The dream comes true - Saab 9-4X BioPower Concept

The only study of the Carl Peter Forster era that became a reality is the 9-4X BioPower Concept. An old dream that came true – and that still has a few unexplained secrets to this day. The concept car is in the museum in Trollhättan. It's worth taking a close look. Because you discover what you could have gotten. However, this was never served to Saab customers.

The story begins in 2008 at the North American International Auto Show. In Detroit, Saab shows an SUV. They're trying again, the Swedes. After the unsuccessful 9-7x and the never realized Saab 9-6x (Link) follows attempt number three. The 9-4X BioPower Concept is close to production, and the press is wondering if an SUV can be a Saab.

Saab 9-4 BioPower Concept
Saab 9-4 BioPower Concept. Image: Saab Automobile AB

Can or must, because the SUV boom was already raging through the markets in 2008, and Saab has nothing in its portfolio for that. The 9-4x was developed together with the Cadillac SRX in the GM network. Trollhättan contributes both turbo and all-wheel drive expertise. The design, inside and out, is typical Saab. And just as much Saab as an SUV can be.

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Under the hood of the study works an 300 PS strong, 2 liter big BioPower Turbo. Alternative fuels are in demand then before they are sent to Sweden in favor of diesel engines in exile. But the real tension awaits the viewer in the interior.

future, never served. Chapter number 1

Saab plays at this time with the Nordic theme. The headlights are ice blue since the Aero X study. Sweden greeting land of ice, snow and frozen lakes. The design team around Antony Lo takes the 9-4X BioPower Concept a step further. The ice now also moves into the interior. A Saab, the avant-garde brand in the group, should also differ in the interior of the rest of the automotive world.

The cockpit and the center console wear the color of the ice. A daring venture that creates a chilled atmosphere - and should be the template for all new Saab models.

Because what 2008 is to be seen in Detroit, this is not a study in the traditional sense. But very close to the series. In short, the interiors of the 9-4x and the 9-5 NG should have looked just as of 2010.

That did not happen, and the question arises why!

In recent years I have heard different explanations of the reasons from various sources. Because in reality, Trollhättan sent both the Saab 9-5 NG and the 9-4x onto the road with a semi-finished, improvised interior design. The reader himself may decide which of the three possibilities he considers plausible.

Supplier in financial need?

One explanation is the insolvency of the supplier for the interior shortly before series production. As a result, Saab improvised under Spyker with decor variants that were printed on the carrier of a southern European supplier. However, the majority of vehicles rolled off the assembly line with black plastic interiors.

Interior priceless?

Another explanation speaks of around €1.000 that Saab would have had to pay for the interior ice decor per vehicle. If that were the case, it would really be too much. Because in the industry there is a 1:10 rule. And it works like this: The manufacturer invests around €100,00 in what the specialist media then calls the quality impression in the interior.

The customer then rewards this feeling with an additional price of around €1.000,00.

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Failed crash test?

The third and last possible explanation speaks of security problems. The first crash tests are said to have resulted in splintering and sharp-edged material in the interior, and thus the end of the ice decor. For Saab, one of the safest car brands in the world, that would have been absurd.

And with it the end of the avant-garde.

future, never served. Chapter number 2

Saab fans should be tough, maybe someone will continue to read. So another future. The 9-4X BioPower Concept serves more of what never happened. The cargo system in the rear of the vehicle is an eyecatcher. And an outlook on what was very close to the series. An improvement of the known system, with more variability and value.

Firmly scheduled for the first facelift of Saab 9-5 NG and Saab 9-4x. Produced by a well-known supplier in Germany, the tools for this already existed. But, and this is the sad truth: Both vehicles never made it to the first revision.

The Saab 9-4x, based on the 9-4X BioPower Concept, was built in Mexico between 600 and 700. The number is not completely clear, because after the end of the brand already produced vehicles were scrapped or used internally at GM.

14 thoughts on "The dream comes true - Saab 9-4X BioPower Concept"

  • blank

    At the headline I expected something different….
    My thoughts immediately went to “barn finds” or something, the unexpected opportunity to get a 9-4X ...
    OK, I'm awake again. 😉

    Thanks for the contribution.

  • blank

    Thanks Tom. Today I read two articles (9-6X) again. As was the case recently with the sonnet ...
    Not least thanks to the link learned a lot again. I did not even know this SAABaru.

    For me, the engine of the 9-4X concept is the real highlight of the car. Followed by the trunk that looks very classy and reminds me of modern yacht design. But I don't think the console is Swedish at all and rather repulsive. It arouses associations in me with the cheapest stereos from dingy and scruffy import-export shops that play stupid hits ...

    ICE, ICE BABY… ICE, ICE! ! !

    The topic was very well located in the exterior design and lighting elements. Cold interior design belongs more to Miami or Italy, where it contributes to well-being at 40 ° in the shade. In wet and cold weather, however, I don't want to get into a car like this, shivering in damp clothes and touch ice-crystalline controls with clammy fingers ...

    In such a weather, I do not want to eat iced gazpacho, but rather a hot soup when I arrive home.

    That this design did not pass the crash test (ice splinters and can be fatal), I think it's perfectly okay. It's just a shame that I can't buy a 9-5 NG SC with dark fittings and this awesome SAAB engine. It's also a shame that I can't get the bio-fuel for this hypothetical or my real car in Germany ...
    That's sad.

  • blank

    Unfortunately, my dream didn't come true. The 9-4X would have been my car. My environment is driving Q5, that would have been something! So unfortunately I have to be satisfied with the model and the two brochures, also from the concept car. Nice and interesting report Tom.

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    I am always amazed. Since we write the year 2019 and Saab is already quite a long time dead. Nevertheless, Tom always manages to grab us and surprise us. Brilliant!

    PS .: Maybe something is really happening in Sweden and the plant has a future. And the blog accompanies us, with new material, then for many, many years.

  • blank

    I am still and again and again inspired by the work of these innovative spirits who have worked in this nest. I'm glad to have discovered this once for me and have used it as long as it went. So long.
    Thanks for the reports.

  • blank

    Rrrrrrr… I always enjoy reading reports like this!
    But with THE heading, I got HEART RUNNING very briefly !!!!! 😉 😉

    What I still miss today is the “loading hatch” (part of the CargoSystem) instead of the spare wheel under the trunk !!!!
    Is probably not even reorderable or “convertible”. 🙁

    And the partly “ice-blue” headlights are still really eye-catching (especially in the EU version with “transparent / white” flashing light)! The same applies to the “chic butt” (with the light band)!

  • blank

    Tom, you can do us!

  • blank

    I still find the 9-4X fascinating and always happy to see one or even two at Saab Suchomel. I would still rather have the TTID engine with XWD and automatic in the car taken, if one could have ordered so.
    Why was there never a head up display in the 9-4X?

    • blank

      A diesel would never have existed in 9-4x. A decision that would not have been dramatic considering the few 100 tracks for Germany and Austria each year.

      The abandonment of the HUD is probably a marketing decision to maintain the distance to the 9-5 NG, the former technology carrier in the Group.

      • blank

        Interesting and amazing.
        The decision must have fallen before Diesel Gate.
        Do you also know who decided when and why?
        Does this have anything to do with GM and VM-SAAB's desire for more independence?

        The potential for a 9-4X diesel would not only have been idle in Austria and Germany ...
        Quote (Tom): “Alternative fuels were popular at the time, before they were sent into exile in Sweden in favor of diesel drives.”

        Even here today (in the motherland of the diesel scandal) the registration numbers for diesel are picking up again.
        Who knows what the market potential for a 9 4X diesel really would have been?

        • blank

          The explanation is simple. The 9-4x would have been produced mainly for China and the US. No markets for a diesel SUV. Europe would have received so few quantities, as would never have expected a diesel.

          • blank

            The simple explanation triggers many new question marks for me ...
            But let's leave this open. This gives room for many new contributions,
            I would like to read all of them 😉

            Meanwhile, thanks for the AW 😉

        • blank

          The 9-4x is definitely my dream car ... or a little brother.
          Unfortunately it won't work ...
          So an alternative had to be found ...
          An SUV that is different from the others and comes from a small manufacturer - which the large parent company can easily make.
          And he comes from a country that also begins with S and the brand name has four letters and begins with S - yes, a SEAT Arteca ...
          Greetings from Oldenburg

  • blank

    The 9-4x and the 9-5 NG SC. To this day, I believe - these two models would have been the next big hit of the oh-so-small brand from Sweden. Unbelievable what was conjured up in the offices in Trollhättan back then.

    The interior concept looks directly much more valuable, certainly an alternative that would have been often ordered. One of these reports, where you end up thinking the same thing again: what a pity that this innovative brand no longer exists!


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