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2012 Saab 9-3 to use GM architecture

by Andrew Ganz
2012 Saab 9-3 to use GM architecture

Perhaps more important to now Spyker-run Saab's future than its all-new 9-5 flagship is the next-generation version of its 9-3 volume sedan. Although there has been much speculation about what the brand would do with its current entry-level model, Saab-Spyker chief Victor Muller now says that the new car is likely to continue the use of its General Motors-designed Epsilon architecture.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, Muller said in an interview with Britain's Autocar.

"It's a heavily modified Epsilon I platform, but [it belongs to] Saab now," said Muller. "So that's the basis for the new 9-3; we have no further restraints so we don't have to share it with anyone else.

The Epsilon platform was first designed for the now-defuct Opel Vectra before it made its way under the 2003 9-3 and 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. Longer wheelbase versions of that platform underpinned everything from the Pontiac G6 to the Fiat Croma and the 9-5 rides on GM's latest version of the architecture - now dubbed Epsilon II. Despite its GM heritage, the current 9-3 was thoroughly developed in Sweden, not Detroit, which helps explain the car's unique suspension and drivetrain designs compared to its GM cousins.

Muller says that since the current 9-3 is now entirely Spyker's property, the company can modify its Epsilon-derived architecture as much as it wants.

"This means we can knock ourselves out to make it the car we want it to be," Muller said.

Saab wants to have a redesigned 9-3 with more of a "Saab personality" on the road as a 2012 model.