Report: This is your 9-3 replacement mule

There’s nothing I can really see to give it away, but autoweek.nl say this convertible is the first mule spotted featuring (some of the) tech that will come out on the Saab 9-3 replacement.

Visit Autoweek, click the image on the story and you’ll also find a rear view of this same car.

As mentioned, there’s not much different to look at here, except for the different wheels and wheel arches. The exhaust pipes at the rear look a little underdone and there seems to be an unfamiliar spaciousness about the underbody.

I really don’t know what else to look for here, but if you do then maybe you can help the rest of us.

Looks just like a convertible to me.

72 thoughts on “Report: This is your 9-3 replacement mule”

  1. I’m not really sure but it looks like the width of the car (at least the length of the front and rear axel) has changed…

  2. I didn’t know Errol Flynn was born in Hobart, Tasmania! You learn something new everyday.

    Whatever that Saab is, I like it.

  3. This is the information of the car. Doesn’t say much, but it is a 2011 model and Saab is the owner. The engine has 154Kw
    Fordonsidentifikation
    Registreringsnummer: PMP837
    Fabrikat: SAAB
    Färg: MGRÅ Fordonsslag: PB
    Fordonsår: 2011 Fordonsslagsklass: I
    Chassinummer: YS3FC7MY0B9300011
    Typgodkännandenummer:
    Typgodkännandedatum:
    Senaste EU-regbevis del 1: 2011-02-02
    Senaste EU-regbevis del 2: 2011-01-18
    Handelsbeteckning:
    Upplysningar:

    √Ągare/Brukare
    Namn: SAAB AUTOMOBILE AKTIEBOLAG
    Adress:
    Postnr: 461 80 Förvärvsdatum: 2011-01-17
    Ort: TROLLH√ĄTTAN

    Försäkringsuppgifter
    Försäkringsbolag: ZURICH IRELAND LTD
    Försäkringsdatum: 2011-01-17

    Fordonsdata
    Fordonsstatus: I trafik (2011-01-21)
    Tillfällig registrering: Nej Privatimport: Nej
    Antal ägare: 1 Yrkesmässig trafik: Nej
    Fordonet tillverkat:
    Producentansvarig: 556258-8912
    I trafik första gången i Sverige: 2011-01-21
    I trafik första gången i utlandet:
    √Ągarbunden dispens: Ja
    √Ągarbunden dispens upph√∂r: Nej

    Skatteuppgifter
    Fordonsskattepliktigt: Ja Användningsförbud: Nej
    √Örsskatt, kr: 2900
    Återbetalning vid avställning, kr: 2416
    Debiterad fordonsskatt, kr: 3125
    Debiterad avgift, kr: 0
    Betalningsmånad/er: december
    Förfallen fordonsskatt/avgift, kr: 0
    Vägtrafikregisteravgift: 65 kr ska betalas samtidigt med årsskatten.

    Tekniska data
    Motornummer:
    Kaross: √Ėppet (02)
    Karosserikod särskilda ändamål:
    Slagvolym, cm3:
    Växellåda: MANUELL

    Antal passagerare, max: 3
    Antal sittande passagerare, max:
    Antal bältade passagerare, max:
    Antal passagerare i rullstol, max:
    Antal stående passagerare, max:
    Skattevikt, kg: 1770
    Tjänstevikt, kg: 1775
    Totalvikt, kg: 2150
    Sänkt totaltvikt, kg:
    Max släpvagnsvikt, kg:
    Max släpvagnsvikt kg, obromsad:
    Släpvagns maximala totalvikt vid B-behörighet, kg: 1350
    Max sammanlagd bruttovikt, kg:
    Max lastvikt, kg: 375
    Kopplingsavstånd, mm:
    Kopplingsavstånd EU, mm:
    Effektiv bromsanordning: Nej
    Lastutrymmets längd, mm:
    Främre överhäng, mm:
    Bakre överhäng, mm:
    Utrustning:
    Drivande axlar fram:
    Drivande axlar bak:
    Antal hjul:
    D√§ckdimension axel 1: 215/55 R16 93V F√§lgdimension axel 1: 6,5 J x 16″ / ET41
    D√§ckdimension axel 2: 215/55 R16 93V F√§lgdimension axel 2: 6,5 J x 16″ / ET41

    Bandbredd, mm:

    Längd, mm: 4647 Bredd, mm: 1780
    Höjd, mm:

    Drivmedel 1: BENSIN
    Motoreffekt, kw: 154,0
    Effektnorm: EG

    Miljöklass:

    Skyltformat fram: EU-ENRADIG Skyltformat bak: EU-ENRADIG

    • Even the VIN looks quite normal.
      YS3 F C 7 M Y 0 B 9 300011
      YS3 –> Saab
      F –> 9-3
      C –> 9-3 Aero ( the front is not Aero, but the back is)
      7 –> Convertible
      M –> 6speed manual/FWD
      Y –> B207R
      0 –> Check Digit
      B –> MY 11
      9 –> Prototype Assembly plant
      300011 –> serial number

      It is an Aero with the wrong front bumper, bad looking wheels and some extra cladding on the wheel arches.
      And looking from the back the distance between both exhaust pipes is larger than normal.

          • Troels I¬īm with you. The stance looks wide and that would give away that this is not a standard platform but the Phoenix. Don¬īt know if i think that the rims look norrow, but the disks and calipers looks like they are close to the original arch so the rims have to have a different build.

            Yepp, I believe this to be the first sighted mule of the 3¬īd gen 9-3.

            Cheers/Tom

          • But if this is a Phoenix mule, then shouldn’t we also notice a longer wheelbase than the current 9-3? The trend when a new generation of a car is introduced is a longer wheelbase and wider track width.

          • Arild, I guess you have a point there… – I don’t know the answer – but maybe its just the new rear-axle they are testing.. ???????? ( I also think its almost to fast to have allready finished fittings between the BMW 1.6- engine and the Saab-transmission ??? )

      • I notice they haven’t specified any height for the veichle, why? And with a CO2 of 247g/km it can’t be a hybrid can it?

  4. When you look at the rear view shot you get the imression that the front track is a lot wider which would make the 9-3x cladding necessary – agree?

    • Yes. I believe Your right on that. They seemed to have been forced to put on 9-3x cladding to make it less obvious that it is a mule of some kind. ūüôā

  5. would the higher ride height mean the possible offering of convertible with XWD to offer a true all season ride?

    whacked idea.. but just a thought…

      • Currently the 9-3 Convetible is not able to support XWD. Do you think that the eAAM system would be possible on the convertible?

        • I can only guess – but my guess will be; Yes!
          1. There will be no mechanical connection between front- and rear-wheels.
          2. I am pretty sure they will use the exact same platform and driving-line to all the models: and therefore be able to cross-combine freely between all engine- and traction-variants and all body-styles.
          The current 9-3 was not meant for XWD from the start and special fitting-problems appeared in the convertible.
          At least this is my understanding… If anybody can correct me, Please do.

  6. The convertible usually follows one year after the sedan. It seems unusual they would use a convertible for a mule. Perhaps it’s a 9-3X convertible. ūüėČ

    The article also mentions again the new car will be called 93. I still have a hard time of calling it Ninetythree instead of NineThree.

    • Same here. I think I remember VM announcing that this would be the nomenclature for future Saabs (naming the future smaller model 92), but did we ever discuss this here at SU?

      I think 9-2 is no less Saaby than 92 and I’d find it odd that two entirely different cars from different eras would share the same name (not to mention, 9-3/93, 9-5/95). Also historically it would not make much sense, with 92 just being a project number in a range of previous airplanes and therefore not intended to be reused. Last but not least, I think most of the prospective buyers are previous owners of everything starting from the 99 up, who do not attach great value to the numbers used before those.

      Well, whatever, as long as it has a 9 in it I’m fine with it.

      • 9-1 makes more sense than 9-2. It seems unlikely Saab will ever make something smaller than the new “small” Saab.

  7. Interesting…

    The car is not a normal one, and what interests me as well is the environment it is in. It is not Sweden as the road sign is not a Swedish one and the surroundings look quite dry. Southern Europe? Does anyone recognize the country? Is it a gas station reflecting from the car side in the first picture?

    Does the weight of the car differ from the specs from the Swedish authorities? To me the car is also running higher than an Aero should. No badges in the back…

  8. Its definitely covering up new suspension setup hence the flared wheel arches. Im gonna say its an electric test vehicle as it appears to be in the desert somewhere in the US.

    • It is certainly not in the US because we don’t have road signs measuring things in meters. Perhaps Italy?

      • However, I do recall in some of our northern most roads frequented by our wonderful Canadian friends, there were some signs that were both in Miles/ Km and or feet / meter… I dont remember where I saw them though…..

    • No Zippy, we do not use signs that say “200m” as a standard highway sign. ( check the above link for a rear angle shot of car)

      I think it’s southern europe… maybe Spain?

      I’m sticking to my XWD drop top theroy.

      • If you look at the reflections on the car, you see a kind of house you could see on the Alps. I#m not sure if those are olive trees, the woof looks to bright to me, I would say holm oak.

        But the background of the frontal photo is a vineyard, 100%

      • I realised afterwards what I had written. Thats what happens when you post having just got out of bed.

    • Due to the use of a lower case m on the road sign, I’ll place my bet on either Italy or Portugal please…

  9. Those are olive trees in the background, so I’m guessing it’s in the Mediterranean area.

    Tiny, tiny exhaust pipes suggest a tiny engine…so could well be the 1.6.

  10. If you go to
    autobild.de
    there is a story about a new Opel in the segment below 8k ‚ā¨ with some pics of a mule. Look at the pics and I would set some SKR that the background of these pics is the same as where the 9-3 convertable was shot! Especially number 2 seems very similar.
    The article says southern Europe.
    And I would also underline that this is the first sign of Phoebix from the ashes. So definitely a mule for something.
    Daniel,
    who didn`t get a link posted, sorry

  11. Regnr: PMP837

    Färg: MGRÅ

    Fabrikat: SAAB

    Fordonsslag: PB

    Tillägginformation

    Informationen nedan redovisas obehandlad från vägtrafikregistret. Om det är tomt innebär det att det inte finns någon tilläggsinformation om fordonet.

    T12E PROVBIL.FORDONET F√ÖR BRUKAS I TRAFIK MED DE UNDANTAG SOM
    G√ĄLLER F√ĖR EXPORTVAGN ENL VVFS 1994:5,AVSNITT 10.6 SAMT
    UTAN KRAV P√Ö BESIKTNING ENL 38 OCH 77 PARAGRAFERNA
    FORDONSKUNG√ĖRELSEN (1972:595).SE S√ĄRSKILT BESLUT.
    T13H √ÖRSMODELLBETECKNINGEN √ĄR √ÖSATT AV FORDONSTILLVERKAREN.
    T31BS KOLDIOXIDUTSL√ĄPP BLANDAD K√ĖRNING BER√ĄKNAD, CO2 247 G/KM.
    UPPGIFTEN ANV√ĄNDS ENDAST SOM GRUND F√ĖR UTTAG AV FORDONSSKATT.

  12. I think there are 3 possibilities.

    First -> (or similar eAAM system)

    Looks like a “ridiculous” exhaust is fit. (too small diameter for an Aero, looks as if it would be cross-installed)

    Second -> Convertible testing with XWD.

    Third -> Someone took the wheel pants from 9-3X looks cool on this car. But then it would not be rolled from the prototype line.

    I believe in a mix of Option 1 and 2 The vehicle dimensions are definitely the same as the actual dimensions of the convertible.

    Exciting times!

    • I think #2 can be excluded, a XWD convertible is unlikely to be developed this late in the life of the current 9-3. the focus must now be on getting the NG9-3 developed.

      #1 is a clear possibility or perhaps its simply the Phoenix components being used (Strauts, shocks, rollbars etc) will need to be tuned for all body variants of the new car including the convertible

    • That picture is from http://www.automotorsport.se/news/22215/saab-9-5-sportcombi–ny-spionbild/ . In their article they write that they have some more official pictures on their hard drive… that they are not allowed to publish yet… so come on wikileaks and give us some nice pictures ūüėČ

      I think that this picture give a more correct view of how the rear looks compared to the spy shoot from yesterday. It looks like the design department know how to get all lines and curves come together nicely even with the same doors as in the sedan.

      Beautiful!

  13. What about instead of it being an electric vehicle, why could they not be just testing the new BMW engine? Unless they’re testing out a new platform as well thus the reason to cover up the suspension with the wheel flares as others have mentioned. Also, +1 on somewhere in Italy.

  14. * The very first thing that strikes me are the widened wheel arches.
    * The car definitely rides higher than a normal 9-3 convertible.
    * Exhaust pipes not centred and small diameter.
    * Hot climate testing.

    All this adds up to…. Nah, I’m going to let you guys speculate if you haven’t figured it out already.

    Cheers

  15. Incredible fun to read all creative ideas and all the conclusions one can make from 2 photos.
    Please continue ūüôā

  16. I checked some road signs in Europe: Greece is out of the question as their give way -sign is red and yellow. Italy has quite the same distance sign but the give way -sign has a small frame which this sign doesn’t have.

    The car in the picture is actually moving when the pics are taken. In the first pic you can’t see the give way -sign; not even from the reflection of the front. But in the pic from the back the car is actually already beside the sign. And the brake lights are not on.

    A larger resolution of the pictures would show better the reflections of the surroundings of the car…

  17. Ummm…. Hopefully SAAB will figure out how to inject a more relable, customer oriented dealer network in the United States before they launch the 2012 9-3.

    If the current dealer issues (uneducated, apathetic salespeople, substandard service technicians, terrible customer service) are still around in 1-2 years from now, all of that SAAB Scandinavian beauty, safety, and performance that we love so dearly will not matter one bit and hence SAAB is DOA (that is despite the flickering signs (very small flickering) of new SAAB life in the Northeastern United States, IMHO).

    I have to tell you that my dealer experience (bought a 2008 9-5 AERO new) with SAAB outside of Tucson, Arizona has been horrible and I am not the only one that has voiced there distaste for the SAAB dealer experience.

    Thanks for reading,

    Hender

    • Registreringsnummer: AZT370
      Fabrikat: SAAB
      Färg: SILVER Fordonsslag: PB
      Fordonsår: 2011 Fordonsslagsklass: I
      Chassinummer: YS3FB4MS2B9300010
      Typgodkännandenummer:
      Typgodkännandedatum:
      Senaste EU-regbevis del 1: 2011-01-18
      Senaste EU-regbevis del 2: 2011-01-18
      Handelsbeteckning:
      Upplysningar:

      √Ągare/Brukare
      Namn: SAAB AUTOMOBILE AKTIEBOLAG
      Adress:
      Postnr: 461 80 Förvärvsdatum: 2011-01-17
      Ort: TROLLH√ĄTTAN

      Försäkringsuppgifter
      Försäkringsbolag: ZURICH IRELAND LTD
      Försäkringsdatum: 2011-01-17

      Fordonsdata
      Fordonsstatus: I trafik (2011-01-21)
      Tillfällig registrering: Nej Privatimport: Nej
      Antal ägare: 1 Yrkesmässig trafik: Nej
      Fordonet tillverkat:
      Producentansvarig: 556258-8912
      I trafik första gången i Sverige: 2011-01-21
      I trafik första gången i utlandet:
      √Ągarbunden dispens: Ja
      √Ągarbunden dispens upph√∂r: Nej

      Besiktningsuppgifter
      Besiktningstermin: 2013-10-01 – 2014-02-28
      Senast godkända besiktning:
      Föreläggande:Nej
      Körförbud:Nej
      Vägmätarställning:

      Skatteuppgifter
      Fordonsskattepliktigt: Ja Användningsförbud: Nej
      √Örsskatt, kr: 2400
      Återbetalning vid avställning, kr: 200
      Debiterad fordonsskatt, kr: 825
      Debiterad avgift, kr: 0
      Betalningsmånad/er: mars
      Förfallen fordonsskatt/avgift, kr: 0
      Vägtrafikregisteravgift: 65 kr ska betalas samtidigt med årsskatten.

      Tekniska data
      Motornummer:
      Kaross: Täckt (01)
      Karosserikod särskilda ändamål:
      Slagvolym, cm3:
      Växellåda: MANUELL

      Antal passagerare, max: 4
      Antal sittande passagerare, max:
      Antal bältade passagerare, max:
      Antal passagerare i rullstol, max:
      Antal stående passagerare, max:
      Skattevikt, kg: 1630
      Tjänstevikt, kg: 1630
      Totalvikt, kg: 2130
      Sänkt totaltvikt, kg:
      Max släpvagnsvikt, kg:
      Max släpvagnsvikt kg, obromsad:
      Släpvagns maximala totalvikt vid B-behörighet, kg: 1370
      Max sammanlagd bruttovikt, kg:
      Max lastvikt, kg: 500
      Kopplingsavstånd, mm:
      Kopplingsavstånd EU, mm:
      Effektiv bromsanordning: Nej
      Lastutrymmets längd, mm:
      Främre överhäng, mm:
      Bakre överhäng, mm:
      Utrustning:
      Drivande axlar fram:
      Drivande axlar bak:
      Antal hjul:
      D√§ckdimension axel 1: 215/55 R16 93V F√§lgdimension axel 1: 6,5 J x 16″ / ET41
      D√§ckdimension axel 2: 215/55 R16 93V F√§lgdimension axel 2: 6,5 J x 16″ / ET41
      Bandbredd, mm:

      Längd, mm: 4647 Bredd, mm: 1802
      Höjd, mm:

      Drivmedel 1: BENSIN
      Motoreffekt, kw: 129,0
      Effektnorm: EG

      And the extra info:

      T12E PROVBIL.FORDONET F√ÖR BRUKAS I TRAFIK MED DE UNDANTAG SOM
      G√ĄLLER F√ĖR EXPORTVAGN ENL VVFS 1994:5,AVSNITT 10.6 SAMT
      UTAN KRAV P√Ö BESIKTNING ENL 38 OCH 77 PARAGRAFERNA
      FORDONSKUNG√ĖRELSEN (1972:595).SE S√ĄRSKILT BESLUT.
      T13H √ÖRSMODELLBETECKNINGEN √ĄR √ÖSATT AV FORDONSTILLVERKAREN.
      T31BS KOLDIOXIDUTSL√ĄPP BLANDAD K√ĖRNING BER√ĄKNAD, CO2 222 G/KM.
      UPPGIFTEN ANV√ĄNDS ENDAST SOM GRUND F√ĖR UTTAG AV FORDONSSKAT

  18. There was a sedan test mule on Jalopnik.com. The body is the current generation but the frame and chassis are the newly revised Epsilon which has a wider track front and rear, hence the fender flares (according to Jalopnik). A lot of companies will use existing body work on an early test mule to sort out the mechanicals, etc before the exterior is finalized.

  19. I think that cabriolet wasn’t alone there.

    Motor Authority has some shots of a 9-3 Sedan with just the same wheels, the same arch extenders and the same exhaust in the same scenery.

    I think the guy that did the pictures, did them all at the same time, but is selling them one by one.

    • That is the way to gain some more from them.

      Also leave the information out where and when it is taken so that you can be alone there shooting them (and others) again. I believe Saab has a Garage somewhere close where they can tune and fix eventual problems on the vehicles… This photographer will probably provide some more pics later on if he/she sees them again or others… But this is just my guess…

      Any way; these pics are always nice to see. Saab is on the move…!

  20. The link has already been mentioned in a comment to another post, but for completeness it should probably be put here where it belongs: Here are a few pics of that other mule, the Sedan one, in Teknikens V√§rld, along with info that the pictures were taken in Spain, and quite a few interesting tidbits and speculations about the NG 9-3. (I really don’t like what they say about the design!)

    • With regard to their design comments, bear in mind that they haven’t actually seen it. They write those comments “according to their sources” or words to that effect. Don’t get your pants in a twist just yet.

      I have seen it, or computer design images, at least, and whilst I wasn’t popping champagne corks immediately, it had enough there to get excited about. What I saw was a 2D image with no contouring or colour and it was enough to make me feel good about the future. So personally speaking, I’ll take TV’s words with a grain of salt at this point.

  21. Read in Teknikens Värld this:

    http://www.teknikensvarld.se/bilspionen/nyheter/110204-nya-saab-9-3/index.xml

    “Formerna s√§gs vara mer effekts√∂kande och enligt v√•ra k√§llor ska det hela vara ‚ÄĚlite v√§l f√∂ruts√§gbar‚ÄĚ, vilket l√•ter en gnutta √∂verraskande med tanke p√• Castriotas tidigare verk”

    Rabe talks about the 9-3 “his sources” think the look of the car is predictable!

    Does it mean that the new car looks simular to any concept we seen before or?

  22. Tomas,
    2 comments before yours Börjesson says the same abut the same article.

    Swade, who has seen a sketch of the car, has already given an answer to your question.

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