Saab 9-5 SportWagon, PhoeniX concept

  • Estate to start of new product offensive
  • Orders open in Spring for deliveries in September
  • Concept car uses platform earmarked for new 9-3

A planned product offensive by Saab is being kicked off with the 9-5 SportWagon which was unveiled today.

The new estate has been inspired by the AeroX concept and features an extended, falling roof-line and steeply raked rear screen as well as Saab's trademark 'wraparound' windscreen.

It's powered by the same line-up of turbo petrol and diesel powertrains as the 9-5 saloon and also features an all-wheel-drive system, adaptive chassis control, adaptive cruise control, bi-xenon adaptive lighting, keyless entry and starting, tri-zone air conditioning and a head-up display.

Orders for the SportWagon can be taken in Spring, with first customer deliveries to follow from September.

"The launch of the 9-5 SportWagon is a much-awaited next step in the roll-out of our new product offensive," said Saab Automobile CEO Jan Åke Jonsson. "It will take Saab back into the large estate segment where we have established a strong presence in many key markets with our previous offering."

Also on the manufacturer's stand was the updated version of the 9-3 range. Changes to the model for 2012 include exterior and interior style updates as well as a host of new more powerful and more efficient petrol and diesel engines.

Saab once again butchered the English language with 'aeromotional' - a new word invented by the Scandinavians to describe its new PhoeniX concept car that was creating more of a buzz.

The blurb for the PhoeniX tells us it embraces teardrop, 'liquid metal' forms and 'a dramatic jet canopy-inspired glasshouse that gives fresh expression to Saab's signature wraparound and translucent ice-block design themes'.

Ok so it's a load of promotional claptrap but the design does enable an exceptionally low drag co-efficient of just 0.25cd.

More importantly, the PhoeniX is based on a new architecture which will underpin the next Saab 9-3 model. The concept features butterfly opening doors that open to reveal a minimalist, 'stripped out' interior.

Under the so-called 'rippling' bodywork the PhoeniX uses an electrically-driven rear axle driven by a 34bhp electric motor which is mated to a 200bhp, 1.6-litre petrol turbo engine driving the front wheels. Yep, it's another hybrid.

As a result combined cycle fuel economy is projected to be 56.5mpg and CO2 emissions will be 119g/km.

The driver can select one of three operating modes. The default Eco mode delivers optimal fuel and CO2 efficiency with power assistance to reduce load on the petrol engine at low speeds; Sport mode includes maximum power assistance with torque vectoring across the rear axle while Traction mode enables optimal grip at take-off and in slippery conditions.