In January 2005 Bryan Nesbitt, then-executive director of GM Europe Design, charged the 15-strong Saab Advanced design team in Gothenburg, Sweden, to create the "ultimate vision of the brand".
The design team – led by head of Advanced Design at Saab, Anthony Lo – worked on a number of sports car proposals, which were considered 'the jet fighters of the road.'
The chosen proposal by Alex Daniel was for a large, front-engined sports car that would become one of the most universally acclaimed concept cars of recent times.
Of course the Aero X's door arrangement – complete with huge, forward-hinged canopy – is its party trick, but even without the theatrics the car's proportions, surfacing and graphics are exceptional. But it's the encapsulation of Saabness allied to its pure, Scandinavian design language that really shines.
Lead interior designer Erik Rokke's cabin reflects the exterior's clean design, its IP shunning conventional dials and buttons in favor of ‘clear zones' like an aircraft-style LED system made using techniques developed from Swedish glass and precision instrument making.
The Saab Aero X was unveiled in Geneva on 28 February 2006 where it was greeted with overwhelming positive reactions – Saab had, it seems, created its "ultimate vision for the brand."
It marked the pinnacle of a series of outstanding concept cars that started with the 9X but unfortunately the car it directly influenced, the 9-5, came too late to save Saab.