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Report: Next Saab 9-3 still based on GM's Epsilon I, plus more details on Victor Muller's Saab 9-2 sketch


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Filed under: Hatchback, Saab

Saabs through history: 1949 Saab 92 - Click above for high-res image gallery

There are some Saab enthusiasts who feel very strongly that real Saabs have longitudinal engines mounted backwards with the clutch at the prow. Anything less, any power train layout where the crank is facing port or starboard and these people cry foul. We might even have one or two of these folks on staff here at Autoblog. One of whom might be in some sort of high-ranking editorial position. Another could even be typing the words you're reading right now. Point is, the argument can be made that Saab - the real Saab - died with the 900. Of course if you go down that road, even harder core Saabophiles will claim that the last pure Saab was the 99. Hence the problem with orthodoxy.

At any rate, as we've known, there's a new, post-GM Saab 9-3 in the works. We've long thought the new volume Saab would ride on some version of GM's Epsilon II platform, the same set of components that underpins the Buick Regal, LaCrosse and Saab's own 9-5. Instead, reports Motor Trend, the next 9-3 will be based on GM's older Epsilon I architecture that makes up the Chevy Malibu and the 9-3 from 2003. However, Saab boss Victor Muller assured MT that, "It's a heavily modified Epsilon I platform, but Saab now. So that's the basis for the new 9-3. So we have no further restraints. So we don't have to share it with anyone else. Which means we can knock ourselves out to make it the car we want it to be."

Does that mean the engine will be flipped around backwards, slanted and hooked to the transmission via a chain? Most certainly no, but we do like the part about Saab being free to be Saab. Speaking of being Saab, it looks like modern version of the classic Saab 92 might be in the works. Mr. Muller showed MT's Todd Lassa a rendering of the proposed 9-2 on the former's Blackberry. Lassa comments:
The car is stunning. It's retro-futurist, as J Mays would call it, an interpretation of early Saabs drawing obvious comparisons between Mays' Volkswagen New Beetle, the new Minis and Fiat 500. In the best tradition of Saab, it's a polarizing design - you will love it if you're a Saabanista. Or you will hate it. There will be no middle ground.

Actually, come to think of it, "no middle ground" would make for a good Saab mission statement. Especially if we can get 'em to put the parking brake back on the front wheels.

[source: Motor Trend]

Report: Next Saab 9-3 still based on GM's Epsilon I, plus more details on Victor Muller's Saab 9-2 sketch originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 02 Apr 2010 18:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Interesting. I bet that means it keeps the tighter proportions of Ep1 with the shorter front overhang.

Hopefully, although it will have to conform to pedestrian safety regulations and those ususally have meant ever bigger snouts.

What I was hoping for was that a modified Delta 2 was used, switching the Astra's rear suspension to a setup that alowed for a rear differential to be installed...

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Victor Muller: New SAAB 9-2 On The Drawing Board

By Viknesh Vijayenthiran


April 5th, 2010

1953 Saab 92BEnlarge Photo

Forget all of your bad memories of the ‘Saabaru’ 9-2X mongrel of the past decade because Saab is working on a brand new 9-2, one that will be all Saab and one that will draw inspiration from the original 92 model of the 1950s. Victor Muller, the CEO of Spyker and savior of Saab, has revealed that designers are working on a retro-modern interpretation of the original 92 that could one day compete with Volkswagen’s New Beetle or the MINI and Fiat 500.

The modern 9-2 is still at a very early design stage and Muller stressed that the car could only be built once Saab was on more stable ground and if the economy improved--all funds are currently accounted for, with the market launches of the 9-5 and 9-5 Estate, new 9-4X crossover and next-generation 9-3 remaining the top priorities.

That doesn’t mean Saab isn’t seriously looking at the idea of a new 9-2 model. Muller even showed Motor Trend renderings of some potential designs for the car, revealing a car that draws some very distinct styling cues from the original 92. What Saab really needs now, Muller explained, is additional financing or a partner to share platforms and components with.

Where this leaves the possibility of an entry-level 9-1 remains to be seen but it appears a new 9-2 will be Saab’s newest model line after the 9-4X is launched.

Before we see a new 9-2, however, Saab will have to launch its next-generation 9-3. Muller revealed that the platform for this car will be an extensively modified Epsilon I platform sourced from General Motors and not the newer Epsilon II as previously thought. The architecture will belong to Saab and will be renamed the I-P platform, and it will only be used by the Swedish automaker so there will be no restraints on its design.



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I'd call it the 9-1 just to keep the number progression between models consistent. 9-2X could be small crossover, for example...

I just hope the styling cues of the old 92 are integrated into something new, pretty much like they did with some 900 cues on the new 9-5.

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