New Saab 9-4X could be the rarest new vehicle in the world

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 24, 2011

The arrival of the Saab 9-4X in many countries around the world was highly anticipated but because of its financial troubles, production has been halted for several months now and the only country that it has been shipped to is the U.S. This makes it the rarest new vehicle in the world. The global debut of Saab's new crossover was made one year ago at the Los Angeles auto show. Executives had revealed back then that Saab’s sales target for the 9-4X was modest.

Saab aimed to sell just a few thousand units of the 9-4X in 2011, beginning in the spring in the U.S. It was supposed to be shipped to Europe, Australia, Taiwan and the Middle East last August.

It was also planned that as soon as full production was attained in 2012, it will sell around 15,000 to 20,000 units world. In fact, 50% of its production is targeted at U.S. consumers.

The 9-4X is said to be basically a disguised Cadillac SRX. But what makes the 9-4X different are its sheet metal, interior styling and suspension tuning.

9-4X and the SRX are built in the same General Motors factory, in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. In the U.S., less than 500 9-4Xs were shipped to dealers and for this year through October this year, only 194 vehicles were sold.

Exterior Design

The Saab 9-4X boasts a broad, powerful stance, thanks to its clean and uncluttered lines echoing Saab’s Scandinavian design philosophy. The deep three-port grille and the 'ice-block'-like lighting themes have given the new car a distinctive face that is similar to the new 9-5 sedan. It also drew inspiration from the much-applauded and award-winning Aero X concept car.

This new car sports disguised windshield and door pillars, creating Saab’s traditional wrap-around effect wherein a single glasshouse graphic emphasizes the brand’s signature cockpit look. The car also carries other Saab identifiers on its exterior, including the headlamps, the strong C-pillars that are complemented by a rear screen with the wrap-around effect, and a ‘hockey stick’ waistline.

9-4X’s roofline is visually lowered and it is extended by a rear spoiler that is joined with the tailgate. The rear lighting carries a signature style introduced by the new 9-5 sedan. An ‘ice-block’ bar with LED lights runs across the lower tailgate and is wrapped around the light units. There are also twin exhaust tailpipes that are shaped like a rhomboid and that are neatly integrated into the lower bumper molding.

The Saab 9-4X has an overall bodywork that does not have any unnecessary trim or decoration. Its lower body has a dark protective appliqué but there are no protective body panels or wheel-arch claddings.

Moreover, entry-level variants of the car are fitted with six-spoke alloy wheels 18 inches in diameter while the Aero models are distinguished by nine-spoke turbine alloy wheels that are 20 inches in diameter, as well as by black mesh front grille.

 

Interior Design

The car has a spacious cabin that can comfortably accommodate up to five adults. The cabin features Saab’s signature driver-focused cockpit layout.

It has a center console, a main instrument display and a center stack that are all placed within a single form sweeping up around the driver. The Saab 9-4X’s interiors sport a wood finish, while those of the Aero models have a carbon fiber-effect finish.

Aside from its cockpit-inspired cabin, the car also has other subtle references to the carmaker’s aviation heritage. There’s the green illumination for the three main dials’ needles, Saab’s traditional joystick adjusters for the car’s mesh-style air vents, and the aircraft altitude-style speed read-out. The ignition, which is a start/stop button, is placed between the front seats, adjacent to the shift lever.

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