Currently reading: New Saab 9-3 set for 2012
Saab says its all new Saab 9-3 will be revealed at the Paris motor show in 2012

Saab’s all new 9-3 will make its debut at the 2012 Paris show, according to company sources.

The new car is crucial to the Swedish maker’s plans to become self-sustaining as an independent manufacturer and should push Saab into profit for the first time in many years.

See Autocar's exclusive rendering of the new Saab 9-3

As well as featuring much more dramatic styling than recent Saabs, the next 9-3 will also have a new electric four-wheel drive system. Developed with engineering specialist American Axle, it will deliver as much as 10 per cent better economy than front-drive versions of the 9-3. Sources say the new 9-3 is just under 4.7m long and slightly wider than today’s 9-3.

Jason Castriota, Saab’s new design director, told Autocar that the styling has been fundamentally finished, with only final details, such as the headlamps, still to decide on.

Read Autocar's scoop on the next Saab 9-3

At least one version of the car will be powered by the UK-built 200bhp, 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine used by the Mini Countryman. Saab and BMW announced the deal the day before this year’s Paris show.

Saab will also announce a supply deal for new diesel engines, but company sources would not be drawn on the likely source, saying only that “both parties are open to explore further opportunities as part of this relationship in the future”.

Read the full story on the BMW/Saab engine tie-up

Engineering sources say the new electric four-wheel drive uses a newly designed multi-link rear suspension and two electric motors, one to drive the wheels and one to control the torque vectoring between the rear wheels.

Relatively inexpensive, the set-up uses a small 1kWh battery to power the rear axle when rear-end traction is needed. Today’s mechanical XWD 4x4 transmission will be replaced by the new electric rear axle on future Saabs.

Hilton Holloway blog: Saab turns to British engines - again

The 9-3 will be based on a new architecture developed by Saab, loosely based on today’s 9-3 platform. It’s expected that a hatchback and cabrio version will be launched, but there’s no news yet on whether an estate or saloon variant will get the green light.

Insiders say that they expect to sell an annual 80,000 units when all models of the car are on sale. Saab engineering sources told Autocar that they have just 24 months until the start of 9-3 production at the Trollhättan plant, with cars rolling off the production line at the beginning of October 2012.

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Bristolbluemanc 13 October 2010

Re: New Saab 9-3 set for 2012

A5 Sportback is 4.711m long. I have the brochure - indeed nearly bought one but decided on a Merc C-Class instead. The Sportback actually feels 'quite' large. The older Saab 9-3 was a hatch of course and there was a 3-door model.

Quattro369 12 October 2010

Re: New Saab 9-3 set for 2012

jl4069 wrote:

Has a maker ever re-used a chassis that was poor from the start and made it great? J

Yeah, off the top of my head: Ford Fiesta 95 facelift. Jaguar S-Type 03 facelift.

WooDz 11 October 2010

Re: New Saab 9-3 set for 2012

Yes SAAB has always made great work from a poor chassis. Which is why the old 9-5 still handles better than a few mainstream brands. It's why the 9-3 drives nothing like the old Vectra. It's why SAAB can put AWD on the Epsilon platform and all other GM models can only have FWD.

I understand this isn't a SAAB fan site and given the years of media coverage of model X from SAAB = model X from Vauxhall has done a fair amount of damage. Only those interested in SAAB have delved further to realise the huge differences in engineering. One of the biggest problems facing SAAB today is not poor products because what is coming in the next 2 years will be very competitive, it's public perception.

I read many a time here that people wish SAAB do well but just as many think it's too late. People see the new 9-5 as an Insignia (no thanks to the media) and will probably write it off without driving it. If the media tell everyone that the new phoenix architecture from saab is just a redesigned Vectra platform people will write the new 9-3 off again without driving it.

All SAAB needs is for people who like the look of the new products, just go and drive them and make their own minds up.