- - Thursday, June 2, 2011

The new Saab 9-3 Griffin range features refreshed exterior and interior styling, backed by a more powerful, fuel-efficient engine. @Text.normal:Replacing the current Sport Sedan, SportCombi, Convertible and 9-3X specifications, the 9-3 Griffin range is distinguished by new front bumpers, signature Saab ‘ice block’ headlamps and a Griffin badge on the front fenders. Inside, the instrument panel, cabin decor and seat upholstery are all given a fresh look. Two specifications are offered, Turbo4 and Aero.

Under the hood, a new 2.0-liter gasoline engine gives 220 hp and includes direct injection, variable valve timing and twin scroll turbocharging. Combined cycle fuel economy and CO2 emissions are improved on average by 4% across the range. The new engine is also E85-compatible in front-wheel drive variants. Externally, the 9-3 Griffin range adopts the ‘ice block’ headlamp effect introduced on the new 9-5 sedan. Inspired by the Aero X concept, the units have a distinctive blue/green hue in daylight.

The grille also features a more prominent, wing-shaped central bar carrying the SAAB wordmark, again like the 9-5 sedan. 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 are fitted as standard and a Griffin emblem, derived from the heraldic Saab badge, appears on the side of the front fenders.

At the rear, the SAAB wordmark replaces badging on the chrome trim and all Sport Sedan variants receive a trunk-mounted spoiler. 17-inch alloy wheels are now fitted as standard on all variants. A new 17inch wheel design becomes standard on FWD Aero models. The cabin receives a subtle makeover. Titanium metallic 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. In both specifications, a useful storage pocket for small items, carrying a Griffin name tag, is fitted to the side of the front seatbacks. The Convertible’s unique seats have a name tag only.

The use of variable valve timing and direct injection improves fuel consumption, emissions and performance. Hydraulically operated vane-type cam phasers enable both the inlet and exhaust valve timing to be adjusted independently, according to varying engine speed and load. The many benefits include a broader spread of torque, higher maximum power and improved fuel consumption. Direct injection delivers fuel under high pressure directly into the combustion chamber.

This enables the separation of air and fuel delivery, allowing improved scavenging of the combustion chamber to give substantially more low-end torque and reduced engine knocking. A twin-scroll turbocharger is also used, which virtually eliminates turbo lag at low engine speeds. Each scroll on the turbine is fed by a separate exhaust passage from a pair of cylinders, enabling a throttle response comparable to that of a naturally-aspirated engine. Other features include twin counter-rotating balance shafts for smooth running and a forged steel crankshaft for added strength.

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