Saab 9-4x in Aftonbladet

Robert Collin from Aftonbladet was in LA for the auto show and whilst it was a few weeks ago now, he’s just published some thoughts on the Saab 9-4x.

The article covers quite a bit about the vehicle’s development and Robert speaks with Peter Dorrich, who some of you will remember from this quick video.

In the Aftonbladet article, Peter goes into a bit more detail about the work that was performed, the fights that he had to have in order to get the Saab 9-4x to be a real, Saab-derived vehicle.

Peter Dörrich, a Saab man from Trollhattan for 30 years despite his German sounding name, had the technical responsibility for the project in which both the Saab 9-4X and Cadillac SRX would be developed…..

…..- I had been involved in developing both the Saab 9-2X and Saab 9-7X and had lived in Detroit since 2000 when I assumed responsibility for the new project in 2005

– We had many ideas that were not shared by Cadillac (that is, Cadillac didn’t see the value in them), not in the beginning anyway,” says Peter Dörrich when we meet in Los Angeles. But the American executives at GM had full confidence in me and I was working on getting the Cadillac people convinced of how we wanted the car…..

……The most important thing was driving characteristics. They had to be European

The story goes on to speak of how many characteristics were developed for the Saab side and were then picked up for the SRX.

The XWD system, for instance.

And thanks to Saab also the Cadillac has all-wheel drive from Haldex. Originally, the SRX was to have a cheaper system, but Saab were relentless, it must be Haldex, and also with the special slip differential eLSD rear, and the SRX got the same system.

– I’m extremely happy with the handling characteristics. They are better than the 9-3X (who received the highest rating for handling the Aftonbladet last year), mostly thanks to the engines. They are stronger, have better torque and run better.

There’s also a little bit about the considerations given to a V6 diesel, however the translation is a bit vague and I don’t want to risk a mistake here. So here’s the original Swedish and hopefully someone can provide an accurate translation.

– De var för dåliga, säger Saab-chefen Jan Åke Jonsson till Aftonbladet. Det var en V6 från italienska VM Motori och en fyrcylindrig GM-motor, men de var för klena och inte tillräckligt snåla. Då är vi hellre utan, även om vi förstår vad det betyder för försäljningen i Europa.

Translations now received (thanks!)

They were too bad, says Saab boss Jan Åke Jonsson to Aftonbladet. It was a V6 from italian VM Motori and a four cylinder GM engine, but they were not powerful enough and not fuel efficient enough. Then we rather have no diesel, altough we understand what that means for sales in Europe.

The Saab 9-4x as shown in LA looks like it’s going to be one heck of an interesting Saab. It’s the first genuinely Saab-developed vehicle in the segment and personally speaking, I can’t wait to have a crack at it.

Thanks to Arild for the tip (check that link to see the fun Arild’s having with his new 9-5).

47 thoughts on “Saab 9-4x in Aftonbladet”

  1. 🙂 ok sire, here it comes:

    “-They were to bad, says Saab-boss Jan-Åke Jonsson to Aftonbladet. It was a V6 from italian VM Motori and a four-cylinder GM-engine, but they were to low on power and not fuel-efficient enough. Then we´re rather without, even though we realize what it means to the sales in europe.”

  2. They were too bad, says Saab boss Jan Åke Jonsson to Aftonbladet. It was a V6 from italian VM Motori and a four cylinder GM engine, but they were not powerful enough and not fuel efficient enough. Then we rather have no diesel, altough we understand what that means for sales in Europe.

  3. This “they were too bad” fits quite well with some GME rumours, about GM ditching the VMM V6 engine. But what about that 4 cyl. GM engine?
    This is my theory.
    The 9-4X and the SRX are based on the Theta premium platform.

    Reports differ, but the consensus is that it is a combination of the current Theta and elements of the new Epsilon 2 architecture, with some Lambda components as well. Thus this platform is sometimes also referred to as Theta-Epsilon (TE). Theta Premium supports larger models than the standard platform.

    (Fom Wikipedia)

    I think, Theta premium has more with Theta in common then with Epsilon 2. Therefore I think GM offered to mount the Diesel Engine from the Theta SUV (opel Antara/Chevrolet Captiva) in the 9-4X, rather than the Epsilon2 Diesel engine from the 9-5.
    And the Antara with the new 184hp 2.2l 4cyl diesel engine with AWD and an automatic gearbox produces 205g CO2 per km.
    If we compare this with the X3xdrive20d with 184 hp and only produces 149g CO2 per km, then I can see why Jan Åke would reject that engine.

  4. All right, so how do you say in English: right from rhe horse’s mouth: the VM Motori engine did not fullfil Saab’s requirements. Boy! After all, it appears that GM’s decision to not use that engine was of technical nature! So, any hope that independent Saab will use this engine should be put to rest. Good luck with that engine, Fiat (provided that rumor holds true, and the engine was not improved). That leaves the the Ford/Jaguar/PSA V6, or the i5 from Fiat!?

    • I’ve only heard from rumours that GME ditched the engine because they couldn’t reach the emission targets.

      BTW, you forgot the D5 from Volvo 😉

      • D5 would be great, locally produced in Skövde and fitted in THN. Heard that Ford didn’t approve when Ovlov suggested refinements to make it more frugal and stronger – but they did it anyway. Could be a foundation for a brimming west Swedish engine competence cluster.

  5. I am disappointed…. the VM Motori used to be very good in the past, obviously they have not been developed

  6. Does not appear to be the same engine as is now offered vy VM Motori, RA 629 DOHC vs RA 630 DOHC. The 629 was cancelled, the 630 is now on their website, injection presdure 2000 bar.

    • I think that’s the engine going into the Chrysler 300 and its Lancia counterpart for European markets early next year. Sounds like a good engine that would work in the 9-4x but the costs are likely prohibitive.

  7. I think we are looking at a couple of years production at GM facilities, then a move of production to THN, accompanied by model updates and introduction of diesel engines. Fair enough. SUV’s don’t sell in Europe as they do in the U.S. anyways. For starters the car is produced where it sells the most, and with engines relevant to that market (US/gas V6). Not much to whine about actually, given a somewhat cumbersome period of time going through hell.

  8. It keeps getting mentioned that Peter Dörrich is responsible for the development Saab 9-4X.
    What most people don’t know, is that the new Saab 9-5 is also Peter’s project, as he was chief engineer, on that car….


  9. I’m interested in buying the 9-4X. But I wonder what it’s off-road capabilities are. Sometimes I need to be able to get through some nasty stuff (snow, mud etc) though not as bad that I’d need the ‘classic’ Land Rover or so. The 9-7X was quite capable, although not quite as good as a Jeep Grand Cherokee (which might be similarly priced as the 9-4X ?).

    • A crossover is basically a station wagon with a tall suspension so any off-roading probably isn’t a good idea. It’ll be a good vehicle for handling snow and dirt roads though, as long as you stay on a road.

    • If you’re going off-road I say you go for a 1985-model of the Mercedes Geländewagen.. then you’re safe.. 😉

      And then you have the 9-4X when you go city driving.. 😛

    • I’m in the same situation. So far, the 9-4x looks more like a take the kids to the mall kind of vehicle than anything suitable for rough roads. Maybe they will come up with a variant with more off-highway capability (more ground clearance, lower body cladding, skid plates, all terrain tires, and such). For now, my four wheel drive Dodge pickup will be fine.

  10. This is all strange. The VM Motori RA 630 has a peak performance of 250hp and a 550NM of torque and is EURO 5 compliant. Is this not powerful enough? Two more observations? The engine offers more upside: It is redesigned to offer 310 peak hp , and furthermore is EURO 6 capable, according to recent articles. Fuel efficiency there are no figures available yet, but soon the Chrysler Grand Cherokee will be presented with this engine. Let’s look there, what the figures will be.

  11. The VM RE630 engine or equivalent is a new engine. As far as I know it is not used in other production cars at the moment. Saab has some bad experience with V6 diesel engines in the past. The 2002-2006 3.0 TID new Isuzu was not an reliable engine with its “dropping cylinder liners”.

    So I can imagine that Saab is hesitating buying a new V6 diesel for the second time, that has not proven itself yet, even if it looks tempting on paper.

  12. Like I wrote on Autoweek a while back, maybe the SRX should be considered a SAAB rebadge, not the other way around, as with the Opel Insigna/9-5 duo.

  13. I’m extremely happy with the handling characteristics. They are better than the 9-3X (who received the highest rating for handling the Aftonbladet last year), mostly thanks to the engines. They are stronger, have better torque and run better.

    I recall the spec for the eLSD for hte 9-4X had a much higher percentage of torque able to switch between wheels compared with the 9-3X. I learned back in 2009 that the eLSD torque switching for the 9-3X was limited by the strength of the rear mechanicals. With stronger engines and a heavier vehicle, the rear mechanicals for the 9-4X are designed to handle more and, as a result, this crossover gets an improved driving characteristic (i.e., handling) benefit that was referred to.

  14. I think one part were missed in the translation.
    Robert Collin also gave the nice car 5 + of 5 possible, regarding:
    Definitely more Scandinavian in style than the Volvo XC60. It is sober, square and functional with large windows giving good visibility and plenty of space. A form you not get tired of.
    How a Saab should look.
    Well, this is how a car shall look!

  15. JÅJ commented the engine issue in LA (for the swedish car magazine Teknikens Värld). He told that when the V6 diesel was ditched, then Saab tried both the four cylinder diesels (used in 9-3 and 9-5), but the consumption was too high while the car didn’t get good enough performance. His comment do not implicate that the VMM diesel wasn’t good enough.

    • I want to assume the first sentence is sarcasm/humor. The three windscreen washer pods started with the first generation 9-5 and continued to the 9-3 (at least the later years). BTW, he new 9-5 has the nozzles in the cowl instead of the hood. I haven’t tried them but I like getting them off the hood.

      • Definitely humour. It’s just one of my Aussie compatriots stirring the pot and playing mimic to some of the negative commentary that happens sometimes.

        Turbin – down boy! Back to designing parts for those kids toys.

    • the Cayenne isn´t also a true porsche …. a crossover suv can`t be a 900

      for me the 94x has all a SAAB suv should have. but a bit more practical gimmicks would be fine .

  16. One slightly unrelated question;

    Where are all the spy pics of the ng 9-5 SportCombi? They must be entering the final testing of that car right now.

  17. Patrik B: you can spot it from time to time in Trollhättan but it’s the same one we’ve seen for a year now. Just google 🙂

  18. Way of topic…
    I just saw a comment on ams sweden from a fellow that claims hes working on saab. It stated that demand in the us is bigger than thn can send over there. This is the 2011 cars.
    If so, then the incentives on new car is only to clear stocks I guess.
    Isn’t that normal this time of year regardless of brand? And a result of sales only from stock instead of building to end user demand?

    Well, in my book this should be good news if true

  19. Brave but correct move by Saab not to launch with a diesel that they have to apologise for.

    FWIW, I hope all those people who were screaming here in comments in CAPS THAT SAAB WAS CRAZY TO LAUNCH WITHOUT DIESEL are now quietly reconsidering their ways. Better to bring the right engine when you’ve got it and lets face it, the volume that will pay the rent is from the US where a petrol V6 is ok.

  20. For me, it’s quite obvious SAAB had a HUGE hand in its development.

    Why? It is the first SUV I have seen that actually has a lot of trunk (boot) space, without the need to fold down the rear seats. Typical SAAB thinking. Take the entire family AND their luggage INSIDE the vehicle. No real need for a roof top box to carry things.

    I have never understood why anyone would buy a vehicle that has no trunk (boot) space, and then have to pay extra for a box, and possibly roof bars, just so you can carry people and luggage.

    And then there is always the fun of GETTING TO the box, perched on top of the vehicle. Especially when the vehicle has been driving on salt covered roads for hours (better be wearing WHITE clothes). 🙁

    So I do believe SAAB will sell as many of these as they can produce. 🙂

Comments are closed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.