picture post2001 Saab 9x concept

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2001 Saab 9x concept

I grew up knowing Saab as the maker of the funky-looking 900 Turbo. Back then, it was a mysterious brand that I wasn’t fond of (I think it was the near-vertical windshields that turned me off). In the U.S., the company never had it easy and, by the turn of the century, their product was stagnating. However, there was reason for optimism.


2001 Saab 9x concept

Saab was never very big on concepts. In fact, the 9x was only their third ever and the first since 1985 (minus a few “prototypes” along the way). However, in talking about the 9x concept, Saab’s CEO said it was “physical proof that Saab is embarking on an exciting journey.” In many ways, it was.


2001 Saab 9x concept

There is not a lot of information available on the 9x concept and, obviously, Saab is currently unavailable for comment. However, despite appearances, this is not a rear-wheel-drive Kappa variant (e.g., Solstice, Sky, Nomad).


2001 Saab 9x concept

I couldn’t confirm it absolutely but the 9x concept seems to have been built on GM’s Epsilon platform (GM exercised an option to acquire all remaining shares in Saab, taking control in 2000). In any event, the engine was mounted transversely, although it did provide power to all four wheels.


2001 Saab 9x concept

The 9x concept is described as a “four-dimensional” vehicle, transforming into a 2+2 coupe, roadster, wagon, or pickup. The roof’s two glass panels are sliding and detachable, and somehow stowable. The rear seats fold-flat and the tailgate flips down, while the rear floor extends hydraulically.


2001 Saab 9x concept

Don’t worry about the taillights when hauling a load.


2001 Saab 9x concept

It is hard to imagine but remember the 9x concept could be configured to seat four. I’m not sure how comfortably or contorted but it looked nice enough up front. Sort of Saturn-ish.


2001 Saab 9x concept

The 9x concept would have likely been a hoot to drive. At 2,932 pounds and with a 300 hp 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 engine, it was estimated to hit 60 in 5.8 seconds.


2001 Saab 9x concept

I don’t think with Saab’s ultimate demise it was a case of too little too late because it was clear they could design nice cars. I think it was just a case of too late.