While Cadillac spins a future full of fuel-cell-powered crossover goodness with the Provoq (see below), Saab’s future also seems to include a mid-size crossover powered by an alternative-fuel engine. In this case, the new 9-4X BioPower Concept gets its motive force from an engine that uses E85 ethanol fuel.
The new concept bows next week at the Detroit auto show. Earlier today a Dutch newspaper broke a worldwide embargo on the information presented here.
The 9-4X is a strong indication of the size and look of Saab’s future crossover plans — and is likely drawn from the same set of mechanicals as the Cadillac concept, which is rumored to wear the initials BRX in production. The Saab concept’s differences are clear, though, from the engine to the distinctive sheetmetal creases and the traditional Saab grille up front, with other elements drawn from Saab’s recent Aero X concept.
Inside, the concept uses a starter button and green lighting, along with a kitschy altimeter gauge, giving a nod to Saab’s airplane heritage. A panoramic glass roof brings more light into the cockpit. A full array of airbags is fitted.
In another nod to Saab tradition, the engine is a small-displacement turbocharged four-cylinder. Only here, the 2.0-liter turbo four gets its power from ethanol fuel. Saab says its efforts to “rightsize” its engine lineup, getting more power out of smaller, more fuel-efficient engines. In this application the turbo four makes 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque when running on ethanol, and produces less carbon dioxide emissions than it would running on gasoline.
An automatic transmission is installed in the concept. As does Saab’s new 9-3 lineup, the 9-4X concept runs on a version of the brand’s “Cross-Wheel Drive,” which uses an electronic rear differential to split power side to side at the back, while it also splits the engine’s power front to rear.
“This concept is a clear statement of what our brand is about,” said Jan Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile Managing Director. “It is also an important next step in our plans to enter new market segments with distinctive product offerings.”
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