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(2004 model shown)
The mid-size 9-3 is the sportiest model to be built off of General Motors' global "Epsilon" platform, which also provides the underpinnings for the Chevrolet Malibu and the Pontiac G6. The 9-3 carries Saab-exclusive styling and preserves such traditional quirks as locating the ignition key on the floor between the two front seats. The car comes in three trim levels with both sedan and convertible versions offered. For 2006, Saab merges the 9-3 Linear and Arc into a single base model, powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder that generates 210 horsepower. The Aero, meanwhile, features an all-new V-6 for 2006 that uses variable intake valve timing and a twin-scroll turbocharger to generate 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed-manual transmission is standard on the base versions, while a six-speed manual gearbox comes with the Aero, along with a sport suspension and stability control. Standard equipment includes four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes, front-side and side-curtain airbags, and traction control.