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Long Term Project (Part 5): 2011 9-3 Aero XWD

February 2016:

Having spent some time in Munich at CardYourCar HQ doing some upgrades to the boss’s car (more on that in a future post), I returned home to NY with a few goodies and started with a few of my more ambitious upgrades to date…

March 2016:

From day one of owning the car, I had always wanted to fit the car with the full front end treatment from Hirsch. For those who don’t know, it consists of the 3-piece upper honeycomb grille, a match lower honeycomb grille and either paintable splitters or optional carbon fiber bodykit which looked something like this:

Unfortunately, having a TX package car is a bit of a hurdle as the lower halves of the Aero and TX bumpers are contoured differently which means the lower honeycomb grille and splitters do not fit. The only solution was to switch to an Aero bumper. After sourcing and painting a new Aero bumper, I was lucky enough to find the now discontinued lower honeycomb grille and then it became a question of whether I would opt for the standard paintable splitters or the carbon fiber bodykit. It became an easy decision as while I was trying to make up my mind, someone bought the last carbon bodykit.

Once I had received and painted the front splitters, I could set to work on Phase 3: the front end upgrade…

Bumper and splitters painted, test fitted with the lower honeycomb:

The splitters are affixed using the same SikaFlex 221 as I used during my spoiler installation:


The installation:

The finished product:

Overall, while this was a major project, upgrading the front end delivered rather subtle results. Would the average person notice a difference? Probably not. For me it was very satisfying to see this part of project through and in fact it inspired me to push on with even more upgrades to the car. More to come next week.

2 thoughts on “Long Term Project (Part 5): 2011 9-3 Aero XWD

  1. Very nice Brad! Did the lower grille come with any screws / rivets for fitment?

    You are right in that it is a subtle enhancement, but for those who know Saabs, it is awesome!

    How long did it take you to source the lower grille?

    1. Correct, the lower grille came with rivets and retainer clips similar to those found on the upper three piece grille, installation was quick, roughly 15 minutes to fit it to the bumper.

      It took a while, probably 6 months of watching the various forums and eBay until one day, one came up for sale, so I jumped at the chance and won the auction. I later came to find out that it was a friend of mine/fellow member of the Saab community that was selling it.

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