Saab 9-3X revealed ahead of Geneva Motor Show

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 27, 2009

The Saab 9-3X, which comes with an off-road capability minus the gas-guzzling quality of a regular SUV, is schedule to showcase at the Geneva Motor Show next month. It is basically a current-generation 9-3 SportCombi riding on 35mm raised suspension, which is 20mm higher on the FWD diesel variant. Highlights include new front and rear bumpers with a dark grey, grained paint finish.

The side sills and edges of the wheel arches are also finished in the same protective paint. Complimenting this finishing treatment are skid panels with matte aluminum finish, curving toward the door opening at the back and receiving a wing shape in the lip of the bumper at the front. The lower door strips come in matching aluminum-color and the same finish for the roof rails. Further details consist of dual exhaust tailpipes, fog lights, and five-spoke 17-inch alloys.

In the interior, the car features special trim, with additional dark metallic finish to the door trims, gearbox surround and glove compartment. The sport seats come with grey fabric inserts in black leather upholstery. In the rear comes split fold seating which provides a maximum of 1,287 liters of storage space.

The powerplant that comes with the 9-3X is either the 210bhp (157kW) 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine in combination with the XWD Haldex-derived AWD system, or the 280bhp (134kW) 1.9-liter TTiD turbodiesel with FWD. A 6-speed manual and auto transmission are both offered.

An electronically-controlled Torque Transfer Device (TTD) is included in the drive system, the function of which is to vary the delivery of power between the front and rear axles. A valve for this very purpose increases or decreases hydraulic pressure on wet clutch plates within the TTD to gradually engage or disengage the axle at the rear.

The level of 'slip' determined how much drive is channeled to the wheels at the rear. A limited slip differential is also fitted on the rear axle. The acceleration rate for the faster 2.0-liter gasoline turbo is 8.2 seconds from 0-60mph. The first of this model is expected to be displayed in showrooms by mid-2009.

Press Release

Saab 9-3X

The Saab 9-3X is the ideal alternative to large and heavy crossovers or SUVs. With distinctive looks, a versatile Sport Wagon body, higher stance and advanced all-wheel drive technology, the Saab 9-3X also offers excellent fuel efficiency and functional storage .

The Saab 9-3X is available with either Saab's 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine (210hp), combined with the technically advanced Cross Wheel Drive system (XWD), or the highly regarded 1.9 TTiD diesel engine (180hp) with front-wheel drive. Overall, the 9-3X embodies Saab's turbocharging philosophy, combining a dynamic driving experience with a fuel efficient powertrain to achieve responsible performance.

Distinctive Appeal

Saab designers have raised the chassis 35mm higher (20mm higher on the FWD diesel model) than the standard two-wheel drive Saab 9-3 SportCombi. It is specifically designed for those who frequently use gravel or unpaved roads, without compromising the driving experience on tarmac.

The Saab 9-3X is a car in tune with the lifestyle needs of today's customers. "The 9-3X is an efficient all-rounder for anyone who doesn't want or need an SUV- type vehicle," says Simon Padian, Saab Brand Design Chief. "Simply put, we are offering a vehicle that will do what's required in more comfort and style than a heavier SUV."

New front and rear bumpers feature a dark grey, grained finish that is also applied to the side sills and the edges of the wheel arches as a protective covering when the terrain becomes loose or muddy. This treatment is complemented by skid panels with a matt aluminum finish, curving up towards the door opening at the rear and adopting a wing form in the lip of the lower front bumper. These are matched by matt, aluminum-coloured lower door strips and roof rails with the same finish. Visible, twin round exhaust tailpipes are standard for both engine options. Front fog lights ringed with a chrome finish add yet another rugged accent.

With the addition of unique design, 5-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels, the Saab 9-3X's exterior character reflects its ability to handle mixed road conditions, whether rough or smooth, loose or paved.

Inside, the Saab 9-3X interior features a unique trim, adding a dark metallic finish to the door trims, glove box and gearbox surround. The unique sports seating features grey fabric inserts in the black leather upholstery.

Total Traction With Power

At the heart of the 9-3X is Saab's cutting-edge XWD technology. It is an intelligent, active system that continuously distributes engine drive torque between the front and rear axles as required for optimum stability and traction in all conditions. To optimise traction the Saab XWD incorporates an innovative, pre-emptive engagement of the rear wheels. Unlike conventional all-wheel-drive systems, this eliminates the need to detect front wheel slip before rear drive is activated.

The hardware includes an electronically-controlled Torque Transfer Device (TTD), which varies power delivery between the axles. A valve increases or reduces hydraulic pressure on wet clutch plates inside the TTD to progressively engage or disengage the rear axle. The degree of 'slip' dictates how much drive is transmitted to the rear wheels. The standard fit rear limited slip differential (eLSD) operates on the same principle, splitting drive across the axle to whichever wheel has more traction.

The 2.0 Turbo petrol engine, delivers a potent 210hp and thus conforms to Saab's right-sizing principal by producing the power of a larger engine but with the fuel economy and lower emission benefits of a smaller 2.0 litre capacity thanks to a turbo charger. This all-alloy engine also produces 221lb ft of torque (300Nm) between 2,500-4,000rpm and can accelerate the Saab 9-3X from 0 - 60 mph in just 8.2 seconds. Both a six speed manual and automatic transmission are available.

The diesel variant, a 1.9 TTiD twin turbo engine produces an impressive 180hp and a punchy 295 lb ft (400Nm) of torque through the front wheels, but still keeps emissions low with 144 g/km. This engine, too, will be available with manual and automatic transmission.

Form meets function in stowage area

The Saab 9-3X is designed to make loading sports and leisure equipment easy: the rear cargo area with a low floor is surprisingly spacious and well-proportioned, and the compact design of the rear suspension allows a deep box-like space, free from intrusions, offering a useful rear seat up/down volume of 419/1287 litres (VDA).

The 60/40 split seat-back incorporates a ski-hatch and folds down without any need to move the fixed seat cushion. The fully carpeted rear load space is illuminated by two interior lights mounted on the inside of the D-pillars. It is accessed by a lightly-weighted tailgate that opens down to bumper level, its damper rods completely hidden in the roof to allow a clear, uncluttered opening. The flush-fitted, black moulded floor plate helps to protect against marks or scratches on the bumper during heavy use.

The Saab 9-3X's TwinFloor stowage facility also helps keep luggage and equipment safe and tidy. The middle section of the floor hinges upwards transversely when the handle is pulled so that the front edge fits into two retaining slots.

There is also a 12-volt power socket in the main load area (for a hot or cool box) and a separate storage compartment at either side of the floor, one fitted with a moulded holder for large bottles.

Marketing

The long running Saab/Salomon promotional partnership with be used in the UK as the main launch platform for the new Saab 9-3X. The car will be the featured vehicle at the popular Saab/Salomon trail running series where its excellent performance on gravel tracks will be well suited to athletes who want a performance vehicle that can take them all the way to the start of the trail.

The target market for the Saab 9-3X is modern individuals - independent minded people who enjoy life, culture, outdoors, sports & family. These are people with active lifestyles who have demands for versatility.

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