Time for a glimpse of the first, produced under NEVS ownership Saab 9-3. We did not expect a new car and we did not get one. More a kind of evolution of Griffin series vintage 2011.
NEVS speaks of the model year 2014, the optical changes are marginal. But, to be fair, a lot has changed under the tin. Not visible to us, there are 200 modified parts, and NEVS has replaced more than a quarter of its suppliers with other sources. Maybe a reason why it took so long to reboot.
What first catches the eye is the new seating concept, which can be seen here for the first time in a Saab. On Monday, the new seating provided for lively discussions among German and Swedish fans. Are the seats saabisch? Does NEVS betray the long tradition of first-class seats right away with the first change? Things are changing, even traditional design, no question. Nevertheless, a difficult topic. Mark and I know what we are talking about. Because in the last few days we were traveling with three rental cars in Germany and Sweden.
First a Mercedes C Class with indisputable seats, then an Audi A4 Avant. The seats are better than in the Benz, but clearly the worse choice compared to the Saab 9-3. But with an enormously powerful seat heating. There were also in the Audi A5, with pseudo-sporty Alcantara seats. Which would say the positive about the A5, because a relaxed position like in the Saab did not want to set in. After 50 kilometers, I was really happy to be able to leave the Ingolstadt, getting out can be so nice! Only Mark had another 400 kilometers of motorway ahead of him and my sympathy. Are we spoiled Quite sure, because every day countless sales representatives from the concrete industry speed down our highways in their Audis and think the seats are great. We want more, are demanding and would like to get new cars from Sweden at the same high level as before.
So back to NEVS and the Griffin Evolution. The seats look good, even better than in the pictures, feel good. The leather is soft and, after the first impression, is of high quality. More valuable than the leather previously used in the 9-3 and probably more demanding than what Saab offered as premium leather at the time. The visible seams are very nice ... and then - yes then - we come to the headrests. They like it or they don't. In nature they are better than in the photos, and the embossed Saab logo speaks for attention to detail and builds a bridge to the Saab 900 and 9000 tradition.
Of course they are active headrests we see here. A refined, refined version of the original Saab innovation that (presumably) comes from a German supplier. The active headrest should be even better, even smaller riders can actively protect.
However, a seat is only a good seat if you immediately find a suitable position. So seated and - miracle - everything fits! This is not representative, but if this can be assessed in the short time, NEVS has done a good job here. Because immediately it not only occurs to me that such seats are really chic and I would like to have them in my car. A clear indication of a good choice. There was also something else. The Saab produced by NEVS had it: the typical Saab new car scent. A little crazy detail, perhaps without meaning, that not only I noticed.
All good? Just like that, maybe. Because the seats harmonize with my height, which is average. People with fairly long legs may find the overlay too short. Only a practical test will be able to clarify this.
Otherwise, the car has changed little. The griffin has disappeared. The silver Saab logo on a black background, found on bonnet, rims, engine cover and steering wheel, looks better than expected. Even a traditionalist like me will be able to live with it. Probably sometime after Saab-Scania and Saab with Greif without Scania pulls the third variant in our fleet.
It will be exciting for the 9-3 with the “Update”. A new front is expected, which should be beefier than before. The Saab will then have the required pedestrian protection, the entire front and bonnet will be modified accordingly. There should be other infotainment systems in the interior, the controls should be modified.
And then there was the story with the engines. More casually mentioned and deliberately left vague is hard to interpret what might come up. Under the hood is currently working to a large extent in Trollhättan developed and manufactured by GM 2 liter direct injection turbo engine. In the Saab, the engine called A20NFT delivers 220 PS and 350 Newton meters. It would be possible that further gradations are used, or that it comes to an upgrade to more power. We will see !
The first 9-3 evolutionary stage under NEVS direction is made only in small numbers, even to ensure the appropriate quality. The sales in Sweden goes over the Internet, you can order from the 10. December. Only buyers residing in Saab's home country can place their orders and then pick up the new Saab at the factory, along with a tour of the museum. So German customers would need a good friend in Sweden or a few more patience until NEVS releases evolution number two.
Internet sales for Sweden is an experiment, based on Tesla in the USA, that is acknowledged in the Stallbacka. That brings us to the business section. What is NEVS planning with the Saab brand and what's next? Do we get cars for Germany? We asked questions in Trollhättan and got interesting answers. The development of things from a blogger's point of view follows, but it can take a while. Because the next article won't be too easy to write and my desk and mailbox will be overflowing. A little patience - the word should be familiar - is therefore called for.