General Motors South Africa (GMSA) has added more cars to an already extensive name plate tally and, as I write, the first batch of this 2008 SAAB 9-3 range should be parked, washed and ready for sale at dealerships across the country.
It's the same line-up of sedan and convertible variants but GMSA has for the time introduced a SAAB 9-3 station wagon dubbed the SportCombi.
The ethos doesn't change. The 9-3 still presents that alternative package to the mainstream brands, a classy car that, oddly, doesn't appear uppermost in the minds of many people who can afford the level of features.
A chat with General Motors marketers reveals astounding facts. The profile of a SAAB buyer is a strange individual. They are people who are generally learned, successful and intelligent.
They come from varied backgrounds, though, and can be doctors, artists and even the odd lawyer. The one commonality they share, and it seems it's what attracts them to the SAAB brand, and is their lack of ego. It's said they are people who don't see the need to talk or flaunt their achievements. Much like their SAAB then, as the cars don't shout out their hidden talents.
The 9-3 sedan competes in the same segment as the BMW 3 series, Audi A4 and Merc C-Class and offers the same type of features such as heated leather seats, electric functions and comfort levels that are on par and at times, even better than the typical German luxury sedan.
The company also has a rich heritage in safety and turbo technology. The rest of the world practically learned everything about turbo-charging from SAAB, while its disciplined Scandinavian culture ensured that it was among the top runners of the world's safest cars.
The new 9-3 range has undergone aesthetic changes. The entire range gets a new, bolder grille and reworked lights both in the front and rear, while the interior can be tweaked with a range of specifications that are categorised as Linear, Vector and Aero. Engines are 2, 0-litre turbocharged petrol and diesel. They include a base 2,0-litre Linear LPT (Light Pressure Turbo) petrol that outputs 110 kW at 5500 and torque of 240 Nm at 2000 using a 5-speed manual transmission.
This is standard issue in the SportCombi - an enhanced version of the same engine (2,0-TS) produces 129 kW at 5500 and torque of 265 Nm at 2500.
The 2,0-litre has another 154 kW at 5300, while torque stands 300 Nm at 2500 rpm. version and is found in the 2,0 TS Vector sedan. This sedan also utilises a five-speed auto box. For those who have caught the diesel bug, there's a 1,9-litre TiD Linear sedan that pushes out 110 kW at 4000, torque is 320 Nm at 2000.
The top-of-the-range engine Aero spec cars get a vicious sounding 2, 8-litre V6 that's also strapped with a turbo and dishes up 184 kW at 5500 and torque of 350 Nm at 2000. They are intelligent cars with modern technology only a genius could think of and are built for use by other geniuses.
All SAAB models come with a 3yr-100000km warranty. You need R360500 to park the SAAB 9-3 2,8 V6 Aero Sedan A/T in your garage.