Saab-9-3

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.

Engine

Saab 9-3 2.0T Aero: 1998cc four-cylinder turbo

BMW 328i: 1997cc four-cylinder turbo

Power

Saab 9-3 2.0T Aero: 220hp

BMW 328i: 245hp

Torque

Saab 9-3 2.0T Aero: 258lb ft

BMW 328i: 258lb ft

0-62mph

Saab 9-3 2.0T Aero: 6.9secs

BMW 328i: 5.9secs

Top speed

Saab 9-3 2.0T Aero: 149mph

BMW 328i: 155mph

Combined MPG

Saab 9-3 2.0T Aero: 42.2mpg

BMW 328i: 44.1mpg

CO2

Saab 9-3 2.0T Aero: 155g/km

BMW 328i: 149g/km

Dimensions (l/w/h)

Saab 9-3 2.0T Aero: 4668/1762/1478mm

BMW 328i: 4624/1811/1429mm

Kerbweight

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…