Special Edition Saab 9-3 Convertible Bound For LA
Another Year, Another Special Edition 9-3 Convertible
By Kevin Miller
Saab has announced they will show a special edition 9-3 convertible at the LA Auto Show this month, which is expected to be available at Saab’s remaining US dealerships in January. This special edition comes twenty-five years after the first ever Saab convertible made its world debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show in the fall of 1983- and just two years after the last Special Edition 9-3 Convertible, which commemorated Saab’s 60th Anniversary.
The 2009 Saab 9-3 2.0T Special Edition Convertible will be showcased in a signature bright champagne metallic color. The vehicle will feature Saab’s 2.0-liter, 210 hp four cylinder engine which can be mated to six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmissions.
The special edition 9-3 Convertible will be available in three metallic colors: Jet Black, Carbon Grey and the new Bright Champagne. The vehicle features styling cues from the Turbo X, including the design of the front bumper and steering wheel plus carbon fiber interior finishes and black floor mats with gray binding. Like the 9-3 Aero, the rear of the special edition convertible features dual exhaust pipes (a first for four-cylinder 9-3 models) and an anthracite gray bumper insert. Five-spoke, 17-inch alloy wheels will be standard. The Saab 9-3 2.0T Special Edition Convertible will be priced starting at $ 46,725 including destination charges.
The LA-bound convertible is similar in appearance to Australia’s Spring Edition 9-3 convertible which made its world debut in Melbourne earlier this month, featuring the same signature colors and carbon fiber trim. The Austrialian special edition, however, is referred to as an Aero, and will offer Saab’s 1.9-liter, 177 HP TTiD diesel engine in addition to the 2.8-litre, 255 HP V6 Turbo. Both engine variants can be matched to six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions.The TTiD Aero convertible is fuel efficient, with 39.8 MPG (5.9/100km) for the manual and 34.0 MPG (6.9/100km) for the automatic. The Australian Spring Edition also features twin three-spoke Turbo X-style 18” wheels in silver instead of the five-spoke 17″ wheels offered on the US car.
While the differences in trim details are minor (even though the Australian model gets those beautiful Turbo X wheels), the lack of the diesel engine in North America is not. The 9-3 Aero Convertible we reviewed earlier this year returned only a combined 23 MPG from its V6 Turbo. That figure contradicts Saab’s heritage as an innovator of turbocharging vehicles to gain efficiency, a heritage which was a response to the fuel crisis of the 1970s, which lives on in today’s four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline and TTiD diesel engines.
With Saab sales in the tank (because of aging vehicles and a shrinking dealer network), and desperately-needed new models delayed due to GM’s financial woes (Trollhattansaab.net has reported that the replacement 9-5 now won’t arrive until Q1 2010, and 9-4x is now expected Q3 2010- a full year later than expected), Saab’s remaining US dealers would really see an increase in showroom traffic if they offered the 9-3 in a 39 MPG diesel version. Such a vehicle would truly be special. As it stands, they’ve got another special edition of the 9-3 Convertible- and a tough year ahead.
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