Concept Debrief – 2011 SAAB PhoeniX was DOA


The only thing we really recalled about the final SAAB concept car was its tail. With backlit red lighting through a screen mesh, the PhoeniX reminded us of a nasty reborn Pontiac Bonneville SSEi.  Cheap body cladding and all, unfortunately.

Reviewing the PhoeniX design today four years later, the look of this sports coupe is no more appealing. Put simply, this car would have flopped like a pancake on the market. Imagine comparing this with a $50k BMW 435i?

It is not just the detailing that is overwrought, but all the surfaces and even the proportions. This thing is truly hideous. Long overhangs, short wheelbase, a tall roof and even taller floating elements that extended out from the upper rear beltline?  Hideous.

The hood is even worse: it looks like it has a tumor or growth under its skin, blobbing up from the engine bay to impregnate the car’s hood.

The single detail that seems doable is its deep 3D grille element with single horizontal accent line.  But from there, things fall apart again. The headlights are a mess, the butterfly doors a joke/fantasy, and even the name lacks any emotional tug.

For what was a lasp gasp to save the firm, the PhoeniX was a colossal misfire.


2011 SAAB PhoeniX

What do you think?

About The Author

Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of, an innovative and rapidly expanding automotive news magazine. He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank. Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)