142.9 hp per liter
(from Saab Press
Release) Canopy Top Brings Breath of Fresh Air to Convertible
The 9-X Air concept is a design vision exploring what a future
open-air Saab could look like. It features a unique Canopy Top
patent pending - and the close-coupled proportions of a sports car,
as well as four-seat accommodation.
In breaking the mould of conventional convertible design, the
bodywork of the 9-X Air incorporates prominent rear pillars which
curve upwards to mount the flat folding Canopy Top. They also anchor
a distinctive, wraparound glasshouse, including a separate, recessed
Designer Anthony Lo and his team have achieved this execution while
still offering the four season, four seater practicality pioneered
by Saab when its first convertible concept was premiered at the
Frankfurt Show exactly 25 years ago.
Top down or up, the 9-X Air cuts a distinctive silhouette. With the
canopy stowed away and the rear screen up, occupants can enjoy
open-top motoring free from buffeting. Top up, the 9-X Air assumes
the appearance of a true coup, with a cohesive design that eschews
the looks of a conventional, four-seater convertible.
Designed in parallel with the Saab 9-X BioHybrid concept, the 9-X
Air shares its distinctive frontal styling, together with its highly
efficient powertrain. The small, 1.4-liter Saab BioPower engine
combines a series of steps for more responsible performance: engine
rightsizing, turbocharging, the use of biofuels and hybrid
Running on E85 fuel (85% bioethanol/ 15% gasoline), the engine
delivers a sporty 200 hp (147 kW), giving zero to 100 kph
acceleration in 8.1 seconds and projected CO2 tailpipe emissions of
just 107 g/km over the combined cycle. Compared to gasoline, the
overall environmental impact on a source-to-wheel basis of using E85
is even more beneficial.
The clean, sculpted body
contours of the 9-X Air give fresh expression to Saabs
Scandinavian-inspired design ethos and its aircraft heritage. The
purposeful stance, with minimal overhangs front and rear, is
complemented by a single, wraparound window graphic, smooth
uncluttered body surfaces and ice block lighting themes.
The exterior look is defined by the prominent C-pillars, or
buttresses, that provide the rear mounting for the unique Canopy Top
- a powered, flat-folding roof developed from a Targa top principle.
This innovation in convertible design, which distinguishes between a
folding roof and a complete folding soft-top or hood assembly, is
subject to a Saab patent application.
The Canopy Top is in fabric, rather than metal, to save weight and
provide more efficient packaging. It is fully automatic in operation
and folds neatly in three small sections under a rear tonneau cover
in the trunk deck. The rear screen between the buttresses retracts
automatically into the underside of the raised tonneau cover to
allow stowage of the Canopy Top. The screen then moves back into
position to provide a complete glass surround for the cabin in
This surround glass feature, together with an active wind
deflector on top of the windshield header rail, provides enhanced
occupant comfort. It minimizes buffeting, reduces back drafts and
eliminates the need for a wind deflector net. Separating the rear
screen from the folding top also enables a glass area larger than
feasible with a soft top and integral screen.
In a further break with design convention, the 9-X Air dispenses
with a trunk lid. Instead, a large storage compartment, big enough
to accommodate two golf bags, slides out from underneath the rear
light bar. To save weight, it is spring-loaded, without any power
assistance, and slides effortlessly on rollers. Revealed underneath
the sliding drawer is a separate compartment for stowing smaller
Inside, the 9-X Air
features innovative developments in its driver-focused cockpit
design and the provision of seamless connectivity for personal
nomadic devices, both first seen in the 9-X BioHybrid.
The driver information zone encompasses the top of the door moulding.
It is a fresh execution of Saabs traditional, driver-focused
cockpit layout and dispenses with a central, floor-mounted console.
The zone is a flat, arc-shaped surface, within which a row of five
display screens is embedded and illuminated in green 3-D graphics,
including an infotainment screen and control panel in the drivers
In co-operation with Sony Ericsson, the 9-X Air and its hatchback
sibling also showcase the potential for seamless, wireless
connectivity (Bluetooth) with one or multiple nomadic devices
(mobile phones, PDAs etc). The in-car interface enables streaming of
data, entertainment and satellite navigation functions, which are
transferred automatically to the car while the device remains in the
The smarter the device, the more functions in the car. The same unit
could also be programmed to remotely lock /unlock the car, raise or
lower the Canopy Top, and even remotely change in-car pre-sets. The
9-X Air makes a separate car key fob or remote controller redundant
Efficiency in Design and
The 9-X Air has been
created by a team under Anthony Lo, Director of Advanced Design at
General Motors Europe, working in co-operation with the Saab Brand
Center in Sweden. Like the 9-X BioHybrid, this car is all about
efficiency in design and performance, and that includes the Canopy
Top. says Lo. It offers important benefits in weight-saving and
packaging, as well as giving us the freedom to take convertible
design forward in a very Saabish way.