There are some Saab enthusiasts who feel very strongly that real Saabs have longitudinal engines mounted backwards with the clutch at the prow. Anything less, any power train layout where the crank is facing port or starboard and these people cry foul. We might even have one or two of these folks on staff here at Autoblog. One of whom might be in some sort of high-ranking editorial position. Another could even be typing the words you're reading right now. Point is, the argument can be made that Saab – the real Saab – died with the 900. Of course if you go down that road, even harder core Saabophiles will claim that the last pure Saab was the 99. Hence the problem with orthodoxy.
At any rate, as we've known, there's a new, post-GM Saab 9-3 in the works. We've long thought the new volume Saab would ride on some version of GM's Epsilon II platform, the same set of components that underpins the Buick Regal, LaCrosse and Saab's own 9-5. Instead, reports Motor Trend, the next 9-3 will be based on GM's older Epsilon I architecture that makes up the Chevy Malibu and the 9-3 from 2003. However, Saab boss Victor Muller assured MT that, "It's a heavily modified Epsilon I platform, but Saab now. So that's the basis for the new 9-3. So we have no further restraints. So we don't have to share it with anyone else. Which means we can knock ourselves out to make it the car we want it to be."
Does that mean the engine will be flipped around backwards, slanted and hooked to the transmission via a chain? Most certainly no, but we do like the part about Saab being free to be Saab. Speaking of being Saab, it looks like modern version of the classic Saab 92 might be in the works. Mr. Muller showed MT's Todd Lassa a rendering of the proposed 9-2 on the former's Blackberry. Lassa comments:
Actually, come to think of it, "no middle ground" would make for a good Saab mission statement. Especially if we can get 'em to put the parking brake back on the front wheels.The car is stunning. It's retro-futurist, as J Mays would call it, an interpretation of early Saabs drawing obvious comparisons between Mays' Volkswagen New Beetle, the new Minis and Fiat 500. In the best tradition of Saab, it's a polarizing design – you will love it if you're a Saabanista. Or you will hate it. There will be no middle ground.