The All New Saab 9-3 Sport Saloon

Saab 93 - 2003 Model


  • First Saab positioned in premium, compact saloon segment
  • Best-ever chassis dynamics for close driver involvement
  • Long wheelbase and wide track for good handling and spacious interior
  • New powertrain includes lightweight, aluminium turbo engines
  • New five-speed automatic transmission and six-speed manual gearbox
  • In-house Saab electronics for sophisticated powertrain behaviour
  • Fiber optic electronics for advanced, modular ‘infotainment’ systems
  • Exceptionally strong bodyshell for good handling, refinement and safety
  • Second generation Saab Active Head Restraints (SAHR)
  • Load-limiting seat-belts, dual stage front airbags and roof rail airbags
  • ‘Profiler’ customisation program and choice of three specification levels

The all-new Saab 9-3 Sport saloon is the first step in the biggest product development program in Saab’s history. It spearheads the arrival of an entirely new family of cars, each focused on meeting the particular requirements of a different niche in the market.

As Saab’s first contender in the premium, compact Sport saloon segment, the focus for the new 9-3 is dedicated to delivering a unique, ‘fun to drive’ experience that promises to set new standards for the class.

The coupé-like silhouette, with steeply raked windshield and rear window and short front and rear overhangs, communicates a strong, sporty stance, which is reinforced by negative wheel cambers. The overall look is designed to convey a sense of movement even when the car is stationary. The shape of the windows and the wedge-like profile also combine with the integrated headlights and grille to give the car its distinctive Saab identity.

Excellent aerodynamics including a high competitive 0.28 drag coefficient, result in low lift forces at the rear axle, improving high speed stability and braking. Careful airflow management also benefits the driver by helping to prevent road grime building up on the rear windows and lights.

The new model comes with a choice of three new, 2.0-litre, all-aluminum turbocharged engines, ranging in power from 150 (110 kW) to 210 bhp (155 kW), and a 125 bhp (92kW), 2.2-litre turbo diesel. The front-wheel-drive transmissions include five and sixspeed (option) manual gearboxes and a five-speed automatic with Saab Sentronic manual selection and the option of steering wheel controls. There are three ‘Forms’, or specification levels: Linear, Arc and Vector, plus an Aero high performance variant.

Compared to its predecessor, the new 9-3 offers more spacious accommodation, particularly for rear passengers, within the same overall length. Front and rear width is increased by 55 mm and the wheelbase is 71 mm longer.

It is price-positioned to compete with the BMW 3-series, Audi A4 and Volvo S60. Sales commence from September and Saab dealers can already take customer orders. The main features of the new 9-3 contribute to an enriched, sporty driving experience in four key areas: driver involvement; refined performance; driver adaptability and drivercentered design.

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Published 27 October 2002 Melanie Carter

The information contained this Saab news article may have changed since publication on the 27 October 2002. Our car specifications, reviews, and prices may only apply to the UK market. You may wish to check with the manufacturer or your local Saab dealer, before making a purchasing decision. E.&.O.E. You may NOT reproduce our car news in full or part, in any format without our written permission. © 2018