Mike Stevens | Nov 19, 2010

SAAB 9-4X

The upcoming 2011 Saab 9-4X has today been unveiled in production form at the LA Auto Show, two years on from its concept debut at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show.

Looking for all the world like a mirror of its concept cousin, the market-ready 9-4X bears a striking resemblance to the long-awaited 9-5 sedan, setting the standard for the new Saab family face.

Introduced as a replacement for the overseas Saab 9-7X, the 9-4X is expected to be positioned in the same size class as the BMW X5, with pricing more in line with the BMW X3 and Volvo XC60.

Despite the overwhelming similarities, the production 9-4X differs from its concept counterpart in small ways; a softer point to the outboard grille fittings up front, a less aggressive front bumper design, simpler exhaust outlets and a restyled taillight lens design.

The flared guards too are softer and slightly less pronounced in the production model than the Mazda-like guards of the concept.

The similarities carry over in the 9-4X's interior, with only the vents and trim getting a more production-friendly update.

"The 9-4X significantly broadens the appeal of the Saab brand," Saab CEO Jan Åke Jonsson said. "It gives us entry to the fast-growing crossover segment with a vehicle that reflects our brand values in key areas, such as progressive Scandinavian design and sporty, responsible driving performance.

The 9-4X is an exciting package and we're confident it will appeal to many existing Saab owners, as well as win new customers for the brand."

Sharing its platform with the GM-developed Cadillac SRX, the 9-4X will be offered internationally with two V6 engines - both produced at Holden's Port Melbourne plant.

The first engine will be a direct-injected 3.0 litre engine producing 197kW and 302Nm of torque (featured in the Holden Commodore), while the second engine will be the same 2.8 litre turbo-charged unit featured in the new 9-5, developing 223kW and 400Nm.

In XWD all-wheel-drive form, the 3.0 litre naturally-aspirated engine will push the 9-4X to 100km/h in 8.4 seconds, while the lighter front-wheel-drive layout allows for a 7.9 second run.

The top-shelf turbo-charged 2.8 litre engine propels the 9-4X to 100km/h in 7.7 seconds in XWD trim - the only specification available with this engine.

The unveiling of the 2011 9-4X follows news that Saab has established new company-owned operations in the Australian market, ensuring a local launch for both the 9-5 and the company's new SUV. Specific launch dates are still to be confirmed.

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