Saab is continuing its efforts to become a self-sustaining company by making plans for the next generation Saab 9-3 and the timing has been set as Saab has announced that the new 9-3 will be making its world debut in 2012, most likely at the Paris Auto Show. The new model will feature a more dramatic exterior style, but it will also get a new electric four-wheel drive system that will improve fuel economy by 10%. This system was developed by engineering specialist American Axle and uses a newly designed multi-link rear suspension and two electric motors.
Jason Castriota, Saab’s new design director, said that the exterior styling has already been decided, with only small details - like headlamps - still needing to be chosen.
The 2012 Saab 9-3 will be offered with a new 200 HP 1.6-liter turbocharged petrol engine used by the Mini Countryman. There will also be a range of new diesel engines, but company sources would not be drawn on the likely source, saying only that “both parties are open to explore further opportunities as part of this relationship in the future”. Previous reports have suggested that the new Saab may include the new 184bhp 1.6-liter, twin-scroll turbo Cooper S engine and the 112bhp 1.6-liter diesel engine used in the Countryman. The new engines will be coupled to an all-new six-speed manual gearbox and a four-wheel drive system.