Saab has released the first pictures of the 9-X Air concept that will be shown at the forthcoming Paris show.
Behind the usual show bling, the 9-X Air is being billed as the next-generation 9-3 Cabriolet, planned for sale around 2013/14, and built on the next-generation GM Delta 2 platform.
Key to this switch — until earlier this year the 9-3 was planned on a shortened Epsilon 2 — is a desire to minimise exhaust emissions and fuel economy by keeping the next 9-3 close in size to today’s model.
With this in mind, Saab is exploring new ideas for an open-roof car on the 9-X Air, eschewing a conventional canvas folding roof or fashionable metal-folding hardtop in favour of a new concept of a lightweight two-piece fabric and glass design.
A series of patents are being sought on this design, which Saab says is an in-house concept, developed by its own engineers rather than a supplier system. The rear window forms the aft section of this roof, sliding away into a compact pocket behind the rear bulkhead, while the forward part features a folding canvas roof engineered to move like that on a Mini Convertible.