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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