The Saab 9-3 is an entry-level luxury car / compact executive car produced by the Swedish automaker Saab. It shares platforms with the Opel Vectra.
The car is actually badged as a 93, although Saab consistently advertises it as the 9-3. The name is pronounced "nine three". It should not be confused with the Saab 93.
The original 9-3 was a rebadged, improved last-generation Saab 900. Launched in 1998 for the 1999 model year, it featured slightly sleeker styling with some models sporting a black rear spoiler and removed Saab's trademark centrally-mounted "snow flap". It was available as a three or five-door hatchback, and as a two-door convertible. It was the last small Saab to use the company's H engine.
A Saab innovation is the 'Night Panel', carried over from the Saab 900, which permits dousing of the instrument panel lighting, except for essential information, for less distraction when night driving. A total of 326,370 first generation 9-3s were built.
A high-powered, no longer in production version of the 9-3 was the Viggen, named after the Saab Viggen aircraft. It came with a turbocharged 2.3 L engine giving 230 hp ECE (169 kW). 0-100 km/h is done in 6.4 seconds and the top speed is 249 km/h.
2005 Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan
The second-generation model was launched at the Detroit Auto Show in early 2003. All variants feature either a 1.8 L or 2.0 L straight-4 gasoline engine derived from General Motors' Ecotec family, or a turbocharged 2.8 L High-Feature V6 (starting in 2006). There are two different versions of the turbocharged I4, with the amount of turbo boost determining the power output.
Power in the 9-3 is delivered through the front wheels only. It is available as a four-door sedan, a wagon (introduced 2004, known as the Sport Combi), and a two-door convertible. It is the safest car in its class, including innovations such as Saab Active Head Restraints (SAHR II) to reduce whiplash and ReAxs, passive rear wheel steering to reduce understeering and passive toe-in under heavy braking. Out of these models, the convertible (manufactured by Magna Steyr in Austria beginning in 2003) is the best known, and is the best-selling in its class in many markets.
The 9-3 and the Opel Vectra were the first of the global GM Epsilon platform, which has now been lengthened to accommodate three new cousins, the Chevrolet Malibu/Malibu Maxx and the Pontiac G6.
A special "20 Years Edition Aero Convertible" for the American market was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in January 2006 to celebrate 20 years since the introduction of the 900 convertible.
Note: diesel engines are not available in North America.