Saab Automobile uses the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show this week to reveal its 9-5 Aero BioPower concept, a 310-hp show car designed to showcase the performance and environmental benefits of ethanol-fueled powerplants.

The BioPower concept, based on the gasoline-powered 9-5 Aero SportCombi, uses E85 ethanol fuel to boost the output of the performance wagon’s turbocharged 2.3L 4-cyl. engine to 310 hp and 325 lb.-ft. (440 Nm) of torque, up from 260 hp and 258 lb.-ft. (350 Nm) of torque.

Saab says E85, which is a blend of 85% bio-ethanol and 15% gasoline, significantly reduces vehicle carbon dioxide emissions, while also enhancing performance over the production SportCombi model.(See related story: GM to Spotlight E85 Capabilities )

The BioPower concept is nearly a second quicker to 60 mph (97 km/h) than its gasoline-powered counterpart, the auto maker says.

Aside from the re-programming of the vehicle’s Trionic engine management system to run on the clean-burning fuel, the only modifications made to the concept car’s powerplant were the addition of more durable valves and valve seats and the use of E85-compatible materials in the fuel tank, lines, pump and fittings.

The re-calibration of the engine management system also allows the show car to run on gasoline if E85 is not available.

Saab introduced a 2L BioPower model of the 9-5 in Sweden last year and it has since captured about 70% of all 9-5 sales in the country.

However, the concept car is the auto maker’s first application of the technology in the top-of-the-line 9-5 Aero and showcases the potential for developing a specific version for the North American market, Saab says.