Family tail lights

Geneva is now far away. It was a short but great experience. It was great fun, but it was as demanding as my daily job. Jeff, are you sure you want to go to the NewYork motor show this year? 😉

I have a bunch of pictures on my computer that I want to share with you, so expect some further posts about Geneva in the next one or two days.

Red J

The last generation of Saab cars (9-5, 9-5SC and 9-4x) have many design clues in common, and one of those are the tail lights.

While the red light stripe is common to all three, the light clusters are very different. One reason for that is the tailgate which splits the light cluster into two (in the 9-5 sedan the second part is not there in the US, and is the central fog-light between the two exhaust pipes). But another reason for the different light clusters is in my opinion the refinement of the car.

While the 9-5 Sedan is a very classy car with a big presence, the 9-5SC is more of a work-horse, a very nice one btw. And if we go on we find at the end of the scale the 9-4x, the rough CUV.

I’m not saying that one car is better than the other, but this is how I would classify them design-wise.

9-5 Sedan

9-5 SportCombi


36 thoughts on “Family tail lights”

  1. Ok, let´s see.

    First taillight – fantastic
    Second taillight – fantastic
    Third taillight – fantastic

    That settles it 🙂

  2. 9-4x looks great in general, but compared to the other two it looks kind of cheap and not as polished.

  3. This might be old news and off this topic, but still extremely interesting.
    GM approves of Antonov stepping in to Saab as does the Swedish government. The loans from EIB might be payed off to secure additional loans (= a 92 on its way?)

        • I see the difference now… Red Js article implies that the light clusters for the saloon comes in 2 parts, ie a different overall shape.

          What the photo shows that the EU indicator section (amber) is redder on the US-spec car, while the redness extends to the sides (greyer on the EU car)

          • Peter, sorry if my text is a little bit confusing.
            What I meant is that the main rear light cluster on the sedan is not divided as it is the case in the SportCombi or the 9-4x, but in Europe the foglight is not in that cluster, but combined with the reflectors in a central cluster on the lower part of the bumper between the two exhaust pipes.

  4. You must be crazy tired J. I sympathize for sure. I also know you had the time of your life 🙂 Very excited to see your other great photos, and big time excited to hear about what you think of IQon, you’re one of the few people I actually trust on here to give your thoughts on the whole situation, especially since you got to has it out with the guys on the show floor.

    • Jeff,
      IQon is fantastic.

      It gives an answer to all the questions people were asking here during the last year about in-vehicle-infotainment systems.

      It only has one small problem, at least in the European market. In Europe the cell phone market is still a national market, so when you cross the border you connect to a roaming partner, which can be very expensive from time to time.

      Most of the Apps wont need to be constantly on-line, but imagine you are in Rome, the maps you have subscribed for are only for Sweden and Norway, because 98% of the time those are the only maps you use, and want to use the Nav-system. Maybe to buy maps for Rome or Italy is not that expensive, but the costs to download those maps can be quite prohibitive.

      If I read the interview with Criss McKinnon right, Saab is working on that and the European commission is also trying to get an European market for mobile infrastructures where Germans can Tweet about their great vacation in Scilly without having to sell their house to pay the phone bill afterwards.

      • Maybe this is a dumb question, I don’t know much about smartphones, but… what about viruses? Just today there was a new report about 21 Android apps that contained malicious code and had to be removed from the market. Getting data stolen or destroyed in your phone can be bad enough, but malfunctions in your car can be potentially fatal. Is it possible to design a net-connected, open-source infotainment system that is safe enough for car use?

        • Saab will set up a Saab App-store. You will only be able to buy Apps from that store and not from a generic Android store. Maybe somebody think that this is bad, because he won’t be able to install “Angry birds” on his IQon, but it is the only possibility for Saab to ensure that all the Apps installed in a Saab computer are safe.

          Remember, Saab is still an automotive company 😉

          • If you see what folks at forums like XDA-Developers can do, I am sure this will be jailbreakable. The question of course is, if you would want your car to be that vulnurable.

            About the tail lights: thank god there is still some difference, otherwise it’d be all the same like Audi 😉

            • Millermann,
              you can also tune a carburettor or change the carburettor if you wanted to get more horsepower out of an engine in the ’40s. The question is,
              Do you know what you do with your car?
              Will you assume the consequences of what you do?

              To jailbreak a Phone in order to be able to use the provider you want is one thing, to add untested software to a critical system like a car is madness !!!

              • Exactly my point. With T7 Suite I can edit my entire ECU, but of course I stick to what I know. I currently have my Windows Mobile 6.5 phone hacked so it runs Android, that’s pretty interesting stuff though, but it doesn’t harm me or anyone around me when my phone stops working or needs to reboot.

        • The big trick is to keep mission critical stuff well separated from IQon. Considering the proliferation of Android, leading to a high probability of a hacked system, my personal preference is that IQon is only able to passively access the cars vital micro-controllers. In other words, it can only monitor what is going on and not change anything, this is how we set up monitoring systems in my line of work.
          Of course there always needs to be access to to ECU somehow, similar to what is being with Tech-2 and Trionic right now through the ODB-II connector. So, it’s only a matter of time before some smart person hooks up the IQon system to the CAN bus interface, P2 or whatever is going to be used to hook up all the micro-controllers and sensors. From there it is again just a matter of time until the IQon gets illegally accessed and your engine blown up. Yes, I’m paranoid, as always. Having your nice new Android phone hacked into a paper weight is one thing, having your even nicer new Saab hacked into an uncontrollable highway projectile is something that nightmares are made off.

          • Yep, you’re absolutely right. But I have to think that for all those minuses having a platform where content is already developed and costs Saab a lot less to implement like Android is the one of the best possible scenarios. It also costs a lot less than licensing tech from Sanyo (which they do now), Visteon, or others looking to do the same thing. The only extra thing I really want from it is some flexibility with a terminal mode that’s able to access and control iOS or even your own Android device. I want to be able to read my texts etc. through my own phone’s interface sometimes. There are simple workthroughs to get this to happen on pretty much any device, including iOS. The key is making sure the system is open where it needs to be and closed where it shouldn’t.

            One other concern I had was for the passenger being able to see the screen…I’m assuming the PhoeniX was more conceptual than literal with its 45° cockpit angle, but they will undoubtedly be increasing the angle from where it is now (on the 9-5, it’s like 2°). Hopefully they keep it visible and use an IPS screen that can handle high brightness and wide viewing angles.

          • “The key is making sure the system is open where it needs to be and closed where it shouldn’t. ”

            Yeah, exactly, although humans are a curious bunch and will always find a way to kill themselves.

            I was thinking exactly the same thing about the angle of the screen in the PhoeniX. Shift in first, bump, shift in second, bump, etc… Plus, in the US they would be forced to mount a cupholder exactly in front or just slightly above the screen. Shift in first, bump, splash, bloody hell, aaaah…

          • I have enough problems as it is with hot coffee dripping over the shifter. The big thing with all of these systems being so hackable is that they are often more tempting for the casual geek who doesn’t understand all the underlying processes in his car to do. Changing software on a computer is much less involved than installing the wrong kind of carburetor- there’s much more of a disconnect when you get to hack your car from the comfort of your driver’s seat than under the hood. I imagine Saab will have a pretty strong warranty void if they find evidence of a rooted IQon system, though it’s easy to unjailbreak an android device usually too. Ahhh headache.

    • TM7374,
      some have already commented about that 2 days ago, and at least one of them had a link to that Firebird picture.

      BTW, the Phoenix is a fire bird.

      From Wikipedia:

      The phoenix (Ancient Greek: Φοῖνιξ, phoínix, Persian: ققنوس, Arabic: العنقاء أو طائر الفينيق, Chinese: 鳳凰 or 不死鳥) is a mythical sacred firebird that can be found in the mythologies of the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Chinese, and (according to Sanchuniathon) Phoenicians.

      • One that ressurrects from it own ashes, if memory serves me. Quite appropriate for what SAAB is aiming to be 🙂

  5. For what it’s worth, Saab made the headline with the Phoenix concept yet again over at Say what you want about what the car looks like, but Jason Castriota (and company) got this little car company noticed, which is exactly what needed to happen 🙂

  6. no apologies necessary J, it gives me a good excuse to check the websites….. 🙂

    great summary of the show – as ever I am completely jealous of you guys down there sharing oxygen with JAJ, VM, JC and other Saab afficionados…

    Great Display by Saab – but I saw my dream Saab today….an M83 4 door 99 GL – I love that model

  7. RedJ: Thanks for these pics! In detail they don’t have anything in common but the similar looks. I would love to see them all in parts and an explanation how they are made technically…

    BTW: Did you take similar pics of the headlights? I’ve noticed that the 9-5 and 9-4X lights differ quite a lot in shape…

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