Auto Express Tweets new 9-3 image

This story comes via Twitter, from the English weekly magazine, Auto Express.

New Saab 9-3 image.
First sight of Saab’s new BMW 3 Series-sized model – and a MINI rival, large SUV and 9-4X crossover are also planned.

Saab is flying high on news of a rescue deal worth £88million. A further cash injection, totalling nearly £300million, is also on the table – and now we’ve got the first image of the car hoping to keep the Swedish firm’s fortunes on the up: the new Saab 9-3.

The financial lifeline has come from Chinese car makers Pang Da and Youngman, and follows months of wrangling.

The news has kick-started long-dormant plans to replace the top-selling 9-3 and launch a new 9-1, aimed at the MINI and Audi A1.

According to official company documents, there are plans for three and five-door versions of the 9-1. Saab also wants to build a large SUV called the 9-7, and plans to bring the 9-4X SUV to the UK have also been revived.

Our image of the new 9-3 shows what owners can expect from the model that’s tipped to become a top seller for the brand. It first surfaced on a Swedish website that had intercepted a copy of Saab’s business presentation to the European Investment Bank in January this year.

The new 9-3 is expected to launch towards the end of next year and will come with a variety of petrol and diesel engines, as well as a choice of manual and automatic gearboxes. At least one of the planned engines – a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol – will come from BMW.

The newcomer is based on an all-new chassis, which was developed independently of Saab’s previous owner General Motors. Both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive hybrid versions will be available.

Inside, Saab will debut its advanced IQon infotainment system, which uses Google’s Android operating software to provide sat-nav and audio.

This system will also allow users to access their E-mails and download apps that deliver online content on the move.

The new 9-3’s striking looks are clearly inspired by the PhoeniX concept that debuted at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, but also take cues from the larger 9-5.

That means there’s a greater focus on giving the car a sporty look, with boldly defined wheel arches, turbine-style alloy wheels and a coupe-like roofline.

The biggest changes can be seen at the rear of the car, which gets a curvier design than its predecessors, with stylish, narrow tail-lamps.

Designed by American Jason Castriota, the 9-3 is described by insiders as a “sportcombi”. Auto Express understands this means the car will be a five-door hatchback, rather than a four-door saloon.

It will offer seating for five adults, plus a practical boot and spacious cabin. Previously, Saab has admitted it was planning estate and convertible versions, and it’s understood that these are still under development.

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59 thoughts on “Auto Express Tweets new 9-3 image”

    • I disagree with you. I don’t like the design at all.
      It’s not as attractive or unique as the old “SAAB 900 Classic”
      used to be.

      It’s not cool at all 🙁

  1. shure that one looks great, but ain’t this just a better photoshopped picture from that grey in black picture which was published in januar?

    • that is correct. And wee see clearly here that this is before Jason Castriota…
      I like the front of the PhoeniX much better than this…
      Somebody got the picture that you mention and did a photoshop session…
      For me this has something to do with the Saab (maybe the overall silhouette) but the rest is just not…

      I am sure the real one will be million times better…

      The more i look on it the more it is obvius…

      nice try folks…

      better luck next time

      • +1

        To my eyes, there is something very wrong with this draft. The size of the wheels does not match the size of the doors at all. The distance between A and B pillar is a bad joke. These proportions make it a very weird picture of a concept that must be far from the actual state of development. I hope and believe that the real NG 9-3 will look much more elaborate.

      • I am actually really worried about the design of the Phoenix show car. Small designer head lights usually result in a poor light. So my guess is that if Saab will introduce a more Phoenix inspired front of the car then the Swedes would consider another brand or mount big ugly extra head lights in the front.

  2. That’s clearly just a combo of a new 9-5 with the Phoenix based on leaked image we saw earlier. Also, the rear wheel arch is taken directly from Phoenix and not from sketch, so it is not very accurate.

  3. It’s really good looking but the image is based on the leaked image that was based on the scrapped 9-3 designed by Padian.

    If the 9-3 looked like this then I can’t understand why VM wasted money on designing a new 9-3 by Castriota.

    • Well, the 9-5 is equally beautiful as this sketch, but it still isn’t selling. I think Saab needs a much bolder future design direction, and there is where Castriota comes in. I definitely prefer the Phoenix-front as well.

      • but it still isn’t selling

        The 9-5 is too big for most people, and many Saab entusiasts want a smaller car than the 9-5. When it comes to size og a car there is a sweet spot.

      • The 9-5 isn’t selling because of other factors. Not even the 9-3 has been selling good since GM sold Saab.

        In Sweden the 9-5 actually sold better than the old 9-5 if you compare the sedan with the sedan. Sweden desperately needed the 9-5 SportCombi, if it had been available before the production stop it would have sold way better than the old SC.

        • …and the lack of practicality for a family of four or anyone that needs a trunk!
          Had the NG 9-5 been a combi it would have sold 3-5 times more in Europe right away.
          GM never got it (or cared) that we actually use one car for everything we do.
          We don’t have a sports cars, a station wagon and a truck sitting in the driveway for different use.

          If you like the NG 9-3 you’ll love a NG 9-5. I’d personally pick up one in a heartbeat if it had a bigger cargo space.
          In waiting of a SC 🙁

    • It’s really too much “GM era” and mostly just looks far too much like a shrunken 9-5 with a hatch. That’s probably why VM wanted a re-style.

  4. Hope they keep the curved windscreen and 9-5-like window-line. I know this is just a guess at what the new 9-3 might look like, but — please — get rid of that rear wheelarch crease, and the one along the bottom of the doors doesn’t really work (unlike the 9-5’s). It’s difficult to get the balance between sporty and elegant right, but this is too much of the former and not enough of the latter for my taste — and Saab design is (for me) all about a wonderfully understated sportiness that comes out of purity of form. Just seeing a 1984 900 3-door yesterday made me smile…

    If I were being harsh about this sketch, I’d say its proportions are too close to those of the Honda Civic. Still, I’m glad to see that it’s a hatchback (though the current 9-3 saloon is a very fine design, even twelve years on), and inside I hope it’s as a Saab ought to be (= best seats and the clearest and most logical dashboard of any mass-produced car). Anyway, fingers crossed that the new 9-3 will be on the roads by Christmas 2012!

  5. Well, the 9-5 is equally beautiful as this sketch, but it still isn’t selling.

    Of course it is not selling. They are not even building the car. But I think that is more to do with the uncertainty of the company than the car itself.

    • I’m not so sure. There are several factors that could affect the 9-5 sales, among them a higher price, excluding some of the present OG9-5 owners from an update, the size (17 cm longer), or problems with the features available at the release. And different market may even have different problems.

  6. Swade said the the fuzzy image that Autoexpress has photoshopped was old and pre JC, so not much to see here folks. Here’s hoping the real thing will be a whole lot better? This looks too ordinary and too much like a shrunken 9-5. It’s time to get away from the GM era styling which is probably where the fuzzy image originated. From it’s proportions, it probably comes from the time when GM was considering shrinking the 9-3 to fit on Delta II. Anyway the real thing needs a curved windscreen/windshield, a clamshell and a bit more C900 style to give it some real character. At least it looks like a hatch though. Can’t wait to see what JC’s done….

  7. Wow, this looks extremely good !
    I sure hope the dash looks just as great….
    (=aircraft-inspired, HUD, green lighting, not too trendy, push-buttons etc..)

    • SP + JC + 900 Saab engineers that understand what “form follows function” means should be a good mix 🙂
      They should be able to place VM and MS (Matthias Seidl) in the backseat and a Great Dane in the trunk to test some critical measures before the car leaves the drawing board 🙂

  8. Clearly the work of Simon Padian but I like it except the rear lights which look like a mid 1990s Norh American Ford Escort. I’m guessing JC 9-3 will have more pizzaz! At least Saab is getting a little positive press for a change.

  9. Do I like it YEAH!!! But I still don’t like the line of the rear fender flare and the tail light wrap around…the wheels look to big which is a photoshop issue. Other then that,m awesome.

  10. Lengthen the wheelbase and get rid of the supid “KIA” and Huyndai” crests and we might have something. I have a pretty strong feeling this is bull. Luckily!

  11. This cant be right – a 9-5 with a couple of foot taken out of it? This must be some kind of photoshop estimate and not an official release right ? Cant see a SWB 9-5 creating New Saab – must do better !

  12. I saw the 9-5 SC in the metal yesterday during the Austrian dealer tour – and I have to say the car is awesome – it’s stunningly balanced in its proportions and although it#s really huge, it doesn’t look like it. The wraparound windshield is a really unique feature that so distinctly SAAB – from the outside just as well as from behind the wheel.
    I agree with anyone here that it would have sold really well had it been on the market last year – and I hope there will be a second chance for this fabulous car in 2012.

    As for the sketch, I don’t think this is much more than a test balloon- it looks good, but I’m sure the NG 9-3 will look much better in the metal.

  13. The tail lights are a little small. If so, they are too fashionable and not practical enough for Saab. As long as Jason Castriota is mindful of intelligent engineering and not just fashion, the next 9-3 will do ok.

  14. Yeah yeah photoshopped or not, I like it. The wheels are huge of course but in the flesh this car would be really nice and I’d buy it. I keep saying, I’ll be ready to buy my first new car (a Saab of course) late 2013 when my Lotus is paid off. I’d buy this or something similar for sure. I’m excited 🙂

    I think they’re far enough down the road of development now to where once a deal is finally made with some money they might be ready to release some official pictures. At least I hope.

  15. I’m not sure how I post pictures here? can I just throw in some html? anyway, if you take the grainy photo + compare it with this photoshopped image, they are virtually identical… (slightly) different wheels… maybe slightly different front end? hard to tell with all that graininess…

    If you then compare this to the phoenix, you will see there are potentially many fallacies in the comments above and from the previous posting of the grainy image…

    1) The overhangs for the phoenix + this car are almost 100% identical.

    2) the rear fender feature is present on both.

    3) the new image has the phoenix/griffin “beak” + it’s hard to tell if that is there or not in the grainy image, but it certainly could be… as best as I can tell, the Phoenix is the only other saab with the beak… the ng9-5 and 9-4x certainly do *not* have it.

    Castriota has indicated that he has tried to incorporate elements of Padian’s design, as well as influences from previous generations of 900/9-3 hatches… It is possible that Padian is the source of the beak + (more likely) the rear fender (9-4x but not ng9-5). If this image we’ve been looking at is pre-Castriota (as some have suggested), that is still a logical explanation for the similarities… otoh, it is also possible that this is closer to reality than has been suggested? if it was in a January 2011 presentation… but maybe if it dates back to 2009, then maybe not… only someone on the inside would know for sure!

    Overall, I really like the look of this… ok, I don’t love the rear fender, but I’m fine with that… nothing is perfect, not even the c900, even if it is very very close;-)… Hopefully the actual car will look at least as good as this…


  16. @SAAB340: the problem with ‘aircraft-inspired’ interiors is that, err, they look nothing like aircraft interiors!

    My favourite dash, and – not a coincidence, this – the closest to the way in which aircraft interiors are actually put together, comes from the seldom-seen Bristol Fighter.

    This is a great picture:

    Modular ‘bays’ house instruments, switches, and equipment. In theory, wiring permitting, one could reconfigure one’s interior to suit one’s requirements. In fact, with modern electronic buses, this would be trivial – I want this in my car! 🙂

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