SU Video: Dig a Little Deeper Into the 9-4X

Here’s a quick video I shot yesterday of the 9-4X at the media launch in New York. I dug a little deeper into details that go unnoticed, and near the end you’ll see a special message from Tim Colbeck about the 9-4X to SaabsUnited readers. Music by Stockholm band Peter Bjorn and John’s new album, gotta keep it Swedish.

For his full multipart interview and my thoughts on how the car was received by the press, check back later this week as I’m still transcribing much of the audio. Later this month you’ll be reading (and watching) my full 9-4X review, which should not only include an Aero test but a 3.0 as well with much more detailed interior shots. I’m continually impressed by just how good the 9-4X has turned out, and even more impressed by the team assembled at SCNA. Their focus was evident, and they’re ready to take on the North American market with their new leader, Tim Colbeck at the helm.

41 thoughts on “SU Video: Dig a Little Deeper Into the 9-4X”

  1. Saab, you’re killing me!!

    I am not a current Saab owner (Audi A4), but I am very fond of the company (my father had a 1987 900S). For the past ~16 months, I have been borderline obsessed with this site and with Saab news. I know I should be cautious considering the issues with production, but the 9-4x is great! It’s like a never-ending roller coaster ride. I told myself to wait til March when my wife’s car is paid off to buy a new one, but I want to test drive the 9-4x now!

    • Must be the music, darn. I’ll post a music free one for you guys in this comment soon. Fortunately for the target market, North America, it works ;).

      • Germany is such a nice country, with all those lawyers trying to sue anybody using songs from a third person for the private use. But not if a company like Audi uses the music from an Artist, like Eminem, without permission for a (non)spot.

        • So true, ah well. I just wanted to get the video up quick, and wasn’t so much interested in narrating this time around, so I went with music. In the 9-4X driving review I’ll have much more talking and less music, but in the meantime it’s fun to promote some Swedish bands (which gets back to ways for unique customers to access the brand). We all have different musical tastes, but that’s what makes us interesting as a demographic– we’re independent thinkers and we all have our own points of view that converge with Saab.

          In the US, YouTube has a deal that allows the music since it’s sold through Amazon and iTunes. Using independent smaller bands definitely helps too, as they like the promotion. PB&J is one of the biggest bands to come out of Sweden though in the last few years, along with Robyn, Miike Snow (who’s done Buick commercials now :P), Shout Out Louds, Lykke Li– the list goes on and on. At least in America, these younger/hipper bands tend to attract the more independent/alternative thinkers that Saab is trying to target, right up to around the 40yo mark. The other video I did for the PhoeniX at Chelsea Piers was also Peter Bjorn and John, and a week after I put it up a new Bud Light ad featuring the song emerged– they’re definitely mainstream enough with youthful appeal.

          • “… tend to attract the more independent/alternative thinkers that Saab is trying to target, right up to around the 40yo mark.”
            You just made a happy man feel very old. 😀
            (By just a few years.)

          • “… tend to attract the more independent/alternative thinkers that Saab is trying to target, right up to around the 40yo mark.”

            At 48, I’m I too old to be driving a Saab?

            Like the Video and especially the Music despite my age!

            Not a great fan of the SUV format, but this one is pretty darn good looking, and I do like the hockey stick crease in the rear quater panels. Nice touch.

            I really hope it sells in NA by the bucket load.

          • Thanks Motoradd. At the last PB&J concert there were plenty of 50+ people, my mom loves the song Young Folks and she’s 60 🙂 You’re never too old to drive a Saab. I like to think Saabs are for people who are young at heart.

            It’s a very important point– the Cadillac SRX generally appeals to the 50+ set, I think the 9-4X fills the same needs, but appeals to a much younger demographic seeking something fresher and European.

          • Jeff! I support your artistic way of choosing an artist/band so keep it up.

            For me different country stands for specific music, take Canada for instanse. Great bands like:
            Rush(my favorit), bryan Adams, Toto(for there skills), Kick axe(cos they are better then they are known) Saga, Lee Aaron (in Sweden at the moment at Swedenrock and still looks stunning+ a great voice) and meny more.

            Germany: Accept (great music even Udo with “that voice”)

            Australia: AC-DC, Noiseworks (just amacing group) INXS….

            I could go on for ever. Every country has there great bands/artists.

            Sweden and göteborg has Mustasch and this song 6.36
            PS: Yes I like hard rock/heavy metal and Sweden is proberbly the country in the world there hardrock is biggest. Great country and good taste in music with not so bad cars either.

          • Tomas TL1000R
            I’m a big Rush fan too. Saw them recently on the Time Machine tour. Excellent A+++ gig.

            Heaven is driving a Saab on an open highway on a sunny day with the “Spirit Of Radio” followed by “Tom Sawyer” playing at full Volume. “Out of the Cradle” is a good Saab turbo driving track (surge of energy etc).

            I have been to Sweden twice (’94 and ’95), and loved it. Great countryside, people, lifestyle and cars. I really like the locks in Trollhattan and the water festival.

            It’s shame that the DFDS car ferry service does not run between the UK and Sweden anymore, I’d really like to drive there again in my favourite Saab.

            I have heard that the Rock scene in Sweden is massive and most bands put Sweden on their tour itineraries.

            Thanks for that, I’m in serious denial about my age and the mention of 50+ is a scary thought.

            So in the USA, when you hit 50 it’s a Cadillac that you drive. In the UK that is the age when a Jaguar really appeals (so I’m told, but I’ll still be driving a Saab).

            I agree that Saab’s are for the young and the young at heart. I reckon driving a Saab keeps you young. I’ll be 48 in July though I don’t look a day over 30 (must be my 900V6 keeping me young, I bought him when I turned 30).

            Glad to hear your Mom rocks. My Mom is 80 and she likes Lemmy from Motorhead, especially when he sings the “Ace of Spades” slowed down on the Carlsberg advert running in the UK at the present.

          • Jeff, I agree with you 100 % about “for the young at heart”, was just kidding above (you were talking about the slightly younger cohort which Saab is trying to target as they broaden the customer base). 🙂 That is, Saab is for any age; on the other hand, some other brands seems to appeal only to people of certain age, and many times that comes as no surprise.
            Living in Sweden I love to see and hear the stories from you all, around the world. I’ve known that Saab has done quite well on several markets abroad, but before the Internet era, say 15 years ago I didn’t see much of that. So it’s very nice to see how people live with their Saabs and enjoy and love them.
            In some other thread, which I can’t find at the moment, I think it was discussed demographics and differences between countries, if any; around 30 years ago it was a bit of cliché over here that many Swedish architects drove Citroën or other French cars, on the other hand the French architects drove Saab. 😀
            I liked the small “snippets”, details, some not seen before, even if you say that the video is a bit weak on that; I understand very well that it’s difficult when you have very limited time; and I look forward to your review.

  2. Arghh, more teasers (I’m in Scandinavia, Jeff). 🙂
    Best wishes to Tim Colbeck and his team at SCNA; and thanks to you, Jeff.

    (I agree about the mute button; it’s possible to turn up the volume when/if someone is speaking, if the music is that intolerable. There are people with tinnitus, they don’t have a mute button, and then we can speak about “can’t stand”. That said, I do think that music can be unnecessary and out of place if one is to give some examples of engine sound when driving etc.)

  3. Wow, what a high production value video! Now, Jeff’s second sentence of the post said he was going to dig a little deeper and so did the song! Once I saw that pedal adjustment switch, I knew what was next. The video was a nice bonus and preview to Jeff’s coming review but the real news at the moment is the execution of a NY press event leading to the end-of-June launch. I’m looking forward to hearing Jeff report on the unguarded conversations of the assembled press.

    • Thanks Steve! We’re going to get much more in depth with video this summer. I had about 5 minutes of time in the car to take pictures, and should have planned it out better! It’ll be nice to have my own 9-4X for a while for my own review! Run a full battery of tests, take detailed pictures, I’m aiming for shots akin to topgear quality (this is fun for me when I have the time). I want SU to have the most in depth Saab reviews on the planet.

      We aim to please.

  4. Is this the car that will boost sales here in North America? i sure as heck hope so and from what I have seen we are on to a winner. Lets hope Saab can hold on to Tim as I think he is going to be the key to Saab’s success over the next few years.

  5. Jeff, thanks for the post.
    I noticed that the roof antenna is not the SHARK FIN, low profile type.
    Looks to be a longer ‘whip’ type.
    I know it is a minor item, but clearance-wise for a smaller garage, it makes a difference.
    In your upcoming, more complete review, I wonder if you can check with the SCNA folks if one can opt for the smaller version!?

    • Steve, I replaced my wife’s long antenna on her VW TIguan with a small 3″ antenna I purchased from Ebay. It was really cheap and it took 1 minute to do. Simply unscrews and you screw the new one on. Another option is an aftermarket shark fin like this one:

      The 9-4x is not on the list at visualgarage yet, but it may be. Otherwise, you may have to get it painted.

  6. Thank you for the video. Music made me jittery so I simply turned down the volume and turned up Handel on my iPod. That worked fine. Yes, I’m over 40, significantly over 40, and am curmudgeonly independent minded.

    I may turn my 2010 Lexus RX350 into a SAAB SUV…I can easily afford to. But I can’t help thinking they need to dump the obsolete Kia/RAV4/Chevy whip antenna for a modern shark fin. That whip may hang up on my garage door and I know damn well it will hit the top of some parking garages I frequent. Maybe I’m nitpicking but I did say I’m curmudgeonly independent minded.

    To be considered, this vehicle needs to roll my socks down, like my 1996 9000 Silver AERO did when I purchased it in Germany while there with the US military. Best vehicle I ever owned. Drove like a Porsche and hauled cargo like a station wagon, for 12 fun filled years.

    The hurdles will be immense but I’m giving SAAB a chance with a test drive when this beast hits my Washington D.C. dealer.

    • Kind of funny you mention Handel– I had Water Music on my iPhone loaded up when I was sitting in the 9-4X yesterday to test out the iPhone integration (as Saab hosted a lunch for us at the Water Club as part of the event). In the full review I’ll show how nicely and simply the USB music player integration works– I’ve yet to see a full test or explanation of the current system in the 9-5 for prospective customers just to show them how easy it is to operate. And boy did it sound sweet in there.

      As for the antenna issue, I think GML explained it best with his link, it looks fairly simple to swap it for a shark fin antenna. I’m sure your dealer or local stereo shop could do it for less than $100.

      • Water Music at the Water Club…how appropriate. Though “Music for the Royal Fireworks” brings the 9-4X to life.

        Looking forward to your review with great anticipation.

        As for the antenna issue, I guess I could spend 40K+ for a vehicle, then buy an item which should have been standard equipment to begin with. Won’t this void the warranty? Like opening up my iPod to replace the battery? How am I gonna load my kayaks on the roof rack without donking up the whip antenna? I know, buy a trailer.

        Reminds me of the day, months ago, I test drove the new 2011 9-5, 2.0 Turbo. Both the new salesman and I puzzled at where they had put the spare tire (or didn’t put it). He agreed to give me one if I purchased the car. That was until the sales manager suddenly showed up and told me a spare tire was no longer necessary as car technology had now progressed beyond this annoyance…what a revelation. I guess shark fin antennas have gone the same way. 🙂

  7. Jeff my only criticism is that you annoyingly focused too much on the car at 1.27/1.30 when there was something much more interesting to look at. I’m envious of your talent, your eye for the details that make Saab anything but ordinary and I thought the music choice was good it did relate to digging deeper into that model I think most people get that. Euro pop is not everyones cup of tea but Saab typically goes with it to stay fresh and support local new talent. Good effort. And what a lovely car. I don’t like SUV’s either but that vid made me want one!

    • You don’t live in NYC Toby 😉 Jog along the Hudson any morning any you’ll see what I’m talking about. Great city.

      As for picking up on design details, I consider you one of the commenters with better taste, or at least an interest in some more oomph. This video is embarrassingly weak in terms of visual content, but I haven’t given the car the proper time that it deserves yet,. This will be rectified in our full 9-4X review coming right after the launch date, June 27.

  8. Nice “down-and-dirty” internal video, Jeff. They’re tough to do when you’re moving fast! Too bad it was a white 9-4X shot in such bright sunshine. Some of the car’s really nice details got washed out a bit. Music? It’s okay, though I’m not a fan of bubble-gum Euro pop. (Not sure what I would have used in its place.) FYI: As a prospective buyer, I’d be deeply suspicious of a review about any Saab that appears on SU. Too much built-in bias in favor of the brand. Re-posting reviews by respected journalists is the route I’d take if I were you. Not as much fun but far more valuable to Saab.

    • Eh I think I might drive to an Audi and BMW dealer and just park next to one so the car can do all the talking and I don’t have to. It’s sharp looking in the metal. I agree that it could come off as more a Saab PR review, but it’s also an insider perspective, I personally know more about the car than nearly any reviewer, and could tell the average buyer all the information they’re not likely to get in the average review. I’ll be honest about what I think of the car, and I won’t embellish anything. It’s not the perfect car for everyone, and I certainly don’t love everything about it– but all around it beats the heck out of the other cars in the segment for it’s price. That’s the main point I’ve realized in sitting in the car on both occasions, now it’s time for it to prove it on the road. If they let me drive it up to Albany I just might 😉

      • Parking a 9-4X next to an Audi or BMW dealer is a good idea. When you finish with your review of the car, maybe they’ll let you hand it over to me. The thoroughbred race season starts at the Saratoga Springs track on Thursday, July 22nd. Through the close of the season on Monday, September 5th, there will be a constant churn of people in town. I could park the car in visible places around. When asked, I could tell the story of the car. Maybe the car could have a discreet vinyl-wrap message on its side, i.e., “Ask me about the new Saab 9-4X.” Charles River Saab has a couple of cars in its fleet that serve as rolling billboards. Good idea, I think.

  9. Too bad this car is going to launch simultaneously with the 2012 ML from Merc. And the Merc out Saabs Saab with their 2.1 liter Twin-turbo BlueTec diesel 4-pot that produces 205 HP and 370 Ft-Lbs…talk about right sizing! This is what Saab needs ASAP. Maybe BMW will agree to loan Saab their baby 4-bangers ( 1.6 – 2.0 liter) for use in the 9-4X and 9-5, large cars BMW would not dare sell in the US with 4 cylinder engines.

    • From what I’ve heard, the ML won’t come with the smaller diesel in the US Pattie, so while you’re definitely right that it’s a great combo, I don’t think it should affect sales of the 9-4X too much. Also, I have typically been a fan of recent Mercedes styling concepts, like the A-Class concept that bowed in NYC. However, this sucker is Ugly with a capital U.

      The current ML configured like the 9-4X comes out almost $10K higher, for an inferior product. I will say though that the interior has some great detailing that Saab could learn from. $10K lesson? Ehh, I’ll buy an aftermarket dash panel for $500 if it matters that much to me once our family owns one. In any event, to break even on any of the M-Class, current and future, you’d need about 15 years of gas savings. I’ll take the Saab, thanks 🙂

  10. Loving the 9-4X. As for PB&J, yes have fond memories of the family packed in our 9-3 combi grooving along country roads to Young Folks. Found some other stuff of theirs a bit grim but this one is great.

  11. I didn’t notice what was going on with the pedals at first either – I think because the camera was moving faster than they were (!). I know this is going to sound like a very picky thing to say (and I’m aware it might not have been practical given how much time you had) but is there any chance of using a tripod next time?

    nb., I liked the music, and the titles. Looking forward to an introduction to the 9-2 along these lines 🙂

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