Storming Saab ready to tackle TT


Feb 6, 2000
It's been cleared for take-off! Saab's jet-inspired sports car concept has been given the green light for production, Auto Express can exclusively reveal.

Our sensational main picture in this week's issue is of the firm's all-new Roadster. It's a two-seater Audi TT rival that borrows its styling cues from the amazing Aero X show model, and goes on sale in two years' time. Priority is being given to production of the Roadster, which will also be joined by a new Coupé version, as Saab seeks to capitalise on the excitement generated by its Aero X, which we drove in issue 903.

Saab has distilled the essence of the supercar-sized concept into its TT rivals. While the Aero X's canopy-style roof will be replaced by a powered folding soft-top, the production version will turn just as many heads as the original. It gets a wraparound windscreen, while featuring the same aggressive front end, pronounced wheelarches and chopped-tail look as the show model.

Also debuting in 2008 is the Coupé, which will have a 2+2 layout. With rear seats suitable for occasional short trips or extra luggage space, this variant will play the role of the traditional GT. As with the Roadster, its look will draw heavily on the Aero X, and includes such details as LED tail-lights. However, with the engine mounted transversely above the front axle - rather than longitudinally and behind it, as on the Aero X - the designers will have to work hard to carry the concept's low

bonnet over on to both models.

Based on General Motors' all-new Theta II platform - which also underpins the next 9-3, due in 2008 - both newcomers are to be offered with a choice of two and four-wheel drive. Power is to be sourced from GM's turbo-charged petrol engine range; the entry-level model features a 170bhp 2.0-litre unit, while all-wheel-drive top-of-the-range versions are to be fitted with a 250bhp 2.8-litre V6 twin-turbo.

Transmission options will comprise a six-speed manual, plus a sporty VW DSG-style twin-clutch system. Buyers can also expect the engineers to tune the handling to make both models the most involving Saabs ever, with sharp steering and immediate responses.

As well as the lowdown on the Roadster and Coupé, Auto Express has details on a whole new range of exciting Saabs, the launches of which herald the dawn of a new age for the Swedish company. Designer Anthony Lo told us: "A crossover SUV will arrive first, followed by the next 9-5. Both cars will be inspired by the Aero X."

The first of these, badged the 9-2, will make its debut in 2007. Based on GM's Delta platform, the crossover is to come in three and five-door guises to compete with the Audi A3 and BMW 1-Series, as well as Volvo's forthcoming C30. In the same year, the new 9-5 saloon will debut.

Looking further ahead, the range will be completed by a large SUV - based on GM's Epsilon 2 platform, as used on the next Vauxhall Vectra - due in 2009.
Sam Hardy[ /q] (vid of Aero-X)