After a series of superficial changes to the Saab Sonett in 1968 and 1969, the greatly improved Sonett III was introduced in spring 1970 and was a hit with the automotive press.
The greatly appreciated 1970 Saab Sonett
Road & Track lavished praise upon it, saying, "[T]he Saab proved completely at home on the ever-winding, dipping Swedish country roads, that punchy engine and front drive seemingly just right for maximum enjoyment in driving. ... [I]t is a joy in the swerves, its big Pirelli Cinuratos doing their stuff without squawks of protest."
Despite its low appearance, the Sonett III offered a full six inches of ground clearance, so aggressive driving even on bad roads could be handled without fear of losing an exhaust system.
For 1971, a new rhomboid-style grille texture appeared, the work of Gunnar Sjögren, who had already participated in the Sonett III design by modifying some of Coggiola's more outlandish ideas into details that could be more practically produced. In addition, the back panel was newly painted flat black.
The engine bay now held a V-4 stroked to 1.7 liters, but because the compression ratio was reduced by a full point to 8.0:1, horsepower and torque ratings were the same as on the 1.5-liter engine. Top speed was now quoted as 105 mph; 0-60 in 11.5 seconds was now possible, at least according to Saab.
A new optional wheel design also made its debut: a handsome cast-alloy wheel similar in appearance to that later used on the Saab 99 EMS sport sedan.
Despite its critical acclaim, the Saab Sonett was destined for a short life. Learn about the Sonett's waning model years on the next page.
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