The all-in-one concept is a prime example of why we're missing Saab.

Name: Saab 9X

Debuted: 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show

Specs: turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 with 300 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque, all-wheel drive, six-speed manual gearbox, Brembo brakes

Why We Remember It Now:

Was it a coupe? Roadster? Wagon? Pickup? Yes. The 9X concept embodied all of those things and that’s why it deserves a close-up in our weekly series.

Introduced about a year after Saab became a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors, the quirky concept was a Swedish take on the idea of a Transformer. It was able to take the shape of no less than four body styles, prompting Saab back in the day to refer to the 9X as a “four dimensional sports car that defies automotive convention."

The multi-talented 9X was envisioned with two electrically operated glass panels that were also removable to transform the 2+2 coupe into a roadster without having to leave those panels at home as there was a special stowage place inside the car.

Saab also described it as a wagon thanks to its entirely flat load floor with a total volume of 600 litres with the rear seats folded. With passengers sitting in the back, the vehicle’s cargo capacity stood at 230 litres. Seeing as how it had an elongated rear end and only two doors, we might as well call the 9X a shooting brake.

2001 Saab 9X concept
2001 Saab 9X concept

Its fourth and final dimension was of a pickup since it had an extendable rear load space with a sliding floor derived from the 9-5 Sportwagon. The permanent roof rail that separated the two aforementioned glass panels ensured the concept’s structural integrity as it connected the two B pillars without the need of additional roof reinforcements. That way, Saab was able to engineer a floor-mounted tailgate that wasn’t hinged from the roof, thus effectively transforming the 9X into a pickup when necessary.

Besides being a concept with multiple personalities, the 9X also had the credentials of a veritable sports car thanks to its turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine developing 300 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque. Despite the body’s increased complexity and the adoption of all-wheel drive, the concept had a projected weight of only 1,330 kilograms (2,932 pounds).

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Saab said its offbeat 9X would do 0-100 kilometres per hour (0-62 miles per hour) in a brisk 5.9 seconds and top out at an electronically governed 250 km/h (155 mph), but these were also only projected figures.

A report issued by WardsAuto about two weeks after the concept’s debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show talked about Saab’s plans to roll out a production version “virtually unchanged in terms of appearance.” Unfortunately, it never happened.

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