An all-new Saab 9-3 is still several years away, but in the meantime, the newly independent Swedish automaker will unveil a revised 2012 9-3 line at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
What's new? Let's start underhood. Power continues to be provided by a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4, but the General Motors-sourced engines receive variable valve timing, direct fuel injection, twin-scroll turbochargers, and E85 capability for the 2012 model year. Top-end Aero models are rated at 210 horsepower, but engines fitted to entry-level Turbo4 cars see their output dialed back to 163 horsepower. Both forms, however, can be paired with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, and can be coupled with Saab's Haldex-sourced XWD all-wheel-drive system. We've been given no word yet on fuel economy ratings, but the outgoing 2.0-liter turbo had a combined EPA city/highway rating between 20 and 24 mpg, depending on transmission and drivetrain.
Outside of the engine compartment, the modest upgrades are sprinkled about the car to visually bring the 9-3 into line with the new 9-5 and 9-4x. Up front, the 2012 9-3 receives new trapezoidal lower air intakes, a larger Saab script logo, and blue-tinted headlamps. The rear end receives a script emblem in place of the company's traditional griffin logo, while sedan models receive a standard decklid spoiler across the board. 16-inch wheels are standard across the line, although XWD models do receive 17-inch rims. Buyers will have a choice of new optional 17- and 18-inch wheels, including some patterned after the 9-5's turbine design.