A Swedish Alternative to Crossovers – Saab 9-4X BioPower Concept
Saab prepared to broaden its lineup beyond the 9-3 and 9-5 sedans. And that did not at all imply that the broadening up included the decidedly non Scandinavian Chevy Trailblazer based 9-7X. The brand decided to step into the super hot crossover arena. To that end, Saab pulled the wraps off the 9-4x BioPower concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Built on a new front wheel drive and all wheel drive platform known as TE, the Saab 9-4X BioPower, just like the Cadillac Provoq, sits on this combination of the old Theta global compact crossover architecture and the current Epsilon global midsize platform. The new Vue rides on this modified architecture and TE is also expected to spawn an SUC for Cadillac, dubbed the BRX.
In terms of styling, the 9-4X uses the Saab Aero X concept for inspiration in its interior and front end.
BioPower is Saab’s moniker for E85 capable vehicles. The Saab 9-4X BioPower concept is indeed optimized for the ethanol/gasoline mixture. The Saab 9-4X BioPower houses a turbocharged 2.0 liter four cylinder engine which is capable of producing an average 241 horsepower and a torque of 260 pound feet when running on gasoline alone. The numbers are boomed to 260 horsepower and 295 pound feet of twist on E85. These increments in the numbers occur largely on the back of a turbo pressure boost to 17.4 psi, as higher octane E85 can handle higher pressures than regular gas. The all aluminum, direct engine’s compression ratio is an impressive 10.5:1.
As the brand estimates, Saab 9-4X BioPower would be able to return 22 mpg combined city and highway driving on gasoline and a figure that could drop by as much as 25 percent on E85.
The Saab BioPower 9-4X makes use of the Saab’s XWD all-wheel drive system, which made its debut on the 9-3. XWD is similar to other all wheel drive systems. Some of these systems include Acura’s SH-AWD and BMW’s version of xDrive in the way that it can shift torque not only from front to rear but also side to side at the rear axle. An electronically controlled limited slip differential handles the torque shifting duties.
The Saab 9-4X features a waterproof, rubber lined rear cargo area which sports a heated under floor compartment for boots, a sliding rear door for easy loading and a fold out ski holder that can accommodate up to three sets of skis and poles. The 9-4X concept rides on struts up and front and a multilink arrangement in the rear. A Sport button in the cabin allows the driver to stiffen the shocks for more spirited driving, while telling the six speed auto to shift later, setting the XWD default to send more torque rearward, enhancing the throttle sensitivity and decreasing steering boost.
In the form of the 9-4X BioPower concept car, Saab presented a bona fide contender in the entry luxury crossover arena. With a powerful engine, stylish looks, this concept from Saab offers almost all the technology one expects from a vehicle in this segment.