2003 Saab 9-3 Road Test Specs | Edmunds

2003 Saab 9-3 - Road Test Specs

2003 Saab 9-3 Sedan

(2.0L 4-cyl. Turbo 5-speed Manual)


Model year2003
StyleLinear 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
Base MSRP$26,525.00
As-tested MSRP$33,105.00


Drive typeFWD
Engine typeinline 4
Displacement (cc/cu-in)2
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)175 @ 5500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)195 @ 2500
Transmission type5-speed automatic


Suspension, frontMacPherson strut
Suspension, rearmulti-link
Steering typepower steering
Tire brandMichelin
Tire modelPilot
Tire size, frontP215/50R17
Tire size, rearP215/50R17
Brakes, frontventilated front disc / solid rear disc

Track Test Results

0-45 mph (sec.)5.2
0-60 mph (sec.)8.1
0-75 mph (sec.)12.1
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)16.18 @ 87.49
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)28.68
60-0 mph (ft.)117.03
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)63.5
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)34.4
Sound level @ idle (dB)52
@ Full throttle (dB)78
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)78

Test Driver Ratings & Comments

Acceleration commentsThe quickest runs came by brake-torquing the engine to 2,000 rpm. This got the 9-3's turbo spinning and resulted in a much stronger launch, shaving nearly three-tenths off the zero-to-60 time. Leaving the automatic in "Drive" resulted in positive upshifts at 6,000 rpm while manually shifting the 9-3 at redline (6,300 rpm) only slowed it down. The one issue we noticed when using the manual shift mode was a re-occurring reluctance to upshift, often requiring a second push on the shifter.
Braking ratingExcellent
Braking commentsConsistency was the 9-3's forte when braking. Three runs, one after the other, netted less than a one-foot variance. Obviously, brake fade isn't an issue with this car. Pedal modulation was also excellent with only minimal ABS kickback and very little "pedal sink" under maximum braking. The car remained straight and nose dive was modest, but we did notice very quick bursts of rear-wheel lockup. However, the consistently low numbers speak for themselves. This thing stops!
Handling ratingGood
Handling commentsEasily the most rewarding Saab we've had in the slalom. Very nimble and stable, plus plenty of torque when powering out of the final few cones. It was actually a bit tough to place in the slalom because the car felt smaller than it was, resulting in several dropped cones. Steering was responsive with adequate feedback and weighting. Worth noting is that this car had the 17-inch wheels and tires, but did NOT have the actual sport suspension that production models will have. It's reasonable to assume that a 9-3 sedan with the full sport-tuned suspension will perform even better. As front-drive entry-luxury sedans go, this one seems as capable as anything in the class. — Karl Brauer

Testing Conditions

Elevation (ft.)85
Temperature (°F)67
Wind (mph, direction)0-1 mph

Fuel Consumption

EPA fuel economy (mpg)Auto 22/31 Manual 23/31
Edmunds observed (mpg)24
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)16.4

Dimensions & Capacities

Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)3175
Length (in.)182.5
Width (in.)69
Height (in.)56.8
Wheelbase (in.)105.3
Legroom, front (in.)42.3
Legroom, rear (in.)35.1
Headroom, front (in.)38.9
Headroom, rear (in.)37
Seating capacity5
Cargo volume (cu-ft)14.8


Bumper-to-bumper4 years / 50,000 miles
Powertrain4 years / 50,000 miles
Corrosion10 years / miles
Roadside assistance4 years / 50,000 miles
Free scheduled maintenance3


Front airbagsStandard
Side airbagsStandard
Head airbagsStandard
Antilock brakesStandard
Electronic brake enhancementsbraking assist
Traction controlStandard
Stability controlStandard
Emergency assistance systemOnStar
NHTSA crash test, driverNot tested
NHTSA crash test, passengerNot tested
NHTSA crash test, side frontNot tested
NHTSA crash test, side rearNot tested
NHTSA rollover resistanceNot tested

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