2012 Saab 9-3 to rival Audi A3, get Mini Countryman power?

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If Saab is going to survive, much less thrive on its own, it's going to need more fresh product to supplement the just-launched 9-5. An all-new 9-3 is going to play a big part in the revival of the Swedish brand, and Saab is reportedly hard at work on a new platform for its mainstream model.

The new platform, reportedly dubbed the "Phoenix Architecture" will likely also underpin the next generation 9-5, although it may adopt some pieces from the current model such as the Hi-Per strut front suspension. Prior the GM bankruptcy, it had been decided that the next 9-3 would move from the mid-size Epsilon platform to the compact Delta platform. At this point it looks like Saab will stick with the downsizing plan with it's internally developed compact as it targets the Audi A3 is its main competitor. The hardcore Saab fans out there will also be glad to hear that the new model will include a revival of the dearly departed hatchback form factor.

Powerplants remain an open question for Saab, with BMW still likely to be the front-runner as a supplier. The 1.6-liter engines from the Mini Countryman are one probably candidate, with the 184 horsepower turbocharged Cooper S being a range topper. Before the new 9-3 arrives in 2012, Saab may also do a refresh of the current model, adding the 180 horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-four that recently debuted in the new Astra.

[Source: Autocar]

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