Saab Sets Flight Plan with New 9-3 Griffin in Geneva

At the 2011 Canadian International Auto Show’s media day, Saab ‘s executive director of North American sales John Anderson spoke with great enthusiasm on the upcoming Saab 9-3. While not revealing any teaser images (jokingly saying he would likely be fired), Anderson did admit to seeing the 9-3 ahead of Geneva during the festivities at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show. As the Saab executive director of North American sales describes the 2012 model year 9-3 as a strong representation for Saab’s identity, the 2011 Geneva Motor Show premieres this awaited motoring creation.

Being made available as a sedan, SportCombi, Convertible and 9-3X model, he 2012 Saab 9-3 trim levels choices will include a top-end Aero. Showcasing a revised front end featuring the “ice block” headlight housing incorporating a blue-green hue first shown on the new 9-5, fog lights are standard on all models of the Saab 9-3. Along the new front end treatment, the new 9-3 receives a grander front grille. On Aero models of the Saab 9-3, distinguishing details such as a mesh grille insert and chrome fog lamp surroundings while riding on special 17-inch wheels. Providing an interesting addition, 2012 Saab 9-3 will be accompanied by ‘Griffin’ badging underneath the side turn signals. Using the mythical being within Saab’s corporate emblem for a long time, the use ‘Griffin’ name plates on the 9-3 comes as Saab appears to be deempathizing their crest for the simple ‘SAAB’ badge. Griffin also charges the new Saab 9-3 with the auto company’s aircraft origin.

Given a styling refresh inside the 9-3 cabin, the new Saab interior continues to cater to aircraft cockpit-themed ergonomics and materials. A healthy dose of titanium metallic trim is tastefully applied on the dashboard panel, door panels and glove box. Leatherette upholstery is standard on base models while the Saab 9-3 Aero adds ribbed leather sports seats. Aero-trimmed models of the 2012 Saab 9-3 also features the use of graphite-fiber effects.

As many premium brands stride to challenge the BMW 3-Series as the industry benchmark, the new Saab 9-3 will be given an unique advantage to compete with this Bavarian auto giant. Influenced by the notion “if you can’t beat them, join them.”, Saab wasted little time in exploring non-General Motors automotive partnerships by brokering a deal for BMW technology. Said to be providing a turbocharged, 1.6 liter inline-4 engine earlier in literature, it appears the 2012 Saab 9-3 will be propelled by BMW’s new 2-liter, twin-scroll turbocharged powerplant. Adopted to specific standards for the Swedish automobiles, this new Saab 9-3 engine is rated to 163 and 220 horsepower depending on the model. Featuring a 4% gain in fuel economy, the new Saab 9-3 direct-injected gasoline engine will emit fewer C02 emissions than the previous model. European-marketed 2012 Saab 9-3 models will also receive a 1.9 liter twin-turbocharged diesel powerplants offered in output ranges of 130, 160 and 180 horsepower.

Other features available on the 2012 Saab 9-3 includes brand-new custom 17-inch and 18-inch wheels as well as the optional traction of the company’s XWD all-wheel drive system. The 2-liter gasoline powerplant can be mated with the 9-3 XWD models. The ability to burn E85 fuel will also be equipped on the gasoline Saab 9-3 variants.

Proving as resilient as the Scandinavian spirit during within the harsh cold of European winters, Saab Automobiles 2012 lineup will relish a completely refreshed vehicle lineup just over a year following the company’s restructuring under Spyker Cars. At the Toronto car show press conference, John Anderson proudly boasted how the Saab 9-5 (newly introduced for the 2011 model year) will be the oldest vehicle in the reinvented Swedish brand.

Information and photo source: Saab Automobiles

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