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2008 Detroit Auto Show: Saab 9-4X BioPower Concept

  • Looks like: Saab said to parent GM: “Get us in the crossover game now!”
  • Defining characteristics: Sleek lines, turbocharged four-cylinder that can run on E85, ski storage system
  • Ridiculous features: Heated compartment for ski boots
  • Chance of being mass-produced: Good, and this is just the kind of model the brand needs to round out its lineup

Even though it’s a concept, the 9-4X looks ready to be on the lot of your local Saab dealership. We expect a production version to follow soon, and that’s a good thing for the brand, which is desperately in need of a crossover SUV to take some market share in that exploding area of the industry.

The 9-4X’s exterior styling is elegant and restrained. It has sleek body sides accented with pronounced fender flares that arch over 21-inch wheels and tires. There are also swooping creases in the body panels that echo the shape of the side windows. Around back, a portion of the taillights span the width of the vehicle in one uninterrupted band.

Inside, the four-seat cabin features a sliding storage system for skis and related equipment, with space for the skis to extend between the rear seats. A glass roof is also featured in the concept.

The 9-4X’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is turbocharged — a technology used to boost power that Saab uses liberally in its passenger car lineup. The engine makes 300 hp and 295 pounds-feet of torque and can run on E85 ethanol. The engine works with a six-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels via the company’s XWD all-wheel-drive system. Available in the 9-3 sport sedan, XWD incorporates an electronically controlled limited-slip differential that can vary power between the rear wheels.

Would you buy a small Saab crossover? Check out the photos below and let us know.

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