It’s been just over a year since Saab rose from the dead, Lazarus-like, after an 11th hour deal saved the former General Motors division from being shut down. It’s been a serious challenge for the Swedish automaker to get that message out to potential buyers, but it will be difficult to ignore once they get a glimpse of the appropriately named Saab Phoenix Concept.
Making its debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the Phoenix flowed from the pen of Jason Castriota, the multi-talented designer responsible for a variety of exotic products, such as the Maserati Birdcage concept and the Ferrari 599 GTB. Castriota is now styling chief of Saab and searching for the formula that will help turn the upcoming 9-3 replacement into more than just a market afterthought.
The Phoenix goes off in a decidedly different direction from Saab’s last show car, the Aero-X — which strongly influenced both the new Saab 9-5 and 9-4X crossover.
In an interview at the Geneva show, the young designer suggested the styling language of the Phoenix show car might best be described as “aero-motional,” a reference to Saab’s aerospace roots. The front end of the prototype, he explained, has an almost nose cone-like shape, flowing into a fighter jet like body. With its highly aerodynamic Kamm back, the Phoenix show car has a surprisingly sleek 0.25 coefficient of drag, on a par with some of the best race cars.