Unlocking the Mystery: Which Saab Models are Powered by Subaru?

Saab is a brand renowned for its unique design, quality engineering, and innovative technology. However, not many people know that a few Saab models were powered by Subaru engines. This partnership between Saab and Subaru had a significant impact on the Saab brand, and this article aims to provide you with the necessary information about which Saab models were powered by Subaru, and what it means for those interested in owning or learning more about Saab cars.

Saab-Subaru Partnership History

The Saab-Subaru partnership dates back to 2003 when General Motors, the parent company of Saab, acquired a 20% stake in Fuji Heavy Industries, the parent company of Subaru. This partnership aimed to bring together the strengths of both companies to produce better-performing cars. As a result, Saab began using the horizontally-opposed Subaru engines in a few of its models.

Saab Cars Powered by Subaru

Saab used Subaru engines in two of its models: the 9-2X and the 9-4X. The Saab 9-2X was a small car, essentially a modified version of the Subaru Impreza WRX, with slight interior and exterior changes. It was launched in 2005 and was available in two trims – Linear and Aero. The Linear trim was powered by a 2.5-liter Subaru EJ253 engine producing 165 horsepower, while the Aero trim had a turbocharged 2.0-liter Subaru EJ205 engine producing 227 horsepower. The Saab 9-2X proved to be an excellent performer, with superior handling and ride comfort thanks to Subaru’s all-wheel-drive system.

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The Saab 9-4X, on the other hand, was a crossover SUV that was launched in 2011, a year after Saab declared bankruptcy. It was based on the Cadillac SRX, which was also produced by General Motors. Only a few hundred 9-4Xs were ever produced, making this crossover SUV a rare sight on the road. The 9-4X was available in two trims – the base model and the Aero. The base model was powered by a 3.0-liter V6 engine producing 265 horsepower, while the Aero was powered by a 2.8-liter turbocharged V6 engine producing 300 horsepower.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Subaru Engines in Saab Cars

While the Saab-Subaru partnership allowed Saab to produce high-performance cars with excellent handling, there were also some disadvantages to using Subaru engines in Saab cars. Firstly, it limited Saab’s ability to differentiate its cars from Subaru cars. The similarities between the Saab 9-2X and the Subaru Impreza WRX were quite apparent, and some Saab enthusiasts believed that the 9-2X was simply a rebadged Subaru.

Secondly, Saab’s reliability suffered as a result of using Subaru engines. While Subaru engines are renowned for their durability and longevity, Saab’s cars were prone to electrical and mechanical issues, which damaged the brand’s reputation. The low production numbers of the Saab 9-4X may be an indication that Saab was well aware of these reliability issues.

Saab Brand History

The Saab brand has a rich history of producing cars that are unique in design and technology. Saab is a Swedish car manufacturer that was founded in 1945, initially as an aircraft producer. The first Saab car was produced in 1949 and quickly gained a reputation for its innovative design and advanced technology, such as the first seatbelt to be fitted as standard in all its cars. Saab’s heydays were in the 70s and 80s, where it produced cars that were considered ahead of their time, such as the Saab 99 Turbo.

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Q: What happened to Saab after it declared bankruptcy?
A: Following the bankruptcy of Saab in 2010, the brand and its assets were sold to a Chinese consortium, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), in 2012. However, NEVS has yet to produce any new Saab cars or the electric vehicles that it has promised.

Q: Why did Saab use Subaru engines in its cars?
A: Saab used Subaru engines as part of its partnership with Subaru, which aimed to bring together the strengths of both companies to produce better-performing cars.


The Saab-Subaru partnership brought together two car manufacturers who were committed to producing high-quality cars with advanced technology. The use of Subaru engines allowed Saab to produce cars that had superior handling and ride comfort, but also limited Saab’s ability to differentiate its cars from Subaru cars. Although Saab declared bankruptcy and its assets were sold to NEVS, the brand’s legacy lives on, and Saab cars are still a popular choice among car enthusiasts.

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Peter Banks

With years of experience as a professional mechanic and Subaru specialist, Peter is one of the most respected members of our team. He's written several articles on Subaru maintenance and repair, and his advice and tips are always practical and helpful. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys cooking and trying out new recipes.

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