Geneva Motor Show: Saab takes off with Aero X Concept

The Geneva Motor Show is underway and Saab has taken aim and struck first by unveiling its Aero X Concept. The two-seater coupe expresses Saab’s future design language, one obviously more aggressive than the current.

The Aero X also draws from the Scandinavian automaker’s aviation roots by featuring a cockpit canopy like a fighter jet that lifts up the “doors” and windshield together. Since there are no windshield pillars, the driver enjoys a full 180-degree view of the road ahead.

Power for the Aero X is provided by an environmentally conscious yet extremely powerful twin-turbo BioPower V6 engine that uses 100-percent ethanol and produces 400 hp.

As the name suggests, the Aero X is all-wheel drive and skinned entirely in carbon fiber, both of which contribute to a 0-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds.

The interior is supposedly trick as well, the designers having eschewed all buttons and knobs for smooth acrylic ‘clear zones’ that present controls in graphic 3D images. Unfortunately GM hasn’t released any shots of the interior, so we’ll have to wait until our man on the floor, Alberto, produces some for us.

Follow the jump for more official pics and GM’s official press release.

[Source: GM}

Aero X Concept Showcases Future Saab Design Direction
World premiere at Geneva Auto Show
  • Inspired by Saab's aviation heritage and Scandinavian roots
  • Previews more progressive design language
  • Innovative opening canopy eliminates doors and windshield pillars
  • "Green Power" from 400 hp BioPower engine using 100 percent ethanol fuel
  • All-wheel drive, carbon fiber bodywork
  • North American debut at New York auto show in April

The Saab Aero X concept harnesses the power of Saab's aviation and Scandinavian roots to make a unique statement in performance car design. Conceived as a study to explore future design directions, its innovative features preview the development of an enhanced design language that will inspire future Saab products.

As one would expect from Saab, this dynamic two-seater sports coupe breaks with automotive design convention both outside and inside.
First, there are no doors...or windshield pillars. That's because the Saab Aero X adopts a cockpit canopy, just as you would see on a jet aircraft. It offers the Aero X pilot full 180 degree vision, and also facilitates entry and exit from its low-slung cabin.

Thrust for the all-wheel-drive Saab Aero X also comes from a powerplant with a difference. The 400-hp, twin-turbo, BioPower V6 engine is fueled entirely by ethanol, a sustainable energy source that is kinder to the environment by cutting fossil CO2 emissions. The "green power" of this advanced engine gives new meaning to the phrase "performance with responsibility."

Inside, the Saab Aero X's cockpit also adds a new dimension to clean Scandinavian interior design by completely eliminating conventional dials and buttons. Instead, Saab has applied techniques derived from Swedish glass and precision instrument making, displaying data on glass-like acrylic 'clear zones' in graphic 3-D images.

All exterior and interior lighting is by LED (light-emitting diode), which has given the design team new freedom to exploit the compact packaging benefits of a technology that will be featured increasingly in future Saab products.

With weight-saving carbon fiber bodywork, a lightweight powertrain, electronically controlled suspension and all-wheel drive, the Saab Aero X is an exciting driver's car that promises a level of performance to match its looks. Computer simulations anticipate zero to 60mph/100 kph in just 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph/250 kph (limited).

Despite being so tightly driver-focused, the Aero X still offers surprising practicality, again, a quality you would expect to find in all Saab designs. That dramatically sculpted tail conceals a useful twin storage facility, with a conventional hatch opening and sliding drawer underneath.
"This study shows how the strength of the Saab brand heritage can inspire bold, innovative design," says Bryan Nesbitt, Executive Director, GM Design Europe. "As we move forward with new Saab products, we will remain focused on carefully cultivating this brand equity in the context of Scandinavian design values."

"This concept shows the exciting possibilities that are open to us as we evolve a more progressive design language for the brand," says Jan Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile's Managing Director. "Our designers, engineers and marketers in Sweden are ideally placed to nurture and communicate the unique DNA of the Saab brand. Their work will ensure that future product proposals express core qualities, such as progressive design, sporty performance and emotional functionality, in a way that is specific to Saab."

The Saab Aero X is the latest in a series of concepts from Saab, each accentuating different brand qualities. These include the 'four-dimensional' 9X (IAA Frankfurt 2001), the 9-3X Cross-over Coupe (Detroit 2002) and the 9-3 Sport Hatch (IAA Frankfurt 2003).

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