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New models - Saab - 9-3 - Designer Edition convertible

Saab's latest designer accessory

Loaded: Saab's 9-3 Design Edition convertible packs a host of extra features for $2000 over the cost of the standard model.

Saab puts the spotlight on the 9-3 convertible by introducing a limited edition version

2 Aug 2001

SAAB aims to maintain buyer interest in the 9-3 convertible with a limited-edition version loaded with extra goodies.

The Design Edition convertible is distinguishable from the 9-3S - on which it is based - by its sporty five-spoke, 17-inch alloy wheels and Aero body kit comprising side skirts and front and rear spoilers.

It also gains body-colored windscreen pillars and Design Edition badging.

Interior upgrades comprise a titanium-finish dashboard, charcoal grey leather sports seats with blue inlays, better carpets, matt-chrome door handle and perforated leather sports steering wheel.

What's it worth?The Saab Design Edition Convertible sells for $66,900 - representing a $2000 premium over the S Convertible. Add another $2100 if you prefer to let the car shift gears without your assistance.

You can order it in any colour you like - as long its grey, silver or black.

Mechanically it is the same as the 9-3S, which means a 2.0-litre turbo engine provides the get-up-and-go. This unit develops 110kW and 240Nm of torque from 1800 to 3500rpm.

Saab makes a big song and dance about the engine's smoothness and tractability - and justifiably so. It is without doubt one of the standout features of the car.

Standard features in the convertible include a CD sound system, cruise control, heated seats, climate control air-conditioning, front and side airbags, anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, remote central locking with integrated dead-lock and alarm.

Saab Australia says just 200 examples of the 9-3 Design Edition convertible will be sold here, which should make it a collectable of sorts.

The Swedish drop-top has been a popular choice among local aficionados of alfresco motoring, accounting for around 50 per cent of luxury four-seat convertible sales since 1996.

It has performed similarly well in Great Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium.

In Europe, says Saab, every third buyer of a convertible in the premium segment chooses a Saab 9-3 convertible in preference to offerings from BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Volvo.

The 9-3 range will make way for an all-new replacement next year.

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