Saab 9-3x totally exposed

Here they are…..
Full daytime shots with proper wheels. No falling snow and no disguises. Auto Motor and Sport in Sweden have spotted the Saab 9-3x in all its glory.
I really, REALLY like the look of this vehicle. It’s a subtle change, but a great one and a fantastic addition to Saab’s portfolio.
The Saab 9-3x is due to make its official public debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month (March 2009). I hope it gets a really good showing.
There are more photos over at Auto Motor and Sport, and they’re HUGE!
Thanks Par!

2010 Saab 9-5 photoshop comparisons

Someone named “keeneyes” produced what is my favourite photochop of the 2010 Saab 9-5 so far, basically by taking a couple of real spyphotos and making silhouettes of them.
Robert B has done some digging through the archives and looked at the many photoshop predictions that have surfuced in the media over the last 18 months and has come up with a very similar shaped vehicle to compare the real car’s silhouette with.
Here’s the comparison. Click to enlarge.
The image on the left first appeared on this site way back in March 2007 and was noted then as coming from a Danish magazine (i.e. a magazine from Denmark, not a magazine about sweet pastries). As far as the overall shape is concerned, it’s a very good likeness.
I find myself hoping that they’ll have evolved the exterior design a little more from the current 9-5, however.
For comparitive purposes, here are the other images that have surfaced so far….right back to mid-2006.
From Saab:

From Vibilgare:

Read more2010 Saab 9-5 photoshop comparisons

That Saab 9-3x rear badge

Carpix have been kind enough to send me a full size photo showing the rear badge of the Saab 9-3x vehicle photographed in northern Sweden in the last few days.
Saab 9-3x rear badge
With the name settled, you can now resume your normal whining about how this car is too little, too late, etc.
Personally, I’m with PT on this issue:

Just a foot note for those who have their knickers in a twist about this car. Some Porsche-o-philes had the same reaction to the Cayenne and dittto for the X5 and ML series. All of those cars have basically bankrolled their respective companies to enable the ongoing production of their “true” models like 911s and M3s. Saab needs all the models and range-width it can get with a minimum of expense so please save your bleeding hearts and 4wd-phobia for someone else. If you want this company to hang around, you have to support this car and others like it. Its too late to be sitting on the fence and debating the merits of what is or is not art.

‘Support’ in this context will be different things to different people. Some will ‘support’ it by buying it. Some will ‘support’ it by just thinking it’s good to have it around.
There are no finger-snap solutions to Saab’s car range. This is a step in the right direction. One of many steps that are needed, but a step nonetheless.
I think this is a great step, and I’m looking forward to seeing it for myself.

Saab 9-4x spyshots: winter testing

Bilnorge, from Norway, have some new spyshots of the Saab 9-4x undergoing winter testing.
As you can see, Saab have all but given up on disguising the car, with only a few black triangles covering up the true lines of the vehicle.
Looks great! But how does it drive?
The full library of photos (all of which are bigger than this snippet that I’ve cropped for use here) are available at Bilnorge.
Thanks to you-know-who-you-are!

Saab independence plans rolling out

It seems the deck chairs are shifting and the plans slowly unrolling within GM Europe for a more independent and distinct Saab.
There are two main news articles doing the rounds on the web today. The Automotive News article is based on a GM press release that reads as follows:

General Motors (GM) will reorganize the sales, marketing and aftersales function in Europe. The aim is to give more responsibility to the individual brands and markets in order to be able to respond fast to the rapidly changing market conditions, while continuing to focus on growth markets (particularly Russia). The changes will focus on strengthening GM’s brands and maximizing efficiency by capturing the non-customer visible multi-brand synergies.
GM Europe will also streamline the cluster organizations and have the markets report directly into the brands. This allows a more targeted approach in the individual markets, speeds up decision making and simplifies the structure.
To achieve this, GM Europe announces the appointment of three brand leaders, reporting directly to Brent Dewar, GM Europe vice president, sales, marketing and aftersales:
* Alain Visser, currently GME chief marketing officer, will be named GME vice president Opel
* Wayne Brannon, currently executive director Chevrolet Europe, will be named GME vice president Chevrolet
* Jan-Åke Jonsson, will add responsibility for marketing and sales for the Saab brand in Europe to his role of managing director of Saab Automobile AB

An interesting omission here – who’s the chief in charge of GM Premium Brands? The guy who’s going to push Cadillac’s barrow in Europe?
Did I miss something here?
The release goes on…..

Read moreSaab independence plans rolling out

New Saab 9-3x spyphotos

I believe some of the European automotive press are actually either on their way to, or are actually conducting some initial test drives of the Saab 9-3x in northern Sweden as we speak.
The automotive papparazzi seem to be hanging out there as well.
There’s a new gallery of shots over at Motor Authority.
Here’s a small version of one. Head over to Motor Authority for the rest, all of which are much bigger. All of them suffer from bright flash exposure and the snowfall that was happening at the time, but are still interesting to look at.
The question remains – are any of these diesels? And if so, do they also have XWD?

Will the Saab 9-3x come with a diesel?

This isn’t going to help slow sales in the US, but it’s potentially a very positive development for the imminent release of the Saab 9-3x.
One of the bugs with the XWD system in the regular Saab 9-3 is that there wasn’t enough room to have both a diesel engine and Saab’s new cross-wheel-drive system in the same car. With diesels being so big in Europe, this would have made a great alternative to an SUV for the Euro market.
Saab 9-3x
I’ve just heard from one source in Europe that the Saab 9-3x will be offered with a diesel engine, which raises a couple of possible scenarios:
1) With the extra suspension-induced clearance that might be available with the 9-3x (being a raised up and body-cladded version of the 9-3 SportCombi) they’ve now got enough room to fit both the XWD system and a diesel engine.
2) There may be a FWD version of the 9-3x on the menu in addition to the standard XWD model that we’re expecting. This could offer the same drivetrains as the regular 9-3 SportCombi range, but with the body modifications of the 9-3x and no XWD system.
Option 1 is definitely the preferable scenario. When the XWD system first came about I heard from a lot of people who were interested in the combination of XWD with a diesel powerplant.
Although option 2 seems to go against the “x” part of the model’s name, I’d imagine this is the more likely scenario. Call me a pessimist, but I don’t want to get my hopes up for a diesel/XWD combination and then have those hopes dashed. Having both FWD and XWD versions of this body style would make sense, too, offering the vehicle to more potential customers who want the utility that comes with the ground clearance, but not the extra fuel consumption that comes with XWD.
There was no mention as to whether the diesel powerplant in question would be a TiD or a TTiD engine, so we’ll have to wait and see.

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