Official Release – 2010 Saab 9-5 Technical Highlights

I was going to post this as an accompaniment to the powertrain release, but it seemed so important in the context of this car that it had to be published on its own.

The following is an official release from Saab upon the launch of the 2010 Saab 9-5.

Other releases include:

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All New Saab 9-5 Sedan: State-of-the-Art Technology From Scandinavia

  • Most technically advanced Saab ever
  • Conceived, built and chiefly developed in Sweden
  • Equipped to compete head-to-head with leading premium class competitors

The all new 9-5 is the most advanced Saab ever, introducing an array of high-tech features and benefits that bring the car and driver closer together, while also enhancing the travel experience for all occupants.

Defined by Saab as the company’s top-of-the-line contender in the premium segment, the new 9-5 has been chiefly engineered in Sweden, where its development has been guided and where it will be built at Saab’s home plant in Trollhättan.

In terms of functionality and the quality of the driving experience alone, the new 9-5 sedan is configured to challenge premium class standards. It will offer a fresh and distinctive alternative choice to established market leaders.

State-of-the-art technologies are harnessed to offer the features customers most want. Smart functions range from an aircraft-style, head-up information display (Pilot HUD) to Advanced Park Assist (APA), and from hard disk onboard music storage to rear seat climate control and flexible trunk storage

“This is the most sophisticated and technically advanced car we have ever produced,” says Mats Fägerhag, Head of Technical Development at Saab. “It is enabled to meet the needs of modern day motoring and brings together all the functions and features customers would expect in a car of this class.”

On The Road
Chassis systems and technologies are focused on delivering a sporty driving experience. The mechanical suspension layouts, for example, are tailored to match the differing performance characteristics of its engines and drivelines. These can be overlaid by the optional Saab DriveSense adaptive chassis system, which includes real time damping control.

HiPerStrut and Linked H-arm suspension
Three suspension combinations are fitted. Variants with the 1.6-liter gasoline and 2.0-liter diesel engines have a McPherson strut front and 4-link rear arrangement, while a Linked H-arm rear suspension is fitted with the 2.0-liter gasoline turbo, also enabling Saab XWD as an option. Aero variants with the 2.8V6 turbo have a HiPerStrut (High Performance Strut) front suspension and the Linked H-arm rear layout.

The advanced HiPerStrut offers driving benefits similar to those of a double wishbone layout, but without any weight penalty. The inclination and length of the kingpin is reduced and the caster angle of the steering increased. The result: improved steering quality with a more ‘planted’ feel, as well as enhanced handling and braking characteristics.

At the rear, the sophisticated H-arm layout, with isolated sub-frame mountings, gives still greater ride comfort, reduces vibration entering the cabin and improves roadholding. For both H-arm and 4-link rear suspensions, shear bushings are used in the damper mountings to the body structure. These effectively dissipate vibrations from the road, improving ride comfort and noise isolation.

Saab DriveSense
The new 9-5 is the first Saab to offer real time damping control through Saab DriveSense, which includes a range of adjustments that helps the car adapt to the way it is being driven. In addition to the default ‘Intelligent’ mode, two further settings, ‘Sport’ and ‘Comfort’, can be selected via a rotary knob next to the gear shift.

In real time, ‘Intelligent’ mode adjusts the car’s handling characteristics in response to driving style. It continually varies the stiffness rates of the electronically-controlled dampers, the action of the electronic throttle and the degree of power steering assistance. For example, when the car is being driven in a sporty style, the action of the dampers is automatically stiffened to improve body control and roadholding; the throttle pedal movement is shortened for a faster response and steering assistance is reduced for a more direct feel. At reduced speeds, the dampers are softened for greater ride comfort, the action of the throttle pedal becomes less aggressive and the steering feels lighter.

The ‘Sport’ setting introduces a firmer range of adjustment for the dampers, offering even greater body control. In addition to sharpening the throttle pedal response and reducing the level of power steering assistance, ‘Sport’ mode also raises the gear shifting points with automatic transmission, raises the ESC intervention threshold and sends more drive torque to the rear wheels when Saab XWD is fitted.

By contrast, ‘Comfort’ mode, optimizes ride refinement by enabling a softer range of adjustment for the dampers and a smoother throttle pedal action. It provides enhanced compliance over rough road surfaces and is the most appropriate setting for optimum fuel economy.

Saab DriveSense is offered as an option with all engines and equipment specifications, except the turbo diesel and 1.6 turbo gasoline engines.

Saab XWD with eLSD
Saab’s industry-leading all-wheel-drive system is optional for 2.0-liter Turbo variants and standard with the 2.8V6 Turbo engine. It offers a more rewarding driving experience and greater control in all road conditions. This on-demand, active system – integrated and optimized by Saab chassis engineers – uses a multi-plate Haldex clutch unit to infinitely vary drive torque between the front and rear axles. Careful programming enables the application of rear drive to balance oversteer and understeer characteristics.

An optional, electronically-controlled rear limited-slip differential (eLSD) transfers up to 50% of rear torque between the rear wheels, to whichever has more grip. Under hard cornering, or when completing a high speed maneuver, such as a lane change, the brief application of more or less torque to either wheel helps the rear of the car more closely follow the direction of the front wheels.

Sport Chassis
Standard with Saab XWD and optional with front-wheel drive, the Sport chassis set-up offers improved handling and body control. It includes a 10 mm lower ride height, a stiffer front anti-roll bar, stiffer springs and dampers, and greater steering feel from top strut mounts with reduced lateral compliance.

Adaptive Cruise Control
A smart function that not only enables the driver to select a constant cruising speed, but also automatically alters the chosen speed to maintain a constant, safe distance to the vehicle on the road ahead. The new 9-5’s intelligent system also allows the driver to choose one of three distance options to the vehicle ahead.

A radar sensor in the grille emits a beam to measure the distance to the vehicle in front. If this gap reduces below the required setting, the throttle opening is adjusted or, if necessary, the brakes are applied. Should heavy braking be required, a warning gong sounds to alert the driver to take action. Once the appropriate distance is restored, the car will accelerate back up to the pre-set speed. A conventional, ‘passive’ cruise control function is also available.

Variable Effort Steering (VES)
When maneuvering, parking or driving at low speeds, VES increases the level of power assistance in order to reduce steering effort. At higher speeds, hydraulic assistance is automatically reduced to ensure a high degree of steering ‘feel’ for the driver.

VES uses an electro-magnetic motor on the steering rack, controlled by a coil, to boost or reduce the level of hydraulic assistance. VES also adapts to the speed at which the steering wheel is turned, providing progressively increased assistance the faster the wheel is rotated. The system is fitted as standard with Saab XWD and Saab DriveSense.

Behind the wheel
The view from the cosseting driver’s seat of the new 9-5 sedan can be configured through optional features including an aircraft-style information display, adaptive headlamp lighting and a traffic sign recognition function. These reflect Saab’s commitment to responsible performance by increasing driving safety.

Head-Up Display (Pilot HUD)
Projecting essential data in the windshield through the HUD, such as vehicle speed, warning messages, turn indicators and navigation instructions, offers real-life safety benefits as the driver does not need to look away from the road. Inspired by similar technology in fighter jets, the 9-5’s Pilot HUD is shown as a virtual image, seemingly about two meters ahead, within the driver’s natural eye focus. The display is controlled and adjusted via two switches in the main fascia adjacent to the driver’s door. It is illuminated in signature Saab green, as used in aircraft cockpits.

Bi-Xenon Smart Beam
This is one of the most sophisticated, adaptive lighting systems on the market. It uses bi-xenon headlamps that swivel to better illuminate bends ahead and automatically optimizes light beam patterns to suit the prevailing speed, road and driving conditions. Bi-Xenon Smart Beam also engages and disengages high beam automatically, relieving the driver of a repetitive chore.

At speeds below 50 km/h, Town Light provides a wide, flat beam so that pedestrians or potential hazards at the roadside can be better seen. At speeds up to 100 km/h, Country Light projects a longer beam, while still giving good roadside illumination. Motorway Light increases the beam length still further, to 140 meters, and is activated only above 100 km/h on straight, level roads.

When rain or snow is detected by the windshield wipers’ rain sensor, Adverse Weather Light provides a wide, asymmetric light pattern which allows the driver to see lane markings better. In all light modes, Dynamic Bend Light provides illumination into oncoming bends by swiveling the headlamps up to 15° to the right or left, according to the vehicle speed and steering angle.

Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
This driving safety function uses a camera in the back of the interior mirror which ‘looks’ through the windshield. For use in left-hand drive EU markets, it is programmed to recognize speed limit and ‘no overtaking’ signs, the appropriate symbol being illuminated as a driver reminder in the main display. It’s a useful feature that can even help avoid getting a speeding ticket!

At speeds above 60 km/h, the same system can also initiate a warning alarm if the vehicle begins to veer out of lane when the indicators are not engaged, such as could happen with the onset of drowsiness or during moments of inattention.

Advanced Park Assist (APA)
A smart feature enabling the driver to parallel park the 9-5 in tight spaces only one meter longer than its own length. APA uses ultrasonic sensors in the front, rear and side of the vehicle. The system detects a suitable parking spot and then plots a perfect reverse parking trajectory. The driver is instructed how to turn the steering wheel via icons in the main instrument display and audible chimes.

Comfort and Convenience
These features are focused on ease-of-use and making the cabin of the new 9-5 sedan an enjoyable place to be. State-of-the- art infotainment systems include an 8-inch touchscreen navigation system, an embedded Bluetooth phone operation and rear seat audio and viewing options.

Start/Stop Button and Keyless Entry/Exit
Standard throughout the range, a start/stop button replaces the conventional ignition switch. In Saab tradition, it is located between the seats next to the gearshift. The engine control unit detects and authenticates a coded signal from driver’s fob and the engine can be started or stopped by simply pressing the start/stop button.

For even greater convenience, a keyless entry/exit system is offered, which allows the car to be automatically unlocked when the door handle is pulled while the fob is still in the driver’s pocket or handbag. The car is also automatically locked when the driver leaves it with the engine switched off. This ease-of-use feature removes the need to press the unlock/lock buttons on the standard fob.

Tri-zone Air Conditioning
In addition to the standard dual zone climate control for the driver and front passenger, the tri-zone option offers independent temperature control for rear seat occupants. Extended ducting feeds air from the main air conditioning unit to an outlet module in the rear face of the center console. The module includes a small fan to accelerate the airflow and two adjustable distribution vents. It is offered in combination with rear seat entertainment and available only with left-hand drive vehicles.

Advanced Infotainment Systems
The extensive infotainment choice breaks new ground for Saab, offering a wide range of
state-of-the-art features and three audio options, including a top-of-the-line harman/kardon system with true 5.1 surround sound reproduction through 11 speakers. The 8-inch touchscreen navigation system includes a bird’s eye map view and hard disk drive storage for map data.

Audio source selection has never been more versatile. In addition to the AM/FM and DAB radio, the driver can play music directly from a CD, insert an MP3 player or memory stick into the USB connector, or even store 10 GB of favorite tracks on a built-in hard drive – all with full control via the faceplate and steering wheel. The USB connector – standard on most models – is located conveniently alongside an AUX connector and 12V power outlet in the center console. The USB ‘wires’ the device to the car and offers instant control through the audio system, the in-car display showing the song title, artist and album information.

In the rear, passengers can enjoy their own onboard entertainment through a dedicated unit in the back of the center console and two 8-inch screens which fold out, laptop style, from the front seatbacks. Passengers can select an alternative audio source to that being played up front, watch a DVD or enjoy entertainment from a stand-alone player, such as a games console or digital camera, connected to the AUX input. Sound is provided by wireless headphones.

Communication while on the move is supported by an integrated Bluetooth hands-free phone system, which functions via voice command and steering wheel controls. The ground-breaking remote SIM access profile allows all contacts and data from a mobile phone to be transferred to the car’s own phone system via Bluetooth. Making calls through this embedded in-car system saves phone battery power, as well as delivering improved reception and sound quality.

Innovative trunk storage
A U-shaped track in the floor carries an adaptable, telescopic cargo divider. The concept is an evolution of the cargo tracks offered on the current 9-5 wagon. This fast and flexible storage solution can keep a wide range of different sized items in place. The trunk is also fitted as standard with four bag carrying hooks and an umbrella holder.

Safety
Occupant protection in the new 9-5 builds on Saab’s successful real-life safety philosophy. Crash testing and computer simulations are based on what happens in real collisions on real roads, using the findings of a database covering more than 6,100 real-life accidents involving Saab cars on Swedish roads. In this way, the development of the new 9-5 has drawn on all Saab’s experience with real-life safety accumulated over more than 50 years. Saab safety engineers are always aware they are ultimately protecting real people, not only dummies in laboratory crash tests.

Real-life safety means the structural design of the car, and the operation of its occupant protection systems, are evaluated through a large number of in-house crash tests which are additional to those legally required or carried out by consumer test organizations.

The success of this work is reflected In surveys of real-life collisions by the US Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) and the Swedish Folksam insurance company, where Saab cars have consistently scored well, several times being ranked best in their segment. In Euro NCAP crash tests, the current Saab 9-5, 9-3 and 9-3 Convertible have all achieved a maximum five-star rating.

In addition to the full complement of occupant safety systems already installed in Saab cars, the new 9-5 adds third generation Saab Active Heads Restraint (SAHR 3) as standard for the front seats and rear side airbags, together with pre-tensioning of the outer rear seatbelts, as an optional package.

Driving, or active, safety – the ability to avoid becoming involved in an accident – is also improved by functions such as Bi-Xenon Smart Beam, TSR/LDW, Pilot HUD and adaptive cruise control, as described earlier.

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