2012 Saab 9-3 Receives Mild Power and Cosmetic Upgrades, Will Debut in Geneva

A year of new ownership can do wonders for a car company. Saab has focused much of its efforts on launching the all-new 9-5 sedan and the 9-4x crossover, but the company will roll out a refreshed 2012 9-3 lineup at next week’s Geneva Motor Show.

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 220 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.

Inside, the 9-3’s cabin receives either titanium metallic or graphite fiber dash trim, depending on Turbo4 or Aero model specification. In addition to the current two-tone black and parchment leatherette seats, Saab has added a new shark grey seat fabric for the Turbo4, and irregularly ribbed grey leather skins for Aero models.

One new addition for the 2012 9-3 lineup is the new 9-3 Convertible Independence Edition, which reportedly celebrates both the 25th anniversary of Saab convertibles, and Saab’s first year of independence. Building on the top-level Aero trim, the Independence Edition receives unique amber orange metallic paint, matching orange interior stitching and accents, carbon fiber-look finish for the instrument panel trim, and unique five-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels. Saab will only sell 366 of these amber orange metallic drop-tops – one for each day that the company has been separated from GM.

The 2012 9-3 will continue to be available in sedan, SportCombi wagon, convertible, and 9-3x bodystyles. Pricing will be announced next week at the Geneva Motor Show, but we expect it to stay near to the current $29,725 base price (including destination) for a Turbo4 sedan.

Source: Saab

Calm down. Get a drink of water. Don't get your panties all in a wad. The output figures here match the news release on Saab's website.
Jason - the output figures match what Saab says in their official release: http://newsroom.saab.com/news/news/newsaab93griffinrangerefreshedstylingmorepowerloweremissions.html
Other sites are reporting that these 2.0 liter engines are sourced from BMW, not GM. Does anybody know what it's going to be?
Wow, this info is NOT correct, at least 20 other news sources have DIFFERENT output figures. And the other week, Automobile Mag posted the 2011 9-5 review with pics of the LAST generation 9-5. What's happening to this magazine?!? not happy right now, and I'm a subscriber...
The output of the GM I4 engine is rated at 220 horsepower . By software tuning the engine can safely reach 260hp and still be under warranty. Tuning is provided by Hirsch Performance.

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