Saab 9-X BioHybrid:
Boosting Efficiency in Compact Design and Performance
The Saab 9-X BioHybrid concept is a vivid vision of what a future
compact car from Saab could look like. It is designed to reflect the
priorities of youthful customers who seek progressive looks, responsible
performance and high-tech communications, all in a sporty, fun-to-drive
Exploring design themes from Saab’s award-winning Aero X and earlier
9X concepts, the 9-X BioHybrid also demonstrates the potential for
ultra-efficient power from a 200 hp (147 kW), 1.4-litre BioPower turbo
engine backed by GM’s next-generation Hybrid system. Projected combined
cycle CO2 emissions of just 105 g/km on E85 fuel are testimony to the
promise of this package (see separate release for details).
The interior showcases an entirely new expression of Saab’s
driver-focused cockpit design, together with innovative, seamless
connectivity for personal nomadic devices and a rear cargo deck with a
‘low friction’ loading system.
“This car is all about efficiency in design and performance,” says
Anthony Lo, Director of Advanced Design at General Motors Europe, who
led the 9-X BioHybrid design team in co-operation with the Saab Brand
Center in Sweden.
With its ‘turbine’ wheels placed at all four corners, minimal
bodywork overhangs and an extended roof line, the proportions of the
three-door Saab 9-X BioHybrid bring a dynamic, new dimension to
conventional compact ‘hatchback’ looks.
The smooth ‘fuselage’ bodywork, now without any visible handles or
door mirrors, the bold ‘wraparound’ window graphic and deep front grille
are all themes inspired by the Aero X coupé concept shown at Geneva two
The car’s distinctive ‘shooting brake’ silhouette and rear
functionality are developed from the 9X multi-role concept shown at
Frankfurt in 2001. “You could say we designed this car from back to
front, “says Lo. “The shape of the 9X is right for a car of this size,
and the longer roof line helps the aerodynamics as well as providing
more rear headroom and interior space.”
Echoing Saab’s roots in aircraft design, the 9-X BioHybrid also
explores the potential for using active aerodynamics to reduce drag –
and fuel consumption – at cruising speeds. Above 43 mph, the upper and
lower bodywork is reshaped as the roof spoiler automatically extends to
further lengthen the roof line and an underbody diffuser is deployed
from the bottom of the rear bumper.
The four-seater cabin introduces an entirely new execution of Saab’s
driver-focused cockpit design. The central, floor-mounted console, with
its angled controls and displays, is now eliminated. Instead, the
driver- focused layout incorporates a main instrument panel that sweeps
out from the top of the door moulding, arching across the driver. The
embedded 3-D graphics appear to be ‘frozen’ in ice, continuing a
Scandinavian design theme first seen in the Aero X.
Reflecting the needs of youthful customers, who expect easy access to
multi-media both inside and outside the car, Saab has co-operated with
Sony Ericsson in providing seamless in-car connectivity for a range of
nomadic devices. The result is a wireless interface for streaming data,
entertainment and satellite navigation functions for display and use.
The interface also allows the simultaneous use of multiple devices when
passengers are in the car.
At the rear, the cargo deck features an electrically-powered
slide-out floor, which is activated when the bottom half of the split
tailgate drops down The floor, and the back of the folding rear seats,
is covered by ‘high friction’ rubber carpeting, which ‘grips’ items and
holds them securely in place. For easy loading and unloading, aluminium
bars automatically rise up and down as the tailgate is opened and
The treatment of light is an important part of Scandinavian design
and this is evident in the use of variable, white ambient lighting
inside the cabin. The level of suffused illumination can be changed in
intensity from bright, cold to warm and soft. It’s a personalised
feature that could even be programmed, for example, to reflect the
pattern of the changing seasons.
“This car shows how our concept work can be carried forward into a
compact format,” adds Anthony Lo. “It has a number of features which we
will be developing further, such as the new driver-focused design theme,
the importance of clean, uncluttered surfaces and the easy, seamless
connectivity inside the car.”
Saab 9-X BioHybrid
Transversely-mounted, front wheel drive
1398 cc. Four cylinders Bore/stroke: 73.4/ 82.6 mm. Aluminium cylinder
head, cast iron block DOHC, chain-driven. Four valves per cylinder.
Forged steel crankshaft, steel connecting rods. Aluminium pistons, oil
Direct Injection with centrally-mounted injectors.
VVT, inlet and exhaust
Sodium-filled exhaust valves
Compression Ratio: 10.2: 1
Intercooled turbocharger. Max. Boost Pressure: 1.6 bar
Dual-mass flywheel. Saab engine management
Max power (E85): 200 hp (147 kW) 5000 rpm. Max.torque (E85):
280 Nm 1750-5000 rpm
Max power (petrol): 170 hp (125 kW) 5200 rpm. Max.torque (petrol):
230 Nm 1500-5200 rpm
Electric motor/generator with lithium ion battery pack.
Electric power boost, regenerative braking, fuel cut-off, automatic
Front: Damper/coil struts, aluminum lower A-arm. Anti-roll bar.
Rear: Torsion beam, two trailing links, coil springs and dampers.
Rack and pinion, Electrical power assistance.
Hydraulic, dual circuit, vacuum booster. Discs: 345 mm / 345 mm (all
Saab is GM’s European premium brand, reflecting a unique Scandinavian
design ethic, fused with a strong aircraft engineering heritage. Saab’s
distinctive cars benefit from the best of GM’s worldwide capability,
while being engineered and designed to cater for the exacting
requirements of the global premium motorist.
Saab was founded in Sweden in 1937 as Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget
(Swedish Aircraft Company), revealing the prototype for its first
aircraft-inspired passenger car in 1947. UK sales commenced in 1960.
Saab is still recognised as the premium car manufacturer for
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