Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Saab Reveals Wild PhoeniX Sports Coupe Concept at the Geneva Motor Show

The highlight of Saab's booth at the Geneva show is undoubtedly the PhoeniX concept car that previews design features and technologies that will be used by future Saab models. Based on the platform that will underpin the next-generation Saab 9-3, the PhoeniX was penned under the supervision of the firm's new design boss, Jason Castriota. According to Saab, it introduces an "aeromotional” design, which the company describes as the "the visual evocation of the aerodynamic design principles".

The sports coupe features dramatic details such as the rear-lateral winglets reminding of Saab's aeronautical roots and the jet canopy-inspired glasshouse. The front includes a new interpretation of the brand's signature three-port grille which is likely to be seen on future models, as well as the muscular hood.

The teardrop shape of the rear window echoes the design of the very first Saab, the 92001 or Ursaab, while the “sawed-off” tail is a tribute to Saab's first coupe, the Sonett.

The shape of the concept and its aerodynamic treatment enable a drag co-efficient of just 0.25. The doors open upwards, like on the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, and offer access to the interior, which has a 2+2 layout. The PhoeniX features Saab's all-new IQon infotainment and communications system and a new expression of the driver-focused layout. The IQon uses Google's Android operating system and manages audio and entertainment streaming, online navigation, on-board music storage and downloading of applications.

The concept is powered by an innovative driveline, with an electrically-driven rear axle combined with a 200HP 1.6-liter gasoline turbo engine (most likely sourced from the BMW Group) that motivates the front wheels. The electric motor/generator develops 34 hp and is powered by a small battery pack, which uses regenerative braking to sustain the charge.

The eXWD hybrid all-wheel drive setup and the start-stop system allow for an average fuel consumption of only 5 liters/100 km (47 mpg) and a CO2 emissions level of 119 g/km. The eco-friendliness doesn't mean the PhoeniX is “soft”: it does 0 to 100 km/h (62mph) in 5.9 seconds and has a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph).

The driver can choose between three eXWD operating modes: Eco, Sport and Traction. The first is set by default and delivers optimal fuel and CO2 efficiency, the second includes maximum power assistance with torque vectoring across the rear-axle and the third enables optimal grip in slippery conditions and at take-off.

By Dan Mihalascu


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