The 2008 Saab 9-3 range makes its debut in Saab showrooms sporting major exterior enhancements inspired by the acclaimed Aero X Concept.
Additionally, in keeping with Saab’s driver focused heritage, the 2008 9-3 range gets a more powerful engine to match the more powerful-looking exterior: The 2.8L V-6 turbo has been modified to produce 255 horsepower (190 kW) and 258 lb.-ft. of torque (350 Nm), a five-horsepower improvement over the 2007 model.
’2008 will be a very dynamic year for the Saab 9-3 range – and for the Saab brand in general,’ said Saab Automobile USA General Manager Steve Shannon. ‘The 9-3′s progressive, Scandinavian design and its more powerful turbo engine will thrill our dedicated fans on both sides of the Atlantic, and coax a new generation of equally devoted enthusiasts to get into the cockpit of a Saab.’
For 2008, the Saab 9-3 range includes the 9-3 Sport Sedan, 9-3 Convertible and 9-3 SportCombi in 2.0T and Aero models.
Progressive design with Scandinavian sensibility
The 2008 9-3 range incorporates the eye-catching design cues of the Aero X Concept, with a powerful new front end including a larger grille, smaller side grilles and semi-overwrap V-shaped hood.
New front fenders; new headlamps, fog lamps and taillamps; new front and rear bumpers (Aero receives unique front and rear bumpers with a matte chrome fog lamp surround); color-matched Aero rocker panels on all models and new door handles also update the 9-3 exteriors. Flat wiper blades reduce noise and improve vehicle aesthetics.
The new headlamp design wraps around to the flanks of the vehicle and accommodates the new, available Xenon cornering headlamps, which adjust horizontally in conjunction with the vehicle’s steering for greater visibility. This distinctive headlamp design element, as well as the clean, monochromatic doors and bumpers, give the 2008 9-3 a longer, sleeker, cleaner and faster look.
New lenses in the taillamps build on the existing 9-3 ‘ice block’ theme. To maximize the effect of the exterior enhancements, the lenses feature a smoked appearance. The 9-3 Aero Convertible features a standard rear spoiler.
Saab 9-3 2.0T models feature newly designed 16-inch wheels; Aero models receive dazzling 17-inch, five-spoke, low-split alloy wheels, the same wheels used on the Saab 60 th Anniversary editions. A tire pressure monitoring system is standard.
For 2008, the 9-3 range features three new exterior colors: Snow Silver Metallic (all body styles); Pepper Green Metallic (Sport Sedan and SportCombi); and Saffron Yellow (Convertible, with spring ’08 availability).
More powerful 2.8L V-6 Turbo
The 2.8L V-6 Turbo, named one of the ’10 Best Engines’ by Ward’s AutoWorld Magazine, is the most sophisticated turbocharged engine offered in a Saab vehicle to date, delivering excellent responsiveness through low-speed torque and high-rpm power as well as exceptional refinement. It features a technologically advanced 60-degree, dual overhead-cam architecture designed to produce power and excellent fuel economy to meet different needs in markets around the world.
The 2.8L V-6 Turbo achieves 255 horsepower (190 kW) and 258 lb.-ft. of torque (350 Nm) in the 9-3, a 5-horsepower increase over 2007.
The 2.8L V-6 has a lightweight aluminum cylinder block with iron cylinder sleeves, an aluminum structural oil pan and aluminum cylinder heads with four valves per cylinder. It builds on those strengths with components and technology developed specifically for the turbo system, including:
• Twin-scroll turbocharger delivering approximately 9 pounds of boost (0.6 bar)
• Integrated charge cooling
• Unique cylinder heads made from 356T-6 aluminum and featuring sodium-filled exhaust valves
• Forged steel crankshaft and sinter-forged connecting rods strengthened for turbocharged loads
• Pistons with anodized ring grooves designed for turbocharger boost pressure
• 9.5:1 compression ratio
• Piston oil cooling jets
• Unique camshaft profiles designed for turbocharger performance
• Hydroformed ‘dual skin’ exhaust manifolds with stainless steel inner liners
• Engine-mounted oil cooler
• Haldex Gen 4 XWD system
When it debuts later in the model year, Haldex Gen 4 cross-wheel-drive technology brings additional functionality while preserving the fun-to-drive attributes that characterize Saab vehicles. XWD will be available on the V-6 Sport Sedan and SportCombi models.
This pre-emptive, Active on Demand system is activated only when required, improving fuel efficiency and giving the car a rear-wheel-drive feel. It electronically engages the clutch before take-off, avoiding wheel spin and achieving immediate and a maximum traction. No front wheel slip is required before the rear wheels are engaged.
New Bose Centerpoint surround sound system
A new entertainment feature for 2008 that complements the 9-3′s turbocharged driving experience is the top-of-the-line Bose Centerpoint surround sound system. Bose engineers worked with Saab designers to develop the system, using special design and analysis tools to take more than a thousand measurements inside the vehicle to assess the acoustic environment of the cabin.
While surround sound typically requires specially engineered recordings, the Centerpoint signal processing circuitry is based on the surround decoding technology in Bose home theater systems. As a result, Saab owners receive five independent audio channels of surround sound experience from their existing CD collection.
The Bose Centerpoint surround sound system is standard on the Aero Sport Sedan and SportCombi, beginning with October 2007 production, and available on the 2.0T models.
Interior cockpit: purposeful and inviting
The 9-3 interior was extensively redesigned for 2007 to include automatic climate control and ‘infotainment’ systems, a larger instrument cluster with chrome details, and new trim.
For 2008, the enhancements continue, with available semi-aniline leather upholstery that includes sport seats in Black (replacing Gray) or Parchment.
Another practical enhancement includes an improved cupholder – emphasizing Saab’s Scandinavian value that even the most basic components function as well as they look.
For 2008, both XM Satellite Radio and OnStar are standard.
The SportCombi has taken Saab into the premium midsize wagon segment by combining distinctive design, sporty driving dynamics and the functionality of a five-door. Its strong, compact proportions reaffirm Saab’s tradition of sporty, versatile vehicles, and its cohesive five-door styling and solid, muscular stance clearly mark the SportCombi as a member of the 9-3 family.
Like the rest of the 9-3 range, the SportCombi is designed to deliver style, performance and surprising functionality. It appeals to customers who need the versatility of a wagon, including smart load-carrying features and a generously proportioned cargo area, without compromising their desire for driving satisfaction.
The top-of-the-line, high-performance Aero SportCombi model features a turbocharged aluminum 2.8L V-6 engine that makes 255 horsepower (190 kW) and 258 lb.-ft. (350 Nm) of torque. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, and a six-speed Sentronic automatic with steering wheel controls is available. The SportCombi can also be ordered with Saab’s 210-horsepower (157 kW) inline four-cylinder turbo.
The redesigned exterior also offers a sporty, distinctive alternative to conventional wagon proportions, but retains the traditional Saab ‘hockey stick’ beltline, fastbackrear quarter styling, steeply raked taillight lenses and LED bulbs.
Inside, the main cargo area floor lifts to divide the space into two separate sections and to reveal additional storage in the recessed subfloor.
9-3 Sport Sedan and Convertible
The 9-3 lineup is the product of the most exhaustive development program in chassis dynamics undertaken by Saab. The kinetics of the rear suspension, for example, are tuned for a unique rear-wheel-steer response to attain optimum handling and stability. The four-link independent rear suspension with high lateral stiffness adds stability and grip; longitudinal compliance enhances ride comfort.
The Saab 9-3 model lineup is built from ‘the driver outward.’ That means the cabin ergonomics, instrumentation, controls and seating position are all developed from the driver’s perspective. As a result, the advanced safety features benefit all who use these vehicles.
Saab engineers developed the 9-3 Convertible structure concurrently with the Sport Sedan and SportCombi, enabling them to incorporate their demanding requirements for an open-top car from the very start. The result is a premium convertible with a level of structural integrity, build quality and driving refinement that positions it at the top of its class.
For 2008, designers made the Convertible interior window frame and A-pillar black, to better coordinate with the instrument panel. The soft top headliner is Parchment, providing a more roomy feeling inside the car when the soft top is up.
The 9-3 2.0T Sport Sedan and Convertible newly designed 16-inch wheels, a power driver’s seat, body color rocker panels and bumper skirts, 9-3 Aero models have the 255-horsepower (190 kW) 2.8L V-6 Turbo engine and a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions.
Price this car:
Source: GM Press Release