2005 Saab 9-2X

Throwback Thursday: 2005 Saab 9-2X

The Saab 9-2X is an amazingly entertaining car to drive. It offers dynamic performance and superior comfort in an exciting, attractive package. Whether driving through city streets, or blasting down a snow covered mountain road, this car is sure to put a smile on your face.

Saab offers the 9-2X in two models, each with their own unique performance specifications.

The 9-2X Linear comes equipped with a 2.0L, 4-cylinder engine that produces 165 horsepower at 5,600 rpm. Torque numbers of 166 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm are strong for this aluminum block, 4-valves per cylinder motor.

The more exclusive 9-2X Aero offers a 2.0L turbocharged motor with 227 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 217 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm.

If these engines sound familiar, it’s because they are identical to those found in the Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS and WRX. A joint venture between Saab and Subaru allowed the 9-2X to be developed in a relatively short period of time. The benefit of sharing technology resulted in the excellent Impreza chassis being taken upmarket as a new member of the Saab family.

My Aero test vehicle was equipped with the standard 5-speed manual transmission. Changing gears is a snap in the 9-2X. Short, even throws, offer positive feedback as each new gear is engaged. Pedal placement is excellent, though I was surprised at the heavy clutch. Personally I prefer a lighter feel, similar to that found in Acura or Infiniti built cars.

For those not inclined to shift manually, a 4-speed automatic is optional.

The Saab 9-2X is offered only in AWD, (all-wheel-drive). Building on what is arguably the best off-road system in the market today; the 9-2X makes the most of Subaru’s Active AWD. It utilizes the electronically managed, continuously variable transfer clutch and variable torque distribution with planetary center differential to full advantage.

This design renders the Saab 9-2X a virtual road warrior. Rain, snow, sleet or brilliant sunshine, the 9-2X is more than capable of tackling even the most demanding conditions.

A MacPherson strut suspension with liquid filled bushings, coil springs and a stabilizer bar resides in front. In back, a twin parallel link arrangement is added to the MacPherson strut setup, along with the aforementioned coil springs, trailing arms and stabilizer bar.

All-season, 205/55R16 tires ride on stylish multi-spoke 16” alloy wheels. Optional on the 9-2X Aero are 17″ 5-spoke twin alloy wheels, with 215/45 R17 high-performance tires.

Brakes are 4-wheel power assisted discs with 4-channel, 4-sensor ABS and EBD, (Electronic Brake force Distribution).

Ride feel borders on stiff. The Saab 9-2X is designed as a sports car first – luxury sedan second. Potholes and normal road undulations transmit easily through the 3-spoke steering wheel and sport seats, but it never overpowers to the point of being uncomfortable.

The exterior treatment of the Saab 9-2X is similar to that of the Subaru Impreza WRX, but with several striking differences.

Whereas the WRX looks like a rally car for the road, the 9-2X offers an equal level of performance, but in a more business-like package. Think Brad Pitt in a dark suit with a power tie and you get the idea. The killer machinery is there, but it’s hidden just below the surface.

The new 9-2X takes full advantage of Saab’s rich heritage in aeronautics. Visibility is excellent, with no obvious blind spots. Clean, rounded lines flow from front to back on a compact, muscular body. A large hood scoop breathes life into the engine and a rear roof spoiler aids directional stability at higher speeds.

Oversized front airscoops channel air under the 9-2X and stylized side mirror and door handles offer compact functionality. A large bright-finish exhaust tip adds to the already forceful attitude, as do the cross-drilled aluminum gas, brake and clutch pedals.

Inside, the look is pure Swedish high-tech, with rich interior appointments and excellent ergonomics. Brushed metal inserts highlight the center console. The Saab 9-2X Aero I drove featured the optional AM/FM 6-CD audio system with six speakers, power glass moonroof and two-tone black and grey leather seats.

Air conditioning is standard, as are power windows, mirrors and door locks. Front seats adjust easily and offer excellent hip and leg support. Rear seating is tight, but offers comfortable space for four, five in a pinch. For those occasional trips to the beach or hardware store, it also provides a 60/40 split for added storage.

The Saab 9-2X is a serious move on the part of this small Swedish company to enter the young, urban professional market. It has the looks, performance and feel of a car costing thousands more. While traditionalists for this brand may cry foul, Saab continues to gain strength now that General Motors writes the cheques. With more new and exciting vehicles such as the Saab 9-7X available as well, the future for Saab looks bright indeed.

2005 Saab 9-2X
MSRP: $28,950- $37,735
Type: Small Sport Sedan
Engine size: 2.0 L Turbo 4-cylinder
Transmission: Manual/5, Auto/4
Drive: AWD
Steering: Speed sensitive power rack and pinion
Braking: 4-wheel Disc, ABS/EBD
Air bags: 2 (front) 2(side)
Estimated fuel consumption:
Aero Auto: 10.3/7.5 L/100 km
Linear Auto: 12.5/8.8 L/100 km

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