Discontinued in 2012 as Saab was filing for bankruptcy, the 9-3 sedan made a surprising return in 2013, when the brand was revived under National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) ownership. But instead of launching the third-generation model that was in the works before Saab went bankrupt, NEVS started building second-gen cars at the company’s Trollhattan production plant. Identical to the 2012 model, the "new" sedan arrived in dealerships without the trademark griffin logos and with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-banger under the hood.While NEVS is undoubtedly working on a modern replacement for the 9-3, the next-generation vehicle won’t be launched for at least two more years. Instead, the Swedes are reportedly looking to reintroduce the 9-3 SportCombi and have already confirmed plans to offer an electric iteration of the current sedan.
The EV is still not ready to go into production, but NEVS has just unveiled the prototype that will become an actual Saab product in the near future.
Click past the jump to read more about the Saab 9-3 EV Prototype
There’s no doubt that Saab as a company has been running on fumes for the past couple of years, teetering that bankruptcy line more than any other automaker has in recent time.
But if there’s one silver lining to the malaise the company is embroiled in, it’s that some of their cars are still being represented in the world of auto racing. One in particular is Flash Engineering, which recently unveiled their new Saab 9-3 TTA race car that’s set to compete in the Swedish Racing Elite League this year.
The 9-3-turned race car comes with a dynamic wide body kit to go with a vented hood, a new rear diffuser, and a larger rear spoiler, making it primed and ready for some hardcore racing action.
According to Jan Nilsson, Flash Engineering’s Managing Director, the motivation to enter the Swedish Racing Elite series with a Saab 9-3 was to finally see how it stacks up against its local rival, Volvo, out on the track. “I have longed for 40 years to see the fight between Saab and Volvo on the race tracks," he said. "It becomes reality this summer and my biggest dream is to get all Saab fans to the TTA races to cheer us on.”
While we think that it’s a race that will get turn some heads, we think it’s a little more of a big deal to see a Saab vehicle compete in a racing environment despite the company’s well-chronicled financial struggles. Here’s to hoping for a good showing from the guys over at Flash Motorsport.
Updated 03/23/2012: Flash Engineering has unveiled today a first video for their Saab 9-3 TTA Race Car featuring a first test session. The test was a first run, at the Alés track in France, where the front was not completed, the final car is going to look different.
In a perfect world, Saab wouldn’t be embroiled in the mess that they’re in, having to fight for their automotive life while struggling to even hang on by a thread. Unfortunately, the real world is far more brutal than that and for the past few years, Saab has teetered the precarious line of living to sell another day and permanently closing shop.
It’s this sad reality that makes us feel bad, especially when we know the prospects of what Saab could be if they were as fit, healthy, and spry as other automakers. This particular concept study, an amalgamation between Saab and Nespresso designs, comes from the mind of student Eric Leong from Umea University. A Saab sponsored-project, Leong wanted to design a car that takes its inspiration from a non-automotive source: Nespresso, a Nestle-owned company that sells espresso machines, of all things.
The creative young student mixed the design elements and characteristics found on coupes, hatchbacks, and pick-ups while also keeping to mind Saab styling cues, including the aviation-inspired elements, the ’hockey-stick’ C-pillar, a wraparound DLO, and a roofline design that looks similar to the Saab 9-X BioHybrid Concept.
Nespresso-inspired elements on the car can be traced to the rear end with its flexible, dual storage compartment. Likewise, the car was designed with top deck panels with cushions serving as substitute materials to create an open-air, social environment. Incidentally, the same 9-X BioHybrid Concept-inspired roof is covered with solar panels that serves the quizzical purpose of powering the owner’s house when the car is parked.
While we’re not certain as to how that last part works, the whole design of the Saab Nespresso study does give us an indication of what the future would be like if the Swedish brand stood on safer ground.
Saab may be on the short stick – again - as far as their future is concerned, but some of their models still find a way to make the news and try to move the spotlight away from their tumultuous future into something a little more optimistic.
In this case, the question has to be posed: who knew that you could take a Saab 9-3, strip it down to its bare essentials, build the whole puzzle back together, and fit in an 8.4-liter V10 engine that comes courtesy of a Dodge Viper SRT10?
You read that whole paragraph right, folks. The word’s ‘Saab’ and ‘SRT’ are coming together for a very revealing customer project. The final model, which is being called the ‘9-3 SRT10 MegaPower’, came from the mind of one Zaccho Pelle, who wanted nothing more than to turn his Saab 9-3 Estate from an otherwise mundane wagon into a Viper SRT10-powered, 600-horsepower piece of automotive madness.
Full details on the Saab 9-3 SRT10 MegaPower after the jump.
Shortly after becoming the official supplier for ECU upgrades, aero kits, brakes, exhaust systems, and a few other modifications for Saab models on the US market, Hirsch Performance is getting to work with the beginning of what we’re sure will be a long list of tuning projects for the Swedish automaker. The first project unveiled was the 9-3 models shown at the Chicago Auto Show, and the next is this tuning package provided for the 9-5.
The name for the package comes straight out of the power behind it. Hirsch Performance has taken the 2.0T Turbo4 engine found in the Saab and equipped it with direct injection, a modern twin scroll turbocharger, and improved charge cooling. The result is a total output of 260 HP and a peak torque of 295 lbs-ft. Thanks to the twin scroll technology, the throttle response is also significantly faster. The 40 HP increase is accompanied by a new top speed of 155 mph.
The price for this upgrade is $1350 and can be applied to any of the models with front wheel drive and XWD, manual and automatic transmissions.
Back in 2006, Saab brought out the Aero-X, a concept considered a piece of art at that time. Now, five years later, Saab has one-upped that concept with the launch of the new Phoenix Concept at the Geneva Motor Show. This concept previews the design language of the next generation of Saab cars.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Saab history, you should know that the "Ursaab" name says a lot. It was Saab’s first model to be launched on the market and the Phoenix takes its inspiration from it as a play on the rising of the Phoenix. We’re thinking that if the future of Saab looks anything like this, then they will truly rise from the ashes, just like the Phoenix bird did.
"The PhoeniX establishes a new reference point for the future of Saab product design," says Jason Castriota, Saab Automobile’s Executive Design Director. "It symbolizes a renaissance of the innovative spirit and passion that drove Saab to build its first car. We’re now taking the visual DNA forward with what we call ‘aeromotional’ design, adding emotion, power and fluidity. This design aesthetic will shape and differentiate future models in the Saab portfolio."
Hit the jump to read more about the Saab PhoeniX concept.
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.
February 23rd is a very special day for the boys of Saab. A year ago on this day, the Swedish automaker was officially given a new life by Spyker, and the former will be celebrating the first anniversary of Saab’s rebirth as an independent carmaker by releasing a special edition 9-3 Convertible that it’s calling the “Independence Edition”.
Set to be launched at a special party to be held at the company’s Trollhättan plant in Sweden, the 9-3 Independence Day Edition is a model that will be limited to just 366 units – one for each day that has passed since Spyker made its purchase from General Motors. Pass the cheese this direction, please?
Cheesiness aside, the 9-3 Independence Day Edition will come with a number of unique features, including a 2.0-liter Biopower engine that produces 220 horsepower, a bespoke Amber Orange metallic exterior paint finish, a set of 18" alloy wheels decked in a two-tone satin chrome and black finish. Meanwhile, the interior gets beige leather interior seats and a glovebox with orange piping, an orange turbo instrument needle, carbon fiber trim, an orange stitched sports leather steering wheel, carpet mats that come with gray piping, and a couple of other upgrades courtesy of Hirsch Performance.
As soon as the 9-3 Independence Edition finishes celebrating Saab’s one-year “rebirth” anniversary, the car is expected to make an appearance at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. Can’t say that we’re particularly thrilled about the car. It’s a definite looker, especially that orange piping on the interior seats, but we’re not going to sell our souls in order to get one.
In any case, Happy 1st Birthday, Saab!
Strange as that sounds.
Staying true to the fact that they have become the official supplier for ECU upgrades, aero kits, brakes, exhaust systems, and a few other modifications for Saab models on the US market, Hirsch Performance has unveiled one of the projects they have been working on. The Saab 9-3 sedan by Hirsch Performance has been unveiled at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show featuring some pretty impressive little extras on it interior and exterior.
The specific model revealed at the show received a 30 HP upgrade, but that is only one of the options provided by Hirsch. Crack open a Saab 9-3 with a 2.8 Turbo V6 engine and Hirsch can pump it up to 300hp (up from 276 HP). Other engine setups can get updates from 140hp to 300hp.
The exterior wasn’t left untouched as Hirsch Performance is offering a rear spoiler, a carbon fiber body kit with a front splitter and rear diffuser, a four-piece mesh grille set, and a new set of 19" 6-Twin alloy wheels to give the Saab’s look a bit of spunk.
Depending on how much money the customer is willing to spend, Hirsch Performance can customize your Saab in every which way imaginable.
Hit the jump to check out performance statistics for their tuning packages.
Saab has unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show a station wagon version of the new 9-5 sedan. The new model will share the same AeroX-inspired exterior look and will feature an extended, falling roof-line which culminates in a steeply raked rear screen flanked by signature Saab wraparound window glazing.
The new SportWagon version will be offered with the same all-turbo petrol and diesel engines the 9-5 sedan version and, XWD all-wheel-drive system and advanced features such as: Saab DriveSense adaptive chassis control and adaptive cruise control starting late 2012.
"The launch of the 9-5 SportWagon is a much-awaited next step in the roll-out of our new product offensive," says Saab Automobile CEO Jan Åke Jonsson. "It will take Saab back into the large estate segment where we have established a strong presence in many key markets with our previous offering."
Sale on the US market will begin later this fall.
Hit the jump to read more about the Saab 9-5 SportWagon.
After being previewed by the Saab 9-4X BioPower, the third model in Saab’s line-up will make its world debut at the LA Auto Show. The new 9-4X will be placed in looks and size between the 9-3X all-rounder and new 9-5 sedan and will go on sale in May 2011.
The new 9-4X will be offered with a choice of V6 engines, naturally-aspirated or turbocharged. The entry level gets a 3,0 liter version with 265 HP, while the Aero version will be powered by a 300 HP 2.8-liter version with direct injection for twin-scroll turbocharging. Both engines are mated to six-speed automatic transmissions under adaptive, electronic control. The new 9-4X will be offered with Saab’s advanced all-wheel-drive system, Saab XWD, and DriveSense adaptive chassis control.
"The 9-4X significantly broadens the appeal of the Saab brand,” says Saab Automobile CEO Jan Ake Jonsson. "It gives us entry to the fast-growing crossover segment with a vehicle that reflects our brand values in key areas, such as progressive Scandinavian design and sporty, responsible driving performance. The 9-4X is an exciting package and we’re confident it will appeal to many existing Saab owners, as well as win new customers for the brand."
Press release after the jump.
Saab will be bringing its first ever all-electric model to the Paris Auto Show in less than two weeks time. It is called the Saab 9-3 ePower and it will continue its development next year as Saab intends to send out a fleet of about 70 vehicles in Sweden. This testing will take place in order to evaluate the ePower in real-world driving conditions and create a purpose-built, electric Saab vehicle.
The 9-3 ePower features a 184 hp electric motor driving the front wheels through a single-speed transmission. The sprint from 0 to 62 mph is made in just 8.5 seconds, while top speed is limited to 93 mph.
The electric engine is powered by a 35.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack accommodated in a modified floor-pan, in a space occupied by the exhaust system and fuel tank on the standard 9-3 SportWagon. This allows for optimum weight distribution and excellent driving dynamics similar to those of a standard SportWagon.
"The 9-3 ePower programme is our first step towards developing a potential production vehicle that will deliver the sort of advanced performance our customers expect. We now look forward to working with our technical partners in developing such a product."
Press release after the jump.