Poll – Leaked Saab image

By now, may of you would have seen the image below, which first appeared in a Swedish newspaper yesterday and has since gone all around the web.

The image should have been redacted by the body that passed the document on to the newspaper, however this was overlooked. An apology has been offered and accepted. Thankfully for us, the image is small and of insufficient detail to give too much away, but we can say that it was from a Saab document and that’s all we’ll give away at this time.

So…. seeing as you’ve had your sneaky peek, let’s go to the polls. Hot or Not?

Have your vote, and comments are open.


[poll id=”10″]

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  1. It looks like a good combination of styling elements from the 9-5, 9-4X and Phoenix.  It’s not retro but you can still see the classic Saab styling, mixed in with the new design language.  Build it!  🙂

  2. Love it! Looks like my 01 Viggen… only more modern. Not so sure about the rear wheel arches though…

  3. I like it but with reservations
    about that rear wheel arch…it reminds me a bit too much of a Mazda! Nice
    profile though!

    1. Agree, I prefer the clean lines of the new 9-5, this beefed up styling adds clutter, and clutter is what turns me of on new Merc’s and Bimmers… Spells Bangle to me. Keep it clean, flowing “feminine” lines, no fake muscles. 

    2. I agree with the other comments about the rear wheel arch. Saab has always had elegant, clean lines in keeping with Scandinavian minimalism.  The arch is ok on a CUV like the 9-4X, but out of keeping for the 9-3. The same is true for what appears to be a wrap-around rear light cluster, for the same reason — too busy. Finally, the horizontal indentation along the lower body (between the wheels) may also be a bit overly styled, but hard to tell from the image. However, the overall shape looks very modern, yet with echoes of the classic 900 (relatively high windscreen with tapering greenhouse glass due to the sloping roof and hockey-stick body). 

      1. > I agree with the other comments about the rear wheel arch. Saab has
        always had elegant, clean lines in keeping with Scandinavian minimalism.

        Really? Saab 900, anyone? Black fender flares, mud flaps, scoops in the rear fenders, whale tale spoilers, etc. – hardly a clean design. It was a great design visually (for the ’80s anyhow) but definitely not “clean” by any stretch of the imagination with all that tacked on.

        Take away the whale tail, the scoops, and the fender flares (which I don’t know if were a trim level feature or a dealer-added option), and maybe soften the air dam a bit, and yes, you have clean lines. But, the 900 was often excessive in keeping with ’80s style (perhaps to make up for anemic performance?).

  4. I like it but I hope that the interior space is equal to if not better than the current or last gen 9-3. Keep it simple, I love the look swoopy back doors but hope that doesnt sacrifice interior space. I must also cover the wheel arch, I am a big fan of the side edging down the sides of my ’02 I think that would better suit the car. And please tell me this car will come out with a Manual transmission first 😉

  5. Will depend on how much room is in the back, which is a weakness of the current 93. I also dislike the lack of headroom in the back of these sloping roof cars (the Honda Insight is the worst of these, the VW Passat Coupe one of the best). 

  6. Weren’t there rumors that the new 9-3 was going to have the Phoenix’s front-end? The car in the image has way more overhang than the Phoenix.

  7. like the wheel arches fine, but hopefully it gets spiced it up a bit. Maybe the Aero version will add some more character – or maybe it isn’t showing through in the low-res picture.

  8. The wheel arches say “American muscle” not refined design to me, but I can live with it. My major gripe is the tendency by Saab and other car companies in recent years of reducing the sight visibility of the driver by steeply grading the windshield. The sight lines were absolutely fantastic in the old 900 and my current 2002 Saab 9-5 wagon are also very good. I opted not to buy a new 9-3 because the sight lines are lousy. I understand that the design team may steepen the grade of the windshield for better aerodynamics, but air does not need to be pushed over the car it can also pass around the car. The old 900’s design clearly showed how this can be done and is probably considered the best driver sight lines in a car. Remember, sight lines are as much a safety issue as airbags. 

    Ultimately, nice design and very unique. I’m just praying it can be offered in the US with a diesel option.

    1. I agree with the windshield comment, and I will add that the side windows need to be as big as possible. A lot of cars use the “mail slot” design theme for their side windows, frankly because stamped steel is cheaper/lighter than safety glass. This really hinders the driver’s situational awareness.
      Growing up in North America, what feels the most European to me is tasteful trim (of course), great outward visibility, a tight turning circle, and a narrow body.

      I’m also hoping for the rear winglets from the Phoenix concept. Those are cool.

  9. Nice 91 / 92. 😉

    Proportions don’t seem right if it is supposed to be in the same segment as the VW Passat, Volvo S60 en BMW 3.

    1. I agree about the proportions which also make the wheelbase look too short.  It looks like a smaller car than 9-3SS and it’s supposed to be slightly bigger.  It’s likely just a photo chopped picture of the old GM Delta II proposal for a smaller 9-3.  It’s probably only just an illustration to fill up a space on a document and nothing to get excited about.  The real thing will be much more interesting I’m sure.

    2. The Passat is considerably larger than the S60 and the 3-series. I think the leaked 9-3 looks BMW 3-series sizeish.

  10. I really love the 96-2001 models the best. Anything to make it look “newer” like other cars is a mistake. That’s not why people drive Saabs. People drive Saabs because they looked idiosyncratic and awesome and were solid, fun cars to drive.

    Any attempt to make it look newer—well, let me put it this way: When I look at newer anymore all I can think of is “cheaper.” Taylor McIntosh, Akron, Ohio

    1. It is nice to see another Akronite here, Taylor!  Do you not like this design?  It seems that many Saab loyalists want some sort of retro Saab.  I have to disagree with them.  Saab needs to be a forward-looking innovator and make vehicles that are distinctly Saab, but not retro.  If Saab builds a 9-3 that looks like this sketch, I will absolutely purchase it.

    2. That is exactly the sentiment many had when the classic 900 was replaced by the models you like (1994-2002). Reality is, the SPG looked futuristic and a bit unusual back in the 80’s – it had a strong unique presence that pushed boundaries. The Viggen, maybe a little less so, but still a nice car and a reasonable evolution from the SPG. This image, whether or not it accurately depicts what will be released, is having the same effect as the SPG. I think it looks fantastic. Sure there may be some niggly things I’d pick at – there are in any car, but the form is outstanding… It is a next logical step in the evolution of the 900 (which, even though it’s a nice car, the 9-3ss was not).

      If you really love the og9-3, keep a minty one in top shape indefinitely… I have a couple c900s I’m holding on to for that reason… but if Saab was to go back to making either of those models, even as a new throwback, well, they just wouldn’t stay in business… times have changed… and well, newer need not be cheaper…

      Another way to look at it: look at the 1989 911. Then look at the 2011 911. There are commonalities and there are huge differences. Each reflects the times, and each are immediately recognizable as a 911. The same can be said here. And that is a huge compliment: the 911 is probably the best example of how to build an icon. Saab needs to do the same imho + this car (assuming the actual car to be released is fairly similar to this image) imho is another step in the right direction…


    1. And who is to say this is the final version?  My guess is this is an early version of the design, not the final version after all the iterations.

  11. I’ll take a stab at this. I’m sure after the fog clears, a pretty car will appear through all the pixels, there.  However, that picture alone does not move my needle at all.  It’s rather tall (meaty front wings), and looks more like one of those cross-over things than a nimble and sporty car that I would choose to actually spend money on.  The rear tail light is hideously Asian looking, and all the design bits look “borrowed” or “carried over”.  I need a LOT more convincing than this photo alone. …but that’s just me.

  12. I like the shape of it. Some details, however, like the tail lights and that wrinkle on the lower part of the door section doesn’t feel that “Saabish”. Gives more of a Japanese feeling, which, coming from me, is nowhere near a compliment. But I did vote “hot” and there are more things I like with it than things I don’t like.

  13. Don’t like the ‘fat’ big hips, the window-lines are beautiful, but cleaner, less beefed up please it is a Saab and not trying to be a BMW or Mercedes or there copies… 900?

  14. Looks good but the rear fenders need to be less vulgar, that Mercedes look doesn’t fit a Saab.

    1. When I had the first look at the poll it was 96% hot. My first SAAB was a 96. 🙂 
      Now it was 94% hot, and SAAB has a new 9-4x that next year will spread around the world. 🙂

      1. …and now it’s 94% hot again. Can it climb to 95, 96 or 97% hot? …or will it perhaps fall to 92 or 91% hot? Any of these results will be very good… 😉

    1. Nope. Needs electric four wheel drive with a total torque of at least 500 NM, in my opinion. No differentials, just four motors and some sensors and software will make for a system that is *far* better than XWD. Imagine THAT! 🙂

    2. Most definitely!  2.0T is the sweet spot for Saab in my opinion – certainly for the US market anyway.  The new BMW 2.0T is 240HP and 260 Ft lbs of torque with all of the latest and greatest technology.  It is only a Hirsch away from total insanity which would make the first truly ‘exciting’ SAAB in a long time.  It would also give us a huge credibility boost in the market at large IMO.  A much better fit it seems to me than the 1.6 we inked a deal for a while back.

  15. Sorry but it reminds me of a Renault, where is the minimalistic design in it?…..but then again there are very few cars that look good from the side and this thing could actually be a looker from another perspective, and yes I am pro hatchback….can`t wait to see Saab return to it`s roots.

  16. Me too. Keep it clean, no rear wheels arches please, I have some doubts about what we can see about tail lights, I hope about c900 lines with NG9-5 surfaces.
    Overall, I like it.

  17. It seems almost all criticism is about that wheel arc. I think we can safely say the final design will be closer to the Phoenix than this picture, remember that it is really quite old, from January.

    Hatchback designs are more than welcome, but I feel the rear end on this one is too high. The line of sight backwards will be disturbingly constrained. And don’t come talking about cameras, I’m talking about driving here, not parking.

  18. I instantly loved it, which is something that don´t happen alot. Especially the rear fenders and the lines between the rear wheels and the roof-line. But since I´ve heard that this picture is from january 2010, and that Jason C altered the design of the new 9-3 (he got onboard later, didn´t he?), I reckon this is not the next 9-3. It might be the first version, that Victor thought needed spicing up. btw, my boss just promised me I could keep my OG 9-5 although it´s due for beeing returned and exhanged for other swedish brand, because he thought I´d worked hard and he knew this was the most important thing to me! 🙂

  19. it smells hatchback and viggen..means best design of saab after classic 900..saab must design aggresive cornered sport coupes for success..4-5 years only sport car producing and than family type again..

  20. Sports hatchback – fantastic! Terrific but not quite so keen on the Mercedes rear wheel arch!!

    1. +1 for ditching the wheel arch – too busy.  the overall hatch profileis good times though!

  21. Interesting the reactions.  JC said the reaction would likely be somewhat polarizing, although the poll results are lot more favorable than the first reaction to shots of the new 9-5 a couple of years ago.  Yet, opinions changed when people saw it in the metal. (Assuming, of course, that this is even close to what it will actually look like.)

  22. It looks very bulk and large.  Part of what I love about the 99 and C900 is that it IS a larger car but doesn’t look heavy from the outside.  This looks a little cliche.

  23. Ok nice shape ! but the European market don’t need that size for the moment. Saab need to extend the offer with a short size. Audi maintain a good ebit with the A1 wish is the best sale for 2011. Again BMW with the Mini with different size and 4 doors. The actual 9-3 is perfect until 2 & 3 years ahead. Saab in Europe needs is: 9-1 and 1.6 or 1.8 l, the actual 9-3 and actual 9-5 and soon as possible one Suv without V6 & V8 engine. Saab have sufficient power in 4 cyl ethanol turbo rate around 200 HP it’s ok to drive a family in the SUV for a limited speed at 130 Km/H and acceptable consumption and a top speed at 200 Km/h = 120 mph and lost right away your license driver.

    Best regards

    Alex Valkommen  


  24. Very hot. I thought it was not really leaked from Saab though. In a way it was too much what we (Saab fans) wanted and probably not so attractive to average driver. It is so extreme. If that is really how next 9-3 will look like, where can I sign the to order one? 😀

    Extremely cool and is immediately recognised as Saab! 

    1. Interestingly though, I passed this image to a few of my non-saab “car guy” friends… there was universal approval… even from the fans of “the Germans”… and the reactions were much like my reaction when I first saw an SPG as a kid: a unique almost futuristic looking, “sports car”… only later on did I find out it can haul a washing machine in the back with the hatch closed…


      I think by appealing to Saab’s core enthusiasts, they appeal to the wider public as well… not all will buy, but many will respect… polarizing is good! in contrast, in recent years, by attempting to appeal to the wider public, they have appealed less to everyone… gotta carve out that niche…


  25. I never understood, why SAAB stopped producing a coupé?! If this becomes realility I have to buy a new car! I’m currently driving a 9.3 coupé from 2000.

  26. Nice one, sportive…the back is a bit too bulky though. Just stick – or better: get back – to the origin Saab-Style and do not make the new ones look like a Mercedes (as of what I think the front reminds) or anything like that – we all drive Saab because you do not look like the others. I think the car above is a start into the right direction…

  27. Swade, I´d like to bring up once again the idea I´ve been playing around years. The model we´ve known as Saab 900 Aero “prototype” from 1983/84. It will soon be 30 years since it was shown first time to the public!

    I´d truly love to see Saab use the theme Pearlecent white with red interior. Like a limited run of special Aero model with some body cladding and extra spoiler etc. to celebrate the 30th year since the original Aero was released?

    1. It sure would be nice to see the pearlescent white on the new car.  Saab never used it on production 900 Aeros because it was very difficult to match the paint body kit parts to the metal body parts.

  28. Clink. Clink.

    (The sound of my pennies being put in the piggy bank, to save up and buy one of these)

  29. Definitely HOT! This is exactly the type of Saab I’ve been waiting for these many years. I’ve so far never bought a factory new car in my life, but this may well be the first. (Barring gremlins in my personal finances, of course.) We’ve heard lots of good rumours about the engines and features, and now here’s an exterior to match.

    Early 2013, is it?

  30. Concerned this car could end up looking Japanese, a bit like an Acura—I certainly felt the Phoenix did—however, it is hard to tell a lot from the image. The designers should be wary of straying into the postmodern, and having the car look inauthentic, or too retro, in the way a PT Cruiser does. For me, although I am not a huge fan, the Mini does not fall into this postmodern trap as much, but I feel like the new 9-5 does a bit, like it seems a bit decorative and superficial, and maybe a little heavy handed. This car looks a bit bloated in the image and the windows seem small in proportion to the body—this might create a sort of closed off, insular feeling, that might come off as being aggressive or too tank-tough—which doesn’t evoke a clean aesthetic.

  31. sorry, but i dont see any C900 accents in it. (as if this new model HAS TO  look like a C900. who said that retro sells? besides this, i get a bit sick of people who say/think the C900 is the ONLY Saab ever made. wake up! there were other types as wel…(the 9000, to name one 😉 )) the middle part is NG9-5, the rear wheel arches are Mazda (RX8). the rear end is a mixture of ‘whatever’/Ford Mondeo. no comment on the front, because it’s invisible.

    1. the c900 is a real icon for Saab, though I agree, there are lots of great past models. Anyway, this has lots of modern interpretation of the 99/c900 form… modern yet evolutionary. in no way mainstream… exactly what is needed going forward…

        1. well, the best way to see it is to take the saab “generations” picture (can google that), and tack this one on the end (maybe replacing the ng900 with a viggen). If I could post images here, I would…. If you’re expecting the headlights + tail lights to look the same, well, not so much… retro is not what is needed… but the SPG form itself is there, the rear window line, the rear hatch line, the lower cladding shapes… none of it is identical (that would be retro + not helpful), but there is lots of modern interpretation there… more so than the viggen in fact (the ng900 hatch line is more bulbous + this one has the swoop!)… I suppose the rear fender arch in this image is superfluous and distracting (I’d rather that was a bit more subtle, but I’m generally ok with it), but that shouldn’t take away from the other obvious similarities…

          this is along the lines of what I would expect from Saab 30 years after the c900… forward moving, but connected… and it is much the same as with the porsche 911. Compare a 1981 911 and a 2011 911: superficially there are many many differences (and also under the hood)… but both are immediately recognizable as a 911. If you took today’s porche in a time machine to 1981… people would recognize it as a 911 from the future… same here… that is ultimately what Saab needs… to continue the icon… (and I’ve been saying this ever since the release of the 9-3ss, which was a massive deviation, even if it was a good car, it had as much aesthetic connection to an A4 as a c900: that was GM’s intent, and that hurt the brand big time imho, even if it sold well)…

          I passed this to some friends of mine who like cars (mostly German cars) and there was universal approval. That is also a big positive! Good to create a polarizing design + gain respect that way, imho…


  32. I feel some people need to get a sense of perspective, no pun intended.

    To me it looks like a medium sized car which is where Saab needs to be with a new model, but I have nothing to scale it against.

    It appears to have the newer Saab nose, which I don’t like much, but you can’t see the whole thing

    It might be a coupe or a 4 door, (there appears to be a vertical shut line in the rear wheel arch or is it a smudge?), just because it has a sloping rear roof-line doesn’t make it a hatchback.

    What it actually is, is a blurred pixellated image of what might or might not be the replacement for the 9.3. Peoples reactions and what other cars they can see in it are more amazing than the image itself.

    Give Saab a chance people, they’re coming out of the most traumatic period in their history so let’s wait and see what Jason and his team actually design and send to production.

    Personally I love it, but then I’m probably biased because I want Saab to succeed so that I can replace my MY 2001 9.3 with its latest incarnation.

  33. Am I right in thinking this image was submitted by SAAB by in 2009?
    If so this image pre-Castriota, which means that IIRC the main bodywork had been done for the new 9-3 which was supposed to use GM’s Delta architecture. Since then Jason has been brought on board and SAAB has ditched Delta for their own Modular platform. I also remember an interview with Mr Castriota where he mentioned that he made various amendments to the original design including the headlights.

    All I hope is that SAAB offer the Flying buttresses as a Factory option on their Coupe/Sonett version and build a Combi/MVP so I can trade my Touran in against one.

  34. I love the A-pillar – classic upright Saab.  But my favorite is the hatch.  It has that little kink that was the highlight of 3- and 5-door 900 hatches from the eighties and nineties.  I am looking forward to seeing more of this!

  35. I don’t think it’s very representative of what the real car will look like.  It seems much like a photo chopped thing with a short wheelbase.  At least it’s a hatchback anyway.  Here’s hoping that the real thing is a whole lot better!

    I’ll still be hanging out for a 3 door coupe myself.  Even if it takes a bit longer.  BBTH.

    BTW, wasn’t the curved (wraparound) windscreen/windshield supposed to make a reappearance on the 9-3’s successor? I see no sign of it here. This leads me even more to believe that this is quite far from the actual design.

  36. SMOKIN’ HOT!

    Got me steamy in all kinds of parts…. I can’t wait to see a good quality version of this one day.

    Love it to bits

  37. It’s definitely nice and I actually like the rear wheel arches.  But I’m in the camp that wants a true retro Saab—-meaning entry level, quirky but practical and reliable—-think of the Saab 96 from the 1960’s.  And for those who think the “retro” thing is a fad, it really isn’t.  It’s a case-by-case judgment.  I’d put a few retro styling cues on my entry level Saab, but to me, retro would mean getting back to their roots—-relatively inexpensive, high value cars that were innovative and different.  That can be done in a modern looking package.  The first “Made In China” Saab should be the price leader car I’m talking about, to steal sales from VW and Mazda.  Saab could continue tinkering at the $50,000 range too, but they will be chasing BMW forever.  I think the bread and butter for their real resurgence is at the 20,000 – 35,000 spot.

    1. they’re only really chasing BMW if they make a competing product (ie sedans)… this is very unique: BMW does not make a car like this. So they can price it at whatever makes sense for the market…

      In a simplistic sense, it makes more sense to compete with BMW, than with Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai… Saab does not have the volume manufacturing capacity to compete in the lower cost high volume segments imho…

      There is a traditional niche for Saab from which they have strayed… a focused attack on that niche is the way forward, at least in the short term, imho…


  38. The wheel arches are plain ugly, almost to the point of becoming deal breakers. Very overstated. The entire package should stand out. Using “quirky”, abrasive details seems very Banglish.

    Other than that, it’s a beauty!

  39. I’d like to know what Envall thinks of it.  Seems to me just another Mazda 6 bar of soap with some Saab accents.

  40. Hard to say. Not a good photo.Does it have mud flaps ?I like the rear arch but less curve and less rear tail light.The front looks great ,bring back the clam shell hood just as the old 99/900 that hood was great you could open it with your pinky.

  41. I tend to like a 99 lots of curves and a euro look , an old 99 3door , or a notchback say 99/1 entry level SAAB .  2nd choise a 96/1 retro look the mini did well ,  just my opinion 

  42. At least it’s not a Vauxhall or Saabaru. It may capture some of the feel of the Classic SAAB 900 series design. Lets hope it’s a hatch as well. I really didnt like the design of the later Saabs, they were all too vanilla in flavour.

  43. Interesting to view the picture. It has NO J. Castriota design cues. I see Simon Padian and my own NG 9-5 in the design.
    I think it is good that we have a Padian design here.

  44. Please Saab do not put the rear door locks up on the rear quarter windows like Seat Alfa and Honda. Its meant to convince the eye that you are looking at a coupe.It never works and to me  its looks silly and old fashioned at this stage. Is this just me ?Other than that I like it maybe front overhang a little too much….

  45. I like the rear wheel arch because of the high beltline.  Without that bodywork between the rear quarter window and the wheel well, it would look too slab sided.  Putting in the arch gives it some definition and a bit of a styling cue from the original, bulbous Saabs.  This design works for me!

  46. My interpretation of the above discussion:
    voted hot because it vaguely looks like a hatchback. The majority however does not really seem to like the design. And saying nothing, but praising a former Saab design is not a fully approved compliment for the new design, either.

  47. The poll tells me that I have already voted, but I haven’t… It chose the right alternative though (hot!). However, I think that the rear wheel arch looks to big, but it might look better “in the flesh”. 🙂

    EDIT: After refreshing the page, I could vote. Strange.

  48. Ohh noo! I work in sweden in a car mecanik and all day long we have to take care off saabs that has broken down some howe. Why is it so hard to do a real quality in mecanik way for saab they just get broken all the time. Its only people ho hadent got a hum about quality ho buy this cars.Then they stand in my office and say never again a saab lol!

  49. There is billons of cars out there, better than Saab, cheaper than Saab and more reliable than Saab. Why spend efforts on a dying piece of scrap?