NEWS

2008 Geneva Motor Show: Saab 9-X BioHybrid

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  • Looks like: Saab tried its hand at a Volvo C30-fighter
  • Defining characteristics: Hybrid drivetrain with lithium-ion battery pack, movable spoiler and diffuser to aid aerodynamics, power-operated cargo floor, roof-mounted solar panel
  • Ridiculous features: 21-inch wheels
  • Chance of being mass-produced: It’s plausible that the general shape of the car and its hybrid drivetrain could make it to production one day — if GM gives Saab the funds

Take a good look at this concept, Saab fans, as it’s what the future may hold for the brand’s small cars, according to the Swedish automaker. The two-door hatchback has a number of interesting features, including a hybrid drivetrain that’s capable of running on E85 ethanol.

The 9-X BioHybrid features an evolution of the GM Hybrid System that incorporates a lithium-ion battery pack. Saab says the new system is better at storing energy and providing electric assist than is today’s system. Working together with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, the electric motor can provide supplementary power when accelerating, restart the engine from a stop and act as a generator when decelerating.

The 9-X BioHybrid has a smooth look to it and features side windows and a windshield that come together to give the glass a wraparound design. In place of a traditional roof is a glass one with a solar panel that can charge the hybrid system’s lithium-ion battery.

The concept also features what Saab calls “active aerodynamics” in an effort to lower fuel use. The two elements of the system — a rear spoiler and a diffuser — can change their orientation when the car is traveling faster than 43 mph. The spoiler also elevates when braking hard from speeds in excess of 62 mph.

There’s room for four people inside the concept, and its cargo area has a power-operated cargo floor that can motor out to make loading luggage easier. To keep that luggage from sliding around, the cargo floor is finished in rubber.

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Mike Hanley has more than 20 years of experience reporting on the auto industry. His primary focus is new vehicles, and he's currently a Senior Road Test Editor overseeing expert car reviews and comparison tests. He previously managed Editorial content in the Cars.com Research section. Email Mike Hanley

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