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Photos: Saab 9-X Air concept

Saab explores the idea of a new convertible with this concept shown at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. The 9-X Air uses an innovative canopy-convertible top along with a hybrid powertrain.

CNET Reviews staff

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Saab developed this new convertible concept in conjunction with its BioPower concept, using the same powertrain optimized to run on E85, or 85 percent ethanol fuel. It also gets a newer version of GM's belt-alternator hybrid system, a mild hybrid system that uses a lithium ion battery pack and electric motor to provide extra boost and stop the engine while idling.
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As this convertible was designed by Scandinavians, the convertible part merely covers the top of the car. Put it down and the occupants retain protection from the wind by substantial glass and pillars around the cabin. The top stretches over the cabin, and rolls up into the back of the car when not wanted.
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The 9-X Air doesn't use a conventional trunk, instead having this tray that slides out of the back. The tray uses a proximity sensor to detect when hands are reaching to open it, automatically popping open for the first couple of inches.
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The driver gets five screens in place of an instrument cluster. Sony Ericsson helped design the car's interface so that it would work with smart phones. The smarter the phone, the more functions the car gets, such as receiving e-mail, showing navigation, and playing music.
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Little auxiliary screens also sit near the hinges on both doors, showing snippets of information that might be useful, such as currently playing album info, or a schedule reminder.

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