Rumormill: Next-gen Saab 9-3 to see return of five-door bodystyle?

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

Hopefully, and while Spyker's at it they'll bring back the 900 name. Don't count on that last bit, but according to a report by the Dutch site Auto Internationaal, Saab will be bringing back a five-door (as in hatchback) 9-3. To even the most casual Saab fan, this makes a ton of sense. In fact, Saab's decision (even though it was really General Motors' decision) to end production of the 9-3 hatch in favor of the 9-3 sedan is still both baffling and painful, all these many years later.

The thing is, Saab has always been, and will probably always remain a niche brand. The notion that by dropping the odd five-door (and three-door) body style in favor of a more conventional sedan body, stay a high-dollar front-dollar and poach sales away from BMW is as laughable now as it was back in 2002 when Saab/GM made the switch. Bringing back a five-door is most likely the brand's best shot at salvation.

Besides, five-door, luxury/performance niche vehicles seem to be all the rage. Look no further than the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo and upcoming Audi A5 Sportback. Let's not forget about the Caddy CTS Sportwagon, either. Not only that, you have a lot of people getting older and richer who spent their formative years in Subaru WRXs, Volkswagen GTIs and MazdaSpeed3s now looking for something a little more grown up and sophisticated. We really can't see any downside to hatch'd 9-3. Now if Saab would only bring back the longitudinal, backwards engine... though probably not, as the next 9-3 will likely be Opel Astra-based.

[Source: Euro Car Blog via Auto Internationaal]

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