With the continuation of the Saab survival saga seemingly joining death and taxes as one of the certainties of life, the Swedish automaker's product development teams likely aren't enjoying the most stress-free work environment. But that hasn't stopped their efforts, with a new image of the next-generation 9-3 joining an older illustration as evidence of their continued endeavors.
Made public by a Swedish website that managed to acquire a copy of Saab's business presentation to the European Investment Bank earlier this year, the image reveals a car that blends traditional Saab styling cues like hockey-stick rear windows with a host of modern elements.
Designed by American Jason Castriota, the new 9-3 features a rakishly sloped roofline that bears more than a passing resemblance to the Mercedes-Benz CLS-inspired "foor-door-coupe" segment currently in vogue, while the stylish rear end seems to incorporate a hatchback in the manner of Saabs of years past. Details including the pronounced rear fenders and headlamp design seem to be derived from the Phoenix concept shown at this year's Geneva show.
Auto Express reports that the car will continue to be front-wheel-drive with all-wheel-drive available as an option, while the chassis will be an all-new design that shares nothing with the current GM-derived setup. Relatively little is known concerning powerplants, but at least one engine, a 1.6-liter diesel mill, will come from BMW. It likely won't make it stateside, however. A hybrid version will also be offered.
The cabin will see the introduction of Saab's IQon infotainment system, which employs Google's Android operating software to provide navigation and audio functions along with email access and downloadable apps.
If (and that's a big if) Saab can overcome its present difficulties and receive GM's blessing for a buyout by Chinese automakers Youngman and Pang Da, the new 9-3 could arrive as early as the end of 2012.
1.'New Saab 9-3...' view