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Saab's new X-factor crossover

2010-10-19 09:22

X-FACTOR: Saab new Dutch owner Spyker will enable the Swedish brand to expand its offering to cover the burgeoning crossover market.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Saab
Model 9-4X
Engine 3l V6, 2.8l twin-turbo V6
Power 192-, 220kW
Since being spun-off from long-time owner GM, Saab has realised it needs to sell plenty of cars to make it alone.

The company’s forthcoming 9-4X crossover is a crucial model with Saab’s new owners Spyker keen to capitalise on the brand’s traditional station-wagon strengths with a slightly more rugged offering.

The car will debut at the Lon Angeles auto show in November, 2010 as an evolution of Saab’s stalled Aero X concept.

The last GM Saab

The 9-4X’s underpinnings are a remnant of Saab’s long period under GM ownership and use the same platform as Cadillac’s SRX.

Reflecting its GM design roots, the 9-4X’s engines are much more in line with US customers' demands than frugal-minded European requirements – despite Saab now being back under Continental ownership…

Entry level power is provided courtesy of a Cadillac three-litre V6 worth 194kW and driving the front-wheels (or all four) through a six-speed autoc transmission.

Saab’s sophisticated torque-vectoring XWD all-wheel drive harnesses 220kW worth of 2.8 turbocharged V6 power denoting the headline 9-4X Aero model.

The more powerful 2.8 V6 also benefits from the presence of an electronically actuated limited-slip rear differential, expertly transferring torque to the rear wheel with better traction prospects.

To guarantee an optimal blend of city-driving agility and rural dirt-road driving ability, Saab's engineers have added adjustable shock-absorbers with three selectable drive modes (Sport, Comfort, Eco). These settings, combined with engine and transmission mapping parameters, provide either a very dynamically focused or relaxing driver interface. 

Pretty nice - inside and out

The 9-4X combines traditional and contemporary styling influences, its hexagon patterned grille slats curiously similar to Land-Rover’s current styling.

Standard six-spoked 18" wheels will fill the 9-4X’s arches; the better-equipped Aero models will sport turbine-blade design 20" rims with nine spokes. Bi-xenon headlights, black mesh grille inserts and fog lights are other distinguishing styling items on the 9-4X Aero.

Beyond the handsome styling and proven drivetrains, the 9-4X’s cabin architecture is classic Saab - a cabin layout typical of the Swedish brand: push-button ignition on the centre console, driver focused fascia and 1755 litres of flat-floor boot (with the second-row seating down) combine to meet the rugged requirements of crossover customers.

Saab is expected to market its 9-4X crossover by the second quarter of 2011, with details of its global availibility only becoming official after the Los Angeles Auto Show.

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