9-6x Diesel News

News just coming through the wires that Saab and Subaru have been consulting with…….wait for it……Porsche in order to develop a diesel boxer engine for use in the 9-6x.

Whoa!! This in from ITV….

….the big news is that the three-litre petrol boxer engine will not be alone. Saab and Subaru have been working closely to develop a boxer turbodiesel which is likely to debut in the 9-6X as a flat-four or flat-six. Industry sources say Saab have been working with Porsche engineers in an effort to advance the design of a horizontally-opposed turbodiesel engine. The German firm’s expertise in extracting high outputs from petrol-fuelled boxer layouts has apparently proved useful in creating an oil-burner with a sporting character.

How good could this vehicle be?

I’ve read in comments to the 9-6x preview photos that there’s a lot of scepticism surrounding this vehicle, but I suspect it could be a much better entrant in the SUV segment than the 9-7x. More individual, more versatile and if it comes with a flat-six diesel as an option, then it should be well and truly up to any towing tasks that you might have.

This is good news. The article quotes the 9-6x as being available in Britain in late 2007.

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  1. Wow now that’s a twister we didn’t see coming (unlike Katrina and Rita …..) !

    While I like the ring of Saab and Porsche collaborating, deep down I find it very difficult to accept Saabs, namely Saabarus 9-6X (and 9-2X) with boxer engines. I’m way more accepting of the 9-7X despite its lack of turbo, but a boxer-engined Saab rubs me the wrong way. Sorry for the rant, not trying to sound like a sourgrape here, but I was expecting the 9-2X/9-6X to be very shortlived, stop-gap projects that would not further entangle Saab down engineering/design paths that it shouldn’t be on. With the cool reception to the 9-2X, one would think Saab would have either abandoned a Saabaru 9-6X or at least look to Opel/Vauxhall for a more Euro-based platform as its underpinnings (which are naturally developed with diesel motors in mind).

    Well, I guess it’s still too early to judge on news tidbits and speculations. I’ll stay optimistic and wait for better news coming down the pipeline.

  2. Ken,

    First up, apologies for rants are only required at that other Saab site. Not here. Each to his/her own.

    Second, I think the Saab/Subaru relationship shares enough common roots to warrant a bit of further development. The key is sharing a development relationship but maintaining identity and that is going to be the trick for GM.

    Now, get thyself to the “Tell GM” post. Post haste!

  3. Now if they just manage to get a tansfer case and some trick suspension in there on ( dare I say it?) a proper modern 4×4 chassis a la Cayenne….now you’re torkin’! ( or is that torquen’?)

    4cyl turbo-biopower for cars
    6cyl turbodiesel for 4 x 4

    Plus, SAAB could learn a bit from Porsche in the “how to maintain your heritage and keep your business in the black” stakes.

    its not that hard.

    PS ken: guess I’m coming from the other end of the spectrum on this

  4. Swade, I agree with your comment above. The harsh reality is that GM is convinced the only way to survive is to share platforms. Whether or not we agree with them, this is the reality today.

    The 9-2X is a good car, but a lousy Saab. I don’t think the Saab engineers will make the same mistake again. As long as they don’t, the relationship between Subaru and Saab could be a fruitful one. Both companies are known for making quirky, long-lasting, quality cars. The brands meld together well, and I think they each offset weaknesses in the other.

    Subaru makes decent engines and great AWD vehicles that have lousy styling (in my opinion) and a lousy interior. Saab makes great engines with much better styling and the Saab engineer know how to create a unique driving experience.

    The important thing is that Saab needs to watch over the little things. That means that yes, the ignition is in the middle, the stock stereo needs to be swapped (and no, not for the one Buick uses), night driving needs to be present, and no plasticy interiors.

    This type of focus on the little things will go a long way in keeping even the most skeptical of us happy, because we know if they are paying attention to the little things, they will also pay attention to the bigger things.

    I know Ken is not crazy about the 9-2X, but I think Saab needs that entry level model. But, for an entry level model to work, it needs to have the same feel as the other Saabs, not just driving feel, but the interior needs to feel the same. It needs to feel like a luxury car.

    Although, one thing I do find interesting about the 9-2X is, because of its price point, a lot of owners are willing to mod it. I think Saab would do well to capitalize on that, the way Toyota has done with its Scion brand. Encourage more mods to the car and allow people to truly customize it.

  5. Hey guys, I agree with you all on many points. Don’t get me wrong, I think the 9-2X is a great car, and am always looking out for one on the roads so I can wave at the driver. Like Allan said, it’s a great Subaru but a lousy Saab. And Saab/GM has to invest itself to develop its own platforms, engines, drivetrains (Mazda and Volvo do, and share them with Ford …..) again someday so it will be more of a “state of independence”. But that takes time, money (profits from 9-2X, 9-6X, 9-7X etc) and vision (Jay ?) to achieve. But even in the short term, Saab has to sweat out the small stuff too to ensure there’s as much Saab features and character in every model no matter how it was jointly developed and with who. Then as PT said, Saab could hopefully learn a thing or two from Porsche in terms of brand management, heritage and all of the elements that saved Porsche from near demise in the late 80s/early 90s.

    Does anybody realize the irony of the Saab–>Subaru–>Porsche connection in that Michael Mauer is now at Porsche ?

  6. This makes a lot of sense to me. There were previously rumors that SAAB was unhappy with the Tribeca they were handed from Subaru to create the 9-6X out of (much like they were handed the Chevy Trailblazer and asked to “SAABify” it) for several reasons, one of them being that they can’t put a diesel engine in it.

    50% of all new cars sold on the European continent are diesel.

    Rather than scrap the project altogether, they figured if they can develop a diesel engine that’ll fit in the Tribeca engine bay, that’s one less problem. Subaru makes boxer (horizontally-opposed pistons in a “box” shape) engines, but I don’t think they have any diesel expertise.

    Who’s the only other major manufacturer on the planet who makes boxer engines? Porsche. So Subaru has to “suck it up” and work with Porsche on developing a diesel boxer engine that’ll fit in the Tribeca engine bay for SAAB.

    I think this is why we keep anticipating the 9-6X to show up at car show after car show but it’s always a “no-show”. I think that there’s a lot of work SAAB still needs to do before they can start touting it.

    I wonder how long it’ll take SAAB & Subaru to develop their own diesel boxer engine with Porsche? Can they just license or buy pre-assembled units from Porsche to drop into the 9-6X to rush it to market?

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