The Saab 9-3 Griffin is offered in two different body styles--a sedan or convertible. No matter the 9-3 Griffin model, it comes with an all-new 220-horsepower, 2.0L 4-cylinder engine, which was sourced from the 9-5. This engine is all-aluminum and features twin-scroll turbocharging and E85 capability. Saab says it achieves 4% greater fuel economy over last year's 2.0L unit. Most Saab 9-3 models are now offered in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel-drive XWD models and there's a choice between a 6-speed manual transmission or 6-speed automatic.
In addition to a Haldex all-wheel drive system with multi-plate clutch, 9-3 XWD models add self-leveling shocks and ventilated rear disc brakes. Their Sentronic transmission has a manual-shift mode that allows the driver to command an upshift or downshift.
The 9-3 Convertible is a true 4-person drop-top, with enough space in back for two adults and a nice, tight-fitting top. Other 9-3 models have space for five, though backseat legroom isn't quite on par with most mid-size sedans. The interior is in most iterations quite dark, yet tastefully designed, and the instrument panel has a sporty cockpit design that arcs slightly around the driver.
Standard 9-3 models come about as well equipped as any entry-luxury European cars, with standard rain-sensing wipers, fog lamps, power front seats, remote keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control and a cooled glovebox. Top Aero models upgrade to black leather sport bucket seats, carbon-fiber interior trim, chrome exhaust tips, other exterior upgrades, a limited-slip differential, a remote garage-door opener, Bluetooth connectivity, and a Bose Centerpoint premium audio system. A DVD-based navigation system is also on offer, along with an Aero Premium Package that adds memory seat settings, rear park assist, heated side mirrors, and folding, light-sensitive mirrors.
The 9-3 also lives up to Saab's reputation for safety, with active front head restraints, electronic stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, front side airbags and side-curtain airbags for outboard occupants.