Saab PhoeniX Showcases Rescued Brand’s Hybrid Ambitions

The PhoeniX is what Saab calls an “aeromotional” design, and one that can potentially inspire future Saab models. “We did it to show we could, to show that we are here to stay,” said Victor Muller, Saab’s chief executive, in an interview. The concept’s name is meant to show that Saab is, at last, rising from the ashes of its star-crossed relationship with General Motors, which ended early last year when Spyker bought the orphaned Swedish automaker.

This concept, which was designed by Jason Castriota, Saab’s styling director, is powered by a 1.6-liter turbo engine rated at 200 horsepower and complemented by Saab’s eXWD electric rear-wheel-drive technology. Press materials also highlighted the engine’s variable valve timing and lift control, “as well as start/stop functionality, minimal parasitic losses and a fuel cut-off function.”

Saab’s eXWD puts a 25-kW electric motor at the rear wheels. As with other parallel hybrid and electric-drive systems, energy is captured through regenerative braking and fed back to the battery unit.

The brand claims projected combined-cycle fuel economy of 5 liters per 100 km, or roughly 47 miles per gallon, with a 6-speed manual transmission. Three drive modes change the comportment of the PhoeniX depending on surface conditions. According to the press materials, a default Eco mode “delivers optimal fuel and CO2 efficiency with power assistance to reduce load on the gasoline engine at low speeds; Sport mode includes maximum power assistance with torque vectoring across the rear axle for greater chassis control; and Traction mode enables optimal grip at take-off and in slippery conditions.”