12 July 2004

Saab has announced revisions to its 9-3 range due to come into force this September. There are price changes, better equipment levels and a more options to choose from, but the biggest news is the addition of new diesel engines making the Swedish maker’s saloons cheaper to run for company drivers.

In place of the company’s 125bhp 2.2-litre TiD unit come two new Euro IV-compliant 1.9-litre common rail turbo diesels. Available in 120bhp and 150bhp levels of tune, and mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, Saab claims that both reward their owners with improved performance, more frugal fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions than the outgoing TiD. Specifically, a company car driver opting for the new £18,995 Linear TiD pays just 16 per cent of that list price as benefit-in-kind company car tax. Compared to the current diesel, that would mean a £357 saving on a 22 per cent income tax payer’s tax bill next year. There are also two new trim levels added into the mix – Linear Sport and Vector Sport. Both of these augment Linear and Vector equipment levels with a dose of sporting appeal for a knockdown price. Opting for Linear Sport on a new 9-3, for example, adds front fog lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, climate and cruise control, upgraded upholstery, and rear parking sensors, and costs just £1000 more than the entry-spec model. The current Arc trim is dropped in favour of these new choices.

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Elsewhere, the 9-3 Aero gets bi-xenon headlights as standard, and three new metallic colours are added across the range; Chilli Red, Smoke Beige and Parchment Silver.

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