|The PhoeniX AWD hybrid concept. Click to enlarge.|
Saab unveiled the PhoeniX concept car at the Geneva Motor Show, showcasing design features and technologies which will shape its next generation of cars. Based on an new architecture intended for the next Saab 9-3 model, the PhoeniX introduces ‘aeromotional’ design: a visual evocation of the aerodynamic design principles and passion for innovation that inspired the creators of Saab’s first car, the iconic Ursaab.
The PhoeniX’ propulsion system combines an efficient, 1.6-liter turbo engine with electric rear wheel drive technology. The compact, all-aluminum gasoline engine delivers 200 hp (147 kW) and includes variable valve timing and lift control, as well as start/stop functionality, minimal parasitic losses and a fuel cut-off function. A stainless steel tank is fitted, which is lighter and less expensive than a conventional plastic design.
The eXWD system comprises a rear drive unit housing a 25 kW (34 hp) electric motor/generator powered by a small battery pack. Regenerative braking is used to sustain the battery’s charge. Now under development for the next generation of Saab cars, this hybrid propulsion system enables the benefits of all-wheel-drive while also reducing fuel consumption.
Using a six-speed manual transmission, projected combined cycle fuel economy and CO2 emissions are 5.0 L/100 km (47 mph) and 119 g/km. The driver can select one of three eXWD operating modes:
- 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.
The PhoeniX embraces teardrop, ‘liquid metal’ forms and a jet canopy-inspired glasshouse that gives fresh expression to Saab’s wraparound and translucent ice-block design themes. The shape enables an low drag co-efficient of 0.25 and also explores the potential for airflow management through the use of distinctive, side-mounted ‘winglets’.