Making its first public appearance in Los Angeles and arriving at U.S. dealerships next May, the all-new 2012 Saab 9-4X represents the Swedish automaker's first foray into the mid-size crossover realm. Largely developed while Saab was still owned by General Motors, this new addition to the lineup does share a good bit of mechanical architecture with the current Cadillac SRX. However, with its exterior style borrowing liberally from Saab's Aero X concept and advanced adaptive chassis hardware, Saab's take on the package does stamp the new 9-4X with its own unique visual and dynamic character.
Powering the 2012 Saab 9-4X are a pair of V6 engines. The base motivator is a naturally aspirated/direct-injected 3.0-liter that makes 265 horsepower while the top-line 9-4X Aero will come with a turbocharged 2.8-liter that cranks out 300 ponies. Both engines will be backed by a six-speed automatic transmission with adaptive electronic control.
How Swede it is
Saab engineers made car-like ride comfort and exceptional controllability priorities in developing the 9-4X formula, whether buyers chose the front-drive or all-wheel drive configurations. The Aero model will come with Saab XWD -- which also includes an electronically controlled limited slip rear differential (eLSD) -- as well as its DriveSense adaptive chassis control system while Saab XWD is listed as an optional upgrade on other 9-4X variants. As on the 9-5 Aero, the XWD setup is capable of infinitely varying power front to rear while the eLSD can automatically vector rear torque to the wheel with the most grip. DriveSense serves as an ideal complement, offering Comfort/Sport/Eco modes that fine-tune the dampers, throttle response and transmission shift mapping to the driver's preference.
Inside, the 2012 Saab 9-4X offers seating for five and a cabin treatment that interweaves contemporary flair with traditional Saab cues. Supportive front buckets team with a 60/40 split-folding rear bench that features adjustable-rake seatbacks and can be folded flat to open up a 61.2 cu ft cargo bay accessible through the large rear hatch. A long list of standard features can be augmented with premium extras including a Bose 5.1 Surround Sound audio system, hard-disc based navigation package with an 8.0-inch touch screen and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual 8.0-inch screens.
"The 9-4X significantly broadens the appeal of the Saab brand," says Saab Automobile CEO Jan Åke Jonsson. "It gives us entry to the fast-growing crossover segment with a vehicle that reflects our brand values in key areas, such as progressive Scandinavian design and sporty, responsible driving performance. The 9-4X is an exciting package and we're confident it will appeal to many existing Saab owners, as well as win new customers for the brand." Pricing will be announced closer to the 2012 Saab 9-4X's on-sale date.