Saab Aero X Concept

08Apr07

Saab Aero X Concept

Saab Aero X Concept

The Saab Aero X concept harnesses Saab’s aviation and Scandinavian roots.

There are no doors or windshield pillars because the Aero X has a cockpit much like a jet fighter. Offering the pilot 180 degree vision and easy acces to the low-slung cabin.

Thrust for the all-wheel-drive Saab Aero X comes from a 400 bhp, twin-turbo, BioPower V6 engine fueled by ethanol.

In he Saab Aero X’s cockpit data is dispalyed on glass-like ‘clear zones’ in graphic 3-D images.

With 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 62mph in just 4.9 seconds and a limited top of 155mph.

Despite being so tightly driver-focused, the Aero X still offers surprising practicality. The tail conceals a useful 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.”

From Aircraft to Automobiles

Saab’s aviation roots go back almost 70 years to 1937, when Swedish Aircraft Company Limited was founded in the town of Trollhättan, where Saab cars are still built today on the site of the original aircraft factory.

The company supplied military aircraft to the Swedish Air Force and began diversifying into the automotive business in 1947, when its first car, the Saab 92, was unveiled (Saab 91 was a light aircraft used for pilot training). The 92’s streamlined, teardrop-shaped bodywork was clearly the work of aircraft engineers and wind tunnel testing.

The adoption of front-wheel drive for sure-footed handling, excellent roadholding and efficient space utilization was also unconventional for the time – more than a decade before the layout was to become popular in the rest of the auto industry.

Another innovative design from Saab’s newly-created car division was the Sonett 1, a lightweight sports car for competition use. Its ‘monocoque’ chassis was made from aviation-specification aluminum panels, instead of the usual arrangement of steel beams and tubes. Although common in aircraft construction, Saab was using this design six years before it was introduced to Grand Prix racing.

Today, more than 4 million cars and 4,000 aircraft later, Saab is one name and two companies. The car business, Saab Automobile AB, is now wholly owned by General Motors. The Saab Group is a global leader in the application of advanced technologies, specializing in aerospace and defense systems.

Over the years, Saab cars have continued to incorporate aircraft-inspired design features, from wrap-around windshields and cockpit-like ergonomics to green instrument illumination and information displays. The innovative spirit of those aircraft engineers, including their pioneering in safety, continues to be reflected in Saab’s unconventional approach to car design.

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