Next Saab 9-3 to Rival Audi A3 With Hatchback Model, BMW Power

Next Saab 9-3 to Rival Audi A3 With Hatchback Model, BMW Power
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The next-generation Saab 9-3 (rebadged the 93) will arrive in late 2012, marking the return of the 900’s classic hatchback style in a bid to compete with the Audi A3. According to a recent report by AutoCar, Saab is also planning to develop both a sedan and a convertible version of the car, which will ride on the Swedish automaker’s all-new Phoenix Architecture. Those same underpinnings will also form the basis of the next-generation 9-5.

The more traditional sedan will launch first, with the 93 Sport Wagon (hatch) and cabriolet following, the two latter models sharing most of their body panels in a bid to reduce development costs. While larger than the A3, the 93 Sport Wagon will be priced to match and is touted to be the most driver-targeted car in the brand’s lineup, while a version of Saab’s Haldex AWD system available.

As for power, Saab is rumored to be ditching its GM powerplants in favor of a new partnership with BMW. Saab has already been lined to BMW over a proposed 92 model. This new arrangement (which may already have been agreed upon) would see BMW donate engines currently used in the MINI lineup, including a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder with a twin-scroll turbocharger producing roughly 180-hp, as well as a naturally aspirated version of the same block, turning out a more conservative 115-hp. If Saab does decide to stick it out with GM, however, expect to see a version of the new 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder making roughly 180-hp. This engine will soon launch in North America in Buick’s new entry level model, slated to be named either the Excelle or Verano.

[Source: AutoCar]