New-look Saab 9-3 unveiled
- New front end for 3 Series rival revealed
- First deliveries of new car in the autumn
- More details expected next month
You're looking at the new face of Saab, which will be seen for the first time on the face-lifted 9-3 when it arrives here in the autumn.
The BMW 3 Series rival takes some of its design cues from the dramatic Aero X coupe concept car that was the centrepiece of the Saab stand at the 2006 Geneva motor show, particularly its front windscreen pillars and the shape of the bodywork below the window line.
The whole of the front end is new, and now includes a clamshell bonnet (one that folds over the front wings), revised lights and grille with more chrome detailing, and a reshaped lower air intake. The top of the windscreen is lower, too, giving the car a furrowed-brow appearance.
The sides feature a more upswept window line, a wider shoulder under the windows, reshaped sills and larger door handles. There are also minor changes to the rear, though they are being kept secret for now.
Saab is also keeping mum about mechanical changes, but the current range of engines - 1.8, 1.8 turbo, 2.0 turbo, 2.8 V6 and 1.9 turbodiesel - are expected to form the core of the range.
However, there will be a wider range of engines capable of running on bioethanol as well as petrol. A high-performance diesel with more power and cylinders than the 150bhp 1.9 is expected, too: the 174bhp 3.0 V6 already available in Vauxhalls seems favourite.
There are no major chassis changes to the revised 9-3, so it will continue to have similar running gear to the current Vectra, but we expect a four-wheel-drive option to become available next year for the quicker models.
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