9 things I want to see in the next Saab 9-3

We’ve done this sort of listing before, but not for a while and not with the real genuine prospect of a grass roots model Saab being in development.
It should still be early stages right now, so hopefully Saab might still be able to fit a few of these in.
This is just my own personal wish list. As usual, comments are open for yours…..
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Really Intelligent controls.
I’ve lost count of all the things about Saabs that captured my interest when I first came across them. Things as seemingly simple nowadays as split-circuit brakes. They’re possibly not that sophisticated nowadays, but back in the early 1970s they were and even when I read about them for the first time in the early 1990s they were virtually unheard of here in Australia.
Another thing I’ve always loved are the intelligent interior controls Saabs were blessed with. Controls like the cold/hot setting on the HVAC system, which would blow cool air on your face and warm air on your feet.
Then there’s the big chunky buttons on the Saab 900. They looked odd, but they were pure function dictating form. Able to be operated by a gloved hand, they were not only useful, but usefully arranged.
The trend today, of course, is to miniaturise everything. Make it smaller, more multi-functional and compact. I like the button dash of the early Saab 9-3s and I’m not advocating a return to huge chunky buttons, but perhaps a return to the ideas behind that arrangement would be a good thing.
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SaabSportAndRally01.jpgA Sport and Rally Catalog (or similar)
OK, maybe this one is a pipe dream, but wouldn’t it be good if you could go to a factory catalog like the old Saab Sport and Rally catalogs to get tried, tested and effective enhancements for your Saab?
You can get all sorts of Saab accessories from your dealer right now, but how about factory software upgrades, sports exhausts, performance suspension systems, aerodynamics etc.
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A hatchback
Needless to say, if they design a new 9-3 without a hatch, they needn’t have bothered.
With design between companies converging more and more as safety and emissions regulations take control, Saab need to consolidate an identity of their own. Not an identity GM gave them. Sedans and wagons are OK, in fact they’re the two of the three biggest market segments there is (along with SUVs), but rolling back to a body style that helped to make Saab’s name as a unique carmaker with a distinct character would not be a backwards step.
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Window switches in the center console
I guess this throws back to my preivious point about really intelligent controls.
Saab’s previous design of having the seatbelt buckle, ignition and handbrake all in the center was a smart design that worked. Having the window controls at the fall of your hand was also very natural. It was beautiful ergonomics and whilst it might necessitate some inventive cupholder relocation, I think it’d be worth it.
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Seat heaters as standard equipment
It is unforgiveable and extremely cynical to sell heated seats, something that Saab freaking-well invented and implemented when I was just two years old (1972), as part of an options pack that people have to pay for. This is especially so in a Swedish car that’s supposedly designed for a country with a winter focus.
They ought to be embarrassed about this.
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Saab3spoke.jpgThree spoke wheels
Does it sound like I’m getting to a point where I just scream “Just build the damn Classic 900 again, Ok?”
I’m not deliberately trying to bring back everything that was great about that car, it’s just there really was so much that was great about that car. Reviving things isn’t just about appealing to old Saab customers. It’s about doing things that make sense, which is why they were done in the first place.
In this case, it’s another matter of practicality and identity. Saab’s three spoke wheels looked excellent, were instantly recognisable as Saab wheels, and they were practical because they were really easy to maintain.
Great looks, identity and practicality. Saab.
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A generational leap in one department or another
Turbocharging was an evolutional leap for a mass production car. The 16-valve turbo engine was another.
Saab have always been a small company but they’ve always managed to punch well above their weight.
I’m no futurist, so I’ll just ask the question – What’s it going to be this time?
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elmo.jpgTop shelf interior materials – no compromises – in the top spec model
I remember a classic quote from our Aussie Saab mate, Turbin, that his 9000 seats were made with 100% real Elmos!!! If you’ve got a Saab of the late 9000 era, check the tag on the seat headrests….
Interior materials is one area that’s taken a real battering in the last few years but finally seems to be improving. Saab always did interior design pretty well, but the flat plastics of the last few years haven’t impressed too many. I’ve been a big fan of Hirsch’s leather dash fittings for exactly this reason and I still maintain that they should be standard fare on the top models of the Saab range.
Give me good leathers. Good interior dress-up options. Give me a decent diameter thick leather steering wheel. Make all those touchy-feely points pleasing to my touchy-feely.
Charge for it, by all means, but please do it.
Some progressive interior colors wouldn’t go astray, either.
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2010-cadillac-srx-engine.jpgNo engine coverings
OK, this one might be a little out of left field. But nothing’s more freaking boring than lifting the hood on a car to see a vast expanse of black plastic covering everything, with just a couple of yellow points that the owner’s allowed to touch.
Resist this, please. Let your owners connect with the heartbeat of their vehicles once again. Let them see your name loud and proud on a valve cover instead of a piece of plastic.
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This is just my own personal list and there are other things I could have put on it that are probably more important than some of the things I’ve mentioned. Things like making sure there’s a manual gearbox option in every model and making sure the car has great handling characteristics.
There are other things that I’m sure don’t need mentioning, like diesel and XWD.
And there are other things that just don’t mean that much to me, like gadget connectivity, which I know will be a much bigger priority for others.
But that’s why we have a comments area.
What’s important to you for the future Saab 9-3?

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