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2012 Saab 9-3 - Click above for high-res image gallery

Saab has pulled back the curtain on the 2012 9-3, available once again in sedan, SportWagon and convertible variants. Across the range, buyers can now expect to be met with a new front fascia with the company's signature headlight design borrowed from the sultry 9-5. Likewise, the grille now packs a larger Saab wing across the nose of the vehicle and all models will come with fog lights as standard equipment. Out back, the new 9-3 is dominated by a redesigned valance, and sedan models all come with a standard spoiler for the first time.

In the UK, buyers can spec their 2012 Saab 9-3 with a new turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline engine with 163 or 220 horsepower depending on configuration, as well as the tried-and-true 1.9-liter twin-turbo-diesel four cylinder. The oil-burning mill will continue to be available in 130, 160 and 180 horsepower variants. Saab says that the company has managed to increase the efficiency of the company's gasoline engines by around four percent thanks to tricks like variable valve timing, direct injection and twin-scroll turbocharging. Expect this new 2.0-liter mill to trickle over to the United States, as well. Hit the jump for the full press release.

2012 Saab 9-3
  • 2012 Saab 9-3
  • 2012 Saab 9-3 SportCombi, front 3/4

  • 2012 Saab 9-3
  • 2012 Saab 9-3 sedan, front 3/4

[Source: Saab]
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Saab 9-3 MY12 range replaces current 9-3 offer Refreshed exterior and interior styling

9-3 SportWagon TTiD now gives exceptional 119g CO2/km and up to 180 hp, making it the most powerful zero VED estate car available

New direct injection petrol engines give more power and 4% average reduction fuel consumption/CO2

Trollhättan, Sweden: The new Saab 9-3 MY12 range, announced today, features refreshed exterior and interior styling, backed by a more powerful, fuel-efficient engine range.

Replacing the current Saloon, SportWagon, Convertible and 9-3X specifications, the 9-3 MY12 range is distinguished by new front bumpers and signature Saab 'ice block' headlamps. Inside, the instrument panel, cabin décor and seat upholstery are all given a fresh look. Two specifications are offered in the UK, SE and Aero.

Under the bonnet, new 2.0-litre petrol engines give 163hp and 220 hp and include direct injection, variable valve timing and twin scroll turbocharging. Combined cycle fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are reduced on average by 4% across the range.

These new engines join the current 130/160/180 hp 1.9-litre TTiD twin turbo diesel line-up which offers very competitive CO2 emissions of just 119 g/km in both the Saloon and SportWagon - class-leading efficiency in terms of CO2 per unit of horsepower for the 180 hp variant. Further fine tuning has now also delivered a remarkable 119 g/km for the SportWagon, together with equally impressive 62.8mpg combined cycle fuel consumption.

Fresh looks

Externally, the 9-3 MY12 range adopts the 'ice block' headlamp effect introduced on the new 9-5 Saloon. Inspired by the Aero X concept car, the units have a distinctive blue/green hue in daylight. The grille also features a more prominent, wing-shaped central bar carrying the SAAB wordmark, again like the 9-5 Saloon.

Re-profiled front bumpers include a deep, trapezoidal air intake finished with black, ribbed bars, or a mesh insert for Aero variants. Front fog lamps are fitted as standard, with Aero models featuring a matt chrome surround.

At the rear, the SAAB wordmark replaces badging on the chrome trim and all Saloon variants receive a trunk-mounted aerodynamic spoiler. New 17- inch and 18-inch wheel designs are also offered on SE and Aero respectively.

The cabin also receives a makeover. Titanium metallic-effect trim is introduced around the instrument panel, gearshift molding, doors and glove box, and as an option for the instrument panel fascia. The Aero interior features a graphite fibre-effect for all these items, including the fascia.

SE models are fitted with Leather appointed comfort seats, while Aero models features new Leather sports seats with contrasting stitching, inspired by the Aero X concept car.
In both specifications, a useful storage pocket for small items is fitted to the side of the front seatbacks.

More power, lower fuel consumption and emissions

Further fine tuning for 9-3 MY12 SportWagon fitted with 130/160/180 hp TTiD engines has further improved CO2 emissions and fuel consumption to 119 g/km and 62.8mpg, respectively, over the combined cycle. Like the Saloon, the 180 hp SportWagon clearly leads its class in terms of low CO2 emissions and fuel consumption per unit of horsepower, making it the most powerful zero VED estate car available.

More efficient petrol engines deliver an average combined cycle improvement of 4% in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. This is in addition to a 10 hp increase over the current 210 hp top-of-the-line offer. With power ratings of 163 hp (120 kW)/ 320 Nm and 220 hp (162 kW)/ 350 Nm, both new engines are available with front-wheel drive and XWD, Saab's advanced all-wheel-drive system.

The use of variable valve timing and direct injection improves fuel consumption, emissions and performance. Hydraulically operated vane-type cam phasers enable both the inlet and exhaust valve timing to be adjusted independently, according to varying engine speed and load. The many benefits include a broader spread of torque, higher maximum power and improved fuel consumption.

Direct injection delivers fuel under high pressure directly into the combustion chamber. This enables the separation of air and fuel delivery, allowing improved scavenging of the combustion chamber to give substantially more low-end torque and reduced engine knocking.

A twin-scroll turbocharger is also used, which virtually eliminates turbo lag at low engine speeds. Each scroll on the turbine is fed by a separate exhaust passage from a pair of cylinders, enabling a throttle response comparable to that of a naturally-aspirated engine. Other features include twin counter-rotating balance shafts for smooth running and a forged steel crankshaft for added strength.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      No shock but I love that a company that was slated to die less than a year ago but has enough in them to do a refresh with only one year left of this car on sale. New fascia panels, wheels, interior upgrades, and performance features all make this car an even better value. If you haven't driven an '08+ XWD Saab 9-3, I seriously recommend you try a test drive, they're sharp as a tack and average close to 30mpg. Saab could have just left the old car on sale until the new model comes out at the end of 2012, but instead they not only released the most powerful sub 120g/km diesel in Europe, are releasing two models in the next 2 months (9-5 Wagon and 9-4x CUV) but will be releasing a concept by their design director who by the way happened to design the P4/5 Ferrari, Maserati GranTurismo, and the led the design team for the Lancia Stratos. I'm pumped to see what's next. I'm definitely a huge fan and make no bones about it, but I just don't get how you can't like this company, even if the styling isn't for you.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So sexy! I wanna trade in my 2003 9-3 Linear for this. Wonder what the price will be though.
      • 4 Years Ago
      A re-refreshed 9-3 isn't going to be enough to inspire a sales renaissance. I'm hoping the new 9-5 and 9-4x will.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I sold an 08 Sport Combi 2.0T last year, only had the car a year. Was it nice? In some respects very much so: Great road ride, comfy seats, excellent climate control and a good Nav system. Paint was of high quality, as were the carpets...

      But the plastics in the interior really were lackluster. The seat leather was plasticy, and the vinyl worse. Creaks were common from the dash, the B pillar, the console. The 6MT was a ropey transmission, and the handling was never sporty. Safe, yes. Inspiring? Not so much. I wanted to love the car, but overall it had too much overhang and not enough inspiring features (though I do have a soft spot for the GM-derived 4 cyl, that was a surprisingly great engine!).

      Ironically, I was given a 2004 Linear sedan last month and it might be odd to say, but even with its quirks, questionable suspension reliability and constantly failing lights there's a lot I like more about the original 9-3. The seats are fully leather, for instance. Nothing about the original design said "wannabe C-Class."

      What is Saab doing here? More bling? Please Saab don't do it! The last thing the 9-3 needs is bling to pretend it is something it isn't. What it is, what it should be presented as is the cool and crisp alternative to the mainstream sedan. What this chassis will never let it be is a slick sport sedan. So stop trying to make it look like one.

      Oh, those chrome foglight surrounds? Yea, pure Ford Fusion. Come on Saab just bring on the next gen 9-3 already!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Another Turbo X 6MT and previous 2002 9-3 5MT owner. SAABs are truly intelligently designed cars. It does not stop at the driver's seat like 3-series, or puny trunks like in Audis.

      There is something truly special that will keep me coming back to SAAB again, after short defections to VAG, yep looks an S4 is in the stars for this driver until the 2015 9-3 Viggen or whatever 0-60 sub-6 AWD car they bring with MT.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I have owned 2003 9-3 2.0T sedan and 2006 2.8t Aero wagon, both with 6 speed manual transmission. Both were excellent cars with zero issues, fantastic design and excellent handling. My chili red wagon was a true stealth sports car with a mid-range power to match almost anything. I even loved the first generation black interior with dozens of buttons and green LED screens. If there is a quick wagon with MT and AWD available two years from now - I will get it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      We just sold our 2008 SportWagon. Fun car, but yeah, getting a bit old now.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ugh, those wheels!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I've driven the new diesels and they are absolutely brilliant. The engine averages (city + urban) 4.5l/100km which is about 52mpg US. I took it to highway+ speeds (70-75mph) where I reset the onboard fuel average meter, drove a handful of miles, drove in to the dealer in the city. The car had averaged 4.0l/100km (59mpg)! I own the older version of the diesel (MY08) and I seldom average below 45mpg topping about 50-51mpg. I drove the 180bhp version and it was really quick, never out of oomph. The sixth gear is quite overdrive-ish though. In 70mph the engine will rev about 1900rpm. There is more than enough power for a quick overtake in sixth gear (60-65mph+), but not at breakneck speeds.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Heh, I actually like the wheels, even if they're a little too big. They remind me of a turbine, which is probably the point?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Knock off of the origional Merc SLR rims
      • 4 Years Ago
      I love Saab, but this vehicle is in dire need of an overhaul. Not that it's bad looking because I actually like it, but the platform is so old, it's starting to look retro.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I just hope they've improved the interior. I had an '06 9-3 Aero convertible and as much as I loved it for being a Saab, I didn't love the cheap plastics, and the overall feel of the interior. It needed a major refresh to come up to BMW/Audi standards.

      That said, kudos to Saab for keeping the wagons coming our way, when every other mfr is pulling them from their US product line!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Granted, Saab has had little time and money to play with initially, so it's not that surprising that the interior pieces are the same. Let's hope the redesigned 9-3 will see a step up in quality. My '03 9-5 Aero wagon is excellent quality in my opinion. (and definitely better than the GM cheapening that happened later on in '06 for the 9-5s). I just bought a '97 9000 Aero for fun and that car had the best seats of all time.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They haven't ... They just threw in a standard GM dash with some cheapo silver trim in '07. Sad, but the 9-5 seems to have an interior that's headed in the right direction.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It would have been awesome if Saab had done the work to prep diesel for the US before they lost GM's deep(er) pockets. Seeing what diesel has done for VW's sales makes me think it would be swell for Saab.

      Honestly, it's surprising ANY car company is still so gutless regarding diesel for the US. All that said, like Chrysler, it's impressive that investment is being made in models slated for such a soon replacement. Keep on keeping on Saab.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Getting a little old in the tooth, but still one of the most handsome wagons out there. At this stage though, I'm really waiting for the next generation.
      • 4 Years Ago
      oh, that is really ugly
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