Say what you will about the Saab 9-7X, that it's an upmarket Chevy Trailblazer clone, that it's a cynical product that belies Saab's charter or that it's about as Swedish as In-N-Out Burger. Of course, it has a nice interior, and the ignition key is on the console, so it's not entirely without Saab appeal. But whatever you say about it, it's getting a horsepower infusion. GM's extending Saab's higher-performance Aero designation to include the SUV. No turbos on this Americanized Swede; it gets an upgrade to the same LS2 6.0-liter V8 as in the Trailblazer SS, producing 390 horsepower and 395 lb.-ft. of torque. That's a 90-horse increase over the currently offered 5.3-liter eight. Zero-to-60 happens in under six seconds, a respectable time for a flying brick. Slightly more swank than the blazer of trails, the 9-7X Aero starts at $45,690, nearly three grand more than the SS. We'll have to wait to see how this plays out.
Saab 9-7X Aero Takes Off
DETROIT — Saab takes SUV-performance to a new altitude as it announces the Aero performance version of the Saab 9-7X today. The limited edition 9-7X Aero will make its way to dealer showrooms early this autumn.
The Saab 9-7X brings unique Saab brand characteristics to the midsize SUV segment, including sophisticated styling inside and out, premium design features, and the sporty and spirited performance inherent to Saab vehicles. Since its debut two years ago, more than 12,000 have been sold in the U.S. and Canada. For 2008, Saab adds the Aero model - the symbol of serious Saab performance - to the 9-7X lineup. The limited edition 9-7X Aero takes Saab's interpretation on the midsize SUV to an entirely new level accelerating the performance aspect of the sophisticated vehicle with a 6.0L V-8, 20-inch wheels and tires, unique paint and custom interior accouterments.
"The 9-7X Aero is one great SUV to pilot," Shannon said. "We are excited to offer enthusiastic drivers an increased level of performance with the Aero, a symbol of Saab performance, in the midsize SUV segment."
The new 9-7X Aero features a powerful, 6.0L small-block V-8 delivering 390 horsepower (295 kW) and 395 lb.-ft. (542 Nm) of torque. With 0-60 mph acceleration under six seconds, the 9-7X Aero is a treat for those who are actively passionate about the driving experience.
The 9-7X Aero will be easy to spot as it wears a paint color all its own: Carbon Flash Metallic. The charcoal metallic paint nicely enhances the SUV's clean lines. Specific to the 9-7X Aero are 20-inch polished, aluminum wheels wrapped with P255/50R20 V-speed-rated performance tires that provide the optimum balance between ride and handling. Complementing the refined and driver-oriented cockpit-inspired interior are "Aero" embroidered leather seats and embossed floor mats.
Under the hood of the 9-7X Aero is the LS2 6.0L V-8 with a cold air induction package, rated at 390 horsepower (295 kW)* at 6,000 rpm and 395 lb.-ft. of torque (542 Nm)* at 4,000 rpm. The LS2 6.0L is based on the small-block V-8 architecture and delivers excellent down-low torque for strong off-the-line performance. Torque is inherent to the engine's cam-in-block design, which features large 4.00-inch-diameter (101,6 mm) bores and a 3.62-inch (92 mm) stroke. Response is crisp and immediate, thanks to the electronically controlled throttle.
Unique to the 9-7X Aero's version of the engine is a composite intake manifold adapted to the LS2 engine to help produce balanced torque and horsepower. Maximum towing capacity on 9-7X Aero model is 6,600 pounds (2994 kg).
Like all Saabs, the new Saab 9-7X Aero is driver-focused, with a lowered chassis tuned and tested to deliver responsive, balanced handling. Corner control and body roll control are improved with front stabilizer bars that are approximately 10 percent larger in diameter. Additional strength is provided by a heavy-duty rear axle with limited-slip differential.
With a four-wheel disc braking system enhanced with larger, 12.8-inch (325 mm) front disc rotors and iron twin-piston calipers, it's not difficult to put a stop to things in the more powerful 9-7X Aero. The heavy-duty iron calipers are stiff and retain their shape under high-pressure/high-heat braking conditions, providing a more linear feel and reduced pedal travel in high-energy stops. The brake pads use high-performance linings for strong fade resistance.
ABS and automatic all-wheel-drive are standard on all 9-7X models as well as the StabiliTrak electronic stability control system that provides confident, sure-footed travel. The performance-oriented all-wheel-drive system delivers impressive on-road grip and enhanced "launch" feel. The always-engaged system uses a Torsen center differential to split torque between the front and rear wheels. It is a torque-bias system that detects low traction at one axle and directs more torque to the other when needed.
Like all 9-7X models, the Aero model represents a terrific value with a high-level of standard equipment. In fact, the 9-7X boasts the most standard features in its class while offering a very competitive starting price at $39,935. The limited edition 9-7X Aero will start at $45,690, which includes a $745 destination fee and will begin arriving at dealerships this fall.