Vijay Pattni01 November 2011

New Saab 9-3 leaked

Image of new saloon pinched from Saab presentation is apparently next mainstream car…

This is the new Saab 9-3. Apparently. That grainy black and white image above has leaked onto the Internet just days after Saab was saved from bankruptcy.

According to Swedish newspaper SvD, the image was part of a presentation made by Saab to the National Debt Office way back in January 2011, and as you can (barely) see, it shares many similarities with the Jason Castriota-designed PheoniX concept car unveiled at Geneva earlier this year.

This image comes after the troubled Swedish carmaker - in grave danger for much of the year - was sold to two Chinese car companies, Pang Da and Youngman, for a sum of €100 million, securing Saab's immediate future.

This investment means the new 9-3, whatever it looks like, should be on track for a 2013 launch. Part-owner and current boss Victor Muller told Top Gear on Friday that while the factory has been closed since April, the development of the 9-3 only stalled for a couple of months.

And when it does finally arrive - as a five-door in spring 2013 and convertible in late summer - it will look remarkably like that stunning PheoniX concept, below. Saab design director Castriota wanted to set a "new reference point for the future of Saab product design". Don't forget, he played a hand in the design of the Ferrari 599, designed the Maserati GranTurismo and the glorious P4/5. Form, he has.

 


The new 9-3 will sit on the ‘Pheonix' architecture that should also run underneath the forthcoming 9-1 compact, 9-5 replacement (albeit several years down the line) and a future crossover too, liberating the company from GM underbodies.

The new 9-3 will come with a petrol Mini engine, a diesel unit from Fiat and an all-wheel-drive system courtesy of American Axle, using an e-drive to the rear wheels a-la Peugeot Hybrid4.

Why is this important? The 9-3 is the company's mainstream model, and success with this can help the firm crack the golden Chinese market, as well as become a credible alternative to the luxury triumvirate of BMW, Mercedes and Audi.

Can they do it, if it looks anything like this, TopGear.commers?

Image courtesy of svd.se

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