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by Tim Beissmann

On the first anniversary of its split from General Motors, Saab has unveiled the new 2011 Saab 9-3 Griffin range with refreshed exterior and interior styling and more powerful and fuel efficient engines.

The new 9-3 Griffin range replaces the outgoing Sport Sedan, SportCombi, Convertible and 9-3X models. The updated range will be offered in both standard and Aero specification levels.

From the outside, the new front bumpers and the 9-5-inspired ‘ice-block’ headlights are the most obvious features of the facelift, as well as Griffin badging on the front wheel arches. All models get front fog lamps and the Sport Sedan variants feature a boot-lip spoiler. The standard alloy wheels are 16-inchers, while XWD (all-wheel drive) models get upgraded 17-inch alloys.

The interior changes are equally subtle, with a revised instrument panel, and new surfaces and seat upholstery among the key changes.

A new 2.0-litre direct-injection, twin-scroll turbocharged petrol engine will be available in two different tunes. The entry-level model will produce 120kW and 320Nm of torque, while the higher-performance model will pack 162kW and 350Nm.

E85-compatible Saab BioPower variants of both petrol engines are also available.

Saab says combined cycle fuel consumption is down four percent compared with the outgoing model.

The petrol engines join the 97kW, 119kW and 134kW tunes of the existing 1.9-litre TTiD diesel engine, which have been fine-tuned to offer combined cycle fuel consumption and CO2 emissions as low as 4.5 litres/100km and 119g/km respectively in SportCombi form.

Six-speed transmissions are standard across the entire Saab 9-3 Griffin range.

The 2011 Saab 9-3 Griffin range will be available in Australia this year, with exact timing, pricing and specifications still to be revealed.




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