Pass the Akvavit…
Saab will be holding a press conference today and it is rumored that the announcement will be fascinating news for both Saab and BMW enthusiasts.
The two manufacturers have reportedly entered into an agreement for BMW to supply a 222 hp engine to Saab for the 2012 Saab 9-3SS. The engine is still under wraps as it hasn’t yet been utilized in any current BMWs. Reports have indicated that this new 9-3 is to be available as a sedan, vert, wagon, and hatchback, and that it has been designed under the helm of Saab’s new design director, Jason Castriota, a former Ferrari P4/5 and Maserati Gran Turismo designer.
Also rumored to be revealed either in this press conference or in later discussions is an agreement wherein Saab will purchase diesel engines from BMW, as well as an announcement that the all new Saab 9-2 will use the Mini Countryman as its platform. The 92 is due out in 2014 and is expected to take design cues from the Saab 92 of the ’40s and ’50s.
Although lutfisk purists may be dismayed at further deviation from the essential “Swedishness” of the marque – certainly a longstanding complaint – I think a Saab designed by a former Pininfarina guy and powered by BMW sounds like no slouch. And if Saab CEO Victor Muller’s words prove true, the designs of old will be skillfully and respectfully resurrected anew. My curiosity is definitely piqued.
Here’s a clip from the press conference:
The announcement concerned the engine purchasing agreement between Saab and BMW. Saab will purchase 1.6 liter, turbocharged, 4-cylinder gasoline engines from BMW for use in the 2012 Saab 9-3. I believe this is the same engine that is currently used in the Mini Cooper S. The video makes clear that there will be differences in the tuning.
The Saab 9-2 was also mentioned, but specifics were not offered. Saab definitely would like to build a car smaller than the 9-3, but work on such a car is not in the current business plan.