Saab PhoeniX Has Winglets and Butterfly Doors

March 2nd, 2011

Saab PhoeniX concept

I can see those superfluous winglets in the photos, but what are butterfly doors, and if they are gullwing doors, why aren’t they so named? Do they flap? Styling-wise, most everything in this concept exercise is a little forced. And it looks like a Batmobile.

Spyker-Saab’s new (ex-Ferrari) hotshot design director Jason Castriota talks such blather as “aeromotional design” principles (deriving from aerodynamics), but what’s new about that? Cars and people like this are what give concepts, even Geneva concepts, a bad name.

There are really only two reasons to produce a concept car: to get reaction to a car that’s likely to see production, and to create a styling exercise like this—probably to gauge response to the parts rather than the whole.

Saab PhoeniX conceptWe are told that the PhoeniX has a 1.6-liter turbo with an electric motor driving the rear wheels, giving a total of 200 hp and a combined 47 mpg. Saab is now to be taken seriously as a player in more than the styling sweepstakes, since new owner Spyker has sold off its sports-car business—to a Russian billionaire. Engines are coming from BMW, and the company can now pay down some substantial debt.

The PhoeniX also has some innovative infotainment tech with a Google-powered touch screen, called IQon. (When are carmakers going to stop using these dopey acronyms?) And the car is built on the “next-gen 9-3” platform. So maybe Saab will come back from the dead like the fabled Phoenix that rose from the ashes.

Just don’t bet the farm on it.

The PhoeniX has a lot going for it—or does it have too much going for it? What’s your opinion?

—jgoods

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