Swedish carmaker Saab, which had a near-death experience last year, is coming back strong under Spyker’s new leadership. Also, they’re entering new markets, with the new Saab 9-4X crossover which made its debut at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Like we said, Saab is entering new grounds with the 9-4X, the crossover model being the company’s third line of products, after the already known 9-3 and 9-5. The car follows the company’s sporty heritage, both in road behavior and design.
On the exterior, the new 9-4X kept a lot of elements from the praised Aero X Concept, like the three-port grille or the ‘ice-block’ lighting theme. Other design elements include the “hockey-stick” waistline, the “wraparound-effect” rear screen and twin rhomboid exhaust tailpipes. Also, 18-inch six-spoke alloy wheels come as standard, while Aero models will get special 20-inch nine-spoke “turbine” alloy wheels.
On the interior, the Saab 9-4X comes with Saab’s popular driver-oriented central console finished in wood or carbon fiber (Aero models), aeronautics inspired instruments and “joystick” adjusters for the air vents. Other interior features include 8-way electronically adjustable driver’s seat (plus adjustable pedals, as an option), top-of-the-line 10-speaker Bose audio system with 5.1 surround sound, an optional 8-inch touchscreen display with 10 GB navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity and, also optional, an entertainment system for rear passengers with two 8-inch displays.
Under the bonnet, the new Saab 9-4X will be offered with two petrol engines, both mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and Saab’s XWD all-wheel-drive system combined with an rear electronic limited-slip differential (eLSD). The first engine, the entry-level one, is a 265 hp (195 kW) 3.0-liter which allows a 0 to 100/km (62 mph) acceleration in 9.0 seconds, while the second engine, available only on Aero models, is a turbocharged 2.8-liter powerplant that delivers 300 hp (221 kW) and 400 Nm of torque and has a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration time of 8.3 seconds. Saab hasn’t released yet any fuel economy figures.
“The 9-4X significantly broadens the appeal of the Saab brand,” says Saab Automobile CEO Jan Åke Jonsson. “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.”
The new Saab 9-4X is scheduled to go on sale in May 2011 in North America and in August 2011 in the other global markets, including Europe. Pricing will be announced closer to launch date.