Saab completely redesigned and re-engineered its 9-3 sedan in 2003, transforming the once quirky-looking hatchback into an honest contender in the sports sedan sweepstakes. For 2004, the 9-3 convertible gets the complete makeover. The 2004 Saab 9-3 convertible features all of the parts and looks that make the 9-3 such a hot sports sedan, plus a folding soft top that's a model of efficiency. Saab has always dared to be different. Influenced by its aeronautical background, Saab cars have traditionally featured wraparound, near-vertical windshields and aircraft-style dashboards with instrument lighting that could be switched off at night. Small map lights looked like they came from a cockpit. Outside mirrors were bent at the edges to reduce blind spots. Even when American buyers stopped wanting hatchbacks, Saab stoically shipped them over. General Motors absorbed Saab a few years back, but it didn't turn out to be the deal with the devil the Saab faithful feared. Granted, the idiosyncratic styling cues have been softened somewhat, edging the car closer to the automotive mainstream. In exchange, GM funded a long-overdue development of newer and better-engineered cars. Model year 2003 yielded a vastly improved 9-3 sedan that's unmistakably a Saab. For 2004, worshippers of the sun get an equally impressive convertible that raises the bar for the class.