New 2012 Saab 9-3 gets powertrain and styling upgrades

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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Now under new management, Saab A larger winged logo spans a revised grille while a new "ice block" headlamp design pulled from the 9-5 gives the 9-3 a more familial look. (Photo: Saab) continues forward with its 9-3 range of D-segment compact luxury models.

For 2012 the 9-3 is once again offered in sedan, wagon and convertible guise, but now a larger Saab winged logo spans a revised grille, flanked by the new "ice block" headlamp design pulled from the 9-5 to give the line a more familial look, and fog lamps are now standard. At the rear the 9-3 gets a redesigned valance, while the sedan gets a standard deck lid spoiler.

A new turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine is part of the Euro offering. It makes a steady but hardly heady 163-horsepower in base trim, but the 220-horsepower high-output version is a little more meaty and expected to be the motive force behind the 2012 9-3 that finds its way to our shores. XWD, Saab's advanced all-wheel drive system, will be available.

In Europe, Saab The 9-3 comes in three body styles including this wagon. (Photo: Saab)
offers a torque-rich 1.9-litre twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel as well, in three stages of tune no less, and the brand would be wise to consider bringing it to the North American market in order to give it a fuel economy edge over rivals that don't yet offer alternative powertrains. BMW and Mercedes-Benz have proven that diesels sell well in the premium segment, and Saab could use something unique to give it a nudge up the visibility ladder while it's getting back in the game.

Nevertheless, by introducing variable valve timing, direct injection and twin-scroll turbocharging the Swedish brand has improved fuel economy in its gasoline engines by about 4-percent.  

Interior upgrades include titanium-effect accents in base models and graphite fibre-effect for the top-tier Aero trim level, the latter of which also includes upgraded leather sport seats with contrasting stitching.

Saab currently has 13 dealers in Canada, as it rebuilds since Netherland-based Spyker purchased it from General Motors. The 9-3 range will be sold alongside a totally revised 9-5 luxury sedan and an all-new 9-4X crossover SUV.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Convertible, Wagon, Sport Sedan, Saab, 2012, 9-3,

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