Hirsch Performance History: The SuperSport Concept

Back in 2007 the crew of Hirsch Performance came up with the idea of designing a Saab two door sports coupรฉ. The purpose of that car was to create media attention for Saab and Hirsch, as well as to serve as a showcase for technology, design and product. As the Aero X had just been shown the design was inspired by that concept. But the SuperSport was not only a concept car, it was designed to be built as a limited edition of about 20 vehicles – for sale to customers.

Plans for the engine featured the V6 upgraded to 400 hp. It was even discussed to take the challenge of tweaking the V6 to run on E85. The power would have been delivered through a six-speed manual transmission to all four wheels. Yes, you get that right, the plan was to integrate XWD with eLSD in the convertible chassi. Definetely an ambitious task but that amount of engine power is the way to go. And I have no doubt that the engineers at Hirsch would have found a solution to make this work.

Further tweaks would have been the Hirsch Performance interior, bodykit, twin exhaust, sports suspension, rims and, here it gets interesting again, carbon-ceramic brakes and special sports seats.

The 9-3 convertible was foreseen as a base for the two door design. Instead of the softtop a black carbon fibre hardtop was drafted to make it a coupรฉ and save some weight. If you take a closer look you can see that this concept featured those side flaps in the back, quite similar to the PhoeniX. The overall design is in my opinion very understated and saabish despite the obvious sportiness. This is no surprise because the design was done by Taras Czornyj, who had also worked on the 9-3 SportCombi during his time within the Saab design team. I just drool over the design of the car despite the fact that those CGIs are from a rather early stage of development.

If you wonder what the price point would have been – I was told that the target to sell the car for approximately 20-30 % above the Aero price. Very reasonable for such a piece of exclusive high technology if you ask me.

You might ask why the concept never materialized. Back then, Hirsch presented the idea and the design to Saab. The plan was to establish a collaboration to communicate and promote the SuperSport. Sadly, in those GME days Saab did not see the advantages and was not interested. So the plans ended up in the drawer. A pity to say the least. There was a lot of potential in this idea. Not only from a marketing and imagebuilding point of view but also from the technical developments. Just imagine the opportunities a V6 running on E85 had brought to a 9-5 and 9-4x.

Still, this shows that Hirsch is the perfect partner to go with when it comes to the development of top-of-the-range models for a future Saab. Why not establish Performance by Hirsch models above the Aero? I am pretty sure there are enough customers out there.

I saw the pictures of the car for the first time in March this year. Ever since that day I take a look at them from time to time and have to admit I just the design and the idea behind that concept. I know that for Hirsch Performance this project is history and there are no plans to make it reality. But I am stubborn enough to say that I would love it so much to see that car on the road. If they would really make a limited edition of 20 I am sure the other 19 would be sold in a minute. But sadly this won’t happen unless I win in the lottery and fund that plan.

Here’s another pic that in my opinion shows the most sexy angle of the car. It’s a big one, at least enough to make up a nice desktop wallpaper.

49 thoughts on “Hirsch Performance History: The SuperSport Concept”

  1. Would have been unreal to see this come to life. It would seem that a collaboration like this could materialize in the future with the right decision makers in place and it would be a shared cost…… Who knows.

  2. If Saab survives, I’d like to see a 2- door coupe version of the NG 9-5! Lower the stance, have the trunk open like the new A7. Bump the 2.8t up to 360hp. Think of it as an alternative to the Merc CL or BMW 640i. Seriously, can’t be that hard.

    • At first glance I thought it was a 9-5 Coupe until I read the whole article. Interesting that the the side rear is very similar to the Phoenix with those wings.

      • Those wings are very much like the C-pillar on the Ferrari 599 – almost identical in fact. Interesting that Hirsch was coming up with these ideas at the same time!

  3. Ummmmmmmmmmmmm, the first “Super Sport” I can remember was the Chevy Impala “Super Sport”. 1965, 66, 1967 and such.

    I thought the Saab SS’s were Sport Sedans?

    • The first โ€œSuper Sportโ€ I can remember was the Morgan Super Sports from the 1930s (a three wheeler); it was based on their “Super Aero” ๐Ÿ˜€ introduced in the late 20s.

      • Thanks for the history, that is part of the fun of the “car thing”, and I would have guessed that Chevy stole the SS tag from the NHRA with the “Super Stock” class.

        Gladly stand corrected and I love Morgans! For that matter I am trying to find one I can afford. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • And what about “I thought the Saab SSโ€™s were Sport Sedans?” Always critical? As far as I know “SS” is something owners, enthusiasts etc. have come up with; similar to “HOT”, and even “SPG”; it was an Aero.

    • I thought the Saab SSโ€™s were Sport Sedans”

      Sorry? We are talking about the concept called SuperSport…
      Anyway, the first supersport I remember was the Bugatti EB 110 SuperSport. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. That was a wish/ plan. Maybe to big for this nice guys from St. Gallen. As I understood their work in the past, they separated core business and partner developed parts (exhaust, damper/ springs, body kits). Designing such a car is not the core business of Hirsch-Performance.
    I’m lucky that this project is past.
    Hirsch-Performance has positioned themselves in an area of bullet proof tuning with support of Saab (warranty,..). Tuning above specs above drivetrain are the area of Maptun, Nordic. Hirsch-Performance should stay in it’s corner. I love to drive my 95 Saab-Performance all day.

  5. I REALLY like the look of this! The only thing I see from a practical standpoint is it looks like there would be a significant blindspot around the C-pillar. But maybe it would be going so fast that this would not be an issue. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Could we have at least the hood and the front splitters, after-market, Hirsch? Please…pretty please….kanundrum and I (among others) have talked much about a proper hood on SaabCentral for some time (to mitigate the blast furnace under hood heat levels on the Turbo X).

    Seriously: Why was this car not immediately resurrected under the Muller regime? Would have been a logical next/lockstep after the Turbo X.

    And we wonder why the company is on the ropes…

    • I wish that hirsch…. Or SOMEONE, would just make a good looking removable hard top…. Like the car on top pictured, so that the coupe fans among us could add this stylish look to any Saab convertible.

      Just that hardtop alone would make dreams come true.

      I do love the bonnet too ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Kudos to Hirsch for this brave and headway movement…. It would’ve been a great gap filler at the time. (Altough, would have been also earlier, and would be so even today.)
    The good old coupe everyone was longing for, a great deficiency of the past 8-9 years. A masterpiece of work, needing to add a little bit of finishing refinement on the roof silhouette though.

  8. I would love to see this in sedan/saloon form.

    If by some miracle SAAB does survive, they really ought to put this into production – either partner with Hirsch or just bring them in-house, and offer them as the Aero-level product, similar in approach to BMW M products.

  9. It’s nice, albeit a bit troubling, to see how different we all are. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I think it’s absolutely hideous! It combines different Saab aesthetics in the most tasteless ways.

    • Gunteman, agree with You. Stick with the convertible and make it into rocket. The coupe design sketch is obviously a mixture of two different design schools. Looks strange around The A-pillar.

  10. Taras is god! His pieces of Saab design are astounding! BTW, his LinkedIn page says he is still employed by Saab, could it be?

  11. I love it and although, as with almost all designs, it does remind of other designs a bit, I find the complete design and impression very unique. This is especially the case because of the size and targated pricing. I think it would have been very “Saab”. A pity it could not be realised. I would have labelled it the 9-3 Sonnet!!

    Are there any more pictures?

  12. now that a nice car, Saab should have listened to Hirsch,

    but why limit it to the V6, why cant they marry the 4wd system to the TTiD motor and wack the power up to over 200 horses.

  13. From an engineers point of view, the convertible is not the best car to base a supersport on, as it is heavier and less rigid as the sedan. On the other side a Saab with that kind of power would have attracted many.

    I hope Hirsch is tighter coupled with Saab in the future and that this is used to create real Hirsch versions of the cars.

    But who will be able and willing to buy such cars?

  14. I’m not sure I agree about the convertible not being the best base. It is reinforced to account for the loss of rigidity and loss of roll cage construction due to the lack of a top. I’m thinking the carbon fiber top isn’t as strong as the sedan top and the strengthened A-pillars and added rigidity of the convertible are necessary. Just a guess though.

    • Well, the torsion rigidity IS lower on the convertible compared to the sedan, and in order to have a acceptable rigidity other structures ARE reinforced so the total weight of the car is higher.

      As an example:
      Saab 9-3 Sedan BP (163) Man; kerb weight: 1490 – 1610 kg
      Saab 9-3 Conv. BP (163) Man; kerb weight: 1665 – 1740 kg

      • I know, but my point was just that if you cut the roof off a sedan, it gets very flexible, and the convertible would be stiffer. If their carbon fiber roof is as rigid as the steel sedan roof, I would agree with you. But, although carbon fiber is strong, I don’t think it’s very rigid. But, I’m not an ME so I don’t really know.

        • Saabyurk,
          if you do it right you get the same stiffness with carbon fibre as wish steel, but having a big improvement in weight.
          But only if you do it right ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Stiffness and amount of doors have made the choice obvious. The foldable roof and its activators are pretty heavy as well (which would have been removed from the car) Who care’s about weight anyhow when you have enough POWER? ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Very interesting concept! I’ve never heard of it before. ๐Ÿ™‚
    The roof line looks quite strange though. You can see that the targa top wasn’t planned when the car was designed, but I still think it would have sold pretty well. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. I like it, especially, if, as others have mentioned, it’s a hatchback. Owning a 900 and a 9-3 combi has made a hatch an absolute requirement for any new vehicles for us. I’d love to drive a Hirsch Saab someday!

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