Press Release: Saab PhoeniX concept: The Future is Already Here

  • ‘Aeromotional’ design inspired by Saab’s aviation roots
  • Design and technical features to shape next generation of Saab cars
  • Minimalist cabin with ground-breaking Saab IQon infotainment system
  • Rightsized turbo engine and innovative Saab eXWD for electric rear drive
  • Showcases technologies in all-new vehicle architecture

Sleek, innovative and exceptionally efficient: the Saab PhoeniX concept car showcases design features and technologies which will shape the next generation of cars from Saab. Based on an new architecture which will empower the next Saab 9-3 model, the PhoeniX introduces ‘aeromotional’ design: a visual evocation of the aerodynamic design principles and passion for innovation that inspired the creators of Saab’s first car, the iconic Ursaab.

The PhoeniX embraces teardrop, ‘liquid metal’ forms and a dramatic jet canopy-inspired glasshouse that gives fresh expression to Saab’s signature ‘wraparound’ and translucent ice-block design themes. The clean, muscular shape enables an exceptionally low drag co-efficient of just 0.25 and also explores the potential for airflow management through the use of distinctive, side-mounted ‘winglets’.

Butterfly opening doors give easy access to a 2+2 cabin that blends simplicity with technology. It has a minimalist, ‘stripped out’ feel, including a new expression of Saab’s driver-focused layout and a world debut for Saab’s innovative IQon infotainment and communications system.

In true Saab tradition, there is also a surprisingly versatile cargo deck. “The PhoeniX establishes a new reference point for the future of Saab product design,” says Jason Castriota, Saab Automobile’s Executive Design Director. “It symbolizes a renaissance of the innovative spirit and passion that drove Saab to build its first car. We’re now taking the visual DNA forward with what we call ‘aeromotional’ design, adding emotion, power and fluidity. This design aesthetic will shape and differentiate future models in the Saab portfolio.”

Under its rippling bodywork, the Saab PhoeniX deploys an innovative driveline, with an electrically-driven rear axle mated to a sophisticated 200 hp, 1.6-liter gasoline turbo engine. The result is an intelligent, hybrid all-wheel-drive capability that enhances driving pleasure while reducing fuel consumption. Combined cycle fuel economy and CO2 emissions are projected to be just 5.0 l/100 km and 119 g/km.

Aeromotional design

The PhoeniX’s ‘aeromotional’ design theme is inspired by Saab’s aviation roots and draws expression from Ursaab, the prototype designed by aircraft engineers that spawned Saab’s first generation of cars. The entire form of the PhoeniX is seemingly molded by the wind. Tightly-wrapped by a liquid-like skin, the teardrop cabin resembles a dark ice block and appears to erupt from the center of the muscular bodywork. Two prominent ripples flow along the hood into the disguised windshield pillars, as if barely able to contain a powerful structure underneath.

At the rear, the dark screen also bursts through the outer skin of the rear deck, The tapering form hints at the teardrop rear styling of Ursaab, while the ‘sawn off’, kamm tail echoes a form from Saab’s first coupé, the Sonett. The low, frontal styling features a stretched interpretation of Saab’s signature three-port grille. A body-colored central wing is now dominant and, in keeping with the car’s minimalist design, LED headlamps are almost invisibly located at its tips.

The new grille and hood forms are among the styling themes likely to be seen in future Saab production cars. Butterfly-opening doors provide enhanced access to the low-slung cabin. There are no visible door handles or mirrors to disrupt airflow, and small cameras on slim stalks provide rearward vision. Roof-mounted ‘winglets’ enable PhoeniX to cleave the air as efficiently as possible. They channel airflow from the side of the car and direct it across the rear deck, reducing lift forces for greater stability without increasing drag.

Minimalist interior

In true Scandinavian tradition, the 2+2 cabin adopts a clean, minimalist look. It has the ‘stripped out’ feel of a competition car, with shell-like seats and metalized interior sections that mimic the exposed network of a rollover cage. Fresh expression is given to Saab’s traditional, driver-focused instrument layout. A circular pod in front of the driver, shaped like the afterburner of a jet engine, presents data in tandem with the head-up display. Angled at 45º to the driver, a separate module accommodates Saab’s advanced IQon infotainment and communications system.

For good ergonomics, the 8-inch touch-screen is as close to the driver’s finger tips as the steering wheel. Saab IQon (see separate release for full details) is a ground-breaking car communications platform using Google’s AndroidTM operating system. Based on pioneering ‘open innovation’ with third-party service providers and applications developers, it comprises an embedded computer platform which seamlessly connects to the internet when the car’s ignition is switched on.

The touch-screen provides access to audio and entertainment streaming, online navigation, on-board music storage and smartphone-like downloading of applications. Red illumination for all instrument and ambient cabin lighting brings warmth and emotion to the cabin. This includes the floor, where LED light tubes are exposed by perforations in the black carpeting. It is all part of the new ‘aeromotional’ design strategy, incorporating ‘fire and ice’ effects. The PhoeniX’s curvaceous rear deck disguises a deep-opening tailgate. It gives access to a flat cargo deck, including fold-flat rear seatbacks and a cargo track for adaptable load carrying.

Efficient propulsion

Under its sculpted hood and beneath its cargo deck, the PhoeniX advances Saab’s rightsizing powertrain strategy. Its propulsion system combines a highly efficient, 1.6-liter turbo engine with innovative, electric rear wheel drive technology. The compact, all-aluminum gasoline engine packs 200 hp (147 kW) and includes variable valve timing and lift control, as well as start/stop functionality, minimal parasitic losses and a fuel cut-off function.

A stainless steel tank is fitted, which is lighter and less expensive than a conventional plastic design, The engine is supported by Saab’s innovative eXWD system. It comprises a rear drive unit housing a 25 kW (34 hp) electric motor/generator powered by a small battery pack. Regenerative braking is used to sustain the battery’s charge.

Now under development for the next generation of Saab cars, this hybrid propulsion system enables the benefits of all-wheel-drive while also reducing fuel consumption. Using a six-speed manual transmission, projected combined cycle fuel economy and CO2 emissions are just 5.0 l/100 km and 119 g/km. The driver can select one of three eXWD operating modes.

The default Eco mode delivers optimal fuel and CO2 efficiency with power assistance to reduce load on the gasoline engine at low speeds; Sport mode includes maximum power assistance with torque vectoring across the rear axle for greater chassis control; and Traction mode enables optimal grip at take-off and in slippery conditions. Inside and out, the Saab PhoeniX showcases new design directions and technologies that will be part of forthcoming Saab products.

Chris Carrier
Guest
Chris Carrier

I always wonder why people make the effort to point out how much THEY don’t like something. I wonder what they’re like at the dinner table…

Martin
Guest
Martin
Dear, I do not hate. I love this brand. I was more than enthusiastic when I saw the Aero-X (I do not remember any negative comments about that concept) and now I am happy to see the design transposition in the new 9-5 (the GM legacy in the performance is still embarrassing but the design is outstanding). Saab is a (relatively small) community supported brand. And our community did a lot for saving it. Now we see something that is not Saab – winglets, strange back etc. There are cool ideas (the old logo, the face) but the overall impression… Read more »
BaRa
Guest
BaRa

My personal conclusion: don’t trust the pictures car and driver gives you. With these renders, you finally get an idea of the proportions, shapes and details. My personal opinion after seeing these renders: much better – count me in as a fan!

gunteman
Guest
gunteman
Ouch! Tough one! It seems to make quite a bit of buzz and for that reason I like it. That’s its main purpose now. And there are elements, like the hood shoulders and the ice blue parts that look stunning. But as an indication of how future Saabs will look like? Hmmm…it’s worrying. I don’t think the tear drop shape is a vital part of the Saab DNA, and it’s one that will be hard to use outside the scope of small cars and sports cars. Other, for me more vital, DNA ingredients are missing. Especially the forward motion and… Read more »
Kjell Erik
Guest
Kjell Erik

It looks nice, but not to practical when you want to wash and polish it. And hell during winter, with ice and snow breaking the plastic parts apart. Besides the headlighs are placed to low, a problem shared with some of the competitors like audi a7 . I want headlights in the windscreen.

No 9
Guest
No 9

Nice Spyker concept… Doesn’t reach me and I don’t think it sends the right message for SAAB. OTOH, it will get a lot of attention.

TP
Guest
TP
I see the UR-SAAB linkage in the profile. I love the fact that they are being very bold around making it extremly aerodynamic. Its Very functional too for a 2 seat sportscar. Only disappointment for me is the driveline not being a stretch, similar to the design. Appears to be the standard driveline for the next 9.3. not bad, But the Phoenix diserves high power to weight ration. Whats the weight? If its no more then 1100kg, it will be as much of a blast to drive as it looks and my concerns about the 200+34HP driveline goes away. .
Steve C.
Guest
Steve C.
I saw the two C&D lifted-embargo pictures before going to bed last night and decided I needed to see more after the unveiling. The pictures with the press release did it for me! When I first saw that profile and then the profile from an elevated view, I had my wow moment. It just was a neat looking car regardless of who created it. The visual impact of seeing it in person must be incredible! The real Saab connection to the concept happened when I read the press release and thought about what I was looking at. The visual design… Read more »
Nisse
Guest
Nisse

“Aeromotional”?

I thought they were leaving the aircraft intense marketing?

ck1x
Guest
ck1x

I think the red colour in this car represents flame as the car is called Phoenix(even the metalic look gives the car a visage as if it came straight out of fire)! So the throw back tail lights of a Pontiac-firebird would kinda make since as well… Not that Saab wants anything to do with that brand but Pontiac-firebird wore a Phoenix proudly as well!

Alex
Guest
Alex

While I don’t love every bit of it, I’m incredibly excited to see how this will translate into a production car. There are some fantastic details from all over Saab’s past and the front end is a fantastic evolution of the Saab face.

The beating heart of the rising pheonix is a fantastic symbolism of Saab’s rebirth. I don’t think it will make it to production but I love it for a concept.

Kraig
Guest
Kraig

My apology if I’m not the first to notice this bit it just struck me: thename “PhoeniX” ends in “iX”. IX is 9 in Roman numerals.

KT
Guest
KT

The front is like an odyssey, i like the Aero X better.

stacia
Guest
stacia

You should add a button to “Like” on Facebook so this article can be easily shared. You have a Twitter button, but nothing for Facebook.

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