plays a big role with a lot of autos. But none
seem as big as the supersonic jet aircraft that
blast across a TV screen to introduce you to Saab.
That latest "Born from Jets" action
ad-vertisement is not a stretch. Saab has a long
history as an aircraft designer and builder that's
also a chief bragging right for the Swedish auto
company that doesn't want car buyers forgetting
all that advanced technology in the air is related
to what drives around on the ground.
No matter that Saab's autos now are under the patronage of General Motors Corp. Or that strikingly similar aircraft cues once dominated every Saab interior. Once inside today's version, despite such pampering luxuries as sumptuous leather and red walnut trim, there's still enough of a feel of technology-laden aircraft dominance for a savvy driver to get the connection.
2006, Saab does some consolidations and some expansions
of its premium, compact 9.3 series. A new longer,
larger SportCombi heads the list, bringing 9.3
models to three, along with sedan and convertible,
in two versions each. The new, performance-oriented
SportCombi for five is the auto maker's first
foray into wagon country. Saab calls its rearward
ascending window-line treatment a "hockey
stick" look. Paired with sleek visual treatment
and a haunchy hatchback rear, it underplays wagon
and emphasizes "hatch" demanded by Saab
The upmarket Aero models, in sedan, convertible and SportCombi editions, get a performance-designed, yet fuel stingy new 250-horsepower 2.8-liter V-6 as standard equipment. The separate Arc and Linear models of a year ago now are combined as a single 2.0T base model, powered by the new 2.0-liter, 210-HP inline four, that's also available for the SportCombi. In Saab tradition, both aluminum engines are turbo-charged. Five-speed or six-speed manual trans are standard, while five- or six-speed automatic Sentronics are optional.
all 9.3 versions are front-drive, GM's top execs
and engineers will tell you that advanced technology
and computer chips have made the once vast performance
difference in rear- and front-drive vehicles a
non-issue. A performance-enhancing technology
dubbed "rear-wheel steer" is one reason.
9.3 models range from $26,620 to $42,620 base,
including destination, with several previous options
now standard. Like traditional models, the SportCombi
retains the signature five-door, rear hatch accessibility.
With SportCombi rounding out the 9.3 lineup, Saab
expects to slap-shot this baby right into the