In 2011 at the Geneva Motor Show Saab introduced one of the most innovative and exciting concept cars to hit the industry in years. The Saab PhoeniX. The Saab PhoeniX, designed by Jason Castriota out of italian luxury auto design firm Pininfarina, based the exterior idea on aerospace and aviation dynamics, molding a hunk of chrome into a work of art that looks like a work of nature. Flowing as if sculpted by the winds, the exterior reminds an admirer of a southwestern rock formation, ripples and waves carved into the hard surface by time and inevitability. This car reminds the auto world that Saab is in the game to win, to create true works of art that beckon a driver to become one with their vehicle.
“We didn’t want to be a wooden spoon in a knife fight,” said Jason Castriota, Saab’s executive design director, explaining the concept car’s sleek design. “We are a small player, and we need to have a product that stands out.” And speaking of the practical implications of high concept for the Saab brand, Castriota says “You will certainly see some of the character from the PhoeniX in the redesigned 9-3, but it will be toned down. Saab could not continue just staying still, It could not continue doing the same evolution just with beautiful proportions and big wheels. It is just not enough. We need to diversify and expand. Again, there are limits to that, and this tests the limits of that for sure.”
The interior is Scandinavian influenced in the aesthetic of the moldings and materials, and the 2+2 cabin adopts a clean, minimalist look. It has the ‘stripped out’ feel of a competition car, with shell-like seats and metalized interior sections that mimic the exposed network of a rollover cage. Fresh expression is given to Saab’s traditional, driver-focused instrument layout. A circular pod in front of the driver, shaped like the afterburner of a jet engine, presents data in tandem with the head-up display.
Phoenix Arizona residents can view and test drive any current model at their Phoenix Valley area Saab dealer. Be on the lookout for the “PhoeniX” inspired 9-3s coming out this year and the next.