I’m still finalising some answers to the questions you asked prior to the LA Auto Show. One of those was about the Saab 9-4x and diesel.
There are reports floating around adressing this question, so rather than wait until the whole Q&A is ready, I figured I’d get the 9-4x engine question out of the way now.
Any update on a diesel engine for Europe? – for Saab 9-5 and Saab 9-4x
There are several issues with alternative engines for the Saab 9-4x. It’s known that there isn’t a V6 diesel available right now and that’s the ideal engine for this model in Europe.
Jan-Ake Jonsson spoke to a few reporters about this issue and he’s being quote fairly widely now:
Saab sources have conceded to Autocar that sales will be hampered by the lack of a diesel and company boss Jan Ake Jonsson has said a diesel 9-4X is unlikely to ever be launched.
“If you then look at the life cycle of the vehicle, typically five or six years, before we actually have a diesel engine, we have to find one, we have to test it, we have to install it, validate it, and you are two years into the life cycle,” he said.
“And then you have a very short payoff period. So I think it is unlikely.”
Before you go and all sackcloth-and-ashes in comments, please know that every Saab enthusiast with a heartbeat already knows that this will severely restrict sales of the 9-4x car in Europe. It’s been thoroughly documented and discussed and JAJ’s quote only sets in stone what we already knew. Please save your keystrokes and move on.
I spoke with other staffers in LA about alternative powerplants for the 9-4x. Their responses inadequately expressed in my words – in a nutshell…..
It’s considered that both the 2.0T and 2.0 TTiD could pose emissions and refinement issues in the Saab 9-4x because of its larger size and weight.
Further to that, it’s a basic fact that a modern four cylinder engine will generally not be as refined as a modern six cylinder engine and it’s considered that refinement and smoothness are a bit more of a priority for the average 9-4x buyer at all levels. Hence, we have two six cylinder powerplants and it seems Saab would be unlikely to use a diesel unless there was a suitable V6 diesel available.
The bottom line – we have always known that the Saab 9-4x is a vehicle designed with the United States as its primary target. Whilst I’m sure there are/were potential buyers in Europe, these were always going to be small in number, even smaller now with no diesel in sight.
The Saab 9-4x will do its job in the United States. It looks great. It’s a good size, without being too big and cumbersome. It should feature car-like handling with its chassis tuned by Saab and the price range for the five Saab 9-4x model variants seems spot on.