Saab 9-3 Aero Sedan MY14
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Compact executive car|
The 9-3 is originally based on the GM2900 platform and subsequently changed to the GM Epsilon platform. Other vehicles based on the same platforms include the Opel Vectra and Cadillac BLS. Though the current production model of 9-3 is still based on the Epsilon platform, Saab's current owners, National Electric Vehicle Sweden, are developing the newer Phoenix platform which was conceived post GM divestiture to debut for the 2015 model year. The 9-3 is Saab's only model, offered as a saloon, and will be available in three different body styles: saloon, estate and convertible.
- 1 Overview
- 2 First generation (1998–2002)
- 3 Second generation (2003–present)
- 4 Third generation
- 5 Awards and achievements
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes
- 8 External links
The car was badged as 93 starting in the 1998 model year, when they revised the naming strategy of their small car to match that of the larger 95. Saab consistently advertises it as 9-3, pronounced as "nine three". The Saab 9-3 was launched in 1997 for the 1998 model year essentially as a rebadged 2nd Generation Saab 900 (1994–1997 model), and succeeded by a redesigned 9-3 for the 2003 model year. It is not to be confused with the Saab 93, pronounced "ninety three", which was a car produced by Saab from 1955 to 1960.
First generation (1998–2002)
|Assembly||Trollhättan, Sweden (hatchback)
Uusikaupunki, Finland (Valmet Automotive) (1999–2003 convertible and Viggen)
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||3-/5-door hatchback
|Layout||Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive|
|Engine||2.0 L B204 I4
2.0 L B205 I4
2.0 L B205R I4
2.3 L B235R I4
2.2 L Turbodiesel I4
|Wheelbase||2,605 mm (102.6 in)|
|Length||1999–2000 Viggen & 2001–02: 4,630 mm (182.3 in)
1999–2000: 4,628 mm (182.2 in)
2001-02 Viggen: 4,640 mm (182.7 in)
|Width||1,712 mm (67.4 in)|
|Height||Hatchback: 1,427 mm (56.2 in)
Convertible: 1,422 mm (56.0 in)
2001-02 Viggen Hatchback: 1,415 mm (55.7 in)
2001–02 Viggen Convertible: 1,410 mm (55.5 in)
The first generation 9-3, a substantially improved Saab 900 (NG) was launched in 1998 for the 1999 model year. Saab claimed that 1,100 changes were made, including a revised suspension in an attempt to tighten up the handling characteristics of its predecessor, the Saab 900 (1994–1998 model). It featured slightly sleeker styling with some models sporting a black rear spoiler and removed Saab's trademark centrally mounted "snow flap". It was available as a three or five-door hatchback, and as a two-door convertible. It was the last small Saab to use the company's H engine. Notable improvements over the Saab 900 (NG) were improved ride and handling and substantially improved crash-worthiness with standard side impact airbags with head protection and active headrests. The Saab 9-3 along with the Saab 9-5 and the Volvo S70 were the first cars in the world to earn the maximum score in a side impact augmented by a pole test based on Euro NCAP testing. The 9-3 continued the Saab safety tradition of performing a moose test.
The 9-3 was available with a new variant of the B204 engine (B204E, 154 hp (115 kW)), a low pressure turbo (LPT) engine based on the B204L used in the last generation Saab 900. For the U.S. market, all 9-3s were turbocharged petrol engines with the "full pressure turbo" (B204L, 185 hp (138 kW)) as the standard offering, and a "HOT" (B204R, 200 hp) variant in the SE models for the 1999 model year. The 2000 model year saw a revision from SAAB's Trionic 5 to Trionic 7 engine management system. The first generation 9-3 was also the first Saab available with a diesel engine, also found in the Opel Vectra, Astra G, Signum, Zafira A.
A Saab innovation is the 'Night Panel', carried over from the Saab 900, which permits dousing of the instrument panel lighting, except for essential information, for less distraction when night driving.
A total of 326,370 first generation 9-3s were built.
It came with a turbocharged 2.3 L engine, (B235R) giving 225 bhp (168 kW; 228 PS) later 230 bhp (172 kW; 233 PS) on 1.4 bar (20 psi) of boost from its Mitsubishi TD04-HL15-5 turbocharger. Acceleration from 0–100 km/h could be reached in 6.4 seconds and the top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h (160 mph). To provide and handle the high power and performance, the following elements were changed/modified:
- Higher capacity intercooler
- Higher performance tuned ECU
- Flow through muffler and Tip
- Heavy duty clutch and pressure plate
- Stiffened and lowered springs
- Firmer dampers
- Stronger CV joints and driveshafts
To enable the front wheels to cope with the amount of torque available, the maximum torque was electronically limited.
- 1st gear was limited to 250 N·m (180 lb·ft)
- 2nd gear was limited to 330 N·m (240 lb·ft)
- 3rd gear and on had the full 350 N·m (260 lb·ft).
In 1999, the Viggen was the first 9-3 to use Saab's Trionic 7 engine management system, which processes 2 million calculations every second analysing combustion temperature, boost control, variable torque curves and many other critical engine processes. In addition, the 2001 model year introduced a Traction Control System (TCS) to the Viggen.
In addition to extra power and torque, it also featured a special rear wing (increasing the downforce by 50%) requiring relocation of the radio antenna, aerodynamically designed bumpers and side skirts reducing the drag coefficient by 8%, specially bolstered and colored leather seats (available in four colors: black with black inserts (charcoal), black with blue inserts (deep blue), black with orange inserts (flame ochre), and tan with tan inserts), sportier suspension, bigger wheels, upgraded brakes, and other upgraded parts.
The Viggen was only available with a five-speed manual transmission, CD player, power moonroof, and (what were initially) Viggen-specific motorised and heated leather seats with the Viggen delta logo embossed in the backrest; these were later also available in the Aero model (U.S. market 'SE' model) without the embossed Viggen logo. Some colors featured carbon-fibre interior trim from its introduction to the middle of the 2001 model year, when Saab substituted a less expensive printed gray pattern for the dash and standard trim for everything else.
New Viggen buyers in the USA were treated to two days of advanced driving instruction at Road Atlanta and dined with Saab USA executives from nearby Norcross, Georgia. This programme, operated by Saab and Panoz, was called Viggen Flight Academy and later transformed into the current SAAB Aero Academy.
Some motoring journalists were critical of untamed torque steer in low gears. Although the torque steer can be nearly eliminated through the use of a steering rack brace, also called a "Viggen Rescue Kit" available through a few aftermarket vendors.
|Viggen Production Summary|
|Models produced||Models imported into the U.S.|
|Model Year||Yearly total||Total||Convertible||3-door||5-door|
4,600 Viggens were manufactured until production ended in June, 2002; of which only 500 units were produced for the UK market. For 1999, 426 3-door Viggens were imported into the U.S.; of those 420 were blue, 2 were silver, 2 were Monte Carlo yellow, and 2 were black.
First generation 9-3 engines
Other than the diesel engines, all the first generation engines were versions of the Saab H engine. Other than the Saab 9-5, the first generation 9-3 was the last to utilise this all Saab engine design. All versions of this engine feature a DOHC 16-valve design with Saab's Saab Direct Ignition. All turbocharged engines utilise Saab's Trionic engine management system which works hand in hand with the Direct Ignition's IDM module (mounted to the top of the engine, directly engaging the sparkplugs). The later two technologies were migrated into other GM products during the ten years that GM controlled Saab. All of the engines, other than the normally aspirated version and the low-pressure turbo, had high specific power outputs. The B205R generated 102.5 horsepower (76.4 kW) per litre, which exceeds the specific output of the 32-valve V8 engine in an Audi RS4, which generates 100 horsepower (75 kW)/l. The B235R from the Viggen generated 252 lb·ft (342 N·m) of torque, which is only 10 lb·ft (14 N·m) less than an E46 BMW M3. Saab's 'EcoPower' philosophy incorporates high power and torque output when it is needed, while also delivering good fuel economy and low emissions.
|Engine||Displacement||Torque||Power||Compression ratio||Boost pressure||Model Years Available|
|B204i:||2.0L (1985cc)||177 N·m (131 lb·ft) @ 4300 rpm||130 hp (97 kW) @ 5500 rpm||10.1:1||-||1999-2000|
|B204E:||2.0L (1985cc)||219 N·m (162 lb·ft) @ 3600 rpm||154 hp (115 kW) @ 5500 rpm||9.2:1||0.40 bar (5.8 psi)||1999-2000|
|B204L:||2.0L (1985cc)||263 N·m (194 lb·ft) @ 2100 rpm||185 hp (138 kW) @ 5500 rpm||9.2:1||0.73 bar (10.6 psi)||1999|
|B204R:||2.0L (1985cc)||280 N·m (210 lb·ft) @ 2200 rpm||200 hp (150 kW) @ 5500 rpm||9.2:1||1.00 bar (14.5 psi)||1999|
|B235R:||2.3L (2290cc)||342 N·m (252 lb·ft) @ 1950 rpm||225 hp (168 kW) @ 5500 rpm||9.25:1||1.08 bar (15.7 psi)||1999–2002|
|B205E:||2.0L (1985cc)||240 N·m (180 lb·ft) @ 1800 rpm||150 hp (110 kW) @ 5500 rpm||9.2:1||0.40 bar (5.8 psi)||2000–2002|
|B205L:||2.0L (1985cc)||280 N·m (210 lb·ft) @ 1800 rpm||185 hp (138 kW) @ 5500 rpm||9.2:1||1.00 bar (14.5 psi)||2000–2002|
|B205R:||2.0L (1985cc)||280 N·m (210 lb·ft) @ 1800 rpm||205 hp (153 kW) @ 5500 rpm||9.2:1||1.00 bar (14.5 psi)||2000–2002|
|2.2TiD:||2.2L (2171cc)||260 N·m (190 lb·ft) @ 1800 rpm||116 hp (87 kW)||19.5:1||0.90 bar (13.1 psi)||1998 – Sept. 2000|
|2.2TiD:||2.2L (2171cc)||285 N·m (210 lb·ft) @ 1750 rpm||125 hp (93 kW)||18.5:1||0.90 bar (13.1 psi)||Sept. 2000 – Aug. 2002|
- The primary difference between the B204L and the B204R is with the intercooler and the wastegate "base boost" setting.
- Turbochargers used: B204E, B204L & B204R: Garrett T25; B205E & B205L: Garrett T17; B205R & B235R: MHI TD04-HL15T with 5 cm² exhaust port.
Second generation (2003–present)
|Assembly||Graz, Austria (Magna Steyr) (convertible 2003–2009)|
|Designer||Michael Mauer, Einar Hareide, Anders Gustafsson|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door convertible
4-door station wagon
|Layout||Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive / all-wheel drive|
|Platform||GM Epsilon platform|
|Transmission||5-speed F35 manual
6-speed F40 manual
5-speed Aisin AF33 automatic
6-speed Aisin AF40-6 automatic
|Wheelbase||2,675 mm (105.3 in)|
|Length||2003-07 Sedan: 4,635 mm (182.5 in)
2008-Present Sedan: 4,646 mm (182.9 in)
2003-07 Convertible: 4,633 mm (182.4 in)
2008–2009 Convertible: 182.9 in (4,646 mm)
2003-09 Turbo X & Wagon: 4,653 mm (183.2 in)
2010-Present Wagon: 183.9 in (4,671 mm) & 184.6 in (4,689 mm)
|Width||2010-Present: 70.9 in (1,801 mm)
2008-09 Sedan: 1,753 mm (69.0 in)
2010-Present Convertible: 70.1 in (1,781 mm)
2008-09 Convertible: 1,760 mm (69.3 in)
Turbo X & Wagon: 1,763 mm (69.4 in)
|Height||2003-07 Sedan: 1,443 mm (56.8 in)
2008-Present Sedan: 1,450 mm (57.1 in)
2003-07 Convertible: 1,433 mm (56.4 in)
2008-present Convertible: 56.6 in (1,438 mm)
2003-07 Wagon: 1,540 mm (60.6 in)
2008-Present Turbo X & Wagon: 1,496 mm (58.9 in)
2010-Present Wagon: 60.2 in (1,529 mm)
|Curb weight||2008-2009: 1,410 to 1,690 kg (3,109 to 3,726 lb)|
||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010)|
The second-generation model was launched in January 2002, at the North American International Auto Show for the 2003MY. Originally, the 9-3 was due to début with the Opel Vectra in October 2001, at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but in July 2001, it was announced that delays had forced General Motors to postpone the introduction. Both cars were eventually introduced in March 2002, at the Geneva Motor Show.
The new 9-3, like most Saabs, remained a front-wheel drive car. The most drastic change from the former generation was the elimination of the hatchback design. The second-generation 9-3 is available as a four-door saloon, an estate (introduced late in 2005, known as the SportWagon, SportCombi or Sport-Hatch depending on the markets), and a two-door convertible (introduced in 2004). It includes a number of safety features, including innovations such as Saab Active Head Restraints (SAHR II) to reduce whiplash and ReAxs, a passive rear wheel steering design and passive toe-in to help reduce understeer under heavy braking.
The new 9-3 departed from the EcoPower engine used previously for a new 2.0 L inline-four engine Ecotec engine from General Motors' for the petrol powered models. There are three different versions of the turbocharged inline-four, with the amount of turbo boost determining the power output. The 150 hp (110 kW) version (though two-litre, it is called 1.8t) was standard in the non-U.S. market Linear form (trim-level). The 175 horsepower (130 kW) version (2.0t) was standard in U.S. market Linear or non-U.S. market Vector form, mated with a 5-speed manual transmission or a 5-speed 'Sentronic' which is a traditional automatic, not to be confused with SAAB's earlier 'Sensonic' which was a manual transmission which allowed for shifting without a clutch pedal. The 210 horsepower 2.0T (B207R engine) was available in both the Arc and Vector forms, (and Aero in the United Kingdom), and the automatic transmission was available, though in the Vector, paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel were added. In 2003 Arcs and Vectors, the manual transmission was a 6-speed.
The 9-3 and the Opel Vectra were the first of the global GM Epsilon platform, which was then lengthened to accommodate four new cousins, the Chevrolet Malibu/Malibu Maxx, the Pontiac G6, and the Saturn Aura. A proprietary fiber-optic electric/electronic system, the possibility of AWD (exploited from 2008 on, dubbed Saab XWD), and ReAxs as described above, are just a few of the features exclusive to the 9-3. On February 22, 2012, the final 47 Saabs were built. They were all 9-3 Independence Edition convertible models built by one of Sweden's largest car dealers, ANA, in Trollhättan.
United States versions were sold with 16-inch wheels standard (17-inch for the Aero) unlike the 15-inch wheels which were previously found in the Linear version. In the United States, but not in most countries, the 2005 was the last year of the Linear and Arc versions. In addition, the 6-speed manual was dropped and both the Arc and Aero received the 5-speed manual.
A special "20 Years Edition Aero Convertible" for the American market was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in January 2006 to celebrate 20 years since the introduction of the Saab 900 convertible. For 2006, the two optional engines were a 2.0-litre turbo 4-cylinder and a new 2.8-litre turbo 6-cylinder. The 4-cylinder option had 12.3 psi maximum turbo boost pressure and turned out 210 hp (160 kW), while the 6-cylinder had 8.7 psi boost and turned out 250 hp (190 kW). The 2.0-litre 16-valve turbo four-cylinder model was marketed in the United States as the 2.0T, replacing the Linear and Arc models sold until the 2005 model year. The United States 2.0T version was similar to the 2005 Arc except for U.S. Linear wheels were used. The Linear and Arc versions continued to be sold in most other countries.
The dashboard was completely revamped for 2007, with the Saab Information Display moved from its high mounted position to the main instrument binnacle, and a return to the look of the classic Saab 900 dash. The button-heavy climate control system disappeared, replaced by the Saab 9-5 climate control system, OnStar was re-introduced and required when Nav was ordered in North America, and the corporate GM head unit debuted, which allowed for satellite radio and MP3 CD capability. While the 2008 model is touted as all-new, the majority of under skin enhancements occurred for the 2007 model year. The suspension went from borderline harsh to firm, and the cabin was quietened considerably. Steel Gray was also replaced with Titan Gray as an exterior color choice. In the U.S. market, only the 210 hp 2.0-litre 16-valve turbo engine and the 250 hp 2.8-litre V-6 turbo were available. The manual transmission in the 2.0 model was changed from a 5-speed to a 6-speed.
Saab claims over 2000 changes were made to model year 2008 cars. The 2008 range, first presented at the Saab Festival in Trollhättan, Sweden (June 10, 2007) included new frontal styling inspired by the Saab Aero-X and Saab 9-2X, Saab's first use of LED "signature" lighting in the revised headlamps, new door panels, a new clamshell bonnet, new rear bumper, and frosted "ice block" rear lamps. Black replaced charcoal gray as an interior color choice. Snow Silver became a new exterior color. The 2.8T V6 powering the Aero models received a mild output boost from 250 hp to 255 hp. Some additional exterior modifications are available on the limited-edition XWD 280 horsepower (210 kW) 9-3 Turbo X, presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show (9/07). The Turbo X made its North American debut at the New England Auto show in late November. Saab also released an all-wheel-drive version of the Aero, with the system dubbed "XWD", in March 2008.
The 2009 9-3 series expands the trim levels while dropping the limited-edition Turbo X saloon and estate from the lineup. The 2.0T and Aero saloon and estate models are now available with Saab's all-wheel drive(XWD). The convertible range continues to lack the all-wheel-drive option because of limited under-body space for the necessary componentry due to added structural bracing to compensate for the rigidity lost when eliminating the hard roof from the design of a car. The new Saab 9-3 is virtually unchanged from the 2008 model, which underwent subtle design and performance enhancements. During 2009 the 9-3X was launched at the Geneva auto show. The 9-3X is a four-wheel-drive XUV version of the 9-3 SportWagon.
For 2010, the Saab 9-3 Aero's turbocharged V6 was eliminated. All models used the 2.0-liter turbo-4.
The 9-3 received some revisions in 2011 for the 2012 model year. Changes were in the engine range with an overall reduction in diesel and petrol engine fuel consumption of 12% and 7% respectively. In addition there were:
- Expanded all-wheel-drive choice: New entry-level 163 hp, 2.0-litre gasoline / BioPower engine added for 9-3 saloon, estate and 9-3X models with Saab XWD.
- Updated identity: New rear badging in line with all new Saab 9-5 saloon.
- New, 'ice block' style headlights
- New bumper design
- Minor cabin makeover with new titanium metallic effect trim around instrument panel, gearshift, doors and glove box. Aero gets graphite fiber effect.
- In most markets, car will be badged 'Griffin'.
- Return of Saab classic, three-spoke alloy wheel: This 16-inch design is part of an expanded 16- to 18-inch wheel choice.
- A limited edition "Independence Edition" convertible was released with a total of 366 units to commemorate the first anniversary of the sale to Spyker Cars.
National Electric Vehicle Sweden restarted production of the Saab 9-3 Aero Sedan MY14 on December 2, 2013 in Saab's former Trollhättan assembly plant. The only exterior difference on the MY14 model is the lack of the Griffin badge, to which NEVS does not own the rights. The Griffin is replaced with a badge displaying the Saab logotype. Another visible change are the new and safer seats. The 9-3 Aero MY14 features a 220-horsepower 2.0-liter direct-injected twin-scroll turbocharged engine and went on sale in Sweden on December 10. The first cars will be delivered in Spring 2014 as a "Limited Edition" model.
The 9-3 no longer meets the latest Euro NCAP tests regarding pedestrian safety, so only 1000 cars of each body model can be sold in Europe, as a low-volume manufacturer. The only other market initially is China. An electric version will be launched in spring 2014 in the Chinese market.
2nd generation engines
Note: diesel engines are not available in North America. Starting from late 2004 diesel engines are Fiat-sourced common rail units.
|Model||Years||Engine and type||Displ.||Power||Torque||Turbocharger|
|1.8i||2004–2009||I4 16V||Ecotec||1796 cc||90 kW (122 PS; 121 hp) @ 5800 rpm||167 N·m (123 lb·ft) @ 3800 rpm||None|
|1.8t||2002–present||I4 16V||Ecotec LK9||1998 cc||110 kW (150 PS; 148 hp) @ 5500 rpm||240 N·m (180 lb·ft) @ 2000–3500 rpm||Low-pressure|
|2.0t||2002–present||I4 16V||Ecotec LK9||1998 cc||129 kW (175 PS; 173 hp) @ 5500 rpm||265 N·m (195 lb·ft) @ 2500–4000 rpm||Mid-pressure|
|2.0T||2002–present||I4 16V||Ecotec LK9||1998 cc||154 kW (209 PS; 207 hp) @ 5300 rpm||300 N·m (220 lb·ft) @ 2500–4000 rpm||High-pressure|
|2.8T V6||2005–2007||V6 24V||LP9||2792 cc||184 kW (250 PS; 247 hp) @ 5500 rpm||350 N·m (260 lb·ft) @ 1800–4500 rpm||High-pressure|
|2.8T V6||2007–2008||V6 24V||LP9||2792 cc||188 kW (256 PS; 252 hp) @ 5500 rpm||355 N·m (262 lb·ft) @ 1800–4500 rpm||High-pressure|
|2.8T V6||2008–2010||V6 24V||LP9||2792 cc||206 kW (280 PS; 276 hp) @ 5500 rpm||400 N·m (300 lb·ft) @ 2150 rpm||High-pressure|
|1.8t BioPower||2007–present||I4 16V||Ecotec LK9||1998 cc||129 kW (175 PS; 173 hp) @ 5500 rpm||265 N·m (195 lb·ft) @ 2500–4000 rpm||Mid-pressure|
|2.0t BioPower||2007–present||I4 16V||Ecotec LK9||1998 cc||147 kW (200 PS; 197 hp) @ 5500 rpm||300 N·m (220 lb·ft) @ 2500–4000 rpm||High-pressure|
|1.9 TiD||2004–present||I4 8V||Z19DT||1910 cc||88 kW (120 PS; 118 hp) @ 4000 rpm||280 N·m (210 lb·ft) @ 2000–2750 rpm||High-pressure|
|1.9 TiDS||2004–present||I4 16V||Z19DTH||1910 cc||110 kW (150 PS; 148 hp) @ 4000 rpm||320 N·m (240 lb·ft) @ 2000–2750 rpm||High-pressure|
|1.9 TTiD||2007–present||I4 16V||Z19DTR||1910 cc||132 kW (179 PS; 177 hp) @ 4000 rpm||400 N·m (300 lb·ft) @ 2000–2500 rpm*1
370 N·m (270 lb·ft) @ 2000–2500 rpm*2
|High-pressure twin turbo|
|2.2 TiD||2002–2004||I4 16V||D223L||2171 cc||92 kW (125 PS; 123 hp) @ 4000 rpm||280 N·m (210 lb·ft) @ 1500 rpm||High-pressure|
|*1 For vehicles with manual transmission
*2 For vehicles with automatic transmission
Saab Turbo X
Saab Turbo X debuted at the 2007 Frankfurt auto show. It was made to celebrate SAAB's 30 years of turbocharging. All Turbo X were offered in metallic jet black with matte grey trim. The Turbo X is SAAB's first production car with the XWD all-wheel drive system from Haldex Traction and eLSD. It is powered by a 2.8-litre V6 producing 280 PS (210 kW)mated to a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox. It also has larger brakes as well as stiffer springs and shocks. The dash, shift lever and door panels have carbon fiber look and the turbo boost gauge draws its inspiration from the Saab 900.
Saab 9-3 ePower
The Saab 9-3 ePower electric car was unveiled at the 2010 Paris Auto Show and became Saab's first electric vehicle. The ePower concept car is based on the 9-3 SportWagon, has a 35.5kWh lithium-ion battery pack, a top speed of 150 kilometres per hour (93 mph), and an estimated driving range of 200 km (120 mi). Saab had scheduled to run a two-year trial with 70 ePower demonstrators in Sweden by late 2011. The new owner of the Saab estate, National Electric Vehicle Sweden, initially stated that they intended to start producing the all-electric 9-3 ePower to be launched in China by late 2013 or early 2014.
The production version is slated to be unveiled at the 2014 Frankfurt Motor Show and the market launch is scheduled for 2015. In April 2014 NEV began production of a batch of 200 units to be tested in Qingdao, China by mid 2014. After the test, sales are scheduled to begin in Sweden in 2015.
Work on a third generation Saab 9-3 started in 2007, when designers in General Motors facilities in Rüsselsheim and Detroit began work on a design study. The design language was supervised by Simon Padian and the design team managed to produce a clay model and several computer models before General Motors announced it had put the Saab brand "under review" in December 2008.
After a tumultuous 2009 in which an intended sale of Saab to Swedish supercar manufacturer Koenigsegg ultimately failed, General Motors reached an agreement with Dutch supercar manufacturer Spyker in January 2010. The sale of Saab to Spyker was completed in late February 2010 and work on a replacement for the 9-3 was restarted virtually immediately. The new management of Saab, headed by CEO Victor Muller, felt, however, that a new design language was needed to distance a newly independent Saab from General Motors.
Muller hired Jason Castriota in June 2010 to work on a scalable car platform that would serve as the basis for future Saabs, beginning with the replacement for the 9-3. In October 2010 a number of prototypes were produced and evaluated against the prototypes made in 2007. Eventually, Castriota's prototype was chosen and the design team was instructed to develop a five-door combi coupé, a convertible and a crossover on the new platform.
The work on the new platform culminated in the unveiling of the Saab PhoeniX concept car at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2011. By that time, Saab had run into serious cash flow problems, but work on the PhoeniX platform and the 9-3 replacement continued, even when Saab went into voluntary reconstruction in September 2011. The replacement of the 9-3, which had been renamed 900 by that time, was to have 1.6 liter turbo engine supplied by BMW, which was also to supply the car's start-stop system. The car was to have a hybrid drivetrain and was to be released in both a premium Aero and an economy Vector variant.
When Saab finally filed for bankruptcy in December 2011, Castriota and his team had finished most work on the car's body and its engineering, with the interior remaining the last hurdle before completing the car, which was planned for Fall 2012. The main assets of the bankrupt company were acquired by National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), which may revisit the PhoeniX platform. NEVS is currently focusing its efforts on producing an electric variant of the second generation 9-3, however (see above).
Awards and achievements
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009
- Top Safety Pick, (USA), Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
- Wards 10 Best Engines 2.8L V-6 Turbo
- Best Pick in side-impact crash tests, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Sport Sedan repeats the "Best Pick" rating from last year's IIHS frontal offset crash test and is now the first car with standard safety equipment to receive a double "Best Pick" honour.
- Received highest rating, "Good" in the IIHS & Thatcham studies into the safety of car seats and head restraints, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety USA, Thatcham, Great Britain.
- Awarded Compact Executive Car of the Year, Auto Trader, Great Britain
- Voted Top Small Executive Car, Top Gear Magazine's New Car Buyer's Guide, Great Britain
- Awarded one of "10 best Cars of the Year", Hong Kong Car and Driver, Hong Kong
- Awarded Best European Intermediate/middle sedan, Car Plus Award, Hong Kong
- Recommended buy, US Consumer Reports magazine, USA
- Awarded maximum five star rating in EuroNCAP collision test, Saab 9-3 Convertible, EuroNCAP
- Named UK's Most Secure Open-Top Car, British Insurance Car Security Awards, Great Britain
- Prestigious Sporting Open Top award, The Institute of Vehicle Engineers (IVehE), Great Britain
- Awarded maximum five star rating in EuroNCAP collision test, Saab 9-3 Sports Sedan, EuroNCAP
- Best Family Sedan, Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan, PBS's MotorWeek television, USA
- Prestige Car of the Year, Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan, Brisbane Courier Mail, Australia
- Best Buy, Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan, Expressen, Sweden
- Best New Car, Saab 9-3 Arc Sport Sedan ($30,000 - $40,000 range), Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, USA
- Among the Top Ten Cars of 1999. Fortune Magazine, USA
- One of the Top Ten Cars — Fortune Magazine, USA
- Among Top Ten Family Cars — Consumer's Review, USA
- "Saab 9-3 Reborn ad, 2007". Youtube.com. 2009-09-02. Retrieved 2010-10-15.
- Liberte Media (3 December 2013). "SAAB Production Restarts in Sweden". The Epoch Times. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
- Rising, Malin (2 December 2013). "Saab Is Back: First Cars Produced Under New Owners". Associated Press. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
- "Saab Designer Profile – Einar Hareide". Saab History. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
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