Saab's rejuvenation continues with the presentation of the production version of the long-anticipated 9-4X ahead of its world premiere at next month's Los Angeles Auto Show. One of the last projects developed under the ownership of GM, the 9-4X shares its Theta platform and major drive components with the Cadillac SRX, and like its American brethren, it will be built at GM's factory in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.
The 9-4X's shape and styling will familiar to most as the crossover model was previewed by the 9-4X BioPower concept at the 2008 Detroit Show. On the outside, changes over the 2008 study concern some minor details such as the smaller front fog light openings, mirror caps, tail lamp color combos and smaller (and less impressive) alloy wheels.
The same can be said about the interior, with differences limited to the air vent designs and the less flashy decorative trim.
At launch, the 9-4X will offer buyers on both sides of the Atlantic two V6 engine choices, a naturally-aspirated 3.0-liter with direct-injection tech producing 265HP and 223 lb-ft (302Nm), or a 2.8-liter unit with a twin-scroll turbocharger delivering 300HP and 295 lb-ft (400Nm). Both V6 powerplants are mated to six-speed automatic transmissions under adaptive, electronic control.
The base 265HP V6 is available with front-wheel drive or Saab's XWD all-wheel drive system. With front-wheel drive, it propels the 9-4X from zero to 60 mph in just 7.9 seconds or 8.4 seconds with XWD and is expected to enable estimated city/highway combined fuel consumption of 20 mpg or 19 mpg with XWD.
Saab notes on its European press release that the FWD model goes from 0-100km/h in 9.0 seconds - apparently one of the two numbers is wrong as there's no way we can have a 1 second difference between the two sprint times.
As for the 300HP V6 which is available exclusively in Aero specification with XWD, It delivers zero to 60 mph [96km/h] acceleration in 7.7 seconds and estimated city/highway combined fuel consumption of 18 mpg. Again, the acceleration figures don't match with Saab's Euro press release saying 0-100 km/h acceleration comes in 8.3 seconds.
Furthering the confusion, Saab N.A. says both the 265HP V6 and 300HP V6 models achieve a top speed of 130mph, equal to 209km/h, while Saab Europe says the 265HP model goes up to 210km/h [131mph] and the 300HP version 230km/h [143mph]. Unless it's something we're not aware of, it looks like someone messed up the numbers on one of the two press releases.
"The 9-4X significantly broadens the appeal of the Saab brand," stated Saab 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 9-4X is scheduled to arrive in North American dealerships in May next year, with sales in Europe and other global markets due to begin from August. Prices and more detailed specs will be announced shortly before sales start next year.