Mike Stevens | Nov 2, 2011

Saab might have itself a second (third, fourth?) go at life if this week's purchase agreement with China's Pang Da and Zhejiang Youngman companies is approved by GM and the European authorities.

If comments from Saab boss Victor Muller over the past year are anything to go by, the first new cab off the rank should be the long-overdue successor to the ten year-old 9-3 range.

Now, a splotchy new image has surfaced online, believed to be the first look at the new 9-3.

It's no secret that the Saab Phoenix Concept, revealed earlier this year, represents the company's plans for its new small sedan. Design chief Jason Castriota has said as much.

"The PhoeniX establishes a new reference point for the future of Saab product design," Castriota says. "It symbolizes a renaissance of the innovative spirit and passion that drove Saab to build its first car."

"We're now taking the visual DNA forward with what we call 'aeromotional' design, adding emotion, power and fluidity. This design aesthetic will shape and differentiate future models in the Saab portfolio."

This new artwork appears to draw inspiration from both the Phoenix, and the current 9-5 sedan. The raked C-pillar and short rear deck are both iconic Saab features, and the bulging rear guard is clearly inspired by the Phoenix.

The new 9-3 is expected to be more compact than the current model, creating a larger gap between the outgoing 9-3 and the larger 9-5 range.

Recent reports have also pointed to a new 9-2 small or light car, with Muller and designer Castriota believed to have signed off on a design for the new model.

Muller has said in the past that the new car will be heavily influenced by the original 92 of the 50s, offering a similar 'tear drop' style.


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