Saab 9-3 Griffin – a closer look

UPDATE added at the end (Red J)

Saab had a 9-3 Griffin SportCombi at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show and I thought it’d be good to share a few images illustrating some of the new details on this car.

The car on display was a TTiD with big labels showing the sub-120g/km status of the vehicle – a real plus given that it’s the practical SportCombi model. Prior to the Geneva show, this favourable emissions status was only available with the Sport Sedan.

There’s a little confusion with this car as to which model it actually is. It’s badged as a regular Griffin rather than as an Aero model, but has a mix of both regular and Aero features.

The very attractive wheels are from the Aero….

…. as are the sports seats. Note the new textured look on the seats with the horizontal lines (it looks a bit like a horizontal bamboo). It’s a small change that makes a very nice difference.

The front foglight surrounds have the same shape as the Aero model, without the bling. Of course, the shape of the foglight surround is closer to the 9-5 shape now and the bottom of the air intake is colored the same as the car.

The rear features a prominent Saab wordmark in place of the Griffin badge.

The interior of the car does feature the Titanium instrument panel which is only available for the Griffin as an option and not for the Griffin Aero.

I’ve made those two pictures, but they are not that good, sorry. At least you can see the surface material and the missing silver line around the instrument panel.

47 thoughts on “Saab 9-3 Griffin – a closer look”

    • Which channel? Perhaps it could be viewed on the web. Yesturday Swade was seen in the background of TV4’s news, talking to Victor 🙂

      • It was Tv4,

        He was talking to Victor Muller. 🙂

        Perhaps its the same clip .

        And i must say, im very amazed about this blog and its readers, such a community,
        as a SAAB nerd myself, it feels like im taking a step into a family i always wanted.

        • Swade is a mega star in Sweden. What we can guess is whatever Swade did say it was done in English or Aussie to be a bit more accurate.

          • Zippy,
            I’ve talked with a guy from Hirsch in Geneva, and he told me, that in a short period of time any Canadian Saab dealer that wants to sell Hirsch products will be able to do so.

    • Was it on some of the regional TV4 news channels? Like “Väst” or “Göteborg”? I tried to watch the whole domestic 19:00 news, the 18:50 business news and the “Väst” 18.31 news broadcasts but none of them showed Swade. The business news was concerned with the ever increasing exchange rate of the swedish crown and the dollar (and the euro to some extent) which makes it hard for Saab and Volvo to be profitable. The Väst news talked with CvK who believed in Saab’s future =)

  1. A very nice car indeed ! 🙂
    I prefer those black fog-light-surroundings from the “bling” on the “real” GriffinAero.

    Still the best looking wagon in its class with Alfa as only real competitor, aesthetically.
    A clean and well-proportioned sculpture with the right combination of soft surfaces, meeting each other in sharp lines/contours.

    • +1
      I completely agree. After this 9-3 model goes out of production, I think this design will age very well in the coming years. Just as my ’02 9-3 SE seems to have.

    • You should be. I have had one for 1 year. I has been nothing but a pleasure and no service except the standard 3000 km has been needed. An excellent car! Mine is laser red,.

        • Ooops!
          My car is soon on its 5 0000 th km and not a single problem. Love it, but I consider to change it to a Griffin in the spring. Another red of cause!

          • Okey, that´s good news! Mine is going to be Arctic White with tinted rear windows 😀

  2. I hate to be negative, but I give the seats a big thumbs down. Looks too street racer too me (or perhaps like the driver wears sweat suits, gold chains, and wants his car trimmed in ostrich leather or alligator skin!). If you wanted to change the leather, use a better quality leather i.e. the semi aniline from a couple years ago. Trim the interior like the Turbo X and we have a winner.

  3. My only complaint…bring back the Griffin LOGO. Yes, i know they all wear off…but it looks so darn cool.

    Too much irony in naming it the 9-3 Griffin if you are removing the Griffin logo….

    • That’s what I was thinking!… why name a trim level ‘Griffin’ when that badge is getting ditched??? It’d be nice if they were able to keep the griffin logo… too bad for those people who got it tattooed on themselves maybe?

    • They would not have to wear off. 🙂 There are ways to protect the finish on the badges. They just have to want to upgrade that feature….or offer free replacements when the badge image wears off. (Maybe that is why they are getting rid of the badges….VM does not want any new Saabs driving around with flaked off Griffin logos.)

      • Yea, but Castriota said that the PhoeniX was an extreme in that case too. It was just fun to put the old airplane logo on it. It won’t be like that on the next 9-3. Not to that extent, as said in the video where Castriota analyzes the PhoeniX

        • That’s not quite what he said. He said that he doesn’t know what will happen with the logo on the next 9-3. Among other things, it was apparently a legal issue involving Saab Defence.

          We’ve also heard (I can’t remember exactly where in the flood of info that’s been poured over us recently) that Victor Muller was very enthusiastic about the airplane logo. If that means that he wants to use it for production cars as well, I don’t think was made clear.

          • Actually rodmylon is right. Jason said that the airplane logo is just for the concept and isnt intended for production (on the 9-3 or any other Saab) because that is a legal discussion with Saab Defense.
            The griffin logo is still up in the air though, sadly, because it is so beautiful.

  4. That nice sport seats with cool irregular leather is a very affordable upgrade when you configure non-aero Griffin at the Swedish SAAB site. I guess this car is a regular Griffin with optional seats and panel surroundings. The satnav is optional too.

  5. The car looks fantastic and those Aero alloys could find their way onto my 9-3SS if they sell them separate from the car!! Saab has come such a long way in twelve months which is a testament to the hard work that the employees at Saab (and Swade) have done to ensure we are here.

  6. why are the trunk badges halfway down the tailgate? It looks weird that way. They should be right up under the silver SAAB hatch trim under the window. Otherwise this car looks awesome.

  7. So how is the colour of the dash(silver)? . new colour or same silver as around the gear stick and buttons on the stearing wheel(“old ng9-3”).

  8. I smell a looming stampede of panic regarding the interior material. So before people start jumping off the balcony, 😛 that (nice looking) matte titanium fascia is an option for the regular Griffin:

    The standard option for the regular griffin is this piano glossy black panel (not available for the aero):

    The aero gets as standard (NO options!) graphite fibre

    You can choose the door/gearnob-surround materials separately. You can check out the options at the Swedish build your saab site:

    Choose regular or aero, then go to “4. Tillval” (you might need to click the “3.” in between), then “Cupé och interiör”, and then start fidling and looking at the rendered picture 🙂

    The above specs apply only for the Swedish market (and probably rest of Europe).

  9. thx i’m swede:) so how is the original dash with the ”silverline” around it, same colour on the “line ” or diffrent from my 9-3 -08. bad english;)

  10. I’ll probably say it a couple of times over the next few days but:


    PhoeniX, 9-5 SC, 9-3 GRIFFIN, 9-3 Independence Edition… it’s a great line-up to have, and about a million miles away from not so long ago. Well done!

  11. A simple piece of leather covering the AutoShift stalk (‘boot’) would have done wonders…it’s stuff like that ($ 5.00 worth) that gets me so damn frustrated with the company. As regards the dash: I’m with Tandu and don’t see the great achievement. And that SatNav…same one as in ’08. When I get into an ‘11.5 9.3 it feels like I’m setting foot in a museum.

    It’s such a shame that so little has been done with interior of the 9-3 for the last 4 model years. And it would have been so easy…

    From the Soaring Heights of the PhoeniX to this…

    • IMO NTP they should have kept the button dash which look(ed)s far classier. I think it would be too much to ask for a new interior in a car thats going to be on the market for probably no more than 18 months. Gotta agree about the shift stalk ‘boot’ though it does feel cheap.

  12. WRT the (lack of)Griffin badges….much as I love the Griffin*, I can understand why SAAB is starting to appear in its place at the back of the car. The company needs to grow and part of that is being recognised/visible/memorable to potential customers. The rear of the car is very much an opportunity to make a small impression on anyone driving behind you and so, to state very simply that its a SAAB is quite important.

    *my son’s name is Fin.

  13. Griffin: is the coat of arms of the Swedish region Scania, after which that company was named. It was them that brought in the logo. Saab is no longer affiliated with Scania, and Trollhättan is not situated in Scania (region), so the foundation for using the griffin is gone.

    I liked it too, but then, I learned reading in school, and in times when the logos get bigger all the time, it’s a refreshingly different thinking.

    • +1 Thanks for the explanation behind the Griffin/Scania name. The regional and corporate association really is somewhat irrelevant now. And I do like the clean look of the SAAB name now too. Identifiable and clean in design.

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