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After months of dreary, dark, cold and miserable weather, it seems that Mother Nature has called in her troops to crank up the heat and turn up the light. Everyone has heard that calling here on the Hilltop. While you’re trading in your sweaters for tee-shirts, it’s also time to trade in your SUV for a convertible: specifically, the newly redesigned Saab 9-3 in no other color than muted canary yellow.

Saab has not just given the new 9-3 a traditional makeover, but an extreme makeover. The curvaceous convertible has undergone more plastic surgery than “The Swan” contestants making for a totally new and much improved look.

At the heart of this fun is a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, 16-valve high-output turbo engine with 210 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. Connected to a silky-smooth six-speed manual transmission, the Saab 9-3 convertible provides unadulterated driving pleasure that gets you to 60 in well under eight seconds.

As everyone knows, it’s always more fun with the top down. Removing the top is especially fun in this Saab. The touch of a button releases the top which comes down in just 20 seconds.

With the top snuggly enclosed under the Saab’s one-piece tonneau cover, it is clear that this convertible is ready to have fun in the sun. Cleverly, the yellow exterior of the 9-3 flows into the interior with matching door sills. Initially, it seems that such a styling touch wouldn’t make much of a difference, but when you see this car approach at a stop-light, the exterior color that merges into the interior panels significantly adds to the car’s panache.

The four twin five-spoke 17-inch wheels add to the voluptuous exterior. Not only do these wheels act as impressive accessories to an already beautiful car, but they are also highly functional. Unlike some wheels with many different tiny spokes, the Aero model standard twin five-spoke wheels are easily cleaned, helping you to ensure that your Saab looks its best on every outing.

One of the most important elements of a convertible is its sound system. Perhaps because I drove the car during spring break, I could think of no better song than OutKast’s “Hey Ya” to test the 9-3’s audio system. Two words, two numbers: 300 watts, 13 speakers. This combination produces awesome bass and mid-level ranges, which entice attractive spring breakers to swarm the car as if it were Beyoncé at a record store.

The interior of the Saab 9-3 is as equally inspiring as the exterior. Saab has created a masterpiece with their most recently designed seats. Treating seating as the equivalent of a fine piece of art, the company molded, sculpted and perfected its craft introducing it to the public.

Unquestionably, the thrones in the new Saab 9-3 Convertible are the most comfortable of any convertible. Trimmed in soft, two-tone leather, these seats are exquisite in their presentation and comfort, and enhance the total driving experience. Like most fine art, the 9-3 is not only aesthetically pleasing, but functional, as well. Not only do the seats incorporate a side and torso airbag, but they also incorporate the Saab Active Head Restraint (SAHR) system. The SAHR reduces the risk of serious neck and head injuries that typically result from rear-end collisions.

In addition to the fine leather that covers the seats, the interior of the Saab sparkles from real aluminum accents. The center stack features intuitively arranged controls in typically minimalist Scandinavian style.

Integrated audio controls on the three-spoke, leather-trimmed sport steering wheel ensure that you can stealthily skip past that song on your friend’s CD mix that everyone hates. The steering wheel also provides your link to Saab’s new ReAxs rear suspension.

ReAxs is a mechanism that allows for the rear wheels to steer subtly while the car is turning. While driving at 65 mph, the system makes quick work out of lane changes and provides responsive and confidence-inspiring performance through the twisties. The ReAxs feature adds value to an impressively capable four-seater convertible.

So how much is this spring vehicle makeover going to cost you? At $39,995 the 9-3 comes in well under $50,000 unlike some comparable automobiles in its class. Considering that you get a car that looks and works great in any season, it is a much better investment than that lime polo shirt that you only get to wear four months out of the year.

With front-wheel drive, traction and stability control, electronic brake force distribution and cornering break control, the Saab is able to perform more-than-competently during those cold winter months when you thought you could only get by with an SUV. Though it can’t go off road like an SUV can, honestly, how often do you ever go off road, anyway? With the ability to have top-down fun in any weather, the Saab provides true driving enjoyment for all of you sun gods and goddesses.

Bottom Line: The 9-3 Convertible is the best Saab ever, delivering on a promise to provide top-down, fun-in-the-sun enjoyment no matter what the season. It seems that Saab’s revolution has just begun.
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