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50 years of Carlsson - New Car: Saab 9-3 Carlsson

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Saab Celebrates the 50th anniversary of Erik Carlsson's first RAC rally victory behind the wheel of his Saab 96.

To celebrate the 50-year anniversary of Erik Carlsson's first RAC Rally win, Saab has launched the 9-3 Aero Carlsson. The new model boasts 276bhp and the 4-wheel drive system first seen on the Turbo X back in 2008. Prices will start from £26,495, and production is limited to a small run of 96. 

Erik Carlsson exploded onto the world rally scene back in 1960. Back then, the 31-year-old Swede was a relative unknown outside his native Scandinavia, but he immediately shook the rallying world by taking his Saab 96 to an emphatic victory in the RAC Rally – the first of a hat-trick of wins. Erik went on to win the Monte Carlo rally twice, as well as the Acropolis and San Remo Rallies, using his own 'left-foot braking' technique to get the maximum out of the two-stroke 96, lower powered than many rival teams. Such ‘David and Goliath’ exploits against bigger, more powerful cars were the springboard for launching Saab as a global car brand.

Powered by a 2.8-litre V6 turbo engine developing 276bhp and 295lb ft of torque, the Carlsson limited edition sprints from 0-60mph in just 6.9 seconds.

The vehicle is distinguished by exterior and interior enhancements including: 19” six-spoke alloy wheels, a sports chassis with rear body levelling, twin exhaust tailpipes, a rear boot lid spoiler, bi-xenon cornering headlights, a titanium-finish front grille and fog light surrounds, and a premium leather sports interior trim.  It is fitted with Saab’s advanced all-wheel-drive system, Saab XWD, complete with an electronic rear limited-slip differential. Drive torque is constantly distributed between the front and rear axles, and between the rear wheels, to ensure optimum grip and stability at all times.

Now 81 years old, Erik remains actively involved as an international ambassador for Saab, attending car launches, dealer and customer events around the world. 'I’m very proud to have such a great car named after me,' he said. 'Anyone who loves driving and is as passionate about the Saab brand as I am, will be excited about getting behind the wheel of this car.'

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