The car is the first Saab from newly-appointed design director Jason Castriota. Castriota is previously known for his work at Pininfarina on various Ferraris and Maseratis -- including the one-off, Enzo-based P4/5 -- and then as design director of Bertone and the Corvette ZR1-based Mantide supercar. The PhoeniX points the way forward for Saab design with futuristic interpretations of the three-port grille and ice-block headlamps, while recalling famous Saabs of the past such as the Sonett coupe and the original Ursaab.
Combining a chopped kamm-tail evoking the Sonett and the teardrop shape of the Ursaab, the PhoeniX introduces the world to Saab's "Aeromotional" design language. Castriota's look for the Saab concept feels as though the car has been shaped by the wind, with a tight-muscular skin flowing like liquid across the body. The trademark wrap-around windshield has been reinterpreted to create the teardrop look of the PhoeniX's canopy, in a similar fashion to the Maserati Birdcage concept that Castriota also had a hand in designing. The front fascia of the PhoeniX evolves Saab's tri-port grille into a laterally-stretched futuristic version, with a prominent body-color central wing containing the Saab logo and slim LED ice-block headlights on the far ends adding to the visually wide stance of the car. Stylized ripples flow across the hood from the grille to the blacked-out A-pillars adding to the sinewy look. The overall look is akin to a more muscular version of the 2006 Aero X concept. However, it is not all concept-car frivolity, as we will see the hood, grille, and headlight treatments on upcoming Saabs.