Another guy’s road test of the new Saab 9-5

We’ve featured a few of these ‘people’s road tests’ already and this is another, from another long-term dweller here at SU. He’s known in comments as ’74Stingray, primarily because when he bought his SportCombi, his main ride was indeed a 1974 Corvette Stingray.

Hi actual name is James, and I’m glad he sent this through. Take it away…..

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Greetings!

Those of you who have been here a while might remember my “open letter” to the Saab employees back on 8 June 2009. I wrote that entry shortly after the purchase of my very first Saab. Swade was kind enough to post it on SU where it was noticed by a thankful group of employees at Saab. I wrote describing my much cherished CPO 2006 9-3 SportCombi Aero and how thankful I was that the nice people of Trollhattan produced it. To this day, I still cannot say enough good things about this car. My only regret is not having “found” the thrill of owning a Saab sooner.

We have all read entry after info-packed entry about the 2010 9-5 from Swade. Several other members have also offered in their “driving impression” and I wanted to contribute. While not a professional writer or professional driver by any means, I do enjoy automobiles and telling a story. It was a distinct pleasure to write this for the SaabsUnited crowd.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Initial walk around

The lesson here is “look closer”. I was rather disappointed at first when I saw the black 9-5 at a distance. Black can be such a boring color. It always looks great clean but looks terrible with any amount of dust /rain spots on it. Once I got next to it and noticed that this shade was “Jet Black Metallic” my mood instantly changed. This is one very nice color when up close and personal with the car. The lines were sleek and they flowed together nicely. Right away I loved the car’s looks. The black 9-5 looked aggressive in a seductive fashion, a little leather and lace, if you will.

Fit and Finish: Exterior

One word for the paint finish, STUNNING. Very high quality paint finish with terrific metallic….. Did I already say I loved the color? The lights, the badges, tires and wheels all complimented the look nicely in my humble opinion. The 19” wheels were the 11 spoke “turbine blade” style which is close to my heart having been an aircraft mechanic for 17 years. As much as I loved the look of the wheels, I am afraid I would curse at them come cleaning day. The exterior trim as all good quality and the fit was superb.

Fit and Finish: Interior

At first I thought the black on black scheme would be too much but I’ll admit it grew on me quickly. The 9-5’s steering wheel is much nicer in person and it was very comfortable. I will not go into great detail about the Navigation and other infotainment areas because that’s never a big deal to me. Today I concentrated on the car more than the little niceties. The stereo was very crisp and clear, but I preferred to hear the sounds of the engine, what little I could hear of it.

I found the plastic surround around the dash gauge pods to be a little, well, dull. The fit and finish of everything was very good, I just didn’t care for the look of the plastic around the dash. Again, this is just my opinion.

Road Handling: City/Town

Simple, This car is very nimble and handled Pennsylvania’s pothole covered roads with ease. I found the 9-5 to be very tame in tight spaces and easy to maneuver around parking lots. The mirrors offered a great field of view even if the side view mirror pods look rather large. No matter how bumpy of a road we went on, the car just felt solid… no aftershock, no rattles from anything, just solid!

Road Handling: Highway

I foresee a lot of speeding tickets being handed out to new 9-5 owners. Entering the highway from an entry ramp we were at 65mph in no time and well on my way to 80 before I saw just how fast I was going. You’ll never have to question your ability to pass someone safely; you’ll have plenty of power on demand. Today was a windy day and at highway speeds I noticed zero wind noise and only minimal road sound from the tires. Taking cloverleaf ramps from the expressway was smooth with no body roll despite how quickly I took them.

Engine/ Trans performance:

Plenty of turbo charged evil is available at your foot. The 300 horsepower on tap is connected to an Automatic transmission that seems to have only one gear called smooth gear…. Very nice. The engine was very responsive and quiet …. Library quiet. Some people have groaned at “only 300 Horsepower”… but to me, 300HP moved this car around with ease.

Occupant comfort :

At 5’11’’ 215lbs I found all of the seating positions to be very comfortable. The rear seats had plenty of headroom allowing ingress and egress to be a simple task. The front seats were as I expected in Aero trim, Cozy. This is for sure a car the driver and passengers will be very comfortable in. Sure I only had a comparatively short test drive, but I have no doubt that it would be equally comfy after 8 hours behind the wheel.

Cargo Space:

Living close to Philadelphia, we measure trunk space by “how many bodies can fit” (just kidding)… There is plentiful luggage space and the neat little adjustable cargo divider system is very user friendly. The 9-5 offers plenty of room for a few overnight bags, a small cooler and golf clubs… or roughly 5 bodies.

Noticed production discrepancies:

None. I looked all over to car to find something not properly aligned, a hose clamp on the engine not tight or positioned right. This was all in vain as our friends in Trollhattan are very proud to build this car and it shows.

Things I feel need refinement:

I found the HUD display to be a little weak and sometimes the “shadow” from the projection box to be a little annoying, but I enjoyed the HUD enough to overlook it. Saab should add more colors to the lineup in the coming years. Rub strips would be a nice addition to reduce door dings, but I am not too sure how good it would look on this car that has such clean lines.

I was not interested in the Navigation, or whether it had Bluetooth or not… I drive a car to drive it, not be entertained by its gadgets. These may be important items for some people and I am not knocking their desire to have such creature comforts but they’re not me, and I think this subject is better left to those who know it.

The weather was splendid, the staff was more than helpful and the car was a sheer thrill to drive. Treat yourself to a test drive of the new 9-5, you will not be disappointed. Everything about this car just felt right.

In closing again allow me to offer this disclaimer… I am neither a writer nor a professional driver. I simply repair ejection seats on fighter aircraft for a living. However I love driving my Saab along with other performance oriented automobiles. Indeed some descriptions of my test ride may be a little flowery, maybe even biased…. but would I have written this if I didn’t already love Saab?

Sincerely,
James
74Stingray

PS – I would also like to thank the staff at Fred Beans Saab of Doylestown PA for allowing me the opportunity to test drive the new 9-5 so that I may write this entry. My salesman friend, Jay Silverstein was kind enough to reserve the car for my allotted time slot and for that I am grateful. I would be remiss if I did not include thanks to my service advisor friend, Bill Fretz . Bill did his part by having a technician perform an oil change on my SC while I took the 9-5 for a spin.

Jeff Shore
Member
3 years 8 months ago

This is funny to find now – as I am BACK working @ Fred Beans Saab as their team leader/shop foreman.

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