There’s a new edition of Autocar on the news stands and if you’re in the UK, you might want to check out the Saab stuff contained therein.
I’ve received some info from them, which I’m guessing is in the magazine, for reproduction here for the benefit of those who won’t be able to rock up to their news stand and pick one up.
The info relates mostly to the Saab 9-4x and 9-5 interiors, as well as the segments Saab seeing these fit into. I know the 2010 Saab 9-5 is the one we’re all really waiting to see, but I tend to agree with the point below, that the 9-4x is going to be a much more significant player than what many of us give it credit for.
My thanks to the guys at Autocar for the insights here.
Now the mag is out, I can say that the interior of the 9-4x concept is pretty much the interior of the 9-5. The real car has black switches on the centre console (rather than silver) and some of the switchgear detail by the shift lever has been tweaked.
This is the most detailed interior shot we have, though it’s unknown if it features all the materials mentioned here. This is from a Saab 9-4x test vehicle. SW
On the production 9-5 Vector, the blue plastic dash finish on the concept is replaced by a deep blue tinted translucent plastic. (On) the back of moulding is a grid of tiny moulded squares (which you’ve already mentioned) which show through to the front under direct light.
The 9-4x concept steering wheel and stalks are production 9-5 as far as I remember. The production 9-4X also gets the same interior, give or take a few pieces.
Your readers made some interesting comments about the gap between the 9-5 and new 9-3. Saab is aware of the size of the 9-5 and made it clear it was being pitched as a flagship. However, the 9-4X is seen as sitting in that A4/3-series slot
According to the research they gave me, Saab buyers are more likely to have children in the household than other premium badge owners. They also said that the X3/Q5 was the ‘fastest growing premium segment’ at the moment. It’s also a pretty global type of car, unlike the compact estate which doesn’t sell in the US.
There’s quite a strong argument that the 9-4X is the best way for Saab to compete globally in the A4/3-series segment, especially as Saab is going to purchase finished ‘turn key’ cars in dollars from GM’s factory (which could deliver keen profit margins in Europe).
The other thing – confused in our report – is the three levels of suspension to be offered on the 9-5. Standard is McPherson strut and a four-link rear. You can also opt for the Hyper Strut front end which Bergstrom says is more rigid, so offering better steering and better NVH results. However, Saab will also offer the more sophisticated AWD rear axle without 4×4.
I’m not sure if Hyper Strut is standard on the 4×4 chassis.
This is all very encouraging news, particularly concerning the interiors of the vehicles. I remember being very taken by the 9-4x concept interior last year in Detroit, so to hear that a similar level of finish is being built into the production 9-4x and 9-5 is great news.
I should also mention here the Djup Strup info I got about the 9-5 interior last week, which very much backs up what Autocar have reported here:
The cars they showed me — 9-5 sedan + wagon + 9-4 — didn’t have interiors, but they did have a separate 9-5 interior set up alongside, and it had the same ice-like dashboard that you mention: dark blue I would say, studded with tiny bits coloured icy blue, quite gleamy and interesting. In shape it was, they said, an L shape dashboard and it felt very wrapped around the driver, almost two bays, one for the driver, one for the passenger (I exaggerate but you know what I mean)……. It also had a head up display, to project the indicators on the windscreen, as a top of the range thing, but I expect you already knew that, leather wrapped steering wheel etc.
I’m really looking forward to driving the 9-4x. I don’t know why as I’m not a SUV type at all (ok, crossover) but there’s something about it that’s appealing to me right now.