Performance: Sporty and driver focused
Like all Saabs, the 9-7X is designed to be a driver’s car. To help achieve its comfortable, well controlled ride and responsive handling, the Saab 9-7X uses a uniquely-tuned double A-arm front suspension with front coil springs and a five-link, electronically controlled rear air suspension.
The car has been developed to deliver responsive driving characteristics and a low ride height with firm front and rear suspensions, a thick-gauge front stabiliser bar, and stiff upper control arm bushings at the rear. All shock absorbers are valved to help provide firm body control for confident handling. The P255/55R18 high performance all-season tyres have been specially developed by Dunlop for their road-gripping capability. A quick 18.5:1 steering gear ratio, together with stiff mounts, are designed to assist steering responsiveness and precision. The steering itself is tuned for on-centre feel and smooth operation. The front part of the frame is stiffened with braces to help make the steering more responsive and precise.
The Saab 9-7X features standard, on-demand, all-wheel-drive. Traction and handling performance are further enhanced by a standard preload-clutch limited-slip differential at the rear. Brakes are large, four-wheel vented discs, with front aluminium dual piston calipers and four-wheel ABS.
There is a choice of two all-aluminium engines, coupled to an electronically-controlled four-speed automatic transmission. The 4.2-litre in-line 6 delivers 275 bhp (205 kW) and 275 lb.ft. (372 Nm) of torque, The 5.3-litre V8 is rated at an estimated 300 bhp (224 kW) and 330 lb.ft. (447 Nm) of torque. This V8 is derived from GM’s new Gen IV Vortec engine, but is distinguished from other Vortec units by its cast-aluminium engine block. It has pressed-in iron cylinder liners, similar to the LS6 alloy Corvette V8 unit, and fully dressed, weights 100 pounds less than a comparable iron-block V8. The 9-7X V8 is also equipped with high-flow, cast alloy cylinder heads common with the famous LS6 Corvette engine.
"The 9-7X is an excellent example of Saab’s expertise applied to achieve sporty, driver focused performance," says Kjell-Ake Eriksson, Saab Executive Director for Future Products. "Although it offers excellent versatility, it is still a delight to drive, with minimal body roll and a firm but subtle, quiet ride."
On top of its well-mannered dynamics, the Saab 9-7X features a comprehensive standard safety package, including;
- Dual-stage frontal airbags
- Passenger sensing system
- Rollover sensing system
- Head curtain side airbags
- Front seatbelt pre-tensioners with load limiters
- Front seat belt reminder
Versatility: Plenty of room for people and their luggage
Saab 9-7X buyers are likely to pursue an outgoing and active lifestyle. With a wheelbase of 113 inches (2,870 mm) and an overall length of 193.4 inches (4,912 mm), the 9-7X offers ample space. It holds up to 41.0 cubic feet (1,161 litres) of cargo room with the rear seatback up, and 80.1 cubic feet (2,268 litres) with the seat folded. A 60/40 split rear seat is standard, as is a towbar receiver and cover. Maximum towing capacity is an estimated 6,500 lb (2,948 kg).
Peter Augustsson concludes that "the 9-7X is a crucial addition to Saab’s North American product offering, providing buyers with Saab’s driver-focused interpretation of an SUV, and filling an important need in our growth strategy."Published 7 April 2004