Future CC: 2011 Saab 9-4X – Could This Be The Only One?


Here in the northeast, Saabs are a fairly common sight. Although the number of Saabs on the road has certainly dwindled in the past decade, rarely a day goes by that I don’t see a 9-3 sedan or 9-5 sedan or wagon on the streets of Boston.

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Beacon Hill, with its yuppies and million dollar historic townhomes, is full of Saabs. Which is why what I though was a black 9-5 wagon, parked up the street a little ways, didn’t stir much excitement for me. But as I was getting closer, something about its proportions just didn’t seem right, until. . . It’s a 9-4X! An actual Saab 9-4X casually parked on a Beacon Hill side street!


Now I should let you know I actually have seen two of these on the road before. However, they were moving so this is the first one I’ve ever seen up close. I haven’t been able to find the exact number of completed 9-4Xs that made it off the production line, as the numbers online vary. The highest number I was able to find was less than 600. And I doubt all of those were sold in the U.S. I think it’s safe to say that the 9-4X will go down in history as the rarest production-model Saab.

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The 9-4X not only shared its architecture, engines, and many other components with the second-gen Cadillac SRX, but was built along side it in Mexico, not in Trollhättan, Sweden. So although not a “true Saab”, the 9-4X was certainly a better effort than the lackluster “Trollblazer” 9-7X. At least the 9-4X was given completely unique sheet metal, as well as a totally different interior than the SRX. No one would be mistaking this Saab for a Cadillac; or a Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, or Oldsmobile Bravada.

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The dash design was in typical Saab cockpit style. Similar the new 9-5’s, it was very monotonous with subtle, yet attractive wood trim on base and premium models or carbon fiber trim on Aeros. Engine choices were either a naturally aspirated 3.0L V6, standard on base and premium trims, or a turbocharged 2.8L V6, standard on top-line Aero models. In typical “European car” fashion, base 9-4Xs were equipped with leatherette upholstery. Leather was standard in premium and Aero models. All-wheel drive was available on base and premium, standard on Aero.

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Saab’s death was like a slow, painful disease. After being fully acquired by GM in 2000, Saab suffered a decade of product starvation and declining sales. With its well-known financial troubles in 2008, GM began looking to dump Saab. After talks with several international buyers failed, in early 2010, GM was eventually able to find a buyer for Saab in Dutch supercar-maker Spyker. As part of the agreement, GM would continue to supply engines and transmissions to Saab. They would also continue to build our featured CC, the 9-4X, in their Ramos Arizpe, Mexico factory. The first fully redesigned Saab 9-5 in 13 years also entered production at Trollhättan during this time. However, Saab remained on life support, as Spyker struggled to fund what they’d gotten themselves into.

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Saab officially filed for bankruptcy on December 19, 2011. They hadn’t produced a vehicle in their Trollhättan factory since April of that year. Rumors have been buzzing ever since then about new buyers. Most recently it was announced that a Hong Kong-based company purchased Saab’s assets and is planning on building electric vehicles based on the 9-3 in Trollhättan within next year or two. Although it would certainly be amazing if a vehicle actually makes it off the assembly line, I won’t raise any hope until I see one on the streets of Boston. Until then, rest in peace Saab!