This is Saab’s long-awaited 9-4X ‘crossover’ SUV, now less than a year away from showrooms.The 9-4X is a sister car to Cadillac’s upcoming SRX; both vehicles will be built at a GM plant in Mexico. Similar in size to a Volvo XC90, though it’s expected to be strict five-seater, the 9-4X is an absolutely crucial model for Saab in North America as buyers shift from traditional, truck-based SUVs to lighter and more fuel efficient car-based SUVs.See more spy pics of the Saab 9-4XThe 9-4X and SRX are based on GM’s new Theta chassis and get all-wheel drive. More upmarket versions of the car will have the option of Saab’s XWD system, which uses two clutches to individually distribute the engine’s torque between all four wheels.The 9-4X’s styling has been made more svelte compared to the original concept version shown earlier this year. It will also get a distinctive wrap-around dash which builds on Saab’s interior design language. The most popular engine option in the US market is expected to be Saab’s turbocharged four-cylinder unit, rather than a traditional, but much thirstier, V6. Four-cylinder diesels will be offered in Europe.By building the 9-4X in the Americas, Saab is expected to realise a decent profit on every example sold. Exporting the 9-3 and 9-5 from Sweden to the US has long been a financial disaster for the firm, because of the strength of the Swedish Krona against the dollar. Equally, by building the 9-4X in dollars and exporting it to Europe should also make the 9-4X profitable in Europe.Saab’s US dealers currently sell the 9-7X SUV, which is based on GM’s GMT360 truck chassis and is effectively a made-over version of the Chevrolet Trailblazer. Launched in 2005, the 9-7X was designed a quick-fix for Saab dealers in the US, desperate for an SUV model.