How fast 10 years pass! With model year 2008, the Swedes fundamentally reworked the Saab 9-3 series. In Trollhättan, there was more than just a facelift, and the facts speak for it. The history of the 9-3 III is above all closely connected with a name.
These were the years of Carl Peter Forster, the mighty GM manager who could have turned Saab's fate. Legendary is his open Interview with the Svenska Dagbladet 2014, where he talked about spending years in Trollhättan.
Journey into the future. The 9-3 III was just the prelude.
Saab was in bad shape at the time. Collaborations with the FIAT Group and Subaru were not fruitful. The 9-5 I was ready for replacement, but not a successor in sight. The new 9-3 disappointed qualitatively, besides Saab had burned a lot of money with own developments.
2005 Forster started the cleanup work in the stablebacka. Competences were relocated to Rüsselsheim, Saab integrated into the group structure after 15 years GM affiliation. The move was overdue, but not just met with approval. And finally, we invested in the model range. Saab 9-5 II and 9-4x are Carl Peter Forster cars - even if they came too late to save the brand.
At the same time, the 9-3 has been completely redesigned in two steps: 2007 and 2008. Typically Saab, because even before you had larger updates like distributed over two model years. The Saab's own bus system was disposed of, as well as the unreliable navigation. In the interior, more valuable materials and improved seats were added. The ugly, gray Chevy plastic of the early years was history, better plastics now dominated the interior.
Bio ethanol and strong diesel. Saab was back!
Even more important: New, modern performance Diesel and bioethanol engines set standards. They made the 9-3 a "environmental car", Which was funded by the Swedish state. Saab was suddenly interesting again, pioneer in environmental friendliness and performance.
In addition to many qualitative improvements, there were more powerful brakes. In addition, adaptive bi-xenon curve and highway light on request and a tire pressure control system. The most striking changes took place on the sheet metal dress. GM, otherwise preferred to sail on austerity, had donor pants on and invested in new tools. Bonnet and fenders have been redesigned. The shell, now in the form of a shell, took up the traditional design language of Saab again.
It blends harmoniously into the line of the 9-3 III as if it had always been there. New headlights, with LED signatures, rounded off the striking appearance. They gave the 9-3 III a modern look that has survived to this day.
The 9-3 III was built from model year 2008 to 2011 1 / 2. He could have been the prelude to the reboot of Saab as a Swedish premium brand. If 2008 had not come through the financial crisis, then 9-4x and 9-5 II would have been launched earlier. Saab would have ignited a firework of novelties. And we also saw the Saab 9-3 Griffin and the all-new 9-3 generation that followed. Maybe Saab would have survived, and GM would still be the number 1 of the automotive world.
But the investments came years too late, we know the outcome of the story.
What remains is 10 years later a car that represents the most relaxed way to move a Saab day by day. The 9-3 III is not a collector's item like an 9-5 NG, but it's a vehicle that still feels well-dressed in the faceless mass of modern vehicles.
With a pinch of Swedish individuality, style, inexpensive to maintain, and safe. The engines are sturdy, especially the 4-powered turbocharged gasoline engines run and run with the Saab's own Trionic - if you treat them properly. The strong diesels are not quite as durable, here Saab hardly differs from the competitor. The optional four-wheel drive is a story in itself, this is a separate article. The body of the small series of Göta Älv seems, contrary to previous assumption, built for eternity. There are specimens with stately mileages that receive new engines and transmissions at high mileage. Because it's worth it, and because the substance is worth it.