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SAAB-Spyker news for November 2010

Last month, our favourite car maker announced a ground-breaking deal had been forged with manufacturer BMW with the latter agreeing to supply new 1.6 petrol engines for use in forthcoming SAAB models. This month, we can publish further details of the eagerly anticipated 9-4x - a model that must surely qualify as one of the worst kept secrets in motor industry history- as photos have been available on the internet for at last the last 24 months.

It has taken longer than expected to bring the 9-4x to production

The 9-4x crossover, of course, is a model that many of us feared would never actually progress from 2008 concept car to production when the storm clouds rolled in at the end of last year but although SAAB purists are sceptical, it is surely a model that is sorely needed to capture sales from buyers who probably have never before considered buying a SAAB.

The crossover market is buoyant and other makers have derived considerable profit from sales of products that are perceived as just a little different and less humdrum than a standard hatchback or estate. The author is not immune to hankering after 'something different' and confesses to hankering after a 1971 Chevrolet El Camino SS to this day.

Although this model was conceived during GM's ownership and is largely derived from the Cadillac SRX, traditional SAAB hallmarks that we all know, love and expect like the emphasis on safety features, night panel and aircraft inspired dashboard. There is a strong family resemblance to the 9-5 both inside and out but innovative features like rearwards view cameras and underfloor stowage are new departures. The SAAB cross-wheel drive system with electronically controlled limited slip differential to the rear is also similar to that employed on the AWD versions of the 9-5.

The 9-4x cabin shares much with the 9-5

Information available to SeriousSAAB at present suggests that initially there will be two petrol engine options: a normally aspirated and turbocharged V6 3 litre with triple mode, 6 speed automatic transmission as standard. At present, there are no diesel variants on offer and this is sure to prove a major obstacle to sales in Europe and particularly in the UK, where there is close to £3 tax (petrol tax plus 17.5% VAT - i.e. purchase tax) levied on each gallon sold.

We understand that the new 9-4x will be offered for sale in the USA first from May 2011 while European customers can expect the car to debut 3 months later. As yet, prices, emissions and NCAP safety performance ratings are unknown but figures released by SAAB suggest that performance on the road is spirited with a 0-60 mph time in the region of 8 seconds, although fuel consumption data has not been released yet.

Other news

A SAAB tuning kit is to be made available for the 2.0 9-5 automatic that will take the power output to 260bhp. This is quite a feat as this output is the same as owners of phase 3 mark 1 ('Dame Edna') cars could expect. As the kit has been developed by SAAB's official tuning partner Hirsch and will be fitted by particpating dealers, there will be no impact upon the vehicle warranty.

For more details: http://www.hirsch-performance.ch/Content.aspx?path=/Products/Leistung/G270004000



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