Saab 9-3 models will once again roll out of Trollhattan today as Swedish-Chinese consortium NEVS cranks the line back to life.
The cars, to be produced in small and ‘humble’ numbers, are aimed at the Chinese and Swedish markets, and are reportedly all but unchanged over the cars Saab stopped building back in 2012.
We know it will be powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine, again believed to be the GM Ecotec unit fitted to the runout Saab 2.0 Aero, but more confirmed details are currently sketchy.
To the MR database, then! To look back at the old Saab Aero and see how it performed then… and how it stacks up today, against a presumed arch-rival, the BMW 328i.
Saab 9-3 2.0T Aero: 1998cc four-cylinder turbo
BMW 328i: 1997cc four-cylinder turbo
Saab 9-3 2.0T Aero: 220hp
BMW 328i: 245hp
Saab 9-3 2.0T Aero: 258lb ft
BMW 328i: 258lb ft
Saab 9-3 2.0T Aero: 6.9secs
BMW 328i: 5.9secs
Saab 9-3 2.0T Aero: 149mph
BMW 328i: 155mph
Saab 9-3 2.0T Aero: 42.2mpg
BMW 328i: 44.1mpg
Saab 9-3 2.0T Aero: 155g/km
BMW 328i: 149g/km
Saab 9-3 2.0T Aero: 4668/1762/1478mm
BMW 328i: 4624/1811/1429mm
Saab 9-3 2.0T Aero: 1540kg
BMW 328i: 1430kg
MR Verdict: the Saab 9-3 revival
On paper, even against a fiercely competitive rival, the reborn Saab stacks up rather well. The old GM engine is competitive on power and performance – and, crucially, it also turns in very impressive economy and CO2 figures.
It’s smaller yet heavier than the BMW, with its relatively lack of width particularly ageing it, but it’s still far from outclassed.
The longer-term aim is to produce all-electric Saabs, using the promising Phoenix platform said to be in final development at the time of the brand’s demise.
However, as a stopgap to get the line rolling again, this reborn Saab isn’t as outclassed as some may have feared. We’re not getting it in the UK, but good enough for Saab loyalists in Sweden to buy in sufficient numbers as the brand brings itself back to life?
We shall see…