9-7x going large

The Saab 9-3 isn’t the only car with some news stories to tell.

Recently the following was posted over at Saab Central:

I just got back from my dealer and had to share some of the news I just heard. The sales guy said Saab is coming out with an Aero verson of the 9-7x with 455 Hp lowered an additional 2″, larger wheels, and a few other things to set it apart from the run of the mill 9-7x. It sounded like it would be soon.

Having heard nothing about this, I left it alone, and whilst I’m unsure about the specifics he’s mentioned here, it appears that the basic premise of the story has some merit.

Djup Strupe called in this morning and informed me that a coming 9-7x is to host the same engine as that in the Chevy Blazer SS. That engine, a 6.0l LS2 unit puts out 395hp. If the 9-7x was lowered and had wheels that were 2 inches larger in diameter (that would make them 20″ instead of the current 18″) then it’d be fair to say that vehicle would be getting closer to the SEMA 9-7x Aero concept that made an appearance back in November 2006.

With the 9-3 range looking more aggressive from 2008, this would be a logical extension of the current 9-7x range.

You may also like

33 Comments

  1. Well, the guy at Saab Central didn’t say that it would get wheels that were 2″ larger, he said it would get lowered 2″ and also get larger wheels. But who knows. I, for one, welcome our new 9-7X Aero overlords. If I had to get an SUV, this would be it.

  2. Wow! Amazingly smart to update the Saab truck with a 6.0l LS2 unit in a USA market with near $4.00 gallon gasoline. GM are marketing geniuses.

  3. Yeah, I don’t see this as a positive thing at all. That 9-7X goes against the grain of all that is Saab, and a high powered, lowered version would just take that even further. Disgusting if you ask me. Now if it was a Cadillac, no problem at all, but this does not fit into Saabs ethos at all, at least in its current form (as the non turbo’d fuel hungry trailblazer rebadge). I’m really suprised at this.

  4. Indeed he did say it was just larger wheels. That’s me misreading it in haste.

    But a 2″ increase in wheel size wouldn’t be too big a stretch, I think.

  5. The simple truth is … this thing will sell. Maybe it “isn’t a true Saab” and not fuel effecient, but it ~will~ sell. No matter how “stupid” or “irresponsible” or what have you the product may seem to many regulars/old-schoolers here and throughout the Saab community, there will still be an appeal to relatively large segment in the States for a lowered, high-powered, luxury truck/SUV. And I say … if the thing can put money in Saabs coffers and get the brand attention from a different market segment, that’s a good thing.

    As to the distress over the 9-5, I look at this as another “quick hit” boost to the model line-up while they take their time to get the new 9-5 done right … let’s just hope they make the most out of the time they are buying themselves.

  6. ah-ha! so the ’08, 9-3 front end is just the 9-7x, with side air dams. (i knew the design looked regrettably familiar.) throw in a u-shaped hood crease and call it “refreshed,” kinda.

  7. Obviously this comes from GM and not Saab, so any Trollblazer putdowns are already firmly entrenched and need not be repeated. I would like to say, though, that the 9-7X is, ONCE AGAIN, not a simple rebadge. Sure, it’s probably the least Saaby Saab ever, but you have to give it to Saab for tweaking the platform until it was SOMETHING. It’s better than any of it’s platform mates. Sure, this thing will get about 16 mpg. What do you expect in a large SUV? GM isn’t giving Saab the opportunity to tweak engines in this thing, if they did, it would probably be more efficient. This isn’t being marketed to economy nuts anyway, it’s for people that actually need the size of an SUV and are willing to take the mileage hit, but also want something fast and good looking. You know, people who have another car to drive, most likely a Saab sedan. Some people seem to miss the point of these monsters: Only idiots buy them as daily drivers, they’re supposed to be used for utility. It’s right there in the acronym. But just because it isn’t the primary car doesn’t mean it shouldn’t perform.

    Also, Swade, yeah, 20″ is a good bet, I just wanted to point out that it’s not promised…as far as this info can be considered a promise.

  8. i suppose in exchange for keeping my beloved brand alive, GM can have there way with the least Saaby Saab of them all, the SUV.

    just as long as they keep their (generally) silly hands (mostly) off my 9-3 and 9-5, and bring me a 9-1 sooner rather than later.

    i’d rather see more of those 9-7s rolling around So Cal in place of the local your-garage-isn’t-complete-without-one Range Rover anyway. just give it a Saab safety/efficiency makeoever. no SAHR? seriously?

  9. Sure, so why don’t we start selling hot dogs and hand jobs at every dealership, maybe we can bring in some extra money doing that?? 🙄

    Just because some dry market research analyists say that Americans would buy a 455hp 9-7X doesn’t mean we should do it. In my opinion, I don’t think it would generate enough profits to make much of a difference. Plus, the press is going to spot out everything wrong about SAAB putting this out, and we all know we don’t need any more negative press. They will all question to why a brand like Saab is going against everything they stand for and creating a souless 9-7X monster, with absolutely none of the brand attributes that Saab stands for (minus a ignition location and air vents).

    It just really annoys me how clueless you can be towards the fact that brand quality and image go so far beyond short term profits. There is no need for this kind of 9-7X. We are not towing mobile homes. All the idea that this vehicle would stand for is consumption, excess, and flash. NONE of which Saab has ever stood for, EVER. Am I the only one getting angry about this?

  10. “Am I the only one getting angry about this?”—Nope.
    I looked at one in a dealer showroom, and I didn’t even see any utility in the thing. Maybe for towing, but I’ve never seen one towing anything, only as daily commute vehicles to Cleveland. They are really cramped for space in back, especially headroom-wise with an awkwardly high and short load floor. It couldn’t haul half of what are ungainly-looking Aztek can haul with ease. I can’t wait until the 9-4X (or is it 9-6X) ushers it out the door, with a swift kick in the behind.
    By the way, I am really worried about Saab forgetting what they have stood for, and what made them the great marque they are—they never let market studies cloud their vision, and they didn’t worry much about about their perceived image in the eyes of others. They went their own road, and carved new roads when necessary.

  11. OFF TOPIC:
    No wonder Saab has trouble selling cars. Only one dealership (soon to be none) in the whole state of Mississippi. And dealers don’t even want the brand without incentives from GM:
    “We’d certainly welcome an offer to put the three of them together. I think it would be real hard for someone without some incentive from GM to pick up just Saab”

  12. You car snobs are letting your narrow views show. A lot.

    I won’t buy a 350-cu.in. 9-7x, either (or any 9-7x, for that matter), but this is a viable vehicle for a viable market. Be happy that Saab gets a shot at “Saabing” something like this. In the future, perhaps Saab will get the chance to “Saab” something really cool like the Solstice/Sky.

  13. As with most current generation Saabs, looks are deceiving. The base 9-3 2.0t looks like, well, boring at best. Get behind the wheel, step on the accelerator on a long winding road and you know for sure you are driving a Saab. As for the 9-7x, incapable transmission and Envoy cloning aside, hit the gas, take a turn with the accelerator down and yes, you are driving a Saab. No matter what it looks like. For the most part, folks who can afford to write the check for a $40K + vehicle don’t much care about an extra few bucks at the gas pump. It’s not going to impact their lifetstyle as much as someone trying to find the best deal on a $15K VW. Built it,make it exciting and desireable, ADVERTISE IT, and they will come. No offense to any VW buyers out there ;).

  14. If what I am hearing is accurate, and US leadership can execute, things are about to get a whole lot more exciting. Sounds like we are getting, dare I say, AGGRESSIVE??!!??… Standing up, brushing off the dust that has collected over the years and possibly going after some market share? What a novel idea. The big question is…CAN WE EXECUTE? Well, can we?

  15. Escalade turned the Cadillac from a luxury brand into a bling brand.

    Now, the good folks in Detroit want to kill the brand that is closest to my heart.

    If anybody is listening: I’m a well educated professional from Boston. What makes these people think that I’d want to drive that tank to work?

  16. It amazes me the number of “well-educated” people who refuse to get it … The “great marque” of Saab didn’t turn a dime of profit for how many decades? This is a business people; and businesses need cashflow to survive. Are they trying to sell the die-hard “if it ain’t a turbo 4 cylinder with a hatchback option, it ain’t a Saab” crowd on this vehicle? Hell no! Are they trying to capture sales volume/dollars that they never would had access to otherwise? You betcha!

    In order to continue to even have a chance to build new vehicles that live up to our “Saaby” expectations, there needs to be money coming in. I’m sure some people would rather just see the brand passively die off so they could bemoan “the good old days” and talk about that great little car company that fought for 40 years (they’d be dead already without the GM money — admit it) against the giants. I, for one, am all for them being scrappy and fighting by any means necessary for their very survival. Then maybe they can manage to create enough new interest/revenue/market penetration to give themselves the leeway to make the products we all ~really~ want to see …

  17. Right on Brother 93Aero. Well said. After reading that post from DMR, I was left wondering if he in fact with all his passion for the brand, made an “educated” decision and purchased the current 9-7 to “drive to work”. No? Hmmm…The problem (no offense) with the hallowed halls of higher learning is they don’t prepare you to think outside the box. It is too obvious, at least to me, that the box we have been operating in is rapidly transforming into a coffin.

  18. Great! All this planet needs is another gas guzzling piece of uselessness. The fact that it wears a Saab badge just adds to the insult. A new two-mode hybrid 9-7x would have been more appropriate.

  19. I said it yesterday and I will say it again. SAAB is about selling cars. Period. DMR, I am sure SAAB make at least 2 other models so I don’t think the 9-7x was made for you personally. If it was it’s a very niche product and not very well market researched.

    I am currently reading a great book about automotive dynasties. It talks about Ford in the 1920s “Many former Ford buyers left it because they were just plain bored or their incomes rose. But ford left no room for realists”. I think this sums up SAAB quite nicely, except SAAB are doing something about it.

    I know for some SAAB losing money and ignoring consumer needs / demands is as much part of the heritage as the hatch or FWD but times change.

  20. 93Aero, I suppose I have to regretfully agree with some of your points, but it’s a really bitter pill to swallow. And I really hope they get the leeway to make the cars we “really” want. It won’t have been worth it if they don’t. I don’t ever want to see Saab being in the condition the once proud Jaguar is in now.
    About the “Saab didn’t turn a dime of profit for how many decades?” remark, I guess the answer would be approximately 2, which I agree is too long. But up into the mid 80s with the c900, they had a healthy balance sheet, were building new factories, and the future looked good until the U.S. market tanked, and that along with the high cost of meeting safety and emissions regulations took them down. It seems like Saab got punished for being the good guys. They made safe, environmentally friendly cars, but got punished by regulations made necessary because of the big companies that didn’t care about anything but profit. I think Saab would have essentially met those regulations anyway, the cost seems to be in proving that you met them.

  21. Ted re: Jaguar Ford told Jaguar to build a 4×4 based on the Explorer in 1995. Jaguar refused and then Ford bought LandRover taking this issue off the table. Its painful for me to see so many 4x4s on the road but Jaguar is in the postion it is in becuase it refused to move with the times and spent more time fighting what they did not want (diesels, estates, FWD, 4×4) than adressing new markets and opportunites. SAAB need to aviod that mistake.

  22. Wow, the 9-7X has 20″ wheels?! I remember reading (I think here) that there’s a rumored version of the 9-3 coming out (Black Turbo?) slated to possibly have 19″ wheels! Can you imagine!?!?

  23. 93aero and to everyone else, I think you are forgetting that Audi never had an SUV until 2 years ago, and even with the Q7, thats not carrying the brand — their quality cars are. period. BMW, Volvo, Audi, and Mercedes all have excellent lineups, and even without the sales of their own respective SUVs, they could still turn a profit.. why? because of quality products. period. None of them need a trailblazer SS inspired tank to win over customers. All they need is a competitive, quality product, and thats where I would put all my money.

  24. “They will all question to why a brand like Saab is going against everything they stand for and creating a souless 9-7X monster, with absolutely none of the brand attributes that Saab stands for (minus a ignition location and air vents)”

    *stifles a scream

    “To ensure that the new 9-7X meets those expectations, the following enhancements were made to the chassis and suspension systems of GM’s award-winning midsize SUV architecture upon which the 9-7X is based:

    – Ride height lowered by one inch
    – Additional braces between the cross members and frame
    – Firmer springs and shocks
    – Stiffened and quicker steering
    – Larger front anti-roll bars
    – Larger brakes
    – Specific Dunlop tires
    – Limited-slip differential
    – Specifically, here is a list of characteristic Saab driving dynamics and the enhancements that were applied to the 9-7X to achieve the desired results:

    Steering (for on-center feel, feedback and precision)

    – Toe-in adjusted from 0.1 degrees to 0.2 degrees
    – Caster increased an average of 0.5 degrees
    – Revised steering valve characteristics including a larger torsion bar
    – Steering gear mount stiffened from 6,000 N/mm to 9,000 N/mm
    – Intermediate shaft isolator stiffened 33 percent
    – New 18-inch Dunlop tires provide better stability and higher lateral stiffness
    – Additional braces between cross member and frame at the front

    Steering (for response and linearity)

    – Steering gear ratio lowered to 18.5:1 from 20.3:1
    – Steering gear mount stiffened from 6,000 N/mm to 9,000 N/mm
    – New 18-inch Dunlop tires provide better stability and higher lateral stiffness
    – Additional braces between cross member and frame at the front
    – Front anti-roll bar diameter increased to 36 mm from 34 mm
    – Revised shock absorber settings for improved body control (average 70 percent more damping at the front and 20 percent more damping at the rear in the V-8 and 40 percent at the front and 10 percent at the rear in the L-6)
    – Added front lower control arm bushing travel limiter

    Handling (for stability)

    – Toe-in adjusted from 0.1 degrees to 0.2 degrees
    – Caster adjusted from 3.5 degrees to 4.0 degrees
    – Steering gear mount stiffened from 6,000 N/mm to 9,000 N/mm
    – New 18-inch Dunlop tires provide better stability and higher lateral stiffness
    – Standard limited-slip differential

    Handling (for linearity and predictability)

    – Revised shock absorber settings for improved body control (average 70 percent more damping at the front and 20 percent more damping at the rear in the V-8 and 40 percent at the front and 10 percent at the rear in the L-6)
    – New 18-inch Dunlop tires provide better stability and higher lateral stiffness
    – Front anti-roll bar diameter increased to 36 mm from 34 mm
    – Rear suspension upper link bushing stiffened from 4,600 N/mm to 7,000 N/mm
    – Rear suspension lower link bushings stiffened from 3,200 N/mm to 4,600 N/mm

    Emergency handling

    – Standard StabiliTrak
    – New 18-inch Dunlop tires provide better stability and higher lateral stiffness
    – Revised shock absorber settings for improved body control (average 70 percent more damping at the front and 20 percent more damping at the rear in the V-8 and 40 percent at the front and 10 percent at the rear in the L-6)
    – Standard air spring rear leveling
    – Standard limited-slip differential
    – Front anti-roll bar diameter increased to 36 mm from 34 mm
    – Ride height lowered by 25 mm (approximately one inch)

    Ride comfort (for body motion and control)

    – Front and rear springs stiffened by 15 percent
    – Revised shock absorber settings for improved body control (average 70 percent more damping at the front and 20 percent more damping at the rear in the V-8 and 40 percent at the front and 10 percent at the rear in the L-6)
    – Front anti-roll bar diameter increased to 36 mm from 34 mm
    – Standard air spring rear leveling
    – Ride height lowered by 25 mm (approximately one inch)
    – Front suspension upper shock mount is stiffer by 33 percent

    Brakes (improved brake performance, response time, pedal feel and travel)

    – Front caliper material changed from aluminum to stiffer cast iron
    – Piston diameter increased to 48 mm from 45 mm
    – Brake booster diameter reduced to 240 mm from 260 mm
    – Master cylinder diameter increased to 27 mm from 25.4 mm
    – Brake pedal ratio reduced to 3.6:1 from 3.8:1”

    In confrickinclusion, it’s SAFER, SPORTIER, AND BETTER LOOKING. EVERYTHING A SAAB SHOULD BE.

    Aero means performance. Performance means less economy, especially when it comes to beasts like SUV’s. STOP BEING SNAABS AND GET OVER IT.

  25. sethsev7n:

    “All they need is a competitive, quality product, and thats where I would put all my money.”

    Ummm … all of ~what~ money? That’s really a big part of the point I was putting across. Saab ~needs~ to make money on whatever will sell in order to justify the capital investment in refining the core products in the next generation … GM isn’t going to sign off on grossly increasing manufacturing/materials expense to increase quality in what is mostly viewed as a low-volume, (dare I say borderline niche?) non-core brand. Saab needs whatever volume it can muster to get corporate to loosen the purse strings.

    Can we at least wait until the new products come out over the next few years to look for our increases in quality & prestige? I think it would be foolish for us to expect too many changes from vehicles nearing the end of their lifecycle, and certainly foolish for GM to spend the development dollars on vehicles that already sell for them & they are planning to replace with all-new versions in 2-3 years.

    Do I wish things could be better tomorrow, yesterday, or even 3 years ago? Sure. But Saab was in such a bad place financially, I can see why GM has held back. Not saying I like it … but I undestand.

    If GM doesn’t get the job done right in the next gen of all-new vehicles, then we can all sit around talk about how bad they are. Until then, let’s reserve judgement on the steps they are taking to keep the brand afloat.

  26. “Saab ~needs~ to make money on whatever will sell in order to justify the capital investment in refining the core products in the next generation….” — 93aero

    therein lies the rub. to wit, why would gm allow saab to make “core products” if gm can make money selling genetically inferior, cloned/”rebadged” merchandise, festooned with special dunlop tires and saab paraphernalia?

    seduction by compromise, aside from being dangerously addictive, is a standard to which gm ought not aspire.

  27. Jeff, I appreciate the analysis of what makes the 9-7X a Saab. However, you could take a pontiac fiero and do all the modifications in the world, plus a ferrari kit, and make it look like a ferrari. Heck, it might even drive like one too – but the soul isn’t there. Everyone knows where it came from. Ferrari would be laughed at if they tried to do something remotely similar to that, and of course that would never happen. The point is that I think while the automotive press might be impressed with the performance numbers, they aren’t going to give it much credit for anything else, and I don’t see these selling in droves.. I’d rather get a range rover sport imho. Anyways, I’m not slamming the 9-7X, I can accept what it is until the 9-4X comes along to replace it, but I just don’t see the point in making a high powered version of it.

  28. Not all of us are willing to buy a Furd.

    Also, that list of spec changes came off this site.

    I know not everyone here will accept the 9-7X, and I know non-Saab enthusiasts might miss things in it, I just hate when Saabists sell it short. See, I think the soul is there because Saab did so much to it, and it’s not just a body kit for a Trailblazer. Sure, a CUV designed from the ground up by Trollhattan would be much more Saaby, but I still think the 9-7X was a good effort on Saab’s part to play the hand they were dealt, and a good effort on GM’s part in letting Saab do so much to the platform.

    As for making a HiPo version, hey, if it sells a few 9-7X’s at a higher sticker price with little or no expense for Saab or GM, then there went the point.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *