NEW_CAR_PREVIEW

Concept-Saab 9-4X BioPower Crossover Preview

2/24/2012
Critical Knowledge:
  • 2.0-liter 4-cylinder BioPower turbo engine

  • Engine optimized for E85 fuel

  • Advanced all-wheel-drive (AWD) technology (Saab XWD)

  • Rear limited-slip differential

  • Interior ski and equipment stowage solutions

  • 21-inch wheels


Introduction
Saab's 30 years' experience in turbo technology is showcased in its new 9-4X BioPower concept. The vehicle confirms the Swedish premium brand's intention to enter the crossover market with a distinctively styled vehicle, BioPower technology and AWD. Within the past five years, Saab launched four new models, previewed four concept cars, and introduced BioPower flex-fuel engines with E85 and advanced AWD technology. The automaker pledges that every new Saab product-like the 9-4X BioPower concept-will reflect its commitment to design, driver focus, and performance with concern for the environment.

Design
On the outside, the Saab 9-4X BioPower Crossover concept features simplicity of form, uncluttered lines, and defining "ice-block" surface and lighting themes-all of which are signature Saab design principles, according to the automaker. No cladding, moldings or roof bars detract from the design whose frontal styling and interior elements are inspired by Saab's Aero X concept.

Inside the sporty, 4-seater cabin is a driver-focused cockpit featuring an Aero X-inspired "clear zone" that has infotainment controls and a flush-mounted starter button sweeping up from central console to main display screen. All instrument illumination is signature green lighting. The aircraft-shaped steering wheel trim and "altimeter" speed read-out scale point clearly to Saab's aviation heritage. The vehicle sports a panoramic glass roof for a clear view of the outdoors.

Saab partnered with mountain sports specialists Salomon to develop the 9-4X concept's load-carrying ski equipment stowage system, which accommodates up to three sets of skis/poles inside the vehicle. The 9-4X BioPower concept's sliding rear floor has a U-shaped aluminum frame that folds out. Skis and poles slot through a pair of clips on each leg of the frame. The device threads between the two rear seats through the cabin, securing the skis in place while still allowing rear passengers room to sit. Two fixed, expanding pouches, each capable of holding two helmets, are on either side of the load area. Up to three pairs of ski boots fit securely in a separate, heated compartment under the sliding floor. A waterproof rubber "skin" covers the rear cargo area (including underfloor compartment and folding seatbacks), with an underfloor compartment vent for water drainage from wet, grimy ski equipment.

Hardware
Power for the Saab 9-4X BioPower Crossover concept comes from the 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder BioPower turbo engine optimized for bioethanol (E85) fuel that delivers 300 hp at 5400 rpm and 295 lb.-ft. of torque at 2600-5100 rpm (on E85), and 245 hp at 5300 rpm and 261 lb.-ft. of torque at 2500-5250 rpm (gasoline). Direct injection delivers fuel directly to the combustion chamber, and continuously variable valve timing (VVT) produces enhanced turbo response at low engine speeds and more torque spread, both of which help to improve engine efficiency, Saab says. A 6-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel controls transfers power to the wheels. Combined fuel consumption is estimated at about 22.4 mpg on gasoline. In terms of performance, preliminary data suggests a 0-60 mph figure of 7.9 seconds, with a top speed estimated at 146 mph.

The Saab XWD ("cross wheel drive") AWD system, which was recently launched in the 9-3, optimizes the 9-4X BioPower concept vehicle's responsiveness and stability. Its active fuel management splits torque delivery between axles, as well as between rear wheels, via an electronically controlled rear limited-slip differential. By making the rear of the car more closely follow the front wheel direction, XWD's active drive torque management improves cornering and stability, the automaker explains.

The 9-4X concept's suspension has MacPherson front struts and rear multi-link setup. Steering is rack and pinion with hydraulic power assistance, while hydraulic, dual-circuit, vacuum booster brakes with front and rear discs provide stopping power.

Safety
The list of advanced safety features on the 9-4X BioPower concept includes electronic stability and advanced braking systems, dual front air bags and rollover sensing for side curtain air bags. In addition, the front seats have Saab's new third-generation active head restraints which include a revised head restraint movement that helps reduce risk of severe neck injury, Saab claims.

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