Saab has released the first pictures of its 9-X air concept for Paris
18 September 2008

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.

The idea is that the canvas roof can fold away, leaving the glass screen up, which acts as a wind deflector to keep the cabin free of turbulence for four occupants. Many convertibles are equipped with mesh deflectors to cut turbulence, but they usually fit over the rear seats meaning they can’t be used when four people occupy the cabin.

The 9-X Air is also hinting at Saab’s future engine strategy, using a hybrid-assisted 198bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged engine that can run on bio-ethanol fuel. Saab says it has projected CO2 emissions of just 119 g/km when running on petrol, and 107 g/km when running on ‘E85’ bio-ethanol.

Join the debate



21 September 2008

Looks good. Making a four seat convertible which doesn't look like a saloon with the top chopped off would be nice.

I'd love another MX-5, but now need more then two seats.

22 September 2008

Saab make great concepts but walk into a showroom and you'll just get warmed over Vectra and, I think I'm right in saying this in the case of the 9-5, warmed over 1987 Fiat Croma. Come on GM, invest!

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate
    First Drive
    19 March 2018
    The Mercedes-Benz E-Class could be all the estate car you’ll ever want — or it could be overkill. Let’s see which...
  • Dallara Stradale
    The Stradale is the first road-legel car from Italian motorsport constructor Dallara
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    The motorsport constructor's first road car is inspired by Lotus minimalism. Does it thrill on road and track?
  • Hyundai i30 N
    Standard spec is good so paint colour is our car’s only option
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    What’s Hyundai’s first hot hatch and N-brand debutant really like? Let’s find out
  • Porsche Boxster GTS
    This is the new GTS version of the Porsche Boxster
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The 718-generation Boxster is our favourite roadster of the moment – so is this new GTS variant worth the extra outlay?
  • BMW 5 Series
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The BMW 5 Series is top of the mid-exec pack, but is there still room for a diesel saloon in everyday family life?