BOSTON - Saab celebrates three decades of leadership in turbocharging by launching the 2008 Saab Turbo X, a driver-focused performance car that sets new standards of performance and capability for the brand.
Flanked by a classic, black 1985 Saab 900 SPG, the new Saab Turbo X made its North American debut at the 2007 New England International Auto Show in Boston - paying tribute to the Northeast region where Saab originally started its U.S. business more than half a century ago, and where many longtime Saab aficionados reside.
"The Turbo X is the ultimate performance expression of the new Saab 9-3 range," said Saab Automobile USA General Manager Steve Shannon. "It delivers levels of driver involvement and dynamic chassis control never experienced before from Saab."
The first turbocharged Saab, a 99 hatchback, debuted in the fall of 1977. Combining brisk performance with excellent fuel economy, that car started a trend that was followed by many other manufacturers. Now, the all-black Turbo X takes Saab 'back to the future,' evoking the iconic appeal of the first black 99 and 900 Turbos - and introducing innovative Saab XWD all-wheel-drive technology.
"Like the enthusiasts who have remained loyal from the first turbo models, we are very proud of our turbocharging heritage," said Shannon. "The new Turbo X is one of the most satisfying Saabs ever built."
Already hailed as a future classic, the Saab Turbo X will become available in four-door Sport Sedan and five-door SportCombi body styles. It has styling cues that enhance aerodynamic performance and create a distinctive appearance, including specially designed 18-inch alloy wheels that have a grey, titanium-like finish that harks back to Saab's classic three-spoke design. The 'black turbo' theme is continued in the well-equipped interior, which carries unique appointments.
For the 2008 model year only 600 examples - split between both body styles - will come to the United States. Pricing starts at $42,510 for the Sport Sedan and $43,310 for the SportCombi; and first deliveries will be made in spring 2008.
XWD driving experience
A new dimension in chassis control is realized with the Turbo X, leveraging Saab's unrivalled experience in turbocharging with the innovative Saab XWD system. Combined with the car's sport-tuned suspension, brakes and electronic control systems, the Turbo X is engineered to meet a single need: Driving satisfaction.
Saab XWD is an active all-wheel-drive system designed to optimize vehicle handling and stability. Its sophisticated electronic control allows fine balancing of drive torque, not only between the two axles but also between the rear wheels. In effect, this stretches the performance envelope of the chassis; for example, raising the threshold at which ESP throttle and braking interventions are triggered. The result is closer driver involvement through 'positive force' chassis control.
The driving benefits of the XWD system are best appreciated on the open road. Data from the ABS/ESP sensors - measuring wheel speed, yaw rate and steering angle - is analyzed by the Saab XWD control module. At appropriate moments, rear drive is instantly applied to balance oversteer and understeer characteristics, improving stability and road-holding.
Driver control is taken a step further on the Turbo X by the eLSD, the first application of an electronically controlled, rear limited-slip differential in the segment. It uses inputs from the rear-wheel speed sensors and can transfer up to 40 percent of torque between the drive shafts, to whichever wheel has more grip. When cornering hard, this yaw damping effect helps the rear of the car more closely follow the direction of the front wheels.
To exploit the full benefits of Saab XWD, the chassis of the Turbo X has been lowered 10 mm and the springs and dampers optimized to minimize body movement. To maintain a constant ride height, self-leveling dampers are fitted at the rear.
Stopping power is also increased with larger brake discs fitted: internally ventilated, 13.6-inch-diameter (345 mm) at the front; and externally ventilated, 11.5-inch (292 mm) at the rear. Standard 235/45 R18 tires ensure excellent grip for the 18-inch alloy wheels.
The powerhouse at the heart of the Turbo X is a 24-valve, 2.8L V-6 turbo engine generating 295 lb.-ft. (400 Nm) of torque between 2,150 rpm and 4,500 rpm; and maximum power of 280 horsepower (206 kW) at 5,500 rpm. Design features include a lightweight, all-aluminum construction, with a 60-degree angle between the cylinder banks for perfect balance; variable-inlet valve timing and twin-scroll turbocharging. It is offered with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.
This responsive, high-torque powerplant is the perfect partner for Saab XWD. Together, they give the Saab Turbo X sporty, all-wheel-drive performance and handling characteristics that will appeal to all enthusiastic drivers who seek a rewarding experience behind the wheel.
Black is back
The Saab Turbo X visually communicates its focus on driving performance by extending the bold, progressive design themes of the new 9-3 range. Offered exclusively in metallic jet black, with the front grille and all exterior detailing accented in a matte grey titanium-like finish, it represents a contemporary expression of its illustrious black 900 Turbo forebear.
Distinctive styling additions are designed to improve aerodynamic efficiency, as well as emphasize the Turbo X's performance focus. At the front, a deeper lip spoiler and integrated air intake contribute to reduced drag while also increasing air flow to the engine and intercooler.
At the rear, the re-profiled fascia and diffuser-like insert panel lower the point of air flow separation, further reducing drag and assisting high-speed stability. The Sport Sedan features a rear spoiler that extends the line of the trunk deck, reducing high speed lift forces at the rear axle. The regular SportCombi already has a standard spoiler that extends the rear roof line. Twin, rhomboid-shaped tailpipes complete the exterior additions.
Inside, the black turbo theme is continued throughout the cabin. The sport seating, with additional bolstering, is upholstered entirely in black-appointed leather. The sporty ambience is further emphasized by a carbon-fiber finish to the door inserts, glove box and gear shift console, which is unique to the Turbo X.
The driver benefits from improved feel, through the addition of a thick-rimmed, soft-grip leather steering wheel. In recognition of Saab's turbo heritage, the Turbo X boost gauge is a replica of the original 900 Turbo display.
Owners will also enjoy a personalized greeting when they get behind the wheel and switch on the ignition. A unique 'All Systems Go' message flashes in the main instrument display. The owner's name, with the edition number of the car, can also be programmed for display by the supplying dealer.