Posted Jan 10th 2012 5:33PM
GENEVA – The Saab‘s Dutch chairman and CEO, Victor Muller, probably doesn’t know and certainly doesn’t care that to us, the Saab Phoenix Concept is a Pontiac compact from the ’70s and ’80s. Just last week, Mueller sold his interest in Spyker to concentrate solely on Saab. And at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show, the automaker revealed the Saab PhoeniX Concept, a proposed replacement for the current 9-3 that plays up more heavily the aeronautic heritage of Saab Phoenix. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Saab history, you should know that the “Ursaab” name says a lot. It was Saab’s first model to be launched on the market and the Phoenix takes its inspiration from it as a play on the rising of the Phoenix. We’re thinking that if the future of Saab looks anything like this, then they will truly rise from the ashes, just like the Phoenix bird did.
Castriota plans to use early Saab Phoenix Concept raindrop shapes as a design theme. It has been designed as a 2+2 coupe. The tail, with its many LED taillamp bulbs, looks like something designed for Spyker. While there’s no sign on the Saab stand of Muller’s 9-2 design proposal, the Phoenix concept riffs off its raindrop shape. Castriota calls the design theme for a “sporty three-door hatch” the “aero-motional” aesthetic, and the inspiration for the 9-5 and 9-4x. The Phoenix has a 1.6-liter turbo four rated 200 horsepower, Saab‘s new “V” all-wheel-drive system developed with supplier American Axle, and a Google Android-based Icon infotainment system.
The Saab Phoenix Concept is powered by a highly efficient, 1.6-liter turbo engine driving the front wheels combined with Saab’s innovative eXWD system. The engine delivers a total of 200 HP, while the electric motor adds a total of 34 HP. The electric motor is powered by a small battery pack that is recharged using regenerative braking. The engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission and offers a combined cycle fuel economy of 56.5 mpg with CO2 emissions rated at 119 g/km.
The eXWD system comes with three operating modes: Eco, Sport, and Traction. Eco mode delivers optimal fuel and CO2 efficiency; Sport mode includes maximum power assistance with torque vectoring across the rear axle for greater chassis control; and Traction mode enables optimal grip at take-off and in slippery conditions of 2011 Saab Phoenix Concept.
The good news is that, inside and out, the Saab Phoenix Concept showcases new design directions and technologies that will be part of forthcoming Saab products.