Saab will pull the wraps off its fastest ever car at the Detroit Motor Show next week – a 310bhp BioPower 9-5 that sprints from 0-62mph in less than six seconds.
The car runs on an 85% strong blend of environmentally friendly ethanol fuel mixed with petrol and produces 50bhp more than the standard Aero (which takes nearly seven seconds to make it to the 62mph benchmark).
It has been designed for possible launch in the US, where crop-derived ethanol fuel is more widely available than it is in the UK.
Saab used the Aero's 2.3-litre V6 engine to tempt buyers there because the 2.0-litre engine – used to produce the 180bhp BioPower which is already on sale in the UK – isn't available in the US.
A positive reaction at the Detroit show could mean it goes on sale in the US in six to nine months, with an introduction to the UK then depending on decent sales across the pond. Saab UK reckons there's a 50:50 chance it will eventually appear in our showrooms.
BioPower Saab's cut fossil-fuel CO2 emissions by 70%, the remainder are carbon-neutral as they typically come from crops which absorb CO2, but deliver faster performance and similar overall fuel economy.
The fuel is still only available at a handful of outlets in the West Country and Essex, however, hamstringing its popularity. Saab has only sold a handful of the cars in the UK so far and describes the stand off between car makers and large scale fuel distributors as a 'chicken and egg situation.'
It is also still unclear whether BioPower Saabs would attract company car tax based on overall CO2 emissions, or the far lower figure reached when carbon neutral emissions are factored out.
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