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Trollhattan Visit – Day 2 notes

June 9, 2010 in Saabology

The first day of our Saab 9-5 drive is done and dusted and it’s been a truly pleasurable day. I’m glad I got that initial drive impression up on the site because it’s been so hectic with this program, with so many people to meet, that it would have been a long time between posts otherwise.

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With all due respect to the many good reviews that have been written about the Saab 9-5 so far, this Saab 9-5 review from Autoblog is something to check out.

It came in via Mo in comments and as is mentioned by a few people there, this is definitely the most comprehensive and balanced piece I’ve read in the last 2 weeks.

Kudos to Chris Paukert for an excellent piece. His thoughts echo many of my own, but I’ll get to more on those later.

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The 9-5 that I drove today had a testament to the caution I tend to express over cars being over-laden with gadgets, thereby reducing the role that people feel they need to play in the management of a vehicle.

There’s a small dent on the car that I drove, on the rear of the car just to the left of the Aero badge. Apparently one of the journalists who drove the car in the last few days backed the car up, relying on the parking sensors to warn him of obstacles and neglecting to look in his mirrors.

My understanding is that behind the car was some sort of railing that was on top of a thin post. The post was too thin to be picked up by the relative position of the sensor and likewise, the railing along the top was too high up. Bang!

Having driving aids present doesn’t mean one is exempt from paying attention.

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I took the Saab 93 that Victor Muller drove in the Mille Miglia for a lap around the Saab plant today. What a car!

Funkier than a sack full ‘o grandpappies.

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I was also fortunate to sit at the VM table at dinner tonight. VM was holding court with members of the German press and there was a great deal of discussion going on, mostly in German. They all seemed to be quite engaged and interested in the Saab story, though. Good signs.

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I hope you don’t mind, but I took the liberty of selecting a little gift for Jan-Ake Jonsson on my way here, as a gesture of appreciation on behalf of the SU community. I had hoped to give it to him earlier tonight, but the chance passed me by. I’ll get it to him tomorrow some time. Photos will hopefully follow.

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I believe that Jan-Erik Berggren is on to something when he speaks of south-bound airplanes. Similar news was mentioned in another Swedish motoring publication some time ago and I believe it’s correct.

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I asked one expert here today the much awaited question – will there eventually be a manual option for the Saab 9-5 V6?

His reply “I believe there could be”

Me: “Can I quote you on that?”

Him: “Maybe not….”

The jury is still out, but I’ll keep asking around.

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Saab did over 2,000 simulated crash tests on the Saab 9-5. When you consider that there’s adjustments to the parameters of the car or the conditions of the crash test, that’s a heck of a lot of testing.

And that’s before you get into the wanton destruction caused by physical testing.

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More Saab 9-5 HiPer Strut for those who are interested…..

Whilst the same system also features in the OPC version of the Insignia, the Saab version is tuned quite differently, with specially selected bushes, dampers and settings particular to Saab.

Interestingly, the designated expert for the suspension area on the 9-5 launch is none other than Peter Johansson, the guy who was also behind the development of Saab’s XWD system.

There are some people at Saab who’s blood should be bottled and preserved. Peter’s one of them.

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I’ve got some great video to process tomorrow, taking you on a walk-through of the whole infotainment system. It’s the one area of the car that made the biggest impression on me today.

I’m not a gadget guy at all, but even I was engaged with all this. They really hit the ball out of the park on the technology front. It’s not just the number of features you can select, it’s the way they work and how they’re integrated.

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Tomorrow is the track day and another video with Kenneth Backlund from the Saab Performance Team beckons…….

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I have to be awake in 4 hours and 45 minutes. Time for bed.

Have a great one.

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