It’s no accident that Saab chose to use the name “PhoeniX” for both their latest platform and the concept car unveiled this week in Geneva. The Phoenix, after all, is the mythical creature that rises from the ashes of destruction, and Saab now looks poised to pull off the exact same trick. A year ago, no one knew if Saab would even find a buyer; now they have, and that buyer (Spyker) seems focused on both preserving the marque and moving it into the future. To that end, the PhoeniX concept looks both futuristic and retro at the same time, with more than a little styling influence from cars like Saab’s Sonett III of the early 1970s. The videos below give a little more detail on the creation of the car, as well as what Saab has in store for the future.
Designed by Jason Castriota (who worked on Ferrari’s 599), Saab’s PhoeniX concept uses a design language that will be applied to future models. Power comes from a 1.6 liter turbo four, good for 200 horsepower to the front wheels. Supplemental power, to the rear wheels, comes courtesy of a battery driven electric motor. This setup can not only increase power on acceleration, but act as an “on demand” AWD system, complete with torque vectoring. It’s a simple and ingenious setup, similar (but reversed in layout) to what Porsche used in the GT3 Hybrid racecar.
If Saab can pull off a car like the PhoeniX, they may become the automotive turnaround story of the century. As Casriota so aptly put it, “Saabs aren’t for everyone”; this may be true, but cars like the PhoeniX are exactly what Saab needs to build a renewed interest in the brand.