The 9-4X is tipped to be available in both FWD and AWD modes

The 9-4X is tipped to be available in both FWD and AWD modes

Saab is close to completing development work on a new midsized crossover based around GM’s Theta platform and expected to be revealed for the first time in production late this year for sale in early 2010. To spread development costs, most of the 9-4X’s design has been shared with the 2010 Cadillac SRX and both vehicles are tipped to be manufactured at a plant in Ramos, Mexico.

The 9-4X will be similar in size to BMW’s X5 but pricing should be closer to that of the X3 and Volvo XC60 – two of the Saab crossover’s prime targets.

According to previous reports, the 9-4X will run a 284hp (209kW) petrol V6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. It will also get 18in alloys shod with 255mm tires and a Haldex-sourced AWD system with an electronic differential. For European markets GM is also expected to offer a new diesel mill it co-developed with VM Motori that outputs 250hp (184kW) and 550Nm (406 lb-ft) of torque.

These latest spy shots show an almost undisguised 9-4X prototype with the only some black tape and fake lights distinguishing it from the production version.

While development work on the 9-4X appears to be almost complete, Saab will be introducing two models before the arrival of the new crossover - the smaller 9-3X crossover and the all-important 2010 9-5.