Saab's 9-3 Convertible has received a black shot in the arm with the addition of GM's Fiat-sourced 1.9 litre TiD diesel engine.
The common rail unit is designed to provide a progressive torque build-up with a smooth and refined delivery - just the characteristics that distinguished Saab's pioneering turbocharging of petrol engines. The punch on offer is competitive with the opposition, if not especially remarkable: 0-60mph in 10sec, with 50-70mph in fifth taking 8.7sec.
Fuel consumption claims are very similar to those for the diesel Audi A4 and BMW 3-Series cabrios - 44mpg on the combined cycle - and there is the choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox. Company car drivers will be pleased with the CO2 figure of 169g/km for the manual (though it's 199g/km for the automatic).
Saab claims the 9-3's particulate filter is the most advanced on the market as it needs no maintenance and cleans itself periodically so the worry about diesel engines' particulate emissions recedes.
The diesel cabrio goes on sale late next month with prices starting at £25,370 for Linear specification, rising to £27,664 for the more sporting Vector. Audi's £26,575 A4 2.0 TDi gets to 60mph a little quicker (9.7 seconds) despite having just 138bhp. BMW asks £28,660 for its 320Cd, which has a CO2 output of 167g/km, also manages 44mpg and gets to 60mph in 9.7 seconds.