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2003 Saab 9-3

fst1fst1 L.A. Member Posts: 18
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?
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Comments

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHMember Posts: 22,922
    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.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • magnetophonemagnetophone Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 260
    They mean it's the same platform as the new Malibu - the GM Epsilon.
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    You can find about 15 different sources, autoweek.com 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 Member Posts: 260
    From autoweek.com

    By WES RAYNAL

    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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 1,381
    Dont know if id want in print it will have same platform as a Saturn L . o well

    DL
  • machiavellimachiavelli Member Posts: 260
    Once again - it's not based on the CURRENT Malibu or Saturn, etc....
  • logic1logic1 Member 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 Member Posts: 605
    Well one of the L's best features is its fairly compliant chassis.
  • dl7265dl7265 Member 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.

    DL
  • kevin111kevin111 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 605
    I meant compliant as in compliant with the road... firmer and sportier.
  • bodydoublebodydouble Member 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?
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    Huh?
  • dl7265dl7265 Member 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.

    DL
  • logic1logic1 Member 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 Member Posts: 71
    I'm on the audi a4 board--I guess it's the way they've rearranged the board--seems weird though.
  • kevin111kevin111 Member 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 Member 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.
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    Read the article in Thecarconnection. The base Saab will come loaded. Leather, auto, upgrade stereo. You have to request the manual. We've gone over the hp thing. Saabs have never been boy racers. They are driver's cars. Look at the sources before jumping on me please.
  • magnetophonemagnetophone Member Posts: 605
    I'm getting happier about this Saab 9-3 every day. Talk about good pricing! This car is priced and optioned just right. Make mine a base Linear in red.
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    I'm thinking dolphin silver, and I will be happy with the 175 hp as well. I would never use a Nav system, but I like the way saab worked it into the dash. But is liking a design trick worth whatever premium a nav will draw?
  • kevin111kevin111 Member Posts: 991
    Was looking throught the discussion, and have not seen a link. Could you repost the site again? Please?
  • logic1logic1 Member Posts: 2,433
    Go to: www.thecarconnection.com. Under the news sections. There are articles in the July 24 and 25 posts as well as a separate Saab article.
  • kevin111kevin111 Member Posts: 991
  • pablo_lpablo_l Member Posts: 491
    I just bought into the traditional Saab value propositions after years of owning Jagurs and getting somewhat tired of too much coziness.

    I think Saab's strength is its difference, and I am not sure positioning themelves smack in the square of the industry standards with 2 4-door sedans is a good idea. I think a more avantgarde update of the hatchback theme would have made them more successful, especially now that cars like the Merc C230 are validating the concept for the $30k+ market.

    If you get too industry-conform, at some point in time buyers will forget about the "brand values" you originally had, and will simply compare you 1:1 against the competition... and I am not sure people will pick a Saab over a BMW, Merc, Lex or Audi then... not because there is anything wrong with the car, but rather because it takes a while for the public to internalize the new value proposition...
  • larryjorlarryjor Member Posts: 12
    My brother and I are long time Volvo fanatics (35 yrs) and currently own a '00 T6. Volvo decided to begin to evolutionize their 'look' beginning with the 850 in the early 90s, then really took off with the introduction of the S80. We are totally convinced of the rightness of this corporate change in philosophy. It is not that Volvo changed its total commitment to its core values of safety and concern for the environment. These values have NOT changed in the slightest. The Goteborg management could see the writing in the sand: the numbers must increase in order to survive and prosper. The company had to attract MORE customers. I do not find any substantial difference with what the management in Trollhattan is doing now. They need and want MORE buyers of Saabs. We think they are making the right decision. I am particularly keen on their revised look and the substantial input the engineers have done on this new platform to give it its Saab distinctiveness. The old platform and its quirky image was just that: old and not selling enough cars. Even though it is now much more in the mainstream, I think the new 9-3 has the best chance in many years of improving sales for the company, and survival IS the name of the game.

    Ciao,

    Larry
  • dl7265dl7265 Member Posts: 1,381
    The current CAR magazine has a nice write up and several photos of the new 9 3. you can find it at barnes and noble or tke it home for $7.95.

    overall they praise the new car, other than saying the engine dose not feel like 175 hp and not quite as smooth as the old Saab motor.

    DL
  • kevin111kevin111 Member Posts: 991
    The old 9-3 was not as reliable as the 9-5. The 9-5 is a very reliable car. Hopefully, the 9-3's reliability and quality will improve. The car looks nice though. The question will be the price point, and how it competes with the ton of other competitors in the entry-luxo market.
  • dl7265dl7265 Member Posts: 1,381
    i bought a early 1999 production 3er and it has been more reliable if you will than any japanese product ive owned,i know most avoid a 1st year production but in my case there have actually been more issues reported with 2000-2001 models.

    i belive starting with the platform the new 9 3 will prove to be much more substantial.As they point out the question is has too much Saab been removed from the car ?, and how will it stand out in the crowd. However even Saab faithful cant be too disapointed in most of the torque steer being removed.....

    At 25k and change for a model with standard leather looks like the pricepoint will be a major selling point.

    Regards,
    DL
  • kevin111kevin111 Member Posts: 991
    I thought BMW has a reputation of having problems with first year models, but not afterwards. I see with your 3er, it is not the case.

    It will be interesting to see how the 9-3 does in the reliability department. heck, I believe the 9-5 uses a GM V6 and has proven to be very reliable.

    Also, many magazines are quoting the Saab starting at just over $26K (Car and Drive, Edmunds). This will put it in direct competition with a G35 (though more standard features).
  • dl7265dl7265 Member Posts: 1,381
    I had to think the only other 1st model year car ive owned was a 83 T bird. thinking i was Bill Elliot lol 5.0 V8 with 130 hp laughable huh ?

    anyways i know myself, and Mr Shipo on this board had a early production 328i only had a light bulb burn out in three years of ownership.

    but back to the topic at hand, as a car enthusiast i hope the 9 3 succeds. 9 3 vs a G35, o my dont want to debate that one, but im sure someone will start a thread.

    DL
  • kevin111kevin111 Member Posts: 991
    The BMW 3-series is still the standard for entry level luxury cars (even though some G35 owners would debate that), but the more competition and cost savings that occure the better it will be for the average buyer. Personally, I am not a Saab fan, but hope it does well. The better it does, the more other car manufacturers will have to rework their cars to compete. This happened with BMW when the IS300 came out (base models had more standard features).
  • dl7265dl7265 Member Posts: 1,381
    guess there arent any Saab posters left, oh well, i just posted on the 3er board of my disgust with t a $750.00 price increase on the 3er for MY 03.So much for competition huh ? Guess BMWNA dont think they have any.... far as the extra standard features they also raised the invoice price 1% that year , negating the extra features.What are you shopping for btw ?

    DL
  • kevin111kevin111 Member Posts: 991
    Actually, I just recently bought a Subaru WRX. I had tested a used 3-Series with the sport suspension, and the car was not for me.

    The G35 intrigued me, but did not come with a stick, could not get it below MSRP, and needed a car.

    I will be interested when another comparison test happens with the Saab. The previous one was known as a fun car, if you can get by its idosyncracies.

    One last item on the Saab 9-3. The one item that bothers me is the center console layout. Too many buttons. The buttons are small and all are the same size. I know it is minor, but that was the only thing I noticed about the interior that I did not like. A loaded Saab 9-3 below $30K? It will sell, and be a major competitor.
  • dl7265dl7265 Member Posts: 1,381
    Congrads on your purchase ... wagon or sedan ? . I want to like the Subies, my recent trip to the Poconos were all over the place. Unfortunatly a few things keep me away. One is i cant set in a cloth car without getting a nasty shock! And the other is its a little on the smaller side.Not any worse than a IS mind you, matter a fast to me that IS300 is a joke at 36k, should have been a yota at 24k..

    good luck
    DL
  • kevin111kevin111 Member Posts: 991
    I ended up getting a sedan. I actually liked the the cloth seats in the WRX, but did see one with aftermarket leather coverings. Looked really nice.

    The new 9-3 should be bigger on the inside (from the pictures) and definitely looks more luxurious than the WRX. Also, Saabs have a reputation (if I remember correctly) as being a very good bad weather vehicle.

    Finally, snow tires might help your current car. People on these boards have been praising the Bliztaks for their bad weather handling.
  • philly2002philly2002 Member Posts: 41
    Saab is a luxury car? Yeah right? Saab wants to compete with the big european carmakers? Fat chance. I just received a promo mailing card regarding the 2003 9-3 and decided to investigate further. My search came to grinding halt when I discovered that the Saab is a FWD vehicle!! If I'm going to drive a "sports sedan" I must have RWD or an optional AWD system at my disposal. Why isn't Saab stepping up to the plate?
  • magnetophonemagnetophone Member Posts: 605
    Hello, clueless!

    Saab has ALWAYS been FWD, even back in the days when there were no FWD cars. They have always used this layout and it is about as ubiquitous as the centre-mounted key.

    If you would read the foreign reviews of this car, you'd know that they have considered it to be a very capable, sporty car.

    If I wanted a true "sports car" like a 911 or something like that, then RWD would be necessary. But on a "sporty sedan", it is not necessary.

    Your search came to a grinding halt? You should have known that Saabs have always been FWD. That's like saying "Why does Saab use a turbo?" It's completely antithetical.

    Audi uses FWD just fine and is a very competitive Euro brand.
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