Saab Phoenix concept (2011) at 2011 Geneva motor show

Published: 01 March 2011

Saab issued one of the few genuine surprises of the Geneva show: the Phoenix concept car, designed to show the newly independent brand's stylistic future.

Named after the Phoenix platform underpinning many of the company's future products including next year's new 9-3, the concept car is a dramatic coupe. It's the first car designed by Jason Castriota, the new design chief.

He called the new language 'Aeromotional'. But we see plenty of hallmarks of Castriota's work at Bertone, mashed up with references to Saab's past.

Saab Phoenix: a three-door coupe

This is not an additional Saab to aspire to - the Phoenix is very much a directional concept car. Saab has its hands quite full enough getting the 9-5 and 9-3 models into production and, if they're lucky, a 9-1 or 9-2 supermini.

Saab references liquid metal forms and the jet canopy DLO glasshouse, suggesting how future production Saabs could look. The company claims the Phoenix concept car has a drag coefficient of just 0.25.

Being a madcap concept car, there are naturally some zany doors. In this instance, butterfly doors rise up and give access to a 2+2 cabin.

Jason Castriota on the new Saab Phoenix

'The Phoenix establishes a new reference point for the future of Saab product design,' said the new Saab Automobile 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.'

The Phoenix packs an electrically-driven rear axle mated to a 197bhp 1.6-litre petrol turbo engine driving the front wheels. Rather like PSA's Hybrid4 system, the new Saab is thus four-wheel drive.

Saab claims a theoretical average of 57mpg and 119g/km of CO2.

Jan Ake Jonsson and Victor Muller spoke too, the latter mentioning his sale of Spyker last week. He said the company's fortunes were better respected by selling the company in its entirety.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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