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  1. #1
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    Saab 9-X Air

    Press Release September 2008

    Photo gallery with 25 pictures: Link

    World Premiere: Saab 9-X Air Summary

    Canopy Top Brings Breath of Fresh Air to Convertible Design

    The 9-X Air concept is a design vision exploring what a future open-air Saab could look like. It features a unique ‘Canopy Top’ – patent pending - and the close-coupled proportions of a sports car, as well as four-seat accommodation.

    In breaking the mould of conventional convertible design, the bodywork of the 9-X Air incorporates prominent rear pillars which curve upwards to mount the flat folding Canopy Top. They also anchor a distinctive, wraparound glasshouse, including a separate, recessed rear screen.

    Designer Anthony Lo and his team have achieved this execution while still offering the four season, four seater practicality pioneered by Saab when its first convertible concept was premiered at the Frankfurt Show exactly 25 years ago.

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    Top down or up, the 9-X Air cuts a distinctive silhouette. With the canopy stowed away and the rear screen up, occupants can enjoy open-top motoring free from buffeting. Top up, the 9-X Air assumes the appearance of a true coupé, with a cohesive design that eschews the looks of a conventional, four-seater convertible.

    Designed in parallel with the Saab 9-X BioHybrid concept, the 9-X Air shares its distinctive frontal styling, together with its highly efficient powertrain. The small, 1.4-liter Saab BioPower engine combines a series of steps for more responsible performance: engine rightsizing, turbocharging, the use of biofuels and hybrid technology.

    Running on E85 fuel (85% bioethanol/ 15% gasoline), the engine delivers a sporty 200 hp (147 kW), giving zero to 100 kph acceleration in 8.1 seconds and projected CO2 tailpipe emissions of just 107 g/km over the combined cycle. Compared to gasoline, the overall environmental impact on a source-to-wheel basis of using E85 is even more beneficial.

    Progressive Design
    The clean, sculpted body contours of the 9-X Air give fresh expression to Saab’s Scandinavian-inspired design ethos and its aircraft heritage. The purposeful stance, with minimal overhangs front and rear, is complemented by a single, wraparound window graphic, smooth uncluttered body surfaces and ‘ice block’ lighting themes.

    The exterior look is defined by the prominent C-pillars, or buttresses, that provide the rear mounting for the unique Canopy Top - a powered, flat-folding roof developed from a Targa top principle. This innovation in convertible design, which distinguishes between a folding roof and a complete folding soft-top or hood assembly, is subject to a Saab patent application.

    The Canopy Top is in fabric, rather than metal, to save weight and provide more efficient packaging. It is fully automatic in operation and folds neatly in three small sections under a rear tonneau cover in the trunk deck. The rear screen between the buttresses retracts automatically into the underside of the raised tonneau cover to allow stowage of the Canopy Top. The screen then moves back into position to provide a complete glass surround for the cabin in open-top mode.

    This ‘surround glass’ feature, together with an active wind deflector on top of the windshield header rail, provides enhanced occupant comfort. It minimizes buffeting, reduces back drafts and eliminates the need for a wind deflector net. Separating the rear screen from the folding top also enables a glass area larger than feasible with a soft top and integral screen.

    In a further break with design convention, the 9-X Air dispenses with a trunk lid. Instead, a large storage compartment, big enough to accommodate two golf bags, slides out from underneath the rear light bar. To save weight, it is spring-loaded, without any power assistance, and slides effortlessly on rollers. Revealed underneath the sliding drawer is a separate compartment for stowing smaller items.

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    Driver Focus
    Inside, the 9-X Air features innovative developments in its driver-focused cockpit design and the provision of seamless connectivity for personal nomadic devices, both first seen in the 9-X BioHybrid.

    The driver information zone encompasses the top of the door moulding. It is a fresh execution of Saab’s traditional, driver-focused cockpit layout and dispenses with a central, floor-mounted console. The zone is a flat, arc-shaped surface, within which a row of five display screens is embedded and illuminated in green 3-D graphics, including an ‘infotainment’ screen and control panel in the driver’s door.

    In co-operation with Sony Ericsson, the 9-X Air and its hatchback sibling also showcase the potential for seamless, wireless connectivity (Bluetooth) with one or multiple nomadic devices (mobile phones, PDAs etc). The in-car interface enables streaming of data, entertainment and satellite navigation functions, which are transferred automatically to the car while the device remains in the user’s pocket.

    The smarter the device, the more functions in the car. The same unit could also be programmed to remotely lock /unlock the car, raise or lower the Canopy Top, and even remotely change in-car pre-sets. The 9-X Air makes a separate car key fob or remote controller redundant

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    Efficiency in Design and Performance
    The 9-X Air has been created by a team under Anthony Lo, Director of Advanced Design at General Motors Europe, working in co-operation with the Saab Brand Center in Sweden. “Like the 9-X BioHybrid, this car is all about efficiency in design and performance, and that includes the Canopy Top.” says Lo. “It offers important benefits in weight-saving and packaging, as well as giving us the freedom to take convertible design forward in a very Saabish way.
    Last edited by nordwulf; 24 August 2010 at 01:52.

  2. #2
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    Saab 9-X Air: Design Perspective

    How Saab Raised the Roof with its Canopy Top

    The Saab 9-X Air redefines the look of a four-seat convertible by exploiting the distinction between a folding roof and a folding soft-top. "With this car we have created an open air experience that is unique, sophisticated and very premium" says Mark Adams, Vice President GME Design. "From the beginning, we wanted to create an open air car that looked great with the windows up, since this is how convertibles are driven most of the time.”

    “The roof treatment has allowed us to completely alter the shape of the car,” explains designer Anthony Lo. Lo and his team set out to bring convertible design closer to the looks of an open sports car or a closed coupé, depending on the configuration. They also wanted to improve open-top comfort for passengers. The result is Saab’s unique Canopy Top concept, an alternative to soft-tops or hoods with rear windows that leave the back of the cabin open when stowed.

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    A ‘stand alone’ rear screen - separate from the soft-top assembly - is located between the 9-X Air’s raked rear pillars. These support the Canopy Top, a development of the ‘Targa’ top principle. But instead of having a manually detachable roof section, the Saab Canopy Top is fully powered in operation and folds away for stowage in the trunk. Saab has already filed a patent application for this feature.

    “Convertibles are traditionally developed from a sedan body and have a flat, open rear deck when the hood is down,” says Lo, Director of Advanced Design at General Motors Europe.

    “The Canopy Top has allowed us to introduce the rear pillars, which completely change the usual appearance of a convertible, giving it a more dynamic, coupé look. The pillars also anchor a complete wraparound glasshouse, which shelters the occupants from buffeting when the car is open.”

    Design Efficiency
    The 9-X Air was conceived in parallel with its 9-X BioHybrid sibling and, as a result, it is a design free from compromise or adaptation. The shape of the windshield and frontal styling, for example, was designed to work in both applications. The two cars share a focus on efficiency, with a powertrain that uses engine rightsizing, turbocharging, biofuel and hybrid technology to deliver sporty performance together with a significantly reduced environmental impact.

    Improved efficiency is also a major benefit of the Canopy Top. As there is no rear screen and supporting material to fold away, it is smaller and lighter than a conventional soft-top. That means it takes up less trunk space when stowed.

    Reduced weight was another consideration and that dictated the choice of fabric instead of metal for the Canopy Top. “It is the best material, as we save about 100 kilos in weight compared to using metal,” explains Lo. “We have chosen the fabric used for the current Saab Convertible. It is extremely durable and provides effective road noise insulation. For good handling and a lower center of gravity, you also don’t want any extra weight high up. All in all, we thought of quite a few drawbacks, and not so many gains, from going with a metal roof.”

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    As the 9-X Air was designed alongside the 9-X BioHybrid, the team was also able to keep weight down by minimizing the amount of structural reinforcement necessary to compensate for the removal of a fixed roof. The small strengthening members that were required are in aluminum for further weight saving.

    With its Canopy Top stowed, the 9-X Air’s ‘surround glass’ cabin offers improved driver and passenger comfort by managing air flow to reduce turbulence and wind buffeting. The rear screen works in tandem with a small wind deflector on the top edge of the windshield header rail. This is actively deployed, rising and falling according to vehicle speed. At the rear, the screen helps prevent back drafts, as the air flow over the car is no longer sucked back in through an open rear deck.

    The Canopy Top design also provides another practical benefit. Compared to the ‘stitched in’ screen of a conventional soft-top, the glass area of the 9-X Air’s rear screen is larger, offering the driver a wider field of vision.

    Saab Signature
    In evolving the 9-X Air and its sibling, Lo and his team worked in co-operation with colleagues from the Saab Brand Center in Sweden. This is a cross-functional group tasked with nurturing and developing all the qualities that go into making a Saab a Saab. It is a unique organization within GM’s global structure, with a unique way of working.

    Visually, the 9-X Air carries forward signature features that reflect Saab’s Scandinavian design heritage and its roots in aviation. These include the extended wraparound effect of the windshield and side glazing, the Aero X-inspired frontal styling, the clean body surfaces, ‘ice block’ lighting themes and distinctive 3-D blue/green instrument graphics. Even the raked rear pillars echo the prominent C-pillar line seen in all Saab cars.

    “Overall, the 9-X Air maintains our focus on efficiency. We have produced a sporty, innovative design that offers the sort of functional benefits you would expect from a Saab.”

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  3. #3
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    Responsible Performance

    Rightsizing with Saab BioPower and Hybrid Assistance

    The Saab 9-X Air features an ultra efficient powertrain which combines engine rightsizing and turbocharging with the use of bioethanol fuel and hybrid technology to deliver sporty performance with a significantly reduced environmental impact.

    Optimized for E85 fuel (85% biothanol/15% gasoline), the small, 1.4-liter BioPower turbo engine generates a substantial 200 hp/147 kW on E85 and an even more impressive 280 Nm (207 lb.ft) of torque. With a full flex-fuel capability, it is a rightsizing formula backed by hybrid technology, giving projected fuel consumption on gasoline over the combined cycle of just 5.0 l/100 km and 119 g CO2/km. On E85, CO2 emissions are projected to be even lower, at just 107 g/km, with estimated fuel consumption of 6.5 l/100 km.

    Mated to a six-speed manual gearbox with an automatic clutch and steering wheel controls, it is a sophisticated powertrain tailored to meet the environmental and energy-saving priorities of modern day motoring.

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    BioPower Optimized
    Saab already leads Europe’s emerging flex-fuel vehicle segment through the sales of its current BioPower models, which produce more power with E85, as well as less CO2 emissions compared to gasoline.

    The Saab 9-X Air now takes this proven flex-fuel technology further with an engine that fully exploits the high octane benefits of E85 fuel. It uses a higher compression ratio (10.2: 1) and
    turbo boost pressure (up to 1.6 bar) than would be possible with a gasoline-only engine. This is because E85 has a higher octane rating (104 RON) than pump gasoline (95 RON), which makes it more resistant to harmful pre-detonation, or ‘knocking’, as the fuel/air mixture is compressed in the cylinder.

    Running on E85 fuel, this lightweight yet sophisticated BioPower engine delivers the power characteristics of a much larger powerplant. That impressive torque of 280 Nm (207 lb.ft), for example, is available all the way from just 1,750 to 5,000 rpm. It’s another demonstration of Saab’s rightsizing engine strategy – offering exceptional power without the greater
    weight, size, fuel consumption or emissions of a larger, naturally-aspirated engine.

    Whilst optimized for E85, the engine retains a flex-fuel capability and will still run on gasoline, although it will not produce as much power. The engine management system is able to adjust the ignition timing and boost pressure to ensure there is no pre-detonation due to the higher compression ratio.

    The advanced specification of this engine also includes direct injection (DI), with centrally-located fuel injectors, and continuously variable valve timing (VVT) on both the inlet and exhaust sides. The result is greater low-end torque and further improved fuel consumption.

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    Next-Generation GM Hybrid System
    Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are reduced yet further by the addition of the next-generation GM Hybrid system, which features a significantly higher power capability to capture more energy and more electric boost than the current GM Hybrid system. An electric motor/generator, belt-driven from the engine’s crankshaft, replaces the conventional alternator. Electrical power is delivered and stored by the compact lithium ion battery pack, located under the rear cargo floor.

    At take-off from rest and during overtaking maneuvers, the electric motor adds accelerative power. It is also used to re-start the engine, supporting the automatic fuel-saving function whenever the car is stationary. To further improve efficiency, the hybrid system enables a longer fuel cut-off during deceleration and braking.

    The electric motor also acts as a generator. It can be powered by the engine to charge the battery pack and support vehicle electrical loads. Or it can be used for ‘regenerative braking’ by capturing the vehicle’s kinetic energy when decelerating and storing it in the battery pack. Sophisticated electronics manage AC/DC and all voltage interfaces, including the 12-volt in-car supply.

    The combination of GM Hybrid and Saab BioPower technologies has significant synergies. The hybrid system adds accelerative power and, in effect, improves throttle response. This allows further rightsizing of the engine with additional fuel consumption benefits. Engine rightsizing and hybridization complement each other, the combined benefit being greater than that of the individual technologies.

    Apart from saving fuel and energy, responsible performance means ensuring high standards of safety. In addition to a full arsenal of electronic stability and braking systems, the active safety measures also include a Lane Departure Warning (LDW) function. A front-mounted camera scans the road ahead and warning messages are flashed in the driver information display if the car veers across lane markings. The same camera is also used to monitor light sources at night. Small shutters automatically ‘hood’ the high headlamp beam when on-coming traffic is approaching. For additional occupant protection, pop-up roll bars are fitted behind the rear seats.

  4. #4
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    How A Star Was Born

    With its unique Canopy Top roof and ‘surround glass’ cabin, the Saab 9-X Air promises to become a landmark in open-top car design, just like the first Saab Convertible, which surprised the automotive world when it was revealed exactly 25 years ago at the 1983 International Frankfurt Motor Show.

    A quarter of a century ago, four seater convertibles were a rare sight on the road and largely considered to be ‘second’ cars, best kept in the garage for fair weather conditions. The soft-top car from Scandinavia was to change that perception. It was designed as a practical, four season, four seater car for use all the year round.

    Like the 9-X Air, the first Convertible was unveiled as a concept. Saab had earned a reputation for building hatchback cars that were strong and durable, but few observers at Frankfurt in 1983 imagined they were about to see an open-top car presented by a manufacturer from Scandinavia. The element of surprise was maintained right up to its unveiling because a plastic block had been inserted under the wraps of the car, giving it the silhouette of a wagon.

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    First produced in 1985, the Saab 900 Convertible was designed to withstand the harshest of Scandinavian winters. Customers quickly came to appreciated its robust build quality and its impressive, all-weather capabilities. Four season soft-top driving, with enough room to accommodate four adults in comfort, really was a practical proposition.

    The powered, triple layer soft-top was extremely durable, snug-fitting and totally weatherproof. Instead of the conventional perspex rear window, which is prone to cracking and fogging, Saab’s convertible featured a heated, glass rear screen. Today, the 9-X Air’s Canopy Top takes this a step further by completely separating the screen from the roof so that it remains in position when the roof is down to provide greater wind-cheating comfort for passengers.

    Most of the few convertibles on the market 25 years ago also had somewhat awkward lines, due to the requirements of adapting a sedan body shape and accommodating a folding top.

    But the Saab convertible was different. It appeared to be a unique model, rather than a sedan derivative, and looked just as good, roof up or roof down. Again, a design priority reflected in the distinctive shape of today’s 9-X Air.

    Brand Icon
    That first Saab 900 Convertible was an instant success. Its all-year-round appeal was underlined by strong sales in markets such as the UK, where a convertible spends most of its time with the roof up and the heater on.

    Spanning three incarnations, Saab convertible sales volumes have continued to increase. Almost 49,000 Saab 900 Convertibles were sold between 1987 and 1993, an average of 7,000 units a year, or 14% of all Saab 900 production. The next generation was an even greater success, with global sales from 1994 to 2002 totalling 140,500 units, an average of more than 15,500 units a year accounting for 24% of all 900/9-3 production.

    Today, the current model continues to be a popular choice, with sales between 2003 and 2007 totaling more than 64,500 units, an annual average of over 16,000 cars.

    While Saab does not claim to have created the convertible concept, it has played a pivotal role in popularising the format, just as it has in bringing the benefits of engine turbocharging to a wider audience.

    Over the years, the Saab Convertible’s success and its iconic, brand-carrying status have tempted other manufacturers enter the segment and, today, there are few who do not have a convertible model in their product line-ups. But it was Saab who led the way. Now, 25 years on, the innovative 9-X Air shows how Saab will continue to play a lead role in the evolution of four season, four seater motoring.

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    Saab Convertible by Numbers ……Saab has sold more than a quarter of a million convertibles worldwide. Here are 10 more fast facts about the current model:

    0…… is the number of robots used in the General Assembly area at the Magna Steyr plant in Austria, where the 9-3 Convertible is built. The skilled, 750-strong workforce carries out their tasks entirely by hand.

    6…….swiveling cross-braces are used to mount the soft-top, ensuring it is tightly stretched when in position with a minimum of sagging.

    7…….hydraulic cylinders are used to execute 4 different movements in the operation of the soft-top.

    21 degrees…… is the ideal back-rest inclination for rear passenger comfort and this was a requirement for the 9-3 Convertible, despite the packaging constraints of soft-top stowage in the trunk.

    26 meters…….is the total length of the hydraulic hoses used in the roof system

    99.999% ………. is the astonishing degree of accuracy required in the operation of the soft-top. The front rail travels more than two meters from the trunk and must line up precisely with its two latching points on the windshield header rail.

    140 bar …..is the hydraulic pressure required to operate the soft-top - 56 times greater than normal tire pressure.

    181 …… is the number of moving parts in the soft-top, controlled by a micro-processor. The main structure, including the front head-rail, is made from magnesium to save weight.

    1,500 liters…..of water is sprayed over the Convertible's soft-top in a special chamber at the Magna Steyr production plant to check weatherproofing.

    3,500 kilos …….. or more than twice the weight of the car, is the impressive load that the windshield header rail and its A-pillars can support. Necessary strength for roll-over protection and good torsional rigidity.

  5. #5
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    Technical Specifications

    Saab BioPower Engine:
    Transversely-mounted, front wheel drive
    1398 cc. Four cylinders Bore/stroke: 73.4/ 82.6 mm. Aluminum cylinder head, cast iron block
    DOHC, chain-driven. Four valves per cylinder.
    Forged steel crankshaft, steel connecting rods. Aluminum pistons, oil spray cooled.
    Direct Injection with centrally-mounted injectors. VVT, inlet and exhaust
    Sodium-filled exhaust valves
    Compression Ratio: 10.2: 1
    Intercooled turbocharger. Max. Boost Pressure: 1.6 bar
    Dual-mass flywheel. Saab engine management

    Max power (E85): 200 hp (147 kW) @ 5000 rpm.
    Max.torque (E85): 280 Nm (207 lb.ft) @ 1750-5000 rpm
    Max power (gasoline): 170 hp (125 kW) @ 5200 rpm.
    Max.torque (gasoline): 230 Nm (170 lb.ft) @ 1500-5200 rpm

    Hybrid System:
    Electric motor/generator with lithium ion battery pack.
    Electric power boost, regenerative braking, fuel cut-off, automatic engine re-start

    6-spd manual gearbox, automated clutch, sequential gear selection, steering wheel controls.

    Front: Damper/coil struts, aluminum lower A-arm. Anti-roll bar.
    Rear: Torsion beam, two trailing links, coil springs and dampers. Anti-roll bar
    Steering: Rack and pinion, Electrical power assistance.

    Wheels, Tires:
    21inch, 245/35R21
    Brakes: Hydraulic, dual circuit, vacuum booster. Discs: 345 mm / 345 mm (all ventilated)

    Performance Data:
    (projected figures)

    0 - 100 km/h (0-62 mph): 8.1 secs (E85)

    80 -120 km/h (50-75 mph), 5th gear: 8.9 secs (E85)

    Top Speed: 231 km/h / 144 mph (E85)

    Fuel consumption (combined cycle): 6.5 l/100km (E85)
    5.0 l/100km (gasoline)

    CO2 emissions 107 g/km (E85)
    119 g/km (gasoline)

    Length: 4427 mm
    Height: 1390 mm
    Width: 1826 mm

  6. #6
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    Videos of the 9-X Air



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