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Saab 9-4X and Cadillac BRX (2009): spy photos

Published: 13 August 2008

Saab is pushing ahead with its 9-4X SUV, despite recent reports that it’s sent its 9-1 hatch back to the drawing board. Caught testing at the Nurburgring, it’s the first time we’ve snapped the 9-4X in Europe. Due for launch in 2009, the 9-4X uses an all-new platform and is being co-developed with its Cadillac cousin (see our pictures, bottom right).

Refresh my memory. What is the Saab 9-4X?

It’s Saab’s latest SUV, but unlike the 9-7X which was a rebadged GM 4×4, the 9-4X has been co-developed with Cadillac from the start. However, it’s thought the flexibility of GM’s latest chassis will allow the Saab 9-4X to use a double-wishbone suspension set-up, while the Cadillac will stick with a more basic MacPherson front struts and multi-link rear axle.

The latest reports from the States claim the Cadillac will come with 2.8 and 3.6-litre V6 engines, shared with the CTS. Expect the Saab version to utilise the same engines, but to succeed in Europe and the UK the Saab will need diesel power. A new 2.9-litre V6 co-developed with VM Motori in Italy has yet to be confirmed for this car, but we can’t see the 9-4X succeeding on this side of the Pond without it. Four-wheel drive will of course be standard.

Click ‘Next’ below to read more about the Saab 9-4X and Cadillac Provoq/BRX.

Click on the video below to watch the latest Saab videos.


What about the styling?

Both the Cadillac and Saab 4x4s have been previewed by concepts. The Saab by the 9-4X Biopower and the Cadillac by the Provoq. The latter has also been known as the BRX and will provide a replacement for the large and unloved SRX crossover. Cadillac is hoping to appeal to more female buyers with the new car and wants to double sales to 60-70k.

Saab meanwhile, is coming very late to the compact SUV market. BMW, Audi, Mercedes and VW all have offerings. Unfortunately, in a quest to secure the funding and develop the 9-4X, it will abandon some traditional Saab features like a clamshell bonnet and wraparound windscreen. The styling is also more upright and less rakish than the concept, but can you can clearly see shape of grille through the disguise. Those felt-tip pen lines haven’t fooled us.

Anything else?

Of course the 21-inch wheels disappear, and we’ll be gobsmacked if the 9-4X is offered with the concept’s Salomon-developed aluminium ski holder. Don’t expect the interior’s translucent green plastics to be available either.

The 9-4X concept also had a BioPower tag, signifying its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine could run on E85. In the concept it produced 300bhp and 295lb ft, and Saab UK hopes the 9-4X will maintain the company’s turbo traditions. Whether GM’s tight purse strings make that possible remain to be seen.

A hybrid module may be in the pipeline though, as parent company GM has already developed the technology with BMW, Mercedes and Chrysler.

What’s happened with the 9-1 then?

The 9-1, which was shown at this year’s Geneva motor show as the 9-X concept, has apparently been put on hold. Although it hadn’t been officially confirmed for production the latest reports from Sweden claim Saab is rethinking the car. So rather than a BMW 1-series rival based on the new Astra platform, it might actually turn out to be a Audi A1 competitor and use the Corsa platform. Either way we just hope they get on and build it. Saab needs new metal and new models soon.

Click on the video below to watch the latest Saab videos.

Click ‘Add your comment’ below and let us know what you think of the latest Saab and Cadillac SUVs.


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By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy