Saab at the London motor show 2008 | CAR Magazine

Saab at the London motor show 2008

Published: 23 July 2008 Updated: 26 January 2015

London motor show video

A quiet show for Saab, but then this is a brand with which waiting has become synonymous.

What’s new on Saab’s London motor show stand?

They’ve both been at other motor shows around the globe, but new-to-Britain are the 9-X and 9-4 concepts. Both preview key production vehicles.

CAR’s Saab highlight

The 9-X presages an appealing Audi A3-rivalling compact premium hatchback, and is one of the best looking Saabs for years. Read CAR’s full report on the 9-X from the Geneva show here. It should see the light in less than three years. After languishing for far too long, Saab is at last starting to regain some of its old swagger. The 9-X is surely a sign of better things to come. Mind you, just after GM finally shows some leadership in managing Saab, there are rumours it may well sell it.

What were they thinking?

Does the world really need another crossover/SUV? Saab and General Motors obviously think so and a production version of the 9-4 is less than two years away. At least it looks better than the rival BMW X3.

The concept car uses BioPower branding, reflecting Saab’s biofuel strength in its home market. In Sweden, most Saabs sold can now run on E85 – a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent petrol. Instead of robbing starving Africans of food – isn’t that how ethanol is now portrayed in Europe? – the biofuel used in Sweden comes mostly from timber pulp, leftovers from Sweden’s huge logging industry.

In a nutshell

They may not be as distinctive as the great old Saabs, but the 9-X and (less so) the 9-4 show that some Swedish creative juices are still flowing.

Click here to go to CAR’s London motor show A-Z homepage

CAR reader reports

To read CAR’s reader
reporter’s verdict
on the Saab stand,
click ‘Next’  


And now read CAR reader reporter Asp’s review of the Saab stand. Be sure to ‘Add your comment’ afterwards and rate their efforts

What surprised me most on the Saab stand

That the 9-5 hasn’t been pensioned off yet, either that or taken outside and shot. Saab showed 2 concepts, the 9-4x Biopower Concept, a thinly veiled production car with no distinctive features, and about as far away from the Saab brand as possible. Apart from the 9-7 maybe. The 9xBioHybrid was a really appealing small car that was plausibly a Saab. It’d make a terrific 1-series/A3 rival and would really help people’s perception of the marque.

Forget the PR spin

They are still grossly under-funded by GM. Little was made of what they had achieved with the concepts, the press officer wouldn’t literally stop talking about 2nd Generation BioEthanol. The rest of the range is decrepit, although the 9-3 TTid should maybe have a bit more press coverage.

Reader verdict

Saab has a really strong brand on their hands, aided by a seemingly accomplished R&D team in Sweden. You get the feeling with Saab that it’s not being allowed to fulfil it’s real potential, with GM holding them back, and preferring to sell a smaller quantity of cars on the back of some tired aircraft-design connotation. Stop it, please.

Click here to go to CAR’s London motor show A-Z homepage