The 2008 Saab 9-3 is available in three different body styles--sedan (called Sport), wagon (called SportCombi), and convertible--but all three models share the same basic mechanical layout and have the same powertrains. All three styles are available in either base or Aero guise; base models have a 210-horsepower, 2.0L turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, while Aero models get a 2.8L turbocharged V6 engine making 255 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on all models with an automatic optional; the automatic is a five-speed on base models and a six-speed on Aeros. With a manual transmission, the 9-3 base sedan or wagon comes with EPA fuel economy ratings as high as 19 mpg city, 29 highway.
The 2.8L turbocharged V6 offered on Aero models is designed for high-performance driving along with efficient operation; it gets special alloy cylinder heads, a forged steel crankshaft and sinter-forged connecting rods, special pistons and oil cooling jets, and a high-performance oil cooler.
Late in the model year all-wheel-drive versions of the Aero sedan and SportCombi will reportedly be introduced. The all-wheel-drive system that debuts, called XWD, is an "Active on Demand" system that engages only when needed, though no front-wheel slip is needed before it sends more power to the back wheels. It also brings more of a rear-wheel-drive feel when under power.
The 9-3 remains one of the better-handling front-wheel-drive cars, with a four-wheel independent suspension arrangement and a special rear geometry that enables rear-wheel steer response for better stability. Aero models include a lowered suspension, larger 17-inch alloy wheels, four-wheel vented disc brakes, fog lamps, and xenon headlamps.
The 9-3's interior includes a long list of luxury features, such as dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, faux-wood trim, remote entry, and a seven-speaker sound system with auxiliary input and steering wheel controls; Aero models add a moonroof, leather sport seats, and the new Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound system, which was designed specifically for the 9-3's cabin, with eleven speakers and a six-disc changer. In sedan and SportCombi variants, the back seats fold forward for expanded cargo space.
Equipment is similar for convertible models, which have a power-operated soft top, now in a light-tan Parchment color. Convertible models have a fixed back seat that will accommodate adults for short rides.
The 9-3 is loaded with all the safety features that might be expected in this class, including anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, front side air bags, and side curtain air bags for all outboard positions. Combination head/thorax bags for the driver and passenger are offered on the Convertible.
Interior appointments; solid handling; lively acceleration (Aero); newly available all-wheel drive.
After getting a substantially redesigned interior for 2007, the Saab 9-3 family gets a completely restyled exterior for 2008, along with some additional cosmetic changes inside. The exterior changes are inspired by the flashy Aero X concept car and include a larger grille, redesigned front fenders, and a new V-shaped hood, along with new headlamps and taillamps. The interior, including door inserts and arm rests, is now available in semi-aniline leather, and a new black interior replaces the former Grey. Also, the cup holder design has been improved.
The convertible also has some cosmetic changes; in addition to those affecting the sedan and wagon, it gets a black window frame and front pillar, and the soft-top is now a Parchment color.
There are a number of other new features, including cornering headlamps on the Aero, redesigned wiper blades, new alloy wheel designs, and a premium Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound system. Availability of OnStar and XM Satellite Radio have been expanded, and rain-sensing wipers are now on the standard equipment list.
Also, the Aero model's turbocharged V6 gets a boost in power, and late in the model year all-wheel drive is expected to be available for the first time in the 9-3.
The Saab 9-3 has long been a sportier looking, sportier driving alternative to other European luxury sedans, and the convertible model remains one of the most practical choices among drop-tops for day-to-day utility. The 2008 9-3 already stands out for its tight, crisp handling; the expected availability of all-wheel drive should make the 9-3 more appealing in its class for those in snowy climes. And for those who are especially fashion conscious the 9-3, now fully and dramatically redesigned inside and out, is much more of a head-turner.
Vehicle Price: 29,740.00
*Estimated payments are for informational purposes only and don't account for acquisition fees, destination charges, tax, title, and other fees and incentives or represent a financing offer or guarantee of credit from the seller.
Equipment that may affect values (standard equipment is pre-selected):
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