For visitors to the festival in Trollhättan, there was a surprise to discover at the Saab Museum. A Saab, previously known only to a few initiates, was unveiled on Friday. He's a gift from NEVS, and he's a piece of Saab history.
To reduce it to the status of a study would probably not be enough. The Saab 9-3 Turbo Edition also carries the genes of the 2015 model year and shows how Saab Design at NEVS would have and has further developed.
Saab 9-3 model year 2015
In the first months of 2015 we heard the rumor from some German Saab suppliers that NEVS would restart production of the Saab 9-3 sports suit after the summer break. Today it is no longer possible to determine whether there were more than just inquiries about the availability of the parts. It was also clear at the time that the 2014 Aero models would not have allowed a new start on a larger scale. NEVS, as a new manufacturer, should have brought both the 9-3 sedan and the station wagon through the homologation again, which would have made changes to the body design necessary.
The modified, higher bonnet, it serves the pedestrian protection, is an indication of the series plans. Although it destroys the perfect, elegant momentum, with all 9-3 generations, the hood went into the A-pillar. It lies like a kind of foreign body on the body, but would have made the NEVS Saab 9-3 admissible.
On the front of the Saab 9-3 Turbo Edition we can see what the 2015 model year could have been like. The Saab logo, embedded in the wing design, continuously developed from the 2002 9-3 to the 9-3 Griffin, would have come in a completely new form. A pinch of 9-5 NG, a bit of Castriota design. The 9-3 would have been immediately recognizable as a Saab. Other elements are not quite as stylish. The silver strip at the rear is too thick, and the generously distributed color accents in the interior are one serving too many. The design of the seats cannot be measured against old Saab qualities.
Saab 9-3 Turbo Edition. Shrill and loud.
The Turbo Edition is always a bit too shrill and a bit too loud, but that would have been right. Because the Saab 99 Turbo 40 years ago was that too. Too much make-up, too much spoiler, asking for too much attention for something. And since that was exactly what was wanted, then and now, the concept is okay. Because the centrally arranged boost pressure indicator alone has cult character, and we would certainly have loved it.
The performance would have been adequate. The well-known 2.0 liter turbocharged direct injection engine, which was already used in the 9-5 NG and 9-3 Griffin, would have fueled the Saab with 260 PS. The sound of the turbo, of which the visitors were able to convince last Friday, would also have fit.
1.000 piece of the Saab 9-3 Turbo Edition would have wanted to build NEVS, at a symbolic price of 407.000 Sweden crowns. Where the 40 after current interpretation for 40 years turbo, the 70 would have stood for the now celebrated birthday of Saab.
NEVS would have been well on its way. Limited editions playing with emotions and the big turbo heritage would have delighted the dying kind of people for whom a car is also emotion. Porsche shows how it works. In Trollhättan they could have copied it. Some would have plundered his account or dissolved his share deposit. Whether NEVS electric cars will trigger an excess of emotions in the future?
It's over, and it's a shame the big Saab brand is no more. What the future will bring, we could see on the CES Asia see. And also how the products from Trollhättan have developed. Unfortunately, NEVS design is not of one piece. The high standards that once made Saab, apparently no longer apply.
The Turbo Edition was an intermediate step, and you do not even have to look very closely to recognize elements of the concept from the spring 2014 in the 2017er studies. How many times since then the design has been watered down, presumably by different parties, is hard to pin down. It was not an advantage, anyway.
Even so, maybe just for that reason, it's a great move that NEVS has handed over the Saab 9-3 Turbo Edition to the museum. He may be the last sign of life of the brand, the attempt to come back with a new model year on the market.
But maybe it's also that Saab will never resign. The Trollhättan estimates speak from 15.000 to 20.000 visitors during the festival last weekend. That would be a new record. And an enormously strong sign of life.