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2003 Saab 9-3

fst1fst1 L.A. Posts: 13
edited March 2014 in Saab
The new 9-3 has an interesting new look and an all-new chassis, does anybody think it will be good enough to compete with the 3 Series and Audi's A4?


  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,824
    a 3-series competitor. See the letters section of the new CAR magazine.

    I doubt that any true Beemerhead is going to accept a fwd as a real competitor no matter how good the performance.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • magnetophonemagnetophone Posts: 605
    The letters were indeed interesting. If the performance were there, I'd get the new 9-3 over a 3-series any day! One thing I'm worried about though - doesn't the 9-3 look almost as big as the 9-5 now? Won't that cannibalize the latter's sales?
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    The 9-3 should be a legitimate performance car. Whether it is a direct competitor for BMW is another question. The FWD/RWD difference looms large for many buyers. Where I see the new 9-3 making its biggest impact is against the Lexi/Acura/Volvo/and non-AWD Audis.

    Magneto: There is an article in TheCarconnection today where a Saab exec attempts to explain how the new 9-3 will not hurt 9-5 sales. Basically, he claims the additional luxury options on the 9-5 will suffice. The article did not even say when a 9-5 will be on the new Epsilon platform. I do not see how the new 9-3 cannot hurt 9-5 sales.
  • machiavellimachiavelli Posts: 260
    The new 9-3 is not longer than the old 9-3, but it is slightly wider and has a longer wheelbase, so it is roomier inside than the car it replaces.

    The 9-5 is still slightly larger inside, and comes with the V6 instead of the 4.

    I guess the 9-3 will somewhat cannabalize the 9-5, but probably no worse than the Volvo S60 cannabalizes S80 sales.
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    I agree that it looks great, from what I have seen so far of this car. Looks gorgeous in Black

    1. Will have reduced understeer than previous models but still an issue
    2. Will be underpowered compared to competition (175 hp and 200 hp engines offered???!!!!)
    3. Brand identity and uncertainty may still be an issue.

    Also, the chasis is based off the Chevy Malibu platform (Car and Drive and Road and Track).

    A Maxima can blow away this car for a much lesser price!
  • magnetophonemagnetophone Posts: 605
    Um it's not based on the Chevy Malibu. it's based on the Epsilon platform which is also going to be the basis of future Opel and Alfa Romeo products, as well as "POSSIBLY" the 2004 Chevy Malibu, which, if it will, is going to be a rebadged Opel Vectra.
  • machiavellimachiavelli Posts: 260
    Kev - the new Saab 9-3 has nothing to do with the current Malibu.
    It's based on the new GM Epsilon platform, which it will also share with Opel/Vauxhall, and future Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Saturn models.
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    I believe it is in the June version of Car&Driver, and Road&Track. Read it for yourself - "Based on the same platform used by the Chevy Malibu".

    I could not believe it myself when I read it. I had to do a double-take.
  • machiavellimachiavelli Posts: 260
    They mean it's the same platform as the new Malibu - the GM Epsilon.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    You can find about 15 different sources, being the most recent, that say the new Saag 9-3 will be built on a modified version of the new Epsilon platform. The base Epsilon platform will be used for the next generation Malibu, Grand Am and possibly a Saturn. The Epsilon platform in any form has no relationship to the platform used by the current Malibu.
  • machiavellimachiavelli Posts: 260


    The Opel Vectra GTS looks nice inside and out, and is a good drive. The Epsilon platform should help GM's midsize cars in the States.
    "OPEL HAS FIRED OFF A SECOND salvo in the midsize class product offensive it began in the spring, in the form of a new and tempting sports model, the coupe-style Vectra GTS sport sedan. This exceptionally dynamic..." So begins the new Vectra GTS press materials. Exaggerated maybe, but the new Opel Vectra (and Saab 9-3 and more) is an important car for GM; or at least the Vectra rides on an extremely important platform, the midsize Epsilon platform.

    The Epsilon platform is a structure Opel and Saab developed jointly that some of GM's best-selling cars will ride on, including the 2004 Chevrolet Malibu, 2004 Pontiac Grand Am and the 2004 (or '05) Saturn L. Further, there will be a future Cadillac on Epsilon, as well as a few Holdens in Australia. In all, the architecture will eventually account annually for some 1.2 million GM cars worldwide—a big number in a market in which GM needs better products to become more competitive with the Primeras, Accords, Camrys and Mondeos of the world.
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    On the Saab 9-3

    "The car is based on the GM Epsilon platform that will also see duty as the Opel Vectra and Chevrolet Malibu, "

    Base will have 175 hp engine. Top of the line will be a 210 hp engine.

    Still underpowered compared to its competition. I know it is a turbo 4, but still.
  • machiavellimachiavelli Posts: 260
    I guess that is part of the "Saab-ness"; having a turbo 4 instead of a V6. But I agree, it's a little underpowered. An Acura TL has 225hp base and 260hp in the Type-S, and those numbers will probably go up somewhat when the '04 TL comes out.
  • machiavellimachiavelli Posts: 260
    The 9-3's power is about on par with most of it's competition:

    Audi A4 1.8T - 170hp
    Audi A4 3.0 - 220hp

    BMW 325i - 184hp
    BMW 330i - 225hp

    MB C240 - 168hp
    MB C320 - 215hp

    The G35 and the Type-S TL have 260hp.
  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    Dont know if id want in print it will have same platform as a Saturn L . o well

  • machiavellimachiavelli Posts: 260
    Once again - it's not based on the CURRENT Malibu or Saturn, etc....
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    wow. Clever. In fact the current 9-5 does share a platform with the L and its sales have done well for Saab.
  • magnetophonemagnetophone Posts: 605
    Well one of the L's best features is its fairly compliant chassis.
  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    yes i got that its not the current Saturn, i didnt mean to imply that, or that it wouldnt be a willing chasis. i know the VW/Audi does lots of chasis sharring.I just meant, i wonder if the general public's opinion if they read a 9-3 has saturn underpinnings, i hope that makes sense.

  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    I thought the idea was to have a stiff chassis, for better road manners? I guess having a compliant chassis would improve the ride, even if you start to hear sqeaks down the road.

    Also, I though the Saturn L had a rather stiff chassis? I could be wrong.
  • machiavellimachiavelli Posts: 260
    dl - It would be more accurate to say (in 2005) that the new Saturn XYZ has some Saab 9-3 underpinnings. The new 2003 9-3 has NOTHING in common with any current Saturn. If anything, it would be more of a boost to Saturn than a detriment to Saab.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Kevin111: The L does have a fairly stiff chasis for the segment it competes in. It is a very quiet car.

    dl7256: I think the consumers sophisticated enough to even know what chasis is under their car are also sophisticated enough to know that while a good chasis is an important start, but not the only thing that makes a car good. For instance, dweeby teenagers show a surprising nack for tuning the old wishbone based Civics into Porsche beaters.
  • magnetophonemagnetophone Posts: 605
    I meant compliant as in compliant with the road... firmer and sportier.
  • bodydoublebodydouble Posts: 801
    Why is a discussion about the Saab 9-3 under the BMW 3-series topic?! Where is the one about the 3-series located?
  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    ill buy that, where abouts in PA are you ? i just returned from a vacation in the Poconos, some great driving roads there.

  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Reports today say the base 9-3 will come priced at just over 25k. For significantly less than the ES300, TL, or I35, you can get a car that is actually interesting to drive.
  • brick22brick22 Posts: 71
    I'm on the audi a4 board--I guess it's the way they've rearranged the board--seems weird though.
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    An Audi A4 with a 175 hp engine starts around $25K.

    A G35 starts a little over $27K.

    It is when you start adding the extras.

    An I35 and a TL come fully loaded (leather, auto everything, stereo, etc.)

    Another words, just because it starts at $25K does not mean its real world (with common options) will end up at $25K
  • machiavellimachiavelli Posts: 260
    Kev is right - I bet by the time you option out a 9-3 to the same level as a TL, it will be the same price or more ($28-31k) - plus the TL has more power even in the base model, let alone the Type-S.
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