions. They mainly got to play with the flex-fuel 2.0L turbo four, which will probably be the base engine when the new Saab arrives on our shores. In Europe, the 9-3 will also be available with the 2.8L turbo V-6 and a twin turbo 1.8L diesel. Unfortunately, we probably won't get the diesel here.

The Brits were also impressed by the new XWD all-wheel-drive system that uses a combination of the latest Haldex center differential and an electronic limited slip differential in the rear axle to instantly distribute the drive torque away from slipping wheels to the ones that have grip in a smooth, seamless transition. Check out the rest of AutoCars driving impressions here.

[Source: AutoCar]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hopefully, when the Mercedes, VW, BMW, and HONDA roll out powerful diesels next year, GM will get the hint.

      Diesel is not cheaper than gasoline here in Michigan. 5-10% cheaper nowadays. Diesel should be the stop-gap solution to battery-powered vehicles.

      GM should offer a choice of four drivetrains for every car:

      (1) Small 4 cyl Flex-Fuel Gas
      (2) Turbo Diesel
      (3) Mild 4 cyl Hybrid
      (4) Large V6 / V8 Flex-Fuel Gas

      The techonolgy is here. GM should reduce the number of engines in its lineup and standardize engines across brand lines. As soon as people start eating up Accord diesels, it will be too late.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Sorry, diesel is NOW cheaper.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think the XWD system will be the thing that will bring success to the 9-3 line, or as much success as a Saab will possibly enjoy on the market. The FWD and torque steer was the biggest downfall of the 9-3 line (well, not considering quality... which was really shabby, we had an '03 9-3 Aero 'Vert 6M, nice car, but just so many problems all the time)

      but with intelligent AWD and 280bhp, a 9-3 Aero XWD will be a very desirable car. The cabins are amazing - ergonomics and seats and everything is just fantastic.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I was of the belief Saabs were among the most dependable automobiles on the road until I saw a consumer survey. I would consider a 9-3 Aero cabrio if not for the high price. It is a nice machine, but you're running into 335i territory, without the 335i performance. I really feel that if GM imported the twin-turbo diesel, Saab would be see a numbers boom. I'm pleased with the new aesthetics of the car and look forward to seeing it come to the States.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I had the privelege of also driving the XWD 9-3 during the first day of the press event for this new car. It is freaking awesome!!

      The new 9-3 is much quieter to ride in than the pre-07 model and those that take the time to check it out will find it to be a much better vehicle - believe me. And it's such a shame you Americans won't get the diesel as the TTiD is an absolute beast.

      I did two laps of the test course in the XWD car and then was lucky enough to sit shotgun for a lap with one of the drivers from the Saab Performance Team.

      And I got video: http://www.trollhattansaab.net/archives/2007/06/xwd_in_action_f.html
      • 7 Years Ago
      I've never like the Haldex implementation of AWD... but maybe this one is better. Haldex always seems to kick in too late, and the FWD bias (all) of the AWD never makes for entertaining driving.
      • 7 Years Ago
      i think the current 9-3 is a good looking car. the new front end might even subtract a little from its looks, but the awd system is welcome.

      just word of caution: my 2002 saab 9-3 was a piece! short of my land rover i've never had so many problems with a new car--and the dealer's attitude was terrible. all that makes me wonder how many bugs will have to be worked out of the xwd system.

      in saab's defense, my co-workers 2004 9-3 has been much more reliable than my car ever was. i'd still be cautious, though. how much trouble are you willing to put up with?
      • 7 Years Ago
      The rear differential is the only thing that delivers the goods, and that is optional.