Make / Model Search

New models - Saab - 9-3 - range

First drive: Saab 9-3 buyers spoilt for choice

Front-end alignment: Every panel forward of the screen is new.

New styling and a bewildering model range highlight the new Saab 9-3

6 Nov 2007

SAAB has launched its heavily revised 9-3 range in Australia with a bewildering array of models that seems out of proportion to the number of cars it sells in this country.

Despite an average of only 154 sales per month for the 9-3 this year, the company has unleashed some 48 model variants in the 2008 model year range, priced from $43,400 right up to $93,300.

This is almost double the previous model range and is the result of making more engine variants available in every body and specification level, with manual and automatic transmissions – not to mention a dozen BioPower variants for the essentially unavailable E85 (85 per cent ethanol) fuel.

And it will not stop there because next year Saab will introduce two more significant developments for the 9-3: a new two-stage turbocharged diesel engine called the TTiD, which will be introduced in January or February on sedan and wagon models and, from next June, all-wheel drive variants, though initially only for the V6 Turbo sedan and wagon models.

The new 1.9-litre four-cylinder TTiD engine, which will join the regular 1.9-litre turbo-diesel, has two turbo compressor wheels within a single housing – one for low-down power and the other for higher revs – and they can worked independently or in tandem. Saab claims this will be an Australian first for a production car.

This potent new turbo-diesel engine produces 132kW of power (compared with 110kW for the regular TiD) and some 400Nm of torque (versus 320Nm) produced between 1850rpm and 2750rpm (versus 2000-2750rpm).

All-wheel drive is a particularly significant development for Saab, which has for so long clung to its front-drive roots despite the inability to properly put its turbocharged horses to the ground through the steering wheels.

In fact, the company has been forced to compromise the tune and power delivery of its turbo engines to overcome inevitable traction and torque-steer problems.


38 center imageSaab realises it has been left behind by its prestige rivals, especially Audi, but claims that its Haldex AWD system will not only bridge the gap but put Saab at the cutting edge of AWD technology.

Although it will initially be offered only in a 206kW/400Nm V6 model called Turbo X from June, expect the so-called XWD (cross-wheel drive) system to expand into other models – not to mention the next-generation 9-5 due for the 2009 model year.

Getting back to the present, the 9-3 comes in three bodystyles – a sedan (called the Sport Sedan), a wagon (called SportCombi) and a convertible (called, surprisingly sensibly, the Convertible).

Each of those three variants can be ordered in Linear, Vector or Aero levels of features specification – although those three levels are not necessarily the same between bodystyles (for example, the Linear convertible includes park assist and electric seats, but not the Linear sedan…) Linear sedans come standard with electronic stability control, ABS, traction control, 16-inch alloy wheels, heated leather seats, climate control, cruise control and a full-size spare wheel.

Vector sedan adds 17-inch alloys, upgraded leather, power seat adjustment for the driver and park assist.

Having dropped the old low-boost petrol engine, you can now get Linear and Vector level models with a 2.0-litre mid-boost turbo petrol engine that produces 129kW and 265Nm, a BioPower version of the same engine (with the same power output when running on straight petrol, but with 147kW/300Nm when running the higher-octane E85 fuel) or the 1.9-litre TiD turbodiesel engine mentioned earlier.

With the Vector, though, you can also get the high-boost version of the 2.0-litre turbo petrol, which ups the outputs to 154kW and 300Nm.

The Aero level, however, offers just one engine, which is exclusive to the Aero – the Holden-built 188kW/350Nm 2.8-litre turbo V6. That’s right, a less powerful version of the engine that will be fitted to the Turbo X.

Every model is available in manual (a GM-sourced six-speed) or automatic guises – and, just to make it even more complex, there are two different autos depending on the engine.

An Aisin five-speed auto is matched to both the 2.0-litre turbo variants, as well as the BioPower versions, while the V6 and diesel models get a six-speed Aisin unit.

Although not an entirely new car, the latest 9-3 represents a significant departure from the superseded model in terms of styling.

Taking visual cues from the Geneva 2006 Aero X concept car, the new 9-3 sports a deep grille that immediately distances it from the old model, while still retaining a clear Saab appearance.

Similarly swoopy headlights with ‘eyebrow’ lighting add to the more modern look, as do the new doors, which are now bereft of rubbing strips (except on the convertible).

But, while clearly moving forward, Saab’s designers have also nodded to the past by incorporating a ‘clamshell’ hood that closes over the top of the front guards, like many Saab models going back quite a few decades.

In the case of the sedan, 70 per cent of the external body panels and parts are new, including everything ahead of the windscreen.

Changes at the rear are not as extensive, but the new tail-light clusters and cleaner bumper designs distinguish the new model from the old.

Inside, though, there is not much to report as the driver is still presented with the flat-faced binnacle that has been a part of Saab DNA for such a long time.

The only significant change – apart from a Bose surround sound system that is standard on the Aero and optional on other models – is a change in basic interior colour from grey to black.

9-3 Sport Sedan pricing:
Linear 2.0T $43,400
Linear 2.0T (a) $45,900
Vector 2.0T $49,900
Vector 2.0T (a) $52,400
Vector 2.0T $53,400
Vector 2.0T (a) $55,900
Aero 2.8TS $70,600
Aero 2.8TS (a) $73,100
Linear 2.0T BioPower $44,400
Linear 2.0T BioPower (a) $46,900
Vector 2.0t BioPower $50,900
Vector 2.0t BioPower (a) $53,400
Linear 1.9TiD $45,900
Linear 1.9TiD (a) $48,400
Vector 1.9TiD $52,400
Vector 1.9TiD (a) $54,900
9-3 SportCombi pricing:
Linear 2.0T $45,900
Linear 2.0T (a) $48,400
Vector 2.0T $52,400
Vector 2.0T (a) $54,900
Vector 2.0T $55,900
Vector 2.0T (a) $58,400
Aero 2.8TS $73,100
Aero 2.8TS (a) $75,600
Linear 2.0t BioPower $46,900
Linear 2.0t BioPower (a) $49,400
Vector 2.0t BioPower $53,400
Vector 2.0t BioPower (a) $55,900
Linear 1.9TiD $48,400
Linear 1.9TiD (a) $50,900
Vector 1.9TiD $54,900
Vector 1.9TiD (a) $57,400
9-3 Convertible pricing:
Linear 2.0T $65,500
Linear 2.0T (a) $68,000
Vector 2.0T $69,600
Vector 2.0T (a) $72,100
Vector 2.0T $73,100
Vector 2.0T (a) $75,600
Aero 2.8TS $90,800
Aero 2.8TS (a) $93,300
Linear 2.0t BioPower $66,500
Linear 2.0t BioPower (a) $69,000
Vector 2.0t BioPower $70,600
Vector 2.0t BioPower (a) $73,100
Linear 1.9TiD $68,000
Linear 1.9TiD (a) $70,500
Vector 1.9TiD $72,100
Vector 1.9TiD (a) $74,600

The Road to Recovery podcast series

GoAuto can help you buy a new 9-3

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires


This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Saab models

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here