Saab finally has a new model, but it’s not the long-awaited new 9-5 or the 9-4X SUV. Instead it’s the 9-3X, a jacked-up estate in the style of the Audi Allroad. Like the Audi, it’s only available in estate guise (Sport Wagon in Saab speak), and will be officially unveiled at the 2009 Geneva motor show in just a few weeks’ time.
I presume this new Saab 9-3X is four-wheel drive…
Only in 207bhp 2.0-litre turbo trim, where the company’s XWD system with an electronic limited slip rear differential is standard. The 178bhp 1.9 is front-wheel drive, but both cars come with a raised ride height – the petrol by 35mm and the diesel by 20mm. And that’s it for mug-plugging alterations.
What? No special tyres or air suspension?
Nope. The rest of the off-road addenda is limited to new (and apparently protective) front and rear dark grey bumpers, side sills and wheel arches, plus matt aluminium-finished front and rear skid panels.
There are also new 17-inch wheels, new sports seats, and some unique interior trim comprising of a dark metallic finish to the door cards, glovebox and gearbox surrounds. Prices are expected to start around £1500 more than a regular 9-3 Sport Wagon.
‘The 9-3X is an efficient all-rounder for anyone who doesn’t want or need an SUV-type vehicle,’ says Simon Padian, Saab brand design chief. ‘Simply put, we are offering a vehicle that will do what’s required in more comfort and style than a heavier SUV.’ But for those who want a SUV, the 9-4X will be along shortly.