Rare Rides: The Saab 9-4x - One Last Gasp From 2011

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the saab 9 4x one last gasp from 2011

Would you like a luxury CUV that’s based on a Cadillac, but contains many unique and unobtainium parts? So many rare parts, in fact, that an owner might be scared to put it on the road? Well then, here’s a Saab for you — it’s a 9-4X, from 2011.

In 2011, the Saab brand was just about finished. General Motors relinquished control a year prior as it reorganized and shed brands in its bankruptcy proceeding. Supercar manufacturer Spyker purchased the company, and kept on building Saabs. The 9-4X was forced into existence after the Swedish brand cancelled the planned 9-6X model (based on the Subaru B9 Tribeca). The 9-6X project ground to a halt when General Motors sold its 20 percent holding of Fuji Heavy Industries in 2005.

Realizing the brand needed an SUV offering to replace the GMT360-based 9-7X, GM got to work on the smaller 9-4X. It utilized the upcoming Cadillac SRX platform for economies of scale. The design debuted in near-production form for the 2008 edition of the North American International Auto Show.

The 9-4X was produced in Mexico (a Saab first) on the same line as Cadillac’s new SRX. Two engines powered the 9-4X, both borrowed from Cadillac: an uplevel 2.8-liter turbo V6, and a naturally aspirated 3.0-liter unit. All examples shared the same transmission: a six-speed auto.

Production began in February of 2011, but didn’t last long. Saab was under Spyker ownership, and inked a deal to purchase every 9-4X from General Motors. The fresh 9-4Xs joined the existing 9-3 and 9-5 models in the remaining Saab showrooms in 2011.

But Spyker wasn’t doing well, and it looked like Saab would soon be up for sale again. The company hadn’t exactly paid its bills to GM for the delivered 9-4Xs. General Motors would have none of it. Wanting to prevent a modern platform and engine from falling into the hands of a competitor, GM cited that the proposed change in ownership would not be in the interests of GM shareholders. The General cancelled the selling arrangement. Thus, 9-4X production wrapped up in November 2011.

Surely one of the rarest Saabs, 9-4X production totaled 814 examples. The vast majority were 2011 models, but a reported 60 were labeled as 2012s. Today’s Rare Ride is a 2011 model in top Aero trim. The 2.8-liter engine powers all four wheels via XWD, which is regular all-wheel drive with an “X” in the name. Rear fold-out entertainment screens match well with the dash buttons that already lost their finish. Located north of Tampa (which is in Florida), the silver beauty asks $19,999.

[Images: seller]

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  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Mar 16, 2019

    I'd rather roll the dice on a 9-2X with the Subaru parts underneath. If you really love Saab you'd be better off finding one with a bad engine/transmission, picking it up for peanuts, and putting the body parts on your XT5.

  • NutellaBC NutellaBC on Mar 16, 2019

    The Saab 9-4X is not really "based" on the Cadillac SRX as both were developed together by a Saab engineer based in Michigan, Peter Dörrich. In a sense, the SRX might be more a Saab than the 9-4X is a Cadillac !

  • VoGhost I'm clearly in the minority here, but I think this is a smart move. Apple is getting very powerful, and has slowly been encroaching on the driving experience over the last decade. Companies like GM were on the verge of turning into mere hardware vendors to the Apple brand. "Is that a new car; what did you get?" "I don't remember. But it has the latest Apple OS, which is all I care about." Taking back the driving experience before it was too late might just be GM's smartest move in a while.
  • VoGhost Can someone Christian explain to me what this has to do with Jesus and bunnies?
  • Del My father bought GM cars in the 60's, but in 1971 he gave me a used Datsun (as they were called back then), and I'm now in my 70's and am happy to say that GM has been absent from my entire adult life. This article makes me gladder than ever.
  • TheEndlessEnigma That's right GM, just keep adding to that list of reasons why I will never buy your products. This, I think, becomes reason number 69, right after OnStar-Cannot-Be-Disabled-And-It-Comes-Standard-Whether-Or-Not-You-Want-It and Screw-You-American-Car-Buyer-We-Only-Make-Trucks-And-SUVs.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic Does this not sound and feel like the dawn of ICE automobiles in the early 20th century, but at double or triple speed speed!!There were a bunch of independent car markers by the late 1910’s. By the mid 20’s, we were dropping down to 10 or 15 producers as Henry was slashing the price of the Model T. The Great Depression hit, and we are down to the big three and several independents. For EVs, Tesla bolted out of the gate, the small three are in a mad dash to keep up. Europe was caught flat footed due to the VW scandal. Lucid, Lordstown, & Rivian are scrambling to up production to generate cash. Now the EV leader has taken a page from the Model T and is slashing prices putting the rest of the EV market in a tail spin. Deja vu……