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All the recent talk of Saab has mostly centered around the new 9-5. But lest anyone forget about its entry-level offering, Saab is turning its attention towards the 9-3 to bring it closer to the ideals introduced by the 9-5, while adding some freshness in the process. According to a Saabs United source, the next 9-3 will receive a mild facelifted and a few engine room tweaks for the 2011 model year.

Fans of earth-tones will undoubtedly be ecstatic with the new Javabrown exterior hue, and Diamond Silver is another new color. Turbine-like wheels that echo the new 9-5 are included and expect a revised front fascia to match. Two new model choices – "Vector Griffin" and "Griffin Aero" – will be available, and the front bumpers will be slightly different between the trims.

Engine selections will be market-dependent, with a 2.0-liter direct-injection four-cylinder with 163 horsepower in naturally aspirated form and 220 hp when sporting a turbocharger. Some markets can order a diesel, which will have three versions, delivering 130-, 160- or 180-hp. Interior changes are slight and boil down to color and materials juggling. It's clear that Saab has its design mojo working, hopefully it can infuse the same kind of enthusiasm into the sales numbers.

[Source: Saabs United]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I always thought Saabs had pretty handsome sheetmetal and good proportions. I'm not a Saab fan at all, but I do think a lot of their vehicles looked and still do look nice. Simple Euro designs ftw.
      • 4 Years Ago
      New engine options are great but it still doesn't hide the fact that Saab can't introduce a brand new 9-3 quickly enough. The other day, a friend told me there's an article in the most recent issue of Autoweek that compared about 10 cars (including the 9-3) in a handful of categories. I'm told Saab came in last in each.

      I'm still a big supporter of Victor Muller's vision of Saab's future but the 9-3 is probably even more important to Saab (as its bread and butter car) than the new 9-5.
      • 4 Years Ago
      To me, 163 hp and 220 hp seem a bit underpowered for a luxury car. I highly doubt the diesel models will find their way here to the US. Would be awesome if they manage to get an AWD 9-3 with a diesel engine out here in the US.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Then you've never driven a Saab. Even though they SEEM down on HP, they are an absolute HOOT to drive. my old 9-3 only had 200 hp, but seemed way more than my volvo's 235hp. It just always had power on the reserves.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Saabs are limited in the HP they can produce for another year or two due to the terms of the sale.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I bet the US will only get the turbo DI option. The lower hp options are really a demand for Europe where BMW for instance sells the 3-series in 1.8L with 140hp
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm an Infiniti fan myself (G37 all the way), but I would like to see Saab succeed in the market. Competition is good for the consumer, you know? I'll wait for the next-gen 9-3 though, which will probably be even more of a blast to drive.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hopefully the new engines will be more efficient as the current 4 cylinder lineup get no better mpg than most 6 cylinder competitors.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is it still using the ecotec motor? Also, they do offer a 250hp 2.8 turbo v6 option, although you don't see them too often. I've been thinking about a used 9-3 for a while, it seems like you can get them cheap.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @jerzeykid2013

        Actually it's 280HP for late 2008 (early 2008 were 255 FWD) and 2009. The 2010 9-3s do not have 6 cylinder options and as it seems, neither will the 2011.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually its 280hp for MY 2008 and up
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's not a luxury car... it's an "entry-level" luxury car.

      163 is a waste of time, I'm sure good MPGs, but the 220hp one will fair just fine. It'll line up well against the Lexus IS, VW CC 2.0t, Volvo 3.2s, etc.

      Looking forward to seeing the new nose.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Do any of you use online dating sites? Would you choose to go on a date with someone based solely on their height? No pictures, no bio, just the a number telling you how tall they are. Didn't think so. Then why do you judge a car purely on horse power?

      Anyway, they need to bring back a V4.
        • 4 Years Ago
        A v4 would be fun but a 2 stroke would be better!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think a tougher sell might be Saab's all-new 9-5. With 2011 pricing in the upper $30s to upper $50s range, it's going to face some strong competition at least without generous incentives.
        • 4 Years Ago
        All good points but the old 9-5 and the current 9-3 are overpriced for what they offer, the new 9-5 is a huge step forward from it's predecessor and the current 9-3 with many features and amenities such as XWD, nav, and an adaptive suspension, stuff you couldn't even get in the last generation. When compared to Audi, which Saab is most cross shopped with, the price really is very good. It will be a hard pill to swallow for current owners that got a massive discount but this is Saab's flagship model and Saab is a luxury brand although entry level. When the new 9-3 arrives there will be a much better option for those looking to keep costs down.

        I think Saabs larger problem is floating the current 9-3 for 2 more years without deep discounts, a mild refresh is not enough to keep that car selling at the price they are asking.
        • 4 Years Ago
        and reviews so far have said the 4 banger is actually surprisingly powerful with the low end torque
        • 4 Years Ago
        While the new 9-5 is bigger (not necessarily appealing to traditional Saab buyers) and "better" equipped (although the standard 220hp engine seems like it could be underpowered for a car of this size/weight), it may fail to attract enough traditional Saab buyers without the level of incentives they've been used especially the last dozen or so years. Someone who bought (or more likely leased) a previous gen 9-5 or are moving up from the 9-3 may balk at the price and decide to look elsewhere. Again, incentives will be key.

        I think bringing in new customers to Saab at these price points will be tough due to the recent uncertainty of the brand's future.

        I certainly hope Saab sees success with this model and others going forward but I just think it will be a tough road for a while.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is poor.

      The pricing Spyker intends to layout for SAADs from here on out better match the performance. GM doesn't own it anymore - no more cash on the hood, "red tag", employee or related to an employee discounts. If a SAAB dealer ask for $38-$45k for a 220hp 9-3 and means it I am going to laugh and go straight to an Infiniti dealership.

      Why would a rational person buy one of these instead of a G-series car? These are $35k cars - loaded. At best.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Altima/Camry hybrid? You're serious? Who mentioned these two? The G37 is not one of these.

        My point was that the G37 is a better sports/luxury sedan than a 9-3. Period. As such, there is no way SAAB pricing can be justified. I don't know which part of the country you live in but the G is regularly crossed shopped the 3 and the A4.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Everyone here can provide meaningless personal anecdotes and drink as much haterade you wish. The fact remains a G37S will STOMP any SAAB. The. End. Roll. Credits.

        When was the last time you read an C/D, M/T or an R/T that compared an Infiniti, a BMW, an Audi AND a SAAB? I see plenty of the comparing the first three, not all four I mentioned.

        As it is, SAAB products cannot compete and they are over priced. Come off it, guys.
        • 4 Years Ago
        More like $22k cars. Unloaded.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If cars were sold to rational people, we'd never even buy new cars- ever. Nor one with fake wood trim, or cars that didn't get 65mpg and have dent-proof bodywork.

        I agree Saab needs to be competive, yet I know a bunch of Saab owners (I've had 3 + a few BMWs and 7 Volvos) and I don't think any of the Saab owners I know would any more likely cross shop with Infiniti as they would International Harverster. Rationally, you're right, a nice Japanese car might be worth cross-shopping the 9-3 against -and something like the Altima Hybrid or Camry Hybrid might be it. Realistically, I'd bet most Saab shoppers really are comparing to higher-end VWs, lower end Audis, Volvos and used BMWs. No offense- I'm more just speaking to how the Saab market thinks, rather than if the Infiniti line is a smarter choice.
      • 4 Years Ago
      On pricing -- the base model 9-3 is $29K, and it is already pretty well equipped, with heated mirrors and the like. There is $3500 cash back on it, another $500 if you're a member of the Saab Club of North America, and an additional $2000 in loyalty dollars if you are a previous Saab owner. That brings the price down to $23K, and that's assuming the dealer will get full MSRP for it. A 220hp 9-3 sedan that's pretty well equipped even in base model -- we're talking an entry level european luxury car -- for $23K? I'll take it thank you!!
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