All the best concept cars show themselves at the prestigious Geneva Motor Show, and so it was when Saab presented their brilliant Aero X in 2006. This streamlined coupe was a scene stealer, attracting admiring crowds to the chagrin of Ferrari, whose 599GTB on an adjacent stand had been expected to grab the limelight.
The front-engined Saab Aero X was certainly worthy of attention. It had a stunning supercar shape with an endless bonnet and wraparound windscreen. The assertive nose featured air scoops and complex headlight units with intricate floating layers and bright LEDs. Large, polished-alloy wheels resembled turbofans in jet engines, a theme repeated in the space-age cabin, accessed via a fighter-aircraft-style rear-hinged lifting canopy.
This was an extraordinary engineering feat. First, small side doors popped outwards, then the whole windscreen and roof lifted to provide access to the two-seater cabin. Once in, the outlook was sensational, with nothing to obstruct all-round visibility.
Instrumentation in the cleanly designed interior came in the form of data displayed as three-dimensional graphics on acrylic ‘clear zones’. In an equally innovative move, the 2.8 litre 24 valve V6 engine had been modified to run on pure bio-ethanol, though still managing to output 400 bhp. This meant the Aero X was not responsible for any carbon dioxide emissions.
The car had all-wheel drive and a manual seven-gear automated sequential transmission controlled by steering-wheel paddles. The unique chassis had inverted springs and dampers at the front, allowing the bonnet to ride as low as possible for maximum aerodynamic efficiency. Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering and Saab’s Active Chassis damping control ensured the smoothest of rides.There has been talk of Saab producing a scaled-down version of the Aero X, but nothing has yet materialized. However, the car has already contributed style points to new road-going Saabs.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
2,792 cc V6
Top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.7 secs
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Management-speak is alive and well and living in Sweden. Said a Saab spokesperson of the possibility of an Aero X or derivative going into production: ‘As we move forward with new Saab product we will remain focused on carefully cultivating this brand equity in the context of Scandinavian design values.’