GM have released details of yet another CUV concept heading for a Detroit Motor Show unveiling, and this time around its wearing a Saab badge. Dubbed the Saab 9-4x BioPower it is based on GM?s Theta platform unlike the old Trailblazer based Saab 9-7x, although we were quite keen on the LS2 powered 9-7x...but thats another story for another time...
Unlike the 9-7x which was often criticised by Saab fans as being rather ?un-Saab-like?, designers of the 9-4x appear to have dug deep into Saab history and incorporated design cues from earlier models. Note the blacked out A-pillar that gives the windscreen the wrap-around look seen in earlier model Saab sedans as well as the Aero X concept. The 9-4x is immediately recognisable as a Saab which is good news for those not impressed with the 9-7x.
"We focused on incorporating design themes from the Aero X in a crossover execution, adding functional, lifestyle features to support the activities of customers using this type of vehicle," said Anthony Lo, GM Europe's Director of Advanced Design.
Mechanically, the 9-4x uses a BioPower 2.0-litre turbocharged E85 ethanol fuelled four-cylinder that features direct injection and variable valve timing technology. Designed to run on E85 the 2.0-litre engine produces 221kW/300 hp and 400Nm, which is more than impressive for an engine of this size. Running on petrol, those figures drop to 180kW/245hp and 353Nm. Drive is funnelled through the same Haldex designed Cross-Wheel-Drive system that we know from the current 9-3 range.
The interior takes cues from the Aero X concept and features a "clear-zone", with a flush-mounted starter button and infotainment controls, that sweeps up from the central console to the main display screen. Signature green lighting is used for all instrument illumination, while other subtle references to Saab's aviation heritage include the "altimeter" speed read-out scale and aircraft-shaped trim on the steering wheel.
This is the way a Saab CUV should be.
INNOVATIVE 9-4X BIOPOWER CROSSOVER CONCEPT
SIGNALS SAAB PRODUCT EXPANSION
DETROIT ? The Saab 9-4X BioPower Concept, revealed today at the North American International Auto Show, confirms Saab's plans to enter the growing crossover segment with a dynamic, driver-focused vehicle inspired by Scandinavian design values and respect for the environment.
The concept's progressive design features are combined with a responsible, fun-to-drive appeal based on BioPower engine technology and a cutting-edge all-wheel-drive system.
"This concept is a clear statement of what our brand is about," said Jan ?ke Jonsson, Saab Automobile Managing Director. "It is also an important next step in our plans to enter new market segments with distinctive product offerings."
The design of the Saab 9-4X BioPower Concept reflects a Scandinavian principle of simplicity of form, with clean and uncluttered lines, free of any cladding, moldings or roof bars, and defining "ice-block" surface and lighting themes. The progressive frontal styling and interior design elements also draw inspiration from Saab's widely acclaimed Aero X concept. Innovative load-carrying solutions include a unique ski equipment stowage system, developed with mountain sports specialists Salomon. (Please see accompanying Salomon release.)
Optimized for bioethanol (E85) fuel, t he four-cylinder, 2.0-liter BioPower turbo engine demonstrates Saab's commitment to "rightsizing" ? achieving sufficient levels of performance with a smaller, more efficient engine ? by delivering 300 horsepower (221 kW) and strong torque of 295 lb.-ft (400 Nm), together with substantially reduced CO 2 emissions on a source-to-wheel basis. (Please see accompanying Powertrain release). The key enabler for rightsizing is turbocharging technology, which Saab pioneered 30 years ago.
Mated to the industry-leading Saab XWD ("cross-wheel-drive") system, this advanced powertrain promises to make driving to a destination as enjoyable as the adventure itself.
The Saab 9-4X BioPower Concept was developed by a team headed by Anthony Lo, GM Europe's Director of Advanced Design, in cooperation with designers and engineers from the Saab Brand Center in Sweden. "We focused on incorporating design themes from the Aero X in a crossover execution, adding functional, lifestyle features to support the activities of customers using this type of vehicle," Lo said.
The driver-focused cockpit in the sporty, four-seater cabin features an Aero X-inspired "clear zone," with a flush-mounted starter button and infotainment controls, that sweeps up from the central console to the main display screen. Signature green lighting is used for all instrument illumination, while other subtle references to Saab's aviation heritage include the "altimeter" speed read-out scale and aircraft-shaped trim on the steering wheel. The panoramic glass roof is in harmony with a car designed to deliver the enjoyment of outdoor pursuits.
Saab designers worked with top Saab Salomon Big Mountain skiers to devise an innovative storage system for stowing skis and equipment inside the car. The rear cargo deck features a sliding floor with a fold-out aluminum ski holder, through which up to three pairs of skis and poles can be slotted. Boots are stowed in an underfloor, heated compartment and, for maximum practicality, the entire rear cargo area is covered in a waterproof and scratch-resistant rubber skin.
The compact, all-aluminum, four-cylinder BioPower engine combines the benefits of turbocharging, direct injection and variable valve timing for the first time with high-octane E85 fuel (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline). It's a green, rightsizing formula that gives strong power (300 horsepower [221 kW] and 295 lb.-ft. [400 Nm] of torque without the additional weight, size, fuel consumption and higher emissions of a larger, naturally aspirated engine offering similar performance.
Driver involvement is taken to a new level by the innovative all-wheel-drive system, Saab XWD, already available in the 9-3 range. Active management splits torque delivery between both the axles and the rear wheels, via an electronically controlled rear limited-slip differential (eLSD). This responsive system rewards the driver by giving an enhanced, "positive force" chassis balance. Overall, the Saab 9-4X BioPower Concept is a vivid demonstration of Saab's commitment to customers with outdoor leisure interests who seek a sporty driving experience that is in harmony with nature.
Saab 9-4X Concept: Technical Specifications
1998 cc; four cylinders; 86.0 / 86.0 mm bore / stroke; aluminum cylinder head and block; DOHC, chain-driven. four valves per cylinder; twin counter-rotating balancer shafts; forged steel crankshaft; steel connecting rods; aluminum pistons; oil spray cooled; direct injection; VVT; inlet and exhaust sodium-filled exhaust valves; Saab engine management system; twin-scroll turbocharger; intercooled
BioPower engine data
* Max. boost pressure at maximum torque: 1.2 bar
* Compression ratio: 10.5: 1
* Max power (E85): 300 hp (221kW) @ 5400 rpm.
* Max. torque (E85): 400Nm (295 lb.-ft) @ 2600-5100 rpm
* Max power (gasoline): 245 hp (180 kW) @ 5300 rpm
* Max. torque (gasoline): 353 Nm (261 lb.-ft.) @ 2500- 5250 rpm
* Fuel consumption (combined): 10.5L /100km (22.4 mpg) on gasoline
* Saab XWD ("cross wheel drive") all-wheel-drive system, electronic rear limited-slip differential (eLSD)
* Six-speed automatic transmission, steering wheel controls
* Front: MacPherson struts, aluminum control arm and knuckle, anti-roll bar
* Rear: Multi-link, aluminum H-arm and knuckle, anti-roll bar
* Rack and pinion, hydraulic power assistance
* 21inch, 245/55R21
* Hydraulic, dual circuit, vacuum booster
* Discs front / rear: 378 mm / 378 mm (all ventilated)
Performance data (preliminary)
* 0 - 100 kph: 8.0 sec
* 0 ? 60 mph: 7.9 sec
* Top speed: 235 kph ( 146 mph)
* O 2 51 g / km (gasoline)