• Sep 11th 2007 at 5:32AM
  • 14
click above image for high-res gallery of 2008 Saab Turbo X

Like many vehicles being debuted at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, the 2008 Saab Turbo X was leaked early. Surprisingly, the few preview images we saw didn't do this car justice. When seen live under the lights of Frankfurt's Messe, the Turbo X looks like the Official Car of the Sith. While GM rolled out a Turbo X sedan during the press conference, we found a Sport Combi model back in the Saab stand we liked even more. The look of these vehicles evokes the classic Saab 900 "Turbo Black" models, an original of which was on hand. The Saab 9-3's new face is looking good here, and the rear of the car is upgraded by a set of dual "romboid-shaped" tailpipes, as well.

Backing up its blackness is a 2.8L turbocharged V6 producing 280 hp and 296 ft-lbs. of torque. The real news is the XWD all-wheel drive system with an eLSD that can divvy up power between the front and rear wheels, as well as splitting it between the two rear wheels, as well. The chassis and suspension have been tightened up, larger brakes been added and a set of gun metal gray 18-inch alloys fitted (19-inchers are available outside the U.S. and Canada). One neat little touch by Saab is the turbo boost gauge on the Turbo X, which is a replica of the original boost gauge on the original 900 Turbo. The rest of the interior, meanwhile, has also been dipped and darkness and features black surfaces all around.

Check out Saab's official press release after the jump for more details on the Turbo X, and view our live shots of the reveal as well as new official shots from Saab in the gallery below.


Saab Unleashes 21st Century Black Turbo

• Performance car to celebrate 30th Anniversary of Saab turbocharging
• Launch of Saab XWD, innovative all-wheel-drive system
• Unique design evokes look for classic black Saab 900 Turbo
• Sport-tuned chassis: suspension, brakes, wheels
• 400 Nm / 280 hp (206 kW), 2.8 V6 Turbo: 0-100 kph in 5.7 seconds

Saab celebrates three decades of leadership in turbocharging at this year's Frankfurt International Motor Show by launching the Saab Turbo X, a driver-focused performance car that sets new standards for the brand.

This black limited edition model takes Saab 'back to the future' by evoking the iconic appeal of its first black 900 Turbo and introducing innovative Saab XWD technology.

It is unveiled today (11 Sept), exactly 30 years after Saab surprised the automotive world at Frankfurt when it revealed its first turbocharged model. That set a trend other manufacturers were to follow. Now Saab unleashes turbo power for the first time through Saab XWD, a cutting edge all-wheel-drive system that sets performance standards competitors will also seek to emulate.

With 400 Nm of torque from its 280 hp/ 206 kW 2.8V6 turbo engine, the Turbo X is the ultimate performance expression of the new Saab 9-3 range. Saab XWD features active management that not only splits torque delivery between both axles, but also between the rear wheels. This responsive system delivers a level of driver involvement and dynamic chassis control never seen before from Saab.

In addition to tuning of the suspension and its electronic chassis, throttle and powertrain settings, the Turbo X features distinctive styling additions that enhance aerodynamic performance.

Available in Sport Sedan or SportCombi bodystyles, the Saab Turbo X limited edition showcases the launch of Saab XWD. The order book is now open and the first customer deliveries are expected during the second quarter of next year. Each example can carry a personalized message in the main instrument display.

Driver in Focus with Saab XWD
• Intelligent Saab XWD for superb handling and roadholding
• Rear eLSD gives torque transfer up to 40% between wheels
• 2.8 V6 Turbo with twin-scroll turbocharger, variable valve timing
• Sports tuned chassis optimizes all-wheel-drive benefits

The Saab Turbo X adds a new dimension in chassis control to Saab's unrivalled experience in turbocharging. It is the result of a development program that leverages the full potential of Saab's innovative XWD system, with the car's sports tuned suspension, brakes and electronic control systems all aligned to meet a single need: driving satisfaction.

Saab XWD is an active all-wheel-drive system designed to optimize vehicle handling and stability. (Refer to New Saab 9-3 release for full technical description). Its sophisticated electronic control allows fine balancing of drive torque, not only between the two axles but also between the rear wheels. In effect, this stretches the performance envelope of the chassis, for example, raising the threshold at which ESP throttle and braking interventions are triggered. The result is closer driver involvement through 'positive force' chassis control.

The driving benefits of the XWD system are best appreciated out on the open road. Data from the ABS/ESP sensors - measuring wheel speed, yaw rate and steering angle – is utilized by the Saab XWD control module. Rear drive is instantly applied to balance oversteer and understeer characteristics, improving stability and roadholding.

Driver control is taken a step further on the Turbo X by the eLSD, the first application of an electronically-controlled, rear limited slip differential in this segment of the market. It uses inputs from the rear wheel speed sensors and can transfer up to 40% of torque between the drive shafts, to whichever wheel has more grip. When cornering hard, this yaw damping effect helps the rear of the car more closely follow the direction of the front wheels.

To exploit the full benefits of Saab XWD, the chassis of the Turbo X has been lowered by 10 mm and the springs and dampers stiffened to minimize body movement. To maintain a constant ride height irrespective of load, self-leveling dampers are fitted at the rear.

Stopping power is also increased with larger brake discs fitted: internally ventilated (345 mm diameter x 30 mm) at the front and externally ventilated (292 mm diameter x 20 mm) at the rear. Standard 235/45 R-18 tires ensure excellent mechanical grip for the 18-inch alloy wheels.

The powerhouse at the heart of the Turbo X is a 24-valve, 2.8-liter V6 turbo engine generating 400 Nm of torque between 2,150 and 4,500 rpm and maximum power of 280 hp (206 kW) at 5,500 rpm. The advanced specification includes a lightweight, all-aluminum construction with a 60-degree angle between the cylinder banks for perfect balance, variable inlet valve timing and twin-scroll turbocharging. It is offered with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

This responsive, high torque powerplant is the perfect partner for Saab XWD. Together, they give the Saab Turbo X sporty, all-wheel-drive performance and handling characteristics that will appeal to all enthusiastic drivers who seek a rewarding experience behind the wheel.

Saab Black Turbo Reborn
• Distinctive Jet Black color in homage to first Saab 900 Turbo
• Functional sports bodystyling raises aerodynamic efficiency
• 'Turbo heritage' boost gauge and personalized driver display

The Saab Turbo X visually communicates its focus on driving performance by extending the bold, progressive design themes of the new 9-3 range. Offered only in metallic jet black, with the front grille and all exterior detailing accented in a matte grey titanium-like finish, it represents a contemporary expression of its illustrious black 900 Turbo forebear.

Distinctive styling additions are designed to improve aerodynamic efficiency, as well as emphasize the Turbo X's performance focus. At the front, a deeper lip spoiler and integrated air intake contribute to reduced drag while also increasing air flow to the engine and intercooler.

At the rear, the re-profiled bumper and insert panel lowers the point of air flow separation, further reducing drag and assisting high speed stability. The Sport Sedan features a rear spoiler that extends the line of the trunk deck, reducing high speed lift forces at the rear axle. The standard SportCombi already has a similar spoiler that extends the rear roof line.

The Turbo X is further distinguished by unique, 18-inch alloy wheels (19-inch available as an option outside US/Canada markets) with a grey titanium-like finish that evokes the look of Saab's classic three-spoke design. Twin, rhomboid-shaped tailpipes complete the exterior additions.

Inside, the 'black turbo' theme is continued throughout the cabin. The sports seating, with additional bolstering, is upholstered entirely in black leather. The sporty ambience is further emphasized by a carbon-fiber finish to the main fascia, door inserts, glove box and gear shift console which is unique to the Turbo X.

The driver benefits from improved 'feel' through the addition of a thick-rimmed, soft grip leather steering wheel. Seating comfort can be taken a step further with an optional premium, natural leather interior, which includes perforated bolsters for the front seat squabs and backs.

In recognition of Saab's turbo heritage, the Turbo X boost gauge is a replica of the original 900 Turbo display. Owners will also enjoy a personalized greeting when they get behind the wheel and switch on the ignition. A unique 'Ready For Take-off' message ('All Systems Go' in US/Canada) flashes in the main instrument display. The owner's name, with the edition number of the car, can also be programmed for display by the supplying dealer.

Saab Turbo X

Technical Specifications
2792cc. V6. Aluminum cylinder heads and block. Twin-scroll turbocharger, intercooled. DOHC, 24-valve. Variable valve timing (inlet). Dual-mass flywheel. Bosch Motronic ECM
Max power: 280 hp (206 kW) @ 5,500 rpm. Max. torque: 400 Nm @ 2,150 - 4,500 rpm
Bore/stroke: 89.0/74.8 mm. Compression Ratio: 9.5: 1. Max. Boost Pressure: 0.8 bar.
Saab XWD, all-wheel-drive. Electronic rear limited-slip differential (eLSD)
6-speed manual or automatic gearbox
Front: MacPherson struts and gas shock absorbers. Anti-roll bar. Hydroformed sub-frame.
Rear: Indep, four link, incl. toe-link. Coil springs and self-levelling shock absorbers. Anti-roll bar. Sub-frame.

Rack and pinion, hydraulic power assistance. Turning circle (curb to curb): 11.7m.Lock to lock: 2.75 turns
Wheels, Tires:
18 x 7.5" , 235/45R18,
19 x 7.5" , 235/40R19,
Hydraulic, dual circuit, vacuum booster. Discs: 345 mm / 292 mm (all ventilated)

Performance Data
(preliminary figures)

0 - 100 kph: Sport Sedan: 5.7 secs (manual)
SportCombi: 5.9 secs (manual)
80 - 120 kph (5th gear): Sport Sedan: 7.9 secs
SportCombi: 8.3 secs
Top Speed: Sport Sedan: 250 kph (manual)
SportCombi: 250 kph (manual)

Fuel consumption/CO2 (combined cycle, L/100km):
Sport Sedan: 10.9 / 259 gm/km (manual)
SportCombi: 11.0 / 263 gm/km (manual)

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      First thing I did was click on the gallery link, praying that you included a shot of the 900 Black, 'cause I was gonna be pissed if you dared to mention that they had one and you didn't shoot it. Good on ya. Frankly, I think it's the best looking Saab in a long time...surprisingly I didn't like the Combi as much as I thought I would. I think the lack of symmetry between the rear quarter windows and the D-pillar (it seems to have a faster angle than the trailing edge of the quarter window) makes it look awkward, IMO. Still, the car looks great, especially in the black package. And the turbo needle looks so right.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Is a Saab for you?

      If you’re after the epitome of refined driving, whatever that is, then maybe a Saab isn’t for you. Maybe you should try a Lexus.

      If you’re after supreme roadholding in high speed corners, then maybe a Saab isn’t for you. I hear BMW do that stuff quite well.

      If you’re not sure whether you want a performance car or a luxury car, then every Audi ever made is just like you.

      If you’re looking for an engine that screams at high revs, ‘cuase you like that sort of thing, a Saab probably isn’t for you. You should probably check out a performance Honda.

      If you want gadgets that tell you what all your other gadgets are doing, Saab probably isn’t for you either.

      If you want rock solid reliability and the soul of a car doesn’t matter to you, forget Saab. Maybe you should shop for a Toyota.

      If you want butterflies to kiss you and fish to jump on your hook in thanks for you apparent environmental goodness, then maybe a Prius is what you’re after. Maybe.

      If you want people to openly admire how well you’ve done for yourself then a Saab definitely isn’t for you. I can point you towards a couple of Mercedes dealers.

      If you’re having a mid-life crisis then a red MX-5 is just around the corner.

      If the only real engine in your mind is a V8, mate, then your local Ford or Holden dealership is the place to go.

      But if you love driving and have a history of forming links and attachments with the cars you own and the people that make them, then maybe a Saab might suit you.

      But if you’re after a car made by a company with a history of innovation, perhaps a Saab’s worth considering.

      If you like the rush of a turbocharger and find torque steer to be somewhat interesting, then it’s quite likely that a Saab’s for you.

      If you want the best seats in the business….

      ….and fantastic cabin ergonomics….

      ….if you love the idea of V6 performance from a four cylinder engine…

      ….and the possibility to uprate it even higher….

      ….then maybe you should be looking at a Saab.

      If you want innovations that make sense, like headlamps wired into the ignition, a dash that can be de-luminated at night except for the information you need and heated seats, for example, then perhaps a Saab is what you’re looking for.

      If you enjoy owning a brand of car that has a big and enthusiastic ownership base that you can connect with, then a Saab should definitely be on your list.

      If you can look at this picture and know exactly what it means, then maybe a Saab is for you.

      If you like the smell of two-stroke, perhaps a Saab might suit you.

      If you want to be able to carry recliner chairs, washing machines, motorcycles, large amounts of musical equipment, or whatever else in your own car and not have them delivered, an older Saab hatch would be perfect for you.

      If you like the idea of owning a sleeper, then a Saab could be what you’re looking for.

      If you like the fact that you don’t see your own car on the road every 10 2 minutes, well….

      And if you like the idea of driving what’s proven to be one of the safest cars in the world in both crash test and real world environments, maybe a Saab is what you’re after.

      Most of all, if you want all these attributes - safety, comfort, performance, fun, responsibility, utility, innovation, history, anonymity and exclusivity - all in the one car…..

      …..then maybe a Saab is for you.
        • 8 Years Ago
        ... i'm sorry, did you say something?
      • 8 Years Ago
      after reading up on the XWD system and a few another Saab terms. 9-3 has start to grow on me.
      I currently own a Audi A4 but don't like the future A4 displayed.
      Is Saab going to receive any Hybrids or Diesels next model year?
      I know VOS Vauxhall-Opel-Saturn is going to get the aura replacement with Die-Hy.
      Saab should offer one Die-Hy.Unless the new Aura has better fit & finish.
      Saab or Saturn will likely be my next ride.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Anyone think this car is just slightly underpowered for what it's trying to do? Whatever it's trying to do I think it will look good doing it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Mean and sinister! Love it - my type of car ;)
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Backing up its blackness"....wtf does that even mean?

      I admittedly like the looks of this, but I'd like an honest answer on something. What does Saab really offer that's superior to its competitors? This isn't meant to start a flame war, I'm just really curious what people think. I'm 23 and to me, nothing they offer has really ever beaten out the competition for the price to features ratio, which I consider to be Audi, or lower end BMWs. They just always seem to lack new styling or adequate power for a brand that seems marketed as a somewhat luxury sports car. Maybe I'm wrong, just my two cents. Incite would be appreciated.
        • 8 Years Ago
        I have no incite, but I have a little insight. I'm 21 (younger, hipper, etc. you heard.) and I like the car for its originality. I have an '05, and every time someone says "what kind of car is that?" I take it as a compliment. It's easy to confuse many German cars with their Japanese rivals, because they copy one another so much, and I think the Saab looks unique. You don't see them often.
        The 9-3 isn't a commuter, it's not a sports car, it's not a luxury car. But just because it isn't any of the above doesn't mean it isn't anything at all. It's a car with influences from all dimensions, and I think most people want a car that does one job only, and with a solid identity.
        Personally, I like having a car that can haul ass at high speeds, but also be a well-balanced car for our severe winters. It can swallow all my gear (i.e. my whole dormroom), but has one of the tightest turning radii of any car I've driven (and I've driven a lot; my dad is a car dealer).
        I really can't understand why the typical American turns his nose at any car that isn't anonymous-looking.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I actually like it quite a bit, except for one thing that is bugging the hell out of me. I can understand they wanted to copy the "turbo gauge" from the original car as a nod to it. But if they were going to make that one needle orange, then they should have made ALL of the needles in the cluster orange. One orange needle among all the white ones looks absolutely horrible. It looks like a mistake. And the customers that they are aiming for will notice it and bitch about it...
      • 8 Years Ago
      Great coverage guys. Glad you're loving the car. I can't wait to see it myself.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Barf! That's one of the ugliest looking cars I've ever seen. I had an 04 93 and even though I couldn't wait to get rid of the car due to its problems and poor quality build, it was still a beautiful looking car. But this, what the hell is this? The front end looks hideous and the back taillights look like they came off a ricer. Oh yeah, love the Chevy interior, especially the gear knob from the Cobalt. Nice!
        • 8 Years Ago
        Knock yourself out. Go buy one. Glad to see you believe in your own words.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "And the customers that they are aiming for"

      Smile every time they see that needle.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow, the Sport Combi version could very well be my next car, especially if I could legally get the rear windows tinted SUV-style. AWD, 0-60 in the mid-5's, a decent amount of space -- what more could you want?

      A little more power would be nice, but it's definitely worth a test drive.
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