Saab PhoeniX concept drops jaws at Geneva reveal [video]

Rising from the ashes

A year after gaining independence from GM, Saab is rising from the ashes with the stunning PhoeniX concept.

Penned by Jason Castriota, the PhoeniX wears Saab's new Aeromotional design language which incorporates aircraft-inspired styling elements. Notable highlights include butterfly doors, winglets, a twin-ripple hood, LED 'ice-block' headlights, and a distinctive front fascia which will likely been seen on future production models.

According to Castriota, "The PhoeniX establishes a new reference point for the future of Saab product design. It symbolizes a renaissance of the innovative spirit and passion that drove Saab to build its first car. We're now taking the visual DNA forward with what we call 'aeromotional' design, adding emotion, power and fluidity."

No interior pictures were released, but Saab says the cabin has a minimalist design with a 2+2 seating arrangement and an afterburner-inspired instrument cluster. More notably, the concept features an Android-based IQon infotainment system which can download third-party apps via the internet.

Under the hood, power is provided by a turbocharged 1.6-liter petrol engine that develops 200 PS (147 kW / 197 hp) and 250 Nm (185 lb-ft) of torque. It is backed up by a rear axle electric motor (dubbed eXWD) which churns out 34 PS (25 kW / 34 hp) and gives the car an all-wheel drive system.  Thanks to this setup, the concept can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 5.9 seconds and hit an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). More importantly, Saab estimates the PhoeniX will have a combined fuel consumption of 5.0L/100 km (56.5 mpg img / 47 mpg US) and CO2 emissions of 119 g/km.

Source: Saab


Saab Phoenix concept: Overview

World Debut

  • ‘Aeromotional' design inspired by Saab's aviation roots
  • Design and technical features to shape next generation of Saab cars
  • Minimalist cabin with ground-breaking Saab IQon infotainment system
  • Rightsized petrol turbo engine and innovative Saab eXWD for electric all wheel drive
  • Showcases technologies in all-new vehicle architecture

Sleek, innovative and exceptionally efficient: the Saab PhoeniX concept car showcases design features and technologies which will shape the next generation of cars from Saab.

Based on a new architecture which will underpin the next Saab 9-3 model, the PhoeniX introduces ‘aeromotional' design: a visual evocation of the aerodynamic design principles and passion for innovation that inspired the creators of Saab's first car, the iconic Ursaab,

The PhoeniX embraces teardrop, ‘liquid metal' forms and a dramatic jet canopy-inspired glasshouse that gives fresh expression to Saab's signature ‘wraparound' and translucent ice-block design themes.

The clean, muscular shape enables an exceptionally low drag co-efficient of just 0.25cd and also explores the potential for airflow management through the use of distinctive, side-mounted ‘winglets'.

Butterfly opening doors give easy access to a 2+2 cabin that blends simplicity with technology. It has a minimalist, ‘stripped out' feel, including a new expression of Saab's driver-focused layout and a world debut for Saab's innovative IQon infotainment and communications system. In true Saab tradition, there is also a surprisingly versatile cargo deck.

"The PhoeniX establishes a new reference point for the future of Saab product design," says Jason Castriota, Saab Automobile's Executive Design Director. "It symbolises a renaissance of the innovative spirit and passion that drove Saab to build its first car. We're now taking the visual DNA forward with what we call ‘aeromotional' design, adding emotion, power and fluidity. This design aesthetic will shape and differentiate future models in the Saab portfolio."

Under its rippling bodywork, the Saab PhoeniX deploys an innovative driveline, with an electrically-driven rear axle mated to a sophisticated 200 hp, 1.6-litre petrol turbo engine driving the front wheels. The result is an intelligent, hybrid all-wheel-drive capability that enhances driving pleasure while reducing fuel consumption. Combined cycle fuel economy and CO2 emissions are projected to be 56.5 mpg and 119 g/km.

Aeromotional design

The PhoeniX's ‘aeromotional' design theme is inspired by Saab's aviation roots and draws expression from Ursaab, the prototype designed by aircraft engineers that spawned Saab's first generation of cars.

The entire form of the PhoeniX is seemingly moulded by the wind. Tightly-wrapped by a liquid-like skin, the teardrop cabin resembles a dark ice block and appears to erupt from the center of the muscular bodywork. Two prominent ripples flow along the hood into the disguised windshield pillars, as if barely able to contain a powerful structure underneath.

At the rear, the dark screen also bursts through the outer skin of the rear deck, The tapering form hints at the teardrop rear styling of Ursaab, while the ‘sawn off', kamm tail echoes a form from Saab's first coupé, the Sonett.

The low, frontal styling features a stretched interpretation of Saab's signature three-port grille. A body-colored central wing is now dominant and, in keeping with the car's minimalist design, LED headlamps are almost invisibly located at its tips. The new grille and bonnet forms are among the styling themes likely to be seen in future Saab production cars.

Butterfly-opening doors provide enhanced access to the low-slung cabin. There are no visible door handles or mirrors to disrupt airflow, and small cameras on slim stalks provide rearward vision.

Roof-mounted ‘winglets' enable PhoeniX to cleave the air as efficiently as possible. They channel airflow from the side of the car and direct it across the rear deck, reducing lift forces for greater stability without increasing drag.

Minimalist interior

In true Scandinavian tradition, the 2+2 cabin adopts a clean, minimalist look. It has the ‘stripped out' feel of a competition car, with shell-like seats and metalised interior sections that mimic the exposed network of a rollover cage.

Fresh expression is given to Saab's traditional, driver-focused instrument layout. A circular pod in front of the driver, shaped like the afterburner of a jet engine, presents data in tandem with the head-up display.

Angled at 45º to the driver, a separate module accommodates Saab's advanced IQon infotainment and communications system. For good ergonomics, the 8-inch colour touch screen is as close to the driver's finger tips as the steering wheel.

Saab IQon (see separate release for full details) is a ground-breaking car communications platform using Google's AndroidTM operating system. Based on pioneering ‘open innovation' with third-party service providers and applications developers, it comprises an embedded computer platform which seamlessly connects to the internet when the car's ignition is switched on. The touch-screen provides access to audio and entertainment streaming, online navigation, on-board music storage and smartphone-like downloading of applications.

Red illumination for all instrument and ambient cabin lighting brings warmth and emotion to the cabin. This includes the floor, where LED light tubes are exposed by perforations in the black carpeting. It is all part of the new ‘aeromotional' design strategy, incorporating ‘fire and ice' effects.

The PhoeniX's curvaceous rear deck disguises a deep-opening tailgate. It gives access to a flat cargo deck, including fold-flat rear seatbacks and a cargo track for adaptable load carrying.

Efficient propulsion

Under its sculpted bonnet and beneath its cargo deck, the PhoeniX advances Saab's rightsizing powertrain strategy. Its propulsion system combines a highly efficient, 1.6-litre turbo engine driving the front wheels with innovative, electric rear wheel drive technology.

The compact, all-aluminum petrol engine produces 200 hp (147 kW) and includes variable valve timing and lift control, as well as start/stop functionality, minimal parasitic losses and a fuel cut-off function. A stainless steel tank is fitted, which is lighter and less expensive than a conventional plastic design,

The engine is supported by Saab's innovative eXWD system. It comprises a rear drive unit housing a 25 kW (34 hp) electric motor/generator powered by a small battery pack. Regenerative braking is used to sustain the battery's charge.

Currently under development for the next generation of Saab cars, this hybrid propulsion system enables the benefits of all-wheel-drive while also reducing fuel consumption. Using a six-speed manual transmission, projected combined cycle fuel economy and CO2 emissions are 56.5 mpg and 119 g/km.

The driver can select one of three eXWD operating modes. The default Eco mode delivers optimal fuel and CO2 efficiency with power assistance to reduce load on the petrol engine at low speeds; Sport mode includes maximum power assistance with torque vectoring across the rear axle for greater chassis control; and Traction mode enables optimal grip at take-off and in slippery conditions.

Inside and out, the Saab PhoeniX showcases new design directions and technologies that will be part of forthcoming Saab products.

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Comments (15)

Grey Grey
love it but get rid of that ugly side roof wig spoiler please! but hmm thats half of its personality... lol but im glad to see saab is heading in the right direction finally!
Mar 9th, 2011 9:49am
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I applaud Saab's renewed determination with the 'rise of the PheoniX!' I can see the Swedish car marque going the right direction.
Mar 2nd, 2011 12:01pm
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GTurbo GTurbo
SAAB resurrects from the dead! This is pure SAAB design and the fact that Spyker is overseeing business adds much needed spice to future SAAB design direction. Fantastic PhoeniX Concept since the iconic Aero X. Good bye to GM/Vauxhall parts bin, hello Spyker!
Mar 2nd, 2011 4:22am
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gaaabyyy gaaabyyy
i truly love the design of this concept-car and i look forward to the up comming design of the new SAAB's
Mar 2nd, 2011 12:46am
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wcfuser14369 wcfuser14369
Nice from some angles, not from others. Lose the weird ripply bonnet and winglets and I quite like it. WOuld like to see that front grafted onto the bread and butter models.
Mar 2nd, 2011 12:28am
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Ferraridude Ferraridude
Jason castriota strikes again with an amazing design
Mar 2nd, 2011 12:12am
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shaahinmt shaahinmt
best looking car in longest time
Mar 1st, 2011 9:25pm
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charlemagne charlemagne
something's wrong with it. it seems like being made of two or three big GTs cut down and weld together.
Mar 1st, 2011 8:53pm
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mphillips12000 mphillips12000
Very distinctive. But then, so would be wearing a fez.
Mar 1st, 2011 7:26pm
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v6s_stink v6s_stink
The fez (especially, when red) is a symbol of the celebration of Caliphate genocide. Contemporary Swedish cars have little to do with this.
Mar 1st, 2011 7:53pm
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v6s_stink v6s_stink
Castriota is a genius. I can't think of another designer who can accomplish the task of creating such beautiful designs that fit into so well into completey different automotive heritages. His Maserati is gorgeous and it looks like a Maserati. The same for this Saab. It really is stunning, and it looks like a Saab. It looks like one that has successfully evolved into a new generation using the companies aviation background as inspiration. He nailed the design philosophy.
Mar 1st, 2011 7:25pm
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Dr Alvar Hanso Dr Alvar Hanso
Niiiiiice, Go SAAB! Errrr... Spyker!
Mar 1st, 2011 7:04pm
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sideskraper sideskraper
Hell yes. Bring it on.
Mar 1st, 2011 7:00pm
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s2k_turbo s2k_turbo
Very interesting design.... hope some parts from concept will be in production version
Mar 1st, 2011 6:29pm
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CarLife CarLife
Shades of Spyker minus chrome
Mar 1st, 2011 5:56pm
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