Saab 9-3x Griffin

I received the following via email over the weekend:

Would it be possible you to take some photos of new 9-3 Griffins especially 9-3Xs? Interior footage is the most interesting. It is hard to make decisions of ordering a new car if you don’t know how it looks like – dash, steering wheel, seats etc.

Griffins can be a little hard to come by at the moment, but when I was at the Saab Museum yesterday photographing the Saab 9-6 prototype, they happened to have a Saab 9-3x Griffin on display there.

Seeing that the enquiry sought some more details about the Griffin, I think it’s appropriate to share a few things about the Saab 9-3 Griffin range of vehicles. You can also read the full 9-3 Griffin press release from vehicle’s debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

Click the images to enlarge:

Refreshed exterior styling:

  • ‘Ice block’ headlamp effect introduced on the new 9-5 sedan now on the 9-3.
  • More prominent, wing-shaped central bar carrying the SAAB wordmark, again like the 9-5 sedan.
  • The SAAB wordmark replaces badging on the chrome trim at the rear, and all Sport Sedan variants receive a trunk-mounted spoiler.
  • Re-profiled front bumpers include a deep, trapezoidal air intake finished with black, ribbed bars, or a mesh insert for Aero variants.
  • Front fog lamps fitted as standard.
  • 16-inch alloy wheels are now fitted as standard, increasing to 17-inch for Aero and Saab XWD variants. New 17- and 18-inch wheel designs are also offered.

Refreshed interior styling:

  • Titanium metallic-effect trim is introduced around the instrument panel, gearshift molding, doors and glove box, and as an option for the instrument panel fascia.
  • The Aero interior features a graphite fiber-effect for all these items, including the fascia. A brushed metallic effect is also introduced as an option for both standard and Aero variants.
  • Shark grey fabric inserts now complement both the black and parchment standard leatherette seats, while irregularly ribbed leather with contrasting stitching is introduced for Aero upholstery.


The BIG news about the 9-3 Griffin range for many European markets is that the Saab 9-3 SportCombi now joins the Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan in offering a diesel variant with less that 120g of CO2/km. The TTiD engines offer up to 180hp and all three variants of the engine produce just 119g/km, offering significant ownership savings.

There’s good news for those who prefer gasoline engines, too, with the Saab 9-3 Griffin range getting the new direct injection engine as offered in the Saab 9-5. The new 2.0-liter gasoline engines offer 163 and 220 hp variants (market dependent) and include direct injection, variable valve timing and twin scroll turbocharging. Combined cycle fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are reduced on average by 4% across the range.

That’s 10hp more, using 4% less fuel.

E85-compatible Saab BioPower variants of both gasoline engines are also available, and six-speed transmissions become standard across the entire powertrain line-up. Saab’s XWD system is also available with both gasoline engines.

The Saab 9-3 Griffin is the best 9-3 we’ve ever offered for sale and we can’t wait to get them out the door.

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  1. The video could almost be an advert, Saab really needs to use the
    backdrop of the Swedish countryside, buildings and perceived way of life
    to it’s advantage.

  2. Just saw the July 2011 pricing for Saab in Ireland. The base 9-3 is just under €30k and the Griffin just over. I will refrain from comment about this price, but I will simply point out that the Insignia, Passat, Mondeo all start at about €26k… Even the 9-5 is only €36,500 (a very good price in my opinion.) 

    1. I don’t believe so, Frank.  I think the styling changes at the front are for the conv/sedan and regular sportcombi as the 9-3x has that different lower front fascia (previous shape light space compared to the Griffin light space at 0:04 in the video).  The fog light shown at 0:24 in the video is from the 9-3x.

  3. Nice pictures, nice car, nice specifications! 🙂
    (Although I personally prefer the “lower” Griffins…)

  4. Will all 9-3X models made after production restart be Griffen models? I have a 9-3X 1.9TTiD model on order (RHD for the UK market) and would like to think that it will get the new, much more efficient engine and the styling upgrade.

    Also, I’m really sorry about this, but I find the rear skidpan (diffuser?) particularly ugly. On darker exterior colours it looks like there’s an unfinished blob stuck on the rear as a temporary repair. Also, it’s not a skidpan because it’s plastic and therefore pretend metal and would break on impact. And it wouldn’t do the job in any case because the car will ground on the exhaust system first. Would it offend the designers if I ordered it to be custom painted carbon-grey to match with the body colour?

    1. Hi John,  I received your email and responded to your initial question.

      I don’t think the designers would be offended if you painted the rear pan (how would they know?) but the custom painting would have to be done after delivery.  Personally, I quite like it, but it is a matter of personal opinion and if we were all the same the world would be a boring place.

  5. I like the floormats with the “SAAB” wordmark. Will we See them in the production Cars, or is it only for show?

  6. I agree that this would be a very good commercial….reason is, is that it is simple and connects it back to Sweden and therefore identity.  Simple, connected, unique.   

  7. Very nice.  I wish I could downsize my requirements now as there is a good deal on a 93xwd at a local dealer and I love the look and feel of the car.  It is just too small.

    1. Brand new cars take some time, Andreas, and a smaller Saab would be a brand new vehicle.  Far from not doing anything useful with the Griffin, the models have significant engine upgrades with better efficiencies and outputs for both petrol and diesel versions.  It’s not the brass bands and marching girls you get with a brand new model, but it’s still quite significant.

    2. Not everyone wants the same things.  I personally would love the 9-3x Griffin as my two dogs take up a lot of room in my 9-3 sedan.

  8. I really would buy one when I can get a TTiD with XWD and not only the front wheel drive… Why bother to make a crossover without XWD? Cant get it… My SAAB 9-3 TiD works fine during the winter but still…..

    1. It’s been a bug for a lot of people since XWD was announced, I’m afraid.  There just isn’t the technical capability to match it with diesel.  That’s been rectified with the 9-5, but it won’t be changed on the 9-3, presumably until the model is replaced.

      1. I saw that, but you cant get the 9-5 with diesel and automatic gearbox, why’s that?

        1. My guess is that it’s the desire people have to benefit from the sub-120g/km CO2 setup, which is only available with the manual transmission.  The car doesn’t get the same low output with the automatic (vehicles rarely, if ever, do better with the auto).  That’s my *educated* guess.