New Saab 9-4X offers a tempting package, but with an engine that’s likely to alienate the UK market.
Saab has released details of the 9-4X – a new mid-size crossover model aimed firmly at America.
Distinctively Saab styling, ‘XWD’ four-wheel drive and ‘DriveSense’ adaptive suspension all sound promising, but the only engine choice at launch will be a 2.8-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol – so the 9-4X seems unlikely to be very popular in Europe.
Saab 9-4X: from the ashes
Like the recently introduced Saab 9-5 saloon, the Saab 9-4X crossover was already effectively finalised when former owner General Motors (GM) pulled the plug on the Swedish marque earlier this year.
Now owned by Dutch supercar maker Spyker, Saab is once again in a position develop new cars. The 9-4X, however, is based on a GM platform and will be built in a GM plant in Mexico, rather than Saab’s Trollhättan factory in Sweden.
You wouldn’t know this to look at it, though. The 9-4X has Saab design DNA throughout, including the trademark wraparound ‘visor’ front windows and ‘hockey stick’ side profile.
Creature comforts and Saab traditions inside
Anyone familiar with Saabs will also find themselves at home behind the swooping dashboard on the inside.
Ignition is via a button positioned between the front seats in traditional Saab fashion, the air vents feature ‘joystick’ toggles and there is a Saab ‘Night Panel’ button. The latter feature switches off all unnecessary dashboard illumination for a less eye-straining driving experience at night.
The American equipment list is extensive, and populated by items including a Bose stereo system, DAB digital radio, reversing camera, satellite navigation, Bluetooth, MP3 player connection and dual-zone climate control. How much of this will still be standard when the car reaches Europe remains to be seen.
Powerful petrol, XWD and DriveSense
However, as Saab tells us there are currently no plans for a diesel version, it seems likely the 9-4X will come to Europe in a single high-specification trim level.
The 2.8-litre twin-turbo V6 should certainly provide plenty of oomph. Power output is some 300bhp in combination with 295lb ft of torque (pulling power). With a six-speed automatic gearbox as standard, this results in 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds.
There’s no word on fuel consumption or CO2 emissions yet, but it’s unlikely to be pretty.
Keeping everything under control will be Saab’s XWD adaptive four-wheel system. Meanwhile, the DriveSense adaptive chassis gives drivers the choice of Intelligent, Comfort and Sport settings, with an additional Eco mode adjusting throttle and gearshifts.
9-4X here late next year
The Saab 9-4X gets its public debut at an American motor show before the end of the year.
It goes on sale in the USA in May, before heading to Europe. UK sales aren’t expected until ‘late 2011’. Pricing is yet to be confirmed.
The next new car from Saab will be an all-new 9-3, scheduled for introduction in 2012.