Bold concept previews design direction and tech that will underpin the next 9-3

This is the dramatic new Saab PhoeniX, a concept that gives clues to the shape of next year’s new 9-3 hatch and previews the technology that will underpin it.

Jason Castriota, Saab’s new design director, calls the latest design language “aeromotional”. The show car is influenced by the 2006 Aero-X concept, complete with ‘butterfly’ doors and roof-mounted ‘winglets’, a nod to Saab’s roots as an aircraft manufacturer.

“It ushers in a new era of Saab design, adding passion and emotion to cool Scandinavian design,” said Castriota.

See official pics of the Saab PhoeniX concept

The 2+2 cabin hosts Saab’s new IQon infotainment and communications set-up. It’s based on the Google Android operating system and is likely to appear first on the next 9-3. The dashboard is dominated by an 8in touchscreen.

The PhoeniX is conceptually based on the new Saab platform that’s earmarked for the 9-3, as well as a future 9-5 and 9-4X. It has MacPherson struts at the front and a Saab-designed five-link independent rear axle.

This concept also reveals what’s expected to be the range-topping all-wheel-drive hybrid version of the new 9-3. Up front there’s a 200bhp, 185lb ft version of BMW’s 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine, equipped with the full range of Efficient Dynamics technologies and driving a six-speed manual ’box.

This is combined with a new Saab-designed eXWD “electric rear-wheel drive system”. It uses a 25kW (33bhp) electric motor/generator and 11kWh lithium ion battery to power the rear wheels. Differential driveshafts allow torque vectoring to be applied to the rear wheels.

Saab claims a 0-62mph time of 5.9sec, a top speed of 155mph, 56.5mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 119g/km.

Hilton Holloway

See all the latest Saab reviews, news and video

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run