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GM Introduces Saab 9-4X BioPower Concept Flexfuel Crossover; Engine Optimized for E85

The crossover 9-4x features a turbocharged, direct injection, VVT engine.

GM introduced its Saab 9-4X BioPower Concept at the North American International Auto Show, confirming Saab’s plans to enter the growing crossover market segment.

The 2.0-liter, all-aluminum, four-cylinder BioPower flexfuel engine combines the benefits of turbocharging, direct injection and variable valve timing for the first time with high-octane E85 fuel.

E85 has a higher octane rating (104 RON) than gasoline, making it more resistant to harmful pre-detonation, or “knocking,” when the fuel/air mixture is compressed in the cylinder. To fully exploit this advantage, the engine has a raised compression ratio, 10.5:1, instead of 9.2:1 for a gasoline-only application. It retains its flex-fuel capability because the Saab engine management system adjusts the ignition timing and turbo boost pressure to ensure there is no pre-detonation with gasoline.

Engine efficiency is also improved by the use of direct injection (DI) and continuously variable valve timing (VVT) on both the inlet and exhaust sides. DI delivers fuel directly into the combustion chamber, providing a more complete burn of the fuel/air mixture to give more power with reduced fuel consumption.

VVT enhances turbo response at low engine speeds, as well as contributing to an even wider spread of torque. On E85 fuel, the engine’s 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque is generated from 2,600 to 5,100 rpm, with 85% available from just 2,000 rpm. While these figures may be matched by a much larger, naturally aspirated engine, the characteristic “tidal wave” of low-end torque is unique to the turbocharged power delivery. Maximum boost pressure at maximum torque is 1.2 bar.

Optimized for bioethanol (E85) fuel, the four-cylinder, 2.0-liter BioPower turbo engine delivers 300 horsepower (221 kW) and torque of 295 lb.-ft (400 Nm), together with substantially reduced CO2 emissions on a well-to-wheel basis.

When running on gasoline, the engine delivers 245 hp (180 kW) of power and 252 Nm (261 lb-ft) of torque. Combined cycle fuel consumption on gasoline is 10.5L/100km (22.4 mpg)

Active management in the Saab XWD drive system splits torque delivery between both the axles and the rear wheels, via an electronically controlled rear limited-slip differential (eLSD). This responsive system rewards the driver by giving an enhanced, “positive force” chassis balance.

GM also showed a Hummer flex-fuel concept at the show, the HX. The vehicle—more compact than a HUMMER 3—features a direct injection 3.6L V-6 VVT flex-fuel engine backed by a six-speed automatic transmission teamed with the 4WD system.



One more vehicle with 20MPG on the road, yeah, like there were not enough of that kind on the road already...

but still only 2 vehicles on the market that get better than 40 MPG, Toyaota Prius, Honda hybrid civic.

But GM, Chrysler, Ford : none...

be welcome to oil addiction and unsustainable nobility

thanks GM you are doing going for america and the planet in general, keeep going the future is yours


It seems like some day in the not too distant future it will be difficult to find a good small vehicle. I constantly see announcements for CUVs and SUVs with fewer for sedans (mid-size and full size) and even less for smaller vehicles.

I'd love to see something with the specs of the Mini-Cooper with a completely different cosmetic layout (BMW 1 series with a $5K to $6K premium over the Mini would have been perfect).


I wonder how they come up with specifications for a car like this. Is it an amalgamation of various trends? Do they actually go out and talk with prospective car buyers and ask them what they want? If you are going to all the expense of making a concept car, you could just do an artist's concept, list all the features and talk to lots of people. It would be much less expensive and more effective that way.

kum dollison

This is the future. It's where Ford is going with their Eco-boost engine. Soon, you'll see these engines coming out in 1.9 Liter, and smaller, versions. Notice the compression ratio is 10.5:1. GM's betting on Ethanol, and they're Right.


Who is Saab? Isn´t it just this company that struggles to sell more than 100.000 cars per anno?

Unfortunately, they are forced to sell such a guzz or buzz guzzler. Others started the "who has the bigger vehicle in the car park".

Would everyone just want Toyota Aygos or "big" Prius as familiy sedan and no SUV market would exist, Saab had created a small sofisticated car as well.



"be welcome to oil addiction and unsustainable nobility"

This is a vehicle that is optimized to burn ethanol - er, ethanol is the stuff made from non-petro-based biomass. It's renewable. It's sustainable. It's what every glad handed spook-lovin green whacko wants! Don't be so hard on yourself!

Oh yeah, this engine will burn gasoline at 180kW vs. ethanol at 221kW.

But let's whine some more 'cause we don't have anything constructive to do.


I know this isn't the long-term solution to sustainable transportation, but at least it is another step in the right direction.

Comparing this to the most comparably sized and powered (running on gasoline) current vehicle I can think of, the Acura RDX, the Saab doesn't look so bad. The RDX manages a combined rating of 19mpg, while the Saab attains 22.4. That's almost an 18% improvement. Admittedly, I don't know if that is an apples-to-apples comparison. I was quoting the 2008 EPA estimates for the RDX, and I don't think this article specifies where their info comes from.


There is no way ethanol will ever replace oil, biofuel only make sense with ultra efficient vehicle, certainly not what this piece of non-sense is.


What we really need is a flex fuel Nano, for use in the US and the EU.


Taking advantage of 104 octane E85 using variable turbo boost makes sense to me. Now if we could get more than 1000 stations out of the 200,000 in the U.S. to sell E85, it might have some usefulness.

The cellulose ethanol made from gasification or pyrolysis and organisms could provide 10% of our transportation fuel needs in a few years. We could make enough for E10 nationwide and 10% of the cars running on E85, but you have to get the fuel to the stations and there have to be enough stations in enough places across the country to make the plan effective.

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