Called the 9-3 TiD, it comes with a six-speed manual as standard or optional six-speed automatic. The auto has sequential manual change mode.

Prices start at $44,990 for the manual sedan, subject of this review.

The twin cam engine is a lift from General Motors Opel operation in Europe and can be found in the Holden Astra manual diesel.

It is good for 110kW/320Nm output – plenty to push the sedan along at a rapid clip.

It will do this while consuming a meagre 5.8-litres/100km making it possibly the most fuel efficient premium vehicle of its size on the market.

Nothing on the outside or inside of the diesel is any different from the petrol models except badging.

The TiD is well equipped with leather upholstery, heated seats, climate and cruise control and 16-inch alloys.

It is a great drive, engaging, semi-sporty, smooth and relatively quiet and is blessed with impressive acceleration across a wide engine rev range – not common in turbo diesels.

The manual is easy to use and not too shabby off the mark. Comfortable around town and out on the highway, the car is also practical and easy to live with – a well-rounded package that should be cheap to run.

We wanted a second opinion and asked school teacher Adam Hendry for his thoughts on what was the first diesel car he had driven.

He liked the styling and said the Saab was an unconventional beauty epitomised by the unique key and ignition system.

“The leather interior is spacious and comfortable although austere,” he said.

“Considerable room in the cabin is freed up by the transverse engine that also allows for a good-size boot.

“The dash is not overcomplicated and everything is easily deciphered and functional.” He particularly liked the cruise control and position of the audio controls and other control buttons on the steering wheel.

“Despite the driver’s seat being fully adjustable it felt like an instrument of torture until I found a comfortable driving position,” he said.

“In first gear at under 2000rpm, I found the Saab a little sluggish but after that it responded well.

“The six-speed gearbox helps overcome this slow start by its close ratios and smooth shifting.” The most appealing quality of the Saab from Mr Hendry’s point of view was its fuel economy.”