Saab Automobile AB was determined to reveal a concept that “stands out,” and there’s likely no one who will argue that it has indeed achieved this goal with the PhoeniX Coupe Concept. Jason Castriota, Saab Automobile's executive design director, said that Saab is a small player and that is why they felt that had to come up with an “over-the-top design.”
The PhoeniX, shown recently at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show, hints at some styling cues that will be used in future Saab vehicles.
Castriota said that “some of the character from the PhoeniX" will be seen in the redesigned 9-3 but he assures that they will be “toned down.” The 9-3 is Saab's top-selling model. The redesigned car will go on sale in fall 2012. Castriota has only started working for Saab last June.
He has previous experience in designing exotic cars. He attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., and in 2001, he joined Pininfarina S.p.A.'s design studio in Turin, Italy.
In 2008, he became the director of design at Stile Bertone. Castriota has been with Saab for only several months but he is already credited for styling the redesigned 9-3, the PhoeniX concept and putting together the styling direction for Saab's future vehicles.
He said that PhoeniX's striking styling was meant to indicate “where [the company] would like to go."
The Saab PhoeniX Concept car is essentially a presentation of design features and technologies that preview future generations of Saab cars. For a starter, it is underpinned by a new architecture that will also underpin next Saab 9-3 model.
It also marks the debut of the Saab’s so-called 'aeromotional' design, which is a visual recreation of the aerodynamic design principles and passion for innovation that paved way for the first Saab car, the Ursaab.
Saab PhoeniX Concept makes use of teardrop 'liquid metal' forms as well as a jet canopy-inspired glasshouse to provide a new meaning to the brand’s signature 'wraparound' and its translucent ice-block themes. It features an exceptionally low drag co-efficient of 0.25, thanks to its muscular yet clean shape. Moreover, the Saab PhoeniX Concept features the so-called side-mounted 'winglets' that help in airflow management.
Entry and exit are made easier thanks to the adoption of butterfly opening doors. Meanwhile, the 2+2 interior of the Saab PhoeniX Concept sports a minimalist 'stripped out' setting. The interior of the concept boasts of a driver-focused layout and marks the global debut of the carmaker’s IQon infotainment and communications system.
PhoeniX Concept also comes with a versatile cargo deck. Jason Castriota, Saab Automobile's Executive Design Director, remarked that Saab PhoeniX Concept serves as new reference point for future Saab product design, as it symbolize the resurrection of the innovative spirit and passion that inspired the company to build its first car. He added that the so-called aeromotional design will become Saab’s new visual DNA that will help shape and differentiate future products.