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Saab is entering the crossover segment with its new 9-4X, which will make its world premiere at next month’s Los Angeles Auto Show. The vehicle will expand Saab’s product portfolio to three car lines, and is targeted as a fresh, alternative choice for independently-minded crossover buyers.

It will be powered by a 2.8 litre V6 twin-scroll turbocharged engine, offering 300 hp at 5,500rpm and 400Nm of torque between 2,000 and 5,000rpm, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Performance figures include a 0-100 kph sprint time of 8.3 secs.

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Saab’s XWD all-wheel-drive system, with an electronically-controlled rear limited-slip differential, gets strapped on board, as is as Saab DriveSense, an adaptive chassis function offering real time damping control in three modes – Intelligent, Comfort and Sport. There’s an Eco mode as well; activated via a separate button, it re-maps the throttle pedal and gearshifting patterns for optimal fuel economy.

In design terms, the 9-4X is aligned in looks and size between the 9-3X and new 9-5 saloon, with a front that borrows cues from the Aero X concept car. Outside and inside, it communicates the Saab identity with clean, uncluttered design and signature motifs, such as a wraparound-effect windshield, ice block lighting theme, driver-focused cockpit and flexible cargo handling.

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Disguised windshield and door pillars create Saab’s signature wraparound-effect, and other exterior Saab identifiers include the shaping of the headlamps, a ‘hockey stick’ waistline and strong C-pillars complemented by a wraparound-effect rear screen.

The roofline has been visually lowered and extended by a rear spoiler integrated in to the tailgate. At the back, the lighting carries forward a signature introduced by the 9-5 sedan – an ‘ice-block’ bar of LED lights extends across the lower tailgate and wraps around the tail lamps. Twin rhomboid-shaped exhaust tailpipes, integrated into the lower bumper molding, round off the rear.

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Inside, the five-seater features a sweeping, single form centre console finished with a carbon-fibre effect trim, as well as a number of subtle references to Saab’s aviation heritage, including a selectable, aircraft attitude-style speed read-out, green illumination for the three main dials’ needles and traditional Saab ‘joystick’ adjusters for the mesh-style air vents. Being true to tradition, the ignition – in the form of a start/stop button- is naturally in located between the front seats, next to the gear shift lever.

Plenty of cargo space options at the back too – you get single movement fold down 60/40 split rear seats, which provide a completely flat cargo deck in a stored position. A hinged front section of the boot floor provides access to additional under floor storage, and floor space can be tailored as required by an optional, U-shaped track with a telescopic cargo dividing rail, movable to any position to keep items in place.

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Other items on the 9-4X’s standard kit list include 20-inch wheels and 235/55 series rubbers, bi-xenon adaptive headlights and a 10-speaker Bose system with 5.1 surround sound and an eight-inch touchscreen, hard disk-based navigation system with 10GB of storage space for music files.

The 9-4X will make its market debut in the US in May next year, with sales in Europe and other global markets starting from August 2011.

Gallery after the jump

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