Spyshots: The 9-6x? or the 9-4x?


It’s been all about the facelifted 9-5 this week, but I wanted to elevate this post again, as it’s significant. The impressions I’m getting from people indicate a pretty decent level of acceptance for this configuration, but a low tolerance for the B9-like tail lights. GM-employed readers (I know you’re out there) please take note. We’d love to see this car, but we want it done RIGHT.

And forget the headline, the consensus reads 9-6x all the way…..


Djup Strupe II has done it again!! After coming through with the 9-5 spyshots last month, we have another scoop and a very exciting one at that.

The following two photos are of a model that may be previewed in Frankfurt (unconfirmed). Upon first glance they appear to be a crossover vehicle so the natural thought is for it to be the 9-6x.

The front. Note similar styling to the new 9-5 front.

However, a closer look shows that the car is actually a 3-door model. Djup mentions that it’s not likely for actual production in this guise, but looks fantastic.

It’s reportedly around BMW X3 size, which leads me to think it may be a prototype model for the 9-4x that’s been mentioned around the traps, crafted on the Epsilon platform. If so, then this is a very early prototype as the 9-4x isn’t scheduled for release until 2009.

So, 9-6x with a tricky body or 9-4x prototype? It’s hard to say, but here’s hoping they roll this baby onto the stage in Frankfurt next month so we can all get a better look!

The rear. Note the twin pipes and similar styling in the rear lights to the Tribeca.

Djup hints that the interior is very roomy and that this 3-door model hasn’t received a go-ahead for production. The dash is similar to a 9-3 or 9-7x dash.

Not much more to tell, I’m afraid.

I’m going with this as a tricky-body 9-6x. The cues from the Tribeca are just too strong in the rear for it to be anything else in my humble opinion. The fact thay’ve built up a 3-door is a big surprise and if this is a model in the balance then can I please add in my 0.02c worth and say “Yes!!”

Your verdict?

UPDATE: thanks to Ken via SC – Channel 4 are reporting in their Frankfurt preview that the 9-6x won’t be seen until the Detroit Motor Show in January. Bummer.

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  1. My guess is that it is the 9-6x, based on the Subie B9 Tribeca. The rear tailgate looks directly lifted from the Subie, with the front fascia coming from the apparent “2006 9-5” fascia to fit the Tribeca snout.

  2. Agreed, Ron.

    the one thing I didn’t convey in the article is how darn good I think this looks. The 3-door configuration gives it a hint of 9x.

    Love it. Can’t wait to see it.

  3. This suv looks great, SAAB should built it. The front end, i am not so sure of yet, maybe a little more space or crome between the grill and the headlights would be nice, the way of the 9-3.

    I really like the idea of a three door suv, I miss the two-door blazers of the late 80’s and 90’s never could figure out why they went away. I think there would be some pent up demand for a small suv with 2-doors, with the escalation of gas prices, and the rise of coupe sales. I think a nice turbo 4 or 6 would be a big seller, as it is differnet, only for the better. Hope GM, Jay and Saab decide to build this, and hopefully right around the time my 9-3 lease expires in 2007, this would be a nice step up.

  4. It looks very good from the front but the back is disappointingly generic looking, could be anything from a subaru to a seat or a alfa. Nice car but a disappointing saab.

  5. The front looks great, but the rear i didn’t like…..I hoped that they can do more changes, I am a little disapointed, I would prefer a 9-7x with an V8 an 300bho than this 9-6x with boxer with 250bhp.

    If that is the maximum you can do making badge engineering, then I am a little afraid with the next gen. of 9-3 and 9-5. The exterior panels and doors cannot be changed, remember that thouse cars are maked at the same plant as his brothers/cousins. If in 2008 the capability and flexibility of the plant to make different parts is not increased then I think that the next 9-3 will be like a Cadillac BLS.

    I hope I am mistaked, but……. I must recognize that the car looks great, also the 9-7x and both have some possibilities, but the added value they offer are not as good as must be in a Saab, and that make that I am afraid with those GM inventions…..

  6. It seems that this 3door version, could be a Pre-version of the 9-4x, to take a competitive advantage in the market and avoid more delays, in 2009 it will be launched its sustitute, that is developed with Cadillac.

  7. Edu,

    You’re welcome, as always.

    I like your theory of an early release for a 9-4x type market. I wish it were so.

    This car is still supposed to be a year away and I agree that the tail lights might not be ideal for carrying the Saab image. Here’s hoping that the designers have some other options on their drawing bards.

    That said, It’s not like these tail lights are offensive or anything, just that they’re not ideal.

  8. The more I look at it, the more I think it’s a fitting look/model to Saab’s lineup. When was the last time a manufacturer launched a 3-dr SUV/crossover ? I’m hoping Saab will build into this (whatever it is) a LOT of practical functionalities the way the 9X was trying to showcase. But if my theory that this is a 3-dr 9-6X is correct and that it will be an addition to a 5-dr version, Saab may be able to penetrate niche markets other auto makers have forgotten or abandoned.

    Having said that, I’m lukewarm about the rear. It’s not ugly, just a bit “too” Andreas Zapatinas (ex-Alfa Romeo design chief who went to Subaru) for my tastes. In other words a bit too Italian looking in the veins of Alfa 147/159. Not that there’s anything wrong with those cars. Ah what do I know, I drive an Alfa/Fiat/Lancia/SAAB 9000CSET !!

  9. I agree.

    I really, REALLY, like the 3-door configuration. Puts the Sport back into SUV if you ask me. I could easily go at one of these (in an ideal financial world).

  10. Yes a 3door its so cool…..like the 9-3x. Comparing the images from the Tribeca, the door mirrors are different, it is an step further from the 9-7x and the badge engineering.

    The tail lights….I think are too small, more Saab styled but not enough, the lateral view of the tail light needs more fall, and the rear windows hasn’t enough Hockey stick shape, but the design its quite good, because offer another view from that Hockey stick taking part of it but changing a little.

    The only problem I see in the rear is the lights in conjunction with the wasteline of the car, are different from the Tribeca, but not enough…the waste line could be a little smooth.

    Another detail I think it could be improved its the gap in the chrome that are atached to the front lights. I think are very thin and there is a gap that i don’t like….

    its me or the front lights are from the 9-7x?? and the door handles are saabish…mmmmm

    in general the car looks cool… I hope the definitive 9-6x looks at least as this….

  11. Over on saabnet, there’s a thread about these pictures where a well known dealer states that many higher ups at Saab think this design needs a lot more work – inside and out.

  12. I was flipping through a magazine called Auto & Design at the store and saw the pics for the ’03 Alfa Romeo Kamal concept SUV crossover. Since Andreas Zapastinas was still at Alfa at the time (who is now at Subaru), you can see the uncanny similarities between the Kamal and the B9 Tribeca ….. and ultimately the 9-6X or 9-4X above. I’m saddened by the fact that there is little originality these days in global automotive design and engineering left, a victim of global economics I guess. Not that the Kamal is a bad looking car by any means (in fact Alfa has always been a leader in innovative, sexy designs) it’s just that for Saab to lose much of its own design originality and be forced to work with “hand-me-down” platforms is hard for some of us to stomach.

    See this link on the Kamal and see its remarkable similarities to the B9 Tribeca and the 9-6X concept above:


  13. Saab: unique, qwerky, solid, safe, fun cars. please keep Saab’s originality and styling to Saab. The 9-6x is a pretty car with the front end and the 3-door idea. The tail lights are hideous and if anything else can be done to make it not look like a Subaru would make Saabists worldwide very happy. Under the hood better be Saab turbo 4 or better yet turbo (twin ???) six. I hope the interior would follow that of the new 9-5 and 9-3.

  14. It does appear to be a B9 based rebadge. However, with GM selling its share of Subaru this year it is unlikely to be built. I agree on keeping a Saab a Saab but that went away along time ago. I have a 9-2 and its a great car so I can’t complain. The 9-3 has been built on a GM platform for years now so I guess the 9-5 is the only true Saab left.

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