Tuesday, 5 February 2013

What if the new Saab 9-3 had got the green light?

A COUPLE of sketches of what could have been the car to spark Saab's revival - the 9-3's replacement - have emerged today, giving an intruiging look into what could have been.

Without wanting to nick Autocar's pictures, it's clear to see exactly what the stylists of this distinctively Swedish hatchback were thinking of; the original 900, pictured, which arguably is the Saab people think of when asked to conjure up a mental image of the now-defunct executive car specialists. I liked the short-lived replacement for 9-5 when that came out, but I reckon this smaller sibling - which insiders reckon was about 60% completed and would have been launched last year had the plug not been pulled - would have been even better.

What's more, I reckon there would've been a market for it too - at least one of my mates, who knows an awful lot about cars, had the choice between a Mondeo and the outgoing 9-3 and opted for the Swede, even though it was considerably more expensive. When I made the inevitable joke that it was just a Vauxhall Vectra in drag, he told me it was a Vectra done properly, with almost every conceivable component redone to Swedish standards. It is, he insists, one of the best cars he's ever driven.

Which is why I reckon matching Saab's insistence for everything being perfect with a return to the original 900's quirky styling would have worked wonders for the firm. It's just a shame the 9-3's replacement is likely to remain one of motoring's great what-ifs...

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