Low-flying projectile: Saab's PhoeniX concept car


March 3, 2011

Saab's new PhoeniX concept car features an electrically-driven rear axle, the IQon connected infotainment system, and ... wings?

Saab's new PhoeniX concept car features an electrically-driven rear axle, the IQon connected infotainment system, and ... wings?

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Well, it may not be able to fly, but it is nonetheless a car with wings ... or in this case, winglets. Unveiled at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the Saab PhoeniX concept car pays homage to the automaker's roots in aviation with roof-mounted winglets designed to channel airflow from the sides of the car and across its rear deck, thereby reducing lift forces without increasing drag. Other notable features include butterfly opening doors, stalk-mounted rearward cameras, an electrically-driven rear axle and Saab's new upgradable Android-based IQon entertainment and communications system.

An electric boost in the back

The 6-speed PhoeniX is powered by a 1.6-liter 200 hp gasoline turbo engine, which is supported by the company's new eXWD system. This consists of a 34 hp electric motor/generator and battery pack that powers the rear axle, giving the car a more fuel-efficient version of all-wheel drive. The drive unit's battery is sustained via regenerative braking.

The concept sports three eXWD modes. According to the press release: "The 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."

Acceleration is specced at 0-100 kph (62 mph) in 5.9 seconds with an electronically-controlled top speed of 250 kph (155 mph). Fuel economy is an estimated 5L/100 km (47 mpg).

A connected yet minimalist interior

The car's 2+2 cabin is intended to have the spartan, minimalist look of a race car (or perhaps an IKEA store), featuring simple shell-like seats and exposed sections of metal. It also serves as a showcase for the earlier-mentioned IQon infotainment system, which is situated on its own 8-inch touchscreen dashboard module. IQon connects to the internet as soon as the ignition is turned on, which allows it not only to send and receive information, but also to receive new third party apps.

Not only was the PhoeniX inspired by airplanes, but it was also designed as a tribute to the company's first-ever automobile, the aerodynamic Ursaab. The PhoeniX's "aeromotional" design and onboard tech will influence the look and layout of upcoming production Saabs, including the new 9-3.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

wow look at that. i really didnt expect that saab can make that kind of concept model. it really looks nice just look at the muffler parts of that car. looks like a car from the future!

Facebook User

Wow. Somebody should tell these silly wingleteer stylists at Saab that if they enclosed those wheel wells and added a boat tail, then smoothed off the front & bottom, they would have an aerodynamic car instead of this fat tug boat. Of course, swoopiness appeals to illiterate customers, but shouldn\'t this company hear more intelligent aerodynamic engineers?


Ah! A proper Saab at last! Welcome back...... :-))

Mike Hallett

They\'ve got something here. This is an attractive looking car and unlike so many concept cars, it seems feasible. It will \'fly\'. Assuming it can be built at an affordable cost, Saab should put it into production without delay.

The aliens on my planet would buy it.


Great looking concept. The only issue is, designers create great looking vehicles and they never go to market. Instead, we have been brain washed by old men sitting on a board telling us what we like.

Point in case. A commercial on TV with song lyrics, You can go with this or you can go with that. Shows hamsters pointing to a Kia and a toaster.

The hip-hop grandpa at Kia needs to realize that his Kia also looks like a toaster with wheels.

I\'m not ashamed to say, I drive an 07 Vette. That\'s not saying Chevy does any better, anyone who kills the Camaro line and thinks a Cobalt is going to compete against the Mustang is just plain STUPID!

Car companies can do better but won\'t! Don\'t get me started on gas millage either, I can really go on and on and on about that.


Yes, very nice but can you (and will you) build it? What ever happened to car companies building a few to test the market rather than asking everyone and their dog: \"would you buy it?\" not realizing that 65% of the population has to add the caveat: \"If we had the money and my wife would allow it.\"

Just prime the pump and get 50 on the road.


hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted on a car that will never be built... CONGRATS Saab for making yet another meaningless concept car.

Michael Mantion

Has anyone noticed the smaller car in the main image? (ignore the black roof) I have always wondered why fab looking cars are always expensive? You have to press out the body panels whatever the shape.

How many mpg, is the question.


What is the curb weight? Too much I bet. They should shoot for a minimum 60 mpg. That should be easy if they light weight everything,and seal the undercarriage and wheel wells. Also, add a plug in feature and photovoltaic assist. Am I asking too much? This is the 21st century. I would like to use some of the new tech before I die. At 68 perhaps I appreciate the ticking clock more than younger execs. Stop teasing us with a \"concept\" and go into production.

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