Details of next Saab 9-3 ‘Phoenix’ at Autocar

Autocar had a Saab feature in their latest print edition and it seems some of that is now filtering onto their website.

TedY has spotted a good article online that spells out what Autocar believe could be some of the secrets surrounding the new 9-3. It all gels pretty well with some stuff that I’ve heard previously, albeit in bits and pieces, including the ‘Phoenix’ internal nickname for the car.

The Phoenix Architecture that will underpin the 93 is aptly named; indeed, it is so crucial to Saab’s recovery that the firm’s engineering guru, Kjell ac Bergström, has put his retirement on hold for two years to oversee the project into production.

Bergström, who has also worked at Volvo and Fiat-GM, rejoined General Motors-owned Saab in 2003.

He had already outlined his vision for how an independent version of the Swedish brand could work before it severed its ties with the American giant.

The Phoenix Architecture seems to fit in with Bergström’s plan, in which many future components — everything from base engines to door locks — will be bought ‘off the shelf’ from manufacturers who supply parts to other premium car makers.

The article goes on to outline what Autocar believe will be key points of the architecture, which is basically a listing of all the 9-5’s various suspension and driveline components (HiPerStrut, H-arm, MacPherson, etc).

Hilton Holloway, the man responsible for the print feature (and well connected, too, I might add) states that the saloon version will come first, with a 3-door hatch and convertible following shortly thereafter.

Other things to bear in mind with regard to the next 9-3:

  • This Phoenix platform that they refer to is believed to be a development/enhancement of the original Epsilon platform that the current 9-3 is built on.
  • VM wants it out in 2012, though whether that means as a 2012 model (late 2011) or a 2013 model (Aug 2012) is unclear.
  • Reported discussions with BMW about engines
  • Exterior design is not yet set, whatever recent reports about Castriota might tell you, but hatchbacks are definitely in Saab’s thinking for this car
  • Possible electrification of the car, most likely through a hybrid powertrain setup

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