Saab’s entry level compact car has received a refresh for the 2012MY, and it also has a new name to go along with it. Now called the 9-3 Griffin for the US version, the hot hatch will be getting some interior and exterior modifications, as well as a couple of new engines.
Starting off with the exterior, the 9-3 Griffin will be receiving new front bumpers and signature Saab ‘ice block’ headlamps to differentiate itself from the earlier versions of the second generations. This is followed by a new metallic trim for the interior, as well as updated leatherette seats and unique storage pockets on the sides of the front seats.
More engine options will also find their way into the 9-3 Griffin, alongside the usual mix of 1.9-liter TTiD twin turbo diesel engines producing either 130, 160, 180hp. These new engines will come in 2.0L petrol flavors with 163hp or 220hp.
Hit the jump to read more about the 2012 Saab 9-3 Griffin.
For 2012, the Saab 9-3 Griffin will borrow a lot of the design elements from the 9-5 sedan. There are new "ice block" headlamps inspired by the Aero-X concept and a new grille with a more prominent, wing-shaped central bar carrying the SAAB wordmark. Also changing up the 9-3 will be re-profiled front bumpers featuring a deep, trapezoidal air intake finished with black, ribbed bars, or a mesh insert for Aero variants. The back of the compact car will get a trunk-mounted spoiler while the tires will be fitted with 16- or 17-inch wheels as standard. The Aero models will receive a matte chrome surround and new 17- and 18-inch wheel designs.
The interior has also been updated with the instrument panel, gearshift molding, doors, and glove box all getting a titanium metallic-effect trim. The Aero models will feature a graphite fiber-effect for all of these items, including the fascia and new leather sports seats with contrasting stitching, inspired by the Aero X concept car. The SE models, on the other hand, will get Leather appointed comfort seats.
The 2012 9-3 Griffin will be offered with a choice of TTiD engines that deliver 130, 160, or 180 HP, with the 180 HP version being the leader in its class in terms of low CO2 emissions and fuel consumption per unit of horsepower. This 180 HP variant makes the 9-3 Griffin the most powerful zero VED estate car available.
There are also two new, more efficient petrol engines offered in 163 HP and 220 HP variants. Both come with a fuel consumption improvement of 4% and both are available with front-wheel drive and XWD, Saab’s advanced all-wheel-drive system.
The new Saab 9-3 Griffin will make its world debut in just a few days at the Geneva Motor Show, with sales beginning later this year. Prices will be announced at a later date.
Some may be dazzled by the minor changes made, but will these changes allow the 9-3 to stand out when compared to the Audi A4, the BMW 3-Series, and the Cadillac CTS? We don’t really think so. The Cadillac CTS would be our pick from the group with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that delivers a total of 304 HP . This is 4 HP more than the BMW 335i, 97 HP more than the Audi A4, and 84 HP more than the new 9-3 Griffin. Clearly, the Cadillac takes the cake in this comparison.
More efficient engines
Cool exterior look
Not as impressive as competitors
Less powerful than any of the competitor
Despite changes, the over look does not attract