Saab 9-3 Sport-Hatch Concept Defies Convention
Norcross, GA - The Saab 9-3 Sport-Hatch Concept challenges automotive convention by eroding the traditional distinction between hatchback and wagon formats. In shifting such boundary lines, it gives further expression to design chief Michael Mauer's vision of the future of Saab design.
Just like the previous 9X and 9-3X, the 9-3 Sport-Hatch Concept is testimony to Mauer's belief in the emergence of a new automotive order; one where orthodox classifications are no longer relevant to demanding owners who require one vehicle to fulfill different functions.
It also represents a logical progression towards a near production-ready car. The multi-dimensional Saab 9X imaginatively combined the characteristic features of a coupe, roadster, wagon and pick-up within a single vehicle. The 9-3X then introduced an off-road capability by creating a unique 'cross-over coupe' concept. Now the Saab 9-3 Sport-Hatch Concept carries forward much of the 9-3X's design language in presenting a sporty, versatile vehicle for the road that is a fusion between hatchback and wagon.
Styling cues from the 9-3X include most of the rear-end treatment: the relatively short rear overhang, the steeply raked rear window and light assemblies and the uninterrupted shape of the side windows with disguised door pillars. Despite the addition of two rear doors, the essential compact proportions of a hatchback have been retained.
The Saab 9-3 Sport-Hatch Concept is also clearly an evolution of the current 9-3 Sport Sedan architecture although, in adopting the stance and packaging of a five-door hatchback, it closely follows the tradition of its classic Saab 900 forebears. It re-affirms Saab's commitment to a distinctive, versatile format that is sportier in appearance than a typical wagon.
"Just as the 9-3X occupies a position where coupe meets off-roader, this car represents a cross-over point between hatchback and wagon," explains Mauer. "It is the sort of product that should come from Saab and our customers will be able to buy a car very much like this.
"In using the Sport Sedan chassis, we have been able to ensure that this car offers the kind of sporty, driver-focused performance that is an essential requirement for all Saab models," adds Mauer. "We have now added more functionality with some interesting design features that ensure this car has its own clear and separate identity."
Typical of the design team's unconventional approach is the adoption of a distinctive glass roof, the elimination of roof bars - a common feature of traditional wagon design - and the provision of twin folding rear sports seats. Innovative load-carrying functions are included without compromising the car's essentially sporty appearance and driver-focused character.
The presentation of the Saab 9-3 Sport-Hatch Concept at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show signifies Saab's intention to appeal to customers who want the functionality of a premium, mid-size wagon but seek fresher, more exciting looks and a sporty driving experience to match.
"Saab customers are predominantly professional people with independent tastes and views," adds Mauer. "This car reflects and respects their desire for bold, alternative solutions."