Saab Aero-X to make California debut
The striking 2006 Saab Aero X concept, voted ‘Best of Show’ at its world premiere in Geneva earlier this year, is scheduled to make its California debut at the 56 th Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance during the weekend of August 18-20. It will mark the very first time a Saab concept car is featured at this prestigious event, which brings thousands of car aficionados from all over the globe to the Monterey peninsula on the American West Coast.
“After its unveiling in Geneva and American debut in New York City earlier this year, we’re honored to present the Aero X at Pebble Beach”, said Jay Spenchian, Saab Automobile USA general manager. “This Concours is simply the world’s premier automotive event when it comes to showing the ultimate classics from the past, present and future. As Saab will share the famous putting green in front of the Lodge at Pebble Beach with revered brands like Ferrari, Bugatti and Aston Martin, we can’t wait to sample the reactions to the Aero X of the Concours participants and visitors.”
The Saab Aero X concept harnesses the power of Saab’s aviation and Scandinavian roots to make a unique statement in performance car design. Conceived as a study to explore future design directions, its innovative features preview the development of an enhanced design language that will inspire future Saab products.
As one would expect from Saab, this dynamic two-seater sports coupe breaks with automotive design convention both outside and inside. First, there are no doors…or windshield pillars. That’s because the Saab Aero X adopts a cockpit canopy, just as you would see on a jet aircraft. It offers the Aero X pilot full 180 degree vision, and also facilitates entry and exit from its low-slung cabin.
Thrust for the all-wheel-drive Saab Aero X also comes from a powerplant with a difference. The 400 bhp, twin-turbo, BioPower V6 engine is fueled entirely by ethanol, a sustainable energy source that is kinder to the environment by cutting fossil CO2 emissions. The ’green power’ of this advanced engine gives new meaning to the phrase ’performance with responsibility’.
Inside, the Saab Aero X’s cockpit also adds a new dimension to clean Scandinavian interior design by completely eliminating conventional dials and buttons. Instead, Saab has applied techniques derived from Swedish glass and precision instrument making, displaying data on glass-like acrylic ’clear zones’ in graphic 3-D images.
All exterior and interior lighting is by LED (light-emitting diode), which has given the design team new freedom to exploit the compact packaging benefits of a technology that will be featured increasingly in future Saab products.
With weight-saving carbon fiber bodywork, a lightweight powertrain, electronically controlled suspension and all-wheel drive, the Saab Aero X is an exciting driver’s car that promises a level of performance to match its looks. C omputer simulations anticipate zero to 60mph/100 kph in just 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph/250 kph (limited).
Despite being so tightly driver-focused, the Aero X still offers surprising practicality, again, a quality you would expect to find in all Saab designs. That dramatically sculpted tail conceals a useful twin storage facility, with a conventional hatch opening and sliding drawer underneath.
"This study shows how the strength of the Saab brand heritage can inspire bold, innovative design," says Bryan Nesbitt, Executive Director, GM Design Europe. "As we move forward with new Saab products, we will remain focused on carefully cultivating this brand equity in the context of Scandinavian design values."
"This concept shows the exciting possibilities that are open to us as we evolve a more progressive design language for the brand," says Jan Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile’s Managing Director. "Our designers, engineers and marketers in Sweden are ideally placed to nurture and communicate the unique DNA of the Saab brand. Their work will ensure that future product proposals express core qualities, such as progressive design, sporty performance and emotional functionality, in a way that is specific to Saab."
The Saab Aero X is the latest in a series of concepts from Saab, each accentuating different brand qualities. These include the ’four-dimensional’ 9X (IAA Frankfurt 2001), the 9-3X Cross-over Coupe (Detroit 2002) and the 9-3 Sport Hatch (IAA Frankfurt 2003).