2008 Saab 9-3

David Axberg
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Taking inspiration from the jaw-dropping Aero X concept car from a few show seasons ago (remember the one with the lift off canopy that slid forward like a fighter jet's), Saab has spruced up its 9-3 model line with a facelift. In the automotive industry, "facelift" is a term thrown about regularly to mean that a car has been mildly updated mid-cycle, both inside and out. Usually, the car isn't quite ready for a redesign, so these changes simply carry it through until a completely new model is unveiled.

In the Saab 9-3's case, however, it really is literally just a facelift. The Saab has a new beak, including hood and bumpers, accentuated by updated headlights with glittery chrome surrounds. In addition, a much-loved Saab feature - the clamshell hood - also makes a comeback. Saab claims there are new "rear styling features" too, but these features must be minor because no shots of the rear of the car were included in the recent press release.

All these changes are intended to create a more "Saaby" look for the automaker's biggest seller, which comprises two-thirds of Saab's world-wide sales. While that goal has been undeniably met and the 9-3 remains a handsome car, another marketing problem may have crept up: the 9-3 and its bigger brother, the 9-5, look almost identical. To illustrate this point, one of the photos below is actually a 9-5. How long does it take you to spot the difference? Click on the photo to be taken to our gallery, where the model names will be displayed.

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