Thursday 12 February 2009

New Car: 2009 Saab 9-3X

These pictures show the new Saab 9-3X ahead of its scheduled public debut at the Geneva motorshow in March.

Based on the Saab 9-3 estate, the Saab 9-3X variant adds beefed-up ride height, tougher-looking front styling and a body kit to give the junior Saab a semi-SUV look.

The Saab 9-3X is a first for the compact executive segment. While Audi, Subaru and Volvo all have estates based on a similar concept, they use larger models as a base.

“The 9-3X is an efficient all-rounder for anyone who doesn’t want or need an SUV-type vehicle,” said Simon Padian, Saab design chief. Audi is expected to follow Saab’s lead at Geneva with a similar concept for the A4. And Volvo is tipped to have an XC50 waiting in the wings.

The Saab 9-3X will be available with a choice of two engines, a 210bhp 2.0 litre petrol turbo and a 180bhp twin-turbo 1.9 litre diesel. Both will have the option of 6 speed manual or automatic transmissions. The 2.0 petrol mated to a manual transmission will return 34mpg and produce 199g/km of C02. The auto has combined fuel economy of 28mpg but emissions of 242g/km. The 1.9 TTiD manual returns 51.4mpg and emits 144g/km of CO2, while with the automatic it returns 40.9mpg and emits 182g/km of CO2.

In terms of performance, the 2.0 Turbo XWD can accelerate from 0–60 mph in 8.2 seconds (Auto: 9.1 sec) and reach a top speed of 143mph (Auto: 137mph). The front-wheel-drive diesel variant performs the 0 to 60 mph sprint in 8.3 sec (Auto: 8.8 sec) and has a top speed of 137mph (Auto: 134mph).

The petrol version of the Saab 9-3X will be available only with Saab’s impressive XWD four-wheel drive system, which includes an electronically controlled centre diff capable of shifting torque across axles as well as fore and aft. The 9-3X diesel will be front-drive only, despite producing 295lb ft of torque compared with the petrol model’s 221lb ft.

There’s no word on whether Saab will offer other engines, although until the last minute, the 9-3X's launch was being planned around the 277bhp 2.8 litre turbo V6. That engine is no longer slated to appear.

Four-wheel drive and front-wheel drive Saab 9-3Xs will also have different ride heights. The XWD variant gets a 35mm ride height boost over the standard 9-3, while the front-wheel drive car makes do with an extra 20mm.

As well as tweaking the engine range at the last minute, Saab has cut back its sales projections; it plans on selling just 100 9-3X models in the UK this year.

Detailed specifications will be revealed at Geneva, but they’re expected to be based around the top-spec Vector Sport and Aero trims. UK sales start in Summer with prices around £30,000.

Press Release:

A new addition to the Saab 9-3 range

Aimed at people with active outdoor lifestyles who don’t want a large crossover

Latest Saab XWD technology combined with all-round performance

The Saab 9-3X is the ideal alternative to large and heavy crossovers or SUVs. With distinctive looks, a versatile Sport Wagon body, higher stance and advanced all-wheel drive technology, the 9-3X also offers excellent fuel efficiency and functional storage. The 9-3X is available with either Saab’s 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine (210hp), combined with the technically advanced Cross Wheel Drive system (XWD), or the highly regarded 1.9 TTiD diesel engine (180hp) with front-wheel drive. Overall, the 9-3X embodies Saab’s turbocharging philosophy, combining a dynamic driving experience with a fuel efficient powertrain to achieve responsible performance.

Distinctive Appeal:

Saab designers have raised the chassis 35mm higher (20mm higher on the FWD diesel model) than the standard two-wheel drive Sport-Wagon. It is specifically designed for those who frequently use gravel or unpaved roads, without compromising the driving experience on tarmac. The Saab 9-3X is a car in tune with the lifestyle needs of today’s customers. “The 9-3X is an efficient all-rounder for anyone who doesn’t want or need an SUV- type vehicle,” says Simon Padian, Saab Brand Design Chief. “Simply put, we are offering a vehicle that will do what’s required in more comfort and style than a heavier SUV.” New front and rear bumpers feature a dark grey, grained finish that is also applied to the side sills and the edges of the wheel arches as a protective covering when the terrain becomes loose or muddy. This treatment is complemented by skid panels with a matt aluminum finish, curving up towards the door opening at the rear and adopting a wing form in the lip of the lower front bumper. These are matched by matt, aluminum-coloured lower door strips and roof rails with the same finish. Visible, twin round exhaust tailpipes are standard for both engine options. Front fog lights ringed with a chrome finish add yet another rugged accent. With the addition of unique design, 5-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels, the 9-3X’s exterior character reflects its ability to handle mixed road conditions, whether rough or smooth, loose or paved.

Inside, the 9-3X interior features a unique trim, adding a dark metallic finish to the door trims, glove box and gearbox surround. The unique sports seating features grey fabric inserts in the black leather upholstery.

Total Traction With Power:

At the heart of the 9-3X is Saab’s cutting-edge XWD technology. It is an intelligent, active system that continuously distributes engine drive torque between the front and rear axles as required for optimum stability and traction in all conditions. To optimise traction the Saab XWD incorporates an innovative, pre-emptive engagement of the rear wheels. Unlike conventional all-wheel-drive systems, this eliminates the need to detect front wheel slip before rear drive is activated. The hardware includes an electronically-controlled Torque Transfer Device (TTD), which varies power delivery between the axles. A valve increases or reduces hydraulic pressure on wet clutch plates inside the TTD to progressively engage or disengage the rear axle. The degree of ‘slip’ dictates how much drive is transmitted to the rear wheels. The standard fit rear limited slip differential (eLSD) operates on the same principle, splitting drive across the axle to whichever wheel has more traction.

The 2.0 Turbo petrol engine, delivers a potent 210hp and thus conforms to Saab’s right-sizing principal by producing the power of a larger engine but with the fuel economy and lower emission benefits of a smaller 2.0 litre capacity thanks to a turbo charger. This all-alloy engine also produces 221lb ft of torque (300Nm) between 2,500-4,000rpm and can accelerate the 9-3X from 0 – 60 mph in just 8.2 seconds. Both a six speed manual and automatic transmission are available.

The diesel variant, a 1.9 TTiD twin turbo engine produces an impressive 180hp and a punchy 295 lb ft (400Nm) of torque through the front wheels, but still keeps emissions low with 144 g/km. This engine, too, will be available with manual and automatic transmission.

Form meets function in stowage area:

The 9-3X is designed to make loading sports and leisure equipment easy: the rear cargo area with a low floor is surprisingly spacious and well-proportioned, and the compact design of the rear suspension allows a deep box-like space, free from intrusions, offering a useful rear seat up/down volume of 419/1287 litres (VDA). The 60/40 split seat-back incorporates a ski-hatch and folds down without any need to move the fixed seat cushion. The fully carpeted rear load space is illuminated by two interior lights mounted on the inside of the D-pillars. It is accessed by a lightly-weighted tailgate that opens down to bumper level, its damper rods completely hidden in the roof to allow a clear, uncluttered opening. The flush-fitted, black moulded floor plate helps to protect against marks or scratches on the bumper during heavy use.

The 9-3X's TwinFloor stowage facility also helps keep luggage and equipment safe and tidy. The middle section of the floor hinges upwards transversely when the handle is pulled so that the front edge fits into two retaining slots. There is also a 12-volt power socket in the main load area (for a hot or cool box) and a separate storage compartment at either side of the floor, one fitted with a moulded holder for large bottles.


The long running Saab/Salomon promotional partnership with be used in the UK as the main launch platform for the new Saab 9-3X. The car will be the featured vehicle at the popular Saab/Salomon trail running series where its excellent performance on gravel tracks will be well suited to athletes who want a performance vehicle that can take them all the way to the start of the trail.

The target market for the 9-3X is modern individuals - independent minded people who enjoy life, culture, outdoors, sports & family. These are people with active lifestyles who have demands for versatility.

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