It was in 1998 that the Saab 9-3 first came into production as a compact executive car. This is Saab's entry-level model built on the GM Epsilon Platform. The latest Saab 9-3 has been christened as the 'Griffin' and was announced in Trollhättan, Sweden. Making its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in February 2012, it replaces the range of SportCombi, Sport sedan, Convertible and the 9-3 X. The dozen trims that existed before have now been replaced with just two trims - Standard and Aero and the differences lie in the larger alloy wheels, interiors and a few feature tweaks. According to the Consumer Guide's expert rating summary, the car has a score of 58 on 100 which is the highest among all cars of its category. The Griffin is priced at nearly $50,000.
The interiors of the new Saab have also been refreshed and revamped. The dash looks very posh with a metallic-effect trim in titanium which has been introduced to border the instrument panel, the glove box, gearshift and the doors. The black sporty bucket seats are complemented well by the shark-grey add-ons and inserts. Though the interiors are comparatively dark when one considers other luxury entrants, it is tastefully designed with all the controls arcing gracefully around the driver. The car has a dual-zone climate control, remote keyless entry, a cooled glovebox, power seats in the front and carbon-fiber trim. Entertainment options include a powerful, Bose audio system, Bluetooth connectivity and multimedia player. Safety and security systems in place are seatbelts, 8 airbags, a parking assist, head restraints, ESP or electronic stability control and anti-lock disc brakes for all four wheels.
Up front, the Griffin has adopted an 'ice block' headlamp effect where the units show a distinctive green/blue hue in the daylight. There is also a prominent grille which carries a central bar shaped like a wing with the 'SAAB' lettering. Fog lamps have been made available and the large front fenders carry the Griffin emblem. The bumpers in the front feature a trapezoidal air intake with a black mesh. 16-inch or 17-inch alloy wheels have been fitted all around and the trunk at the back carries an optional spoiler. The exhausts feature chrome tips. The roof slides gently backwards in both - the sport and hatchback versions of the car.