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 a 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.