When the next generation Saab 9-3 sedan makes its debut in the first quarter of 2013, there’s a “chance” that it will have a different name, according to Tim Colbeck, president of Saab Cars North America. He said that instead, the name of the 9-3 successor will take inspiration from Saab’s heritage. He clarified though that nothing has been decided.
He added that the next-generation 9-3 will start to sell in the first quarter of 2013 and it will be an "edgy" reinterpretation of design cues that have been used by Saab in the past.
He didn’t provide specific details. Another project that Saab is working on after receiving funds from investors is the successor to the Saab 9-2 built from the late 1940s until the middle of the 1950s.
He said that there are five designs being reviewed by CEO Victor Mueller and Jason Castriota, Saab's executive design director.
While that is going on, Saab intends to finalize the changeover for the 2012 model year of its existing vehicles this fall. Scheduled to debut this October is the 2012 Saab 9-4X crossover that currently sells as a 2011 model.
Other vehicles that will debut this fall are the model-year 2012 versions of the Saab 9-5 sedan, 9-5 Sport Combi wagon and 9-3. Colbeck said that they may arrive in the fall, most likely in October.
The Saab 9-3 Range sedan is visually different because of the all-new bodywork that highlights the A-pillar, front and rear light assemblies, and new bumper moldings, as well as the new handles and doors for both the SportCombi and SportSedan varieties. You also get flared side sill extensions for all varieties in this range. All in all, these elements give the new Saab a clear identity and a more daring and more aggressive stance.
For instance, looking at the SportSedan, you would find that around 70% of the body panels and parts you see outside are all new.
This styling philosophy brings the old and new Saab design themes and gives the brand’s distinctive character a modern and progressive expression.
The grille is now more prominent and deeper, very similar to the Aero X concept car. It features new headlamp lenses and lighting units that have a thin eyebrow lighting zone that is meant to be a signature feature you can only find in the Saab. The lights are wraparound units and have a rear edge that moves upward. This is a new 9-5 range design as well as a throwback to the old 900 model. The grille also has a central wing motif that reminds you of the carmaker’s aircraft heritage.
The new look also features another new signature for Saab: the clamshell hood. This hood closes over the front wings and features a sweeping styling line in the shape of the letter U. This styling detail was first used on the Aero X, which follows the curve of the windshield.
The frontal lines are swept back. This detail is highlighted by a splitter assembly and front bumper that has a trapezoidal air intake. This is even more noticeable on the Aero variants. Deep black vents flank the air intakes, and these vents are framed in matte chrome. Taken from the Aero X concept car, these elements signify a jet engine’s intake.
At the back, the Convertible and the Sport Sedan feature smoke white lighting. It also comes with new bumper mouldings that are curved and are much deeper. The lids of the trunk now feature new matte chrome handle trim and a badge, like the one you see on the Sport Combi.
All the rubbing strips from the doors and the bumpers have been removed, giving the car a cleaner appearance. The new door panels have a simple form and come with handles that match your paint. The sill extensions now look like they’re part of the new bumper moldings with its scalloped corners.
Other improvements to the exterior include the flat wiper blades and the new 18-inch alloy wheels. You also have two new colors to choose from, one of which is the Snow Silver metallic paint finish you see on the Aero X.