Saab 9-X BioHybrid
Saab 9-X BioHybrid

The Saab 9-X BioHybrid concept demonstrates how Saab design values could be expressed in a future compact car format. It is focused on youthful customers, typical of the premium compact car segment. They seek and value progressive product design and efficient performance, with easy access to high-tech communications, as well as a sporty driving experience.

The bold execution of the 9-X BioHybrid evolves visual design themes from the award-winning Aero X coupe (shown Geneva 2006) and multi-dimensional 9X (shown Frankfurt 2001) concepts. Inside, it showcases an entirely new expression of Saab’s driver-focused cockpit design, as well as innovative seamless in-car connectivity for all personal nomadic devices. Smart rear functionality features a cargo deck with an automatic sliding floor and a ‘friction’ loading system.

The small yet powerful 200 hp (147 kW), 1.4-litre BioPower turbo engine, optimised for bioethanol (E85) fuel, is backed by GM’s next-generation hybrid system (see separate release for details) for efficient, environmentally-responsible performance.

“This concept redefines conventional compact car design,” says Jan Åke Jonsson, Saab’s Managing Director. “It shows how progressive Saab design can be combined with smart features and responsible, rightsizing performance that is in tune with the expectations of younger buyers in this segment.”

Clean Scandinavian Design

With minimal bodywork overhangs, a wide stance and extended roof line, the three-door Saab 9-X BioHybrid brings a dynamic, new dimension to conventional ‘hatchback’ looks. The single window graphic, smooth ‘fuselage’ bodywork - without any visible handles or even door mirrors -   and ‘ice block’ lighting themes draw on roots in Scandinavian design and Saab’s aircraft heritage.

At the front, the deep grille, that concave styling line in the bonnet pressing and the ‘wraparound’ windscreen are inspired by the award-winning Aero X concept shown at Geneva two years ago. The car’s overall proportions and rear functionality are developed from the 9X multi-role concept shown at Frankfurt in 2001.

The 9-X BioHybrid cuts a unique silhouette in compact car design. The longer roof line and ‘sawn off’ rear styling contributes to a better aerodynamic performance and provides more interior room than a conventional compact hatchback with a sloping screen and rear boot lid deck.

Touch-sensitive, keyless entry, eliminates the need for exterior door handles. And the use of small, retracting rear-view camera pods - instead of larger door mirrors - further contributes to the clean ‘fuselage’ effect, while also reducing aerodynamic drag at speed.

A large solar cell in the glass roof takes advantage of free energy from the sun by adding charge to the hybrid battery pack while the vehicle is parked and also when it is being driven.

At night, driving comfort is improved by automatic switching between high and dipped headlight beams. A front-mounted camera monitors light sources on the road ahead and small shutters automatically ‘hood’ the high beam when on-coming traffic is approaching.

Active Aerodynamics

Echoing Saab’s roots in aircraft design, the 9-X BioHybrid explores the potential for using active aerodynamics to reduce drag - and fuel consumption - at cruising speeds. Above 43 mph, the upper and lower bodywork is reshaped as the roof spoiler automatically extends to further lengthen the roof line and an underbody diffuser is deployed from the bottom of the rear bumper.

During heavy braking from over 62 mph, the rear spoiler is raised, adding downforce over the rear axle. This action also reveals a reflector that increases the visibility of the brake light underneath, as a further warning of heavy braking.

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Published : 04/03/08 Author : Melanie Carter

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