Till’s Saab adventure

Till72 is a SU regular living in Germany. He owns a Saab 9-3x and pretty soon, he’ll be heading off to the Saab Ice Experience for a bit of ice driving and ice hotelling.

Prior to all that, though, he’s been having a few more localised adventures. This is what he’s been doing.

——

Driving a couple of 9-5s, including one owned by Rene Hirsch

Early in the morning, last Wednesday, I was heading towards Sankt Gallen, Switzerland to get a new goodie for my Saab 9-3x. This alone would have been exciting enough but in addition I had a special appointment that day.

But first, I have to rewind a little…..

A week earlier my dealer was kind enough to leave his Aero6 to me for two days so I could get a proper impression. One night I took a ride on a route I often take, in normal life and when I test drive a car. It’s a small winding road with some hills, some serpentines and at the end a few kilometres of Autobahn. The Turbo6 was super impresive – not for a single moment did I feel that the 9-5 was underpowered when accelerating out of the curves or overtaking. XWD and drive sense do a great job and I had it to “intelligent” all the time. I even tried to overdo it a bit in some occasions but nothing really could ruffle the car.

As I got on the Autobahn, I had no traffic ahead (it was quite late) and the road there is absolutely straight so I kicked the pedal down and the 9-5 accelerated eagerly until the HUD showed 252. I lifted my foot a little as there were some bends ahead (I’m a bit shy when I’m driving someone elses car), which I took at 240 without feeling unsecure for a second. To prevent comments about going that fast on public roads: I was literally alone on the Autobahn at that time.

I came away with a very good impression of the Aero V6, which was useful as I had another V6 to drive the next week 🙂

That brings me back to the trip to Switzerland. We had real Saab weather on that day. First sleet, then snow, then sleet again. As I crossed the Swiss border it was snowing heavily, one of those days when you’re even especially happy that you’re in a Saab.

As I arrived at Hirsch’s service area, I handed over my car keys and Manfred from Hirsch and I went up to the dealership where René Hirsch handed us the keys to his personal Saab 9-5 Aero V6. I can tell you that I was pretty excited getting the chance to drive Mr Hirsch’s own car. So with Manfred as navigator I went for a spin through that heavy snow…

I had expected that this test drive would be somehow slower than the week before. Swiss law makes speeding quite expensive to start with. And with the weather, it was maybe the slowest test drive I’ve ever done (remember, I’m shy when I drive someone elses car). Nevertheless it was an excellent test for the handling under those conditions. On our trip we took small, hilly and winding roads and had at best up to 20cm of snow with ice underneath. We passed quite a few cars that could not get up the hills but XWD had absolutely no traction problems.

Towards the end of the test drive we had some clearer roads and I could experience the performance of the engine and the tweaked suspension a bit better. The car feels sportier than the standard version but is still comfortable. The 20“ wheels also play their role in improving handling and they look just awesome.

The extra kick in acceleration with that 330 hp/430Nm performance upgrade is the icing on the V6 cake. We went on the Swiss autobahn where I had the chance to feel acceleration up to some speed I won’t mention here but you can really feel the additional thirty horses. I would have loved to take it to top speed but I have no doubt that you can reach the 260 kph (electronic) limit.

It’s no secret that I’ve always been a fan of the Hirsch stuff. Now I am even more so, and I’d recommend the upgrade to Aero6 owners who’d like some extra driving pleasure.

Secretly I hope to get a chance to try that car again in dry conditions someday… 🙂

As we came back to the dealership I took a look at the showroom which was filled with eight Saabs and ten Lamborghinis. Even though I am not a particular fan of Italian sportscars I have to admit that it’s much better if Saab is to share a showroom with Lamborghini than, for example, with Opel as it was quite often here in Germany.

I can predict quite a few comments as I write this and to those concerned about engine power, I say this: those 330 hp are well suited to the 9-5. Most people would even be fine with the 300 hp base version but those ten percent more power add more than ten percent of additional fun. Combine it with the tweaked suspension and the 20“ wheels and you’ve got a real sporty but comfortable car. It may not be enough to race a 911, but that’s not the purpose of a 9-5, is it?

Thanks again to Andi at Autohaus am Goetheplatz in Munich and René and Manfred at Hirsch for making these experiences possible.

MarkoA
Guest
MarkoA
5 years 8 months ago

Great story! Must´ve been exciting to get to drive Mr. Hirsch´s car.

The question now is, what goodies did Till´s own 9-3x get there??

Arild
Guest
5 years 8 months ago

Nice report! 🙂

Here’s something off topic. It’s not even about Saab or cars, but about scarfs and Victor Muller:
Swedish Göteborgs-Posten has an article about men and fashion. Apparently using a scarf instead of a tie is becoming fashionable, and Victor Muller’s appearance on Swedish TV on Sunday is seen as an evidence of the new trend.

Toby
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Toby
5 years 8 months ago

It’s not doing it for me…still I never did follow fashion!

BaRa
Guest
BaRa
5 years 8 months ago

Well, a tie is essentially a scarf, just that it’s knotted in a certain way and that it has a slightly different shape.

saab93f
Guest
saab93f
5 years 8 months ago

Nice reading!!
It´s been quite Saaby weather in Finland as well. No problems what so ever – there a few FWD cars that ooze such confidence in poor driving conditions. I´m glad I own one 🙂

Vector-SS
Guest
Vector-SS
5 years 8 months ago

Nice story! That Black Hirsch 9-5 looks wonderful from what I can see.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
5 years 8 months ago
Wow that car is incredibly sexy. And those photos, holy moly. 20″ snow tires? I’m drooling. This is how Saab should try photographing some of it’s cars- black but coated in white snow. Great report so far Till. I’ll say it again- this is one of the few car companies, let alone corporations period- where a casual owner can literally meet the top executives involved with minimal effort. They are traveling the world and going out of their way to bend over backwards to assure their customers on their viability and remind us of their outstanding attributes and value. It’s… Read more »
Jeff
Guest
Jeff
5 years 8 months ago

Till’s photos inspired me to do a little photoshopping to back up what I’m talking about. I did this in 20 minutes, just think how much fun a real ad professional could have with this. I used Jorrit’s map. 🙂

Toby
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Toby
5 years 8 months ago

Awesome add BTW-worthy of the Sunday Times supplement.

till72
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till72
5 years 8 months ago

Now that’s great!

saab93f
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saab93f
5 years 8 months ago

Love that ad!!

Most people would not even believe the conditions our cars have to face – from -30C to heavy snow to sleet to -30C again. It is remarkable that just about all cars even function but with Saabs it is just business as usual.

Ken H
Guest
Ken H
5 years 8 months ago

They forgot to winter test the front suspension of the 9-3 SS/SC/Conv, though… 😉

saab93f
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saab93f
5 years 8 months ago

I beg to disagree – our 9-3SC even has the sport chassis and 225/45-17 winter tyres and I cannot complain one bit.

Ken H
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Ken H
5 years 8 months ago

15 saab93f, I did not mean how it handles. What I meant is the terrible crunching from the bushings in cold temperatures… 😉

RS
Guest
RS
5 years 8 months ago

Ken, there’s no crunching in the NG 9-3.

Ken H
Guest
Ken H
5 years 8 months ago

RS, with NG you mean 2008- models?
Because my 2003 has a terrible creaking/crunching noise from the sway bar bushings in cold weather, and there are loads of similar complaints from 2003,2004,2005,2006 owners on differen forums…
Of some reason the complaints seem less for 2008- models, so maybe they managed to fix this design flaw…?

RS
Guest
RS
5 years 8 months ago

Really? I find that surprising. I’ve never experienced that in our (NG MY04 THN) during the last 370k km even in -30 C. I can’t say the same about the OG 😉 the minute it gets bellow freezing…

BaRa
Guest
BaRa
5 years 8 months ago

@RS: my MY 2005 9-3 SS had the same problem: a lot of noise coming from the suspension rubbers at temperatures from 5 degrees downwards. After replacing the rubbers, the noise dissapeared. But only for a couple of thousand km. After that, the same problem.

74stingray
Guest
74stingray
5 years 8 months ago

@Till.. Im jealous my friend, glad to hear your story and thanks for sharing it!
@ Jeff.. Wonderful work… I might just have to print a version of that to hang in my office!

Grumpy
Guest
Grumpy
5 years 8 months ago

Great Stuff Jeff!!

More like this from the marketing folks in Sweden and we would make a huge step forward.

Troels, Denmark
Guest
5 years 8 months ago

cool! 🙂

TuuSaR
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TuuSaR
5 years 8 months ago

I have few times mentioned that car ads today are VERY clinic and that 9-5 snow-ad is fully anti-clinic as it has “dirt” and real life feeling in it, just great. Front page material.

Carl-Henrik
Guest
Carl-Henrik
5 years 8 months ago

Now that’s just so good that I don’t even dare to write the words that pop up in my mind. I’ll keep them for my self.

I expect that you, Jeff, soon will be working with the firm for the SaabUSA-advertisment that’s coming up here soon.. right? Ask Swade for a good input-email to Saab here in Sweden and then you’re set to go!! 😉

MarkoA
Guest
MarkoA
5 years 8 months ago

Best car ad I´ve ever seen. Ever. Simply stunning.

Phoenix
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Phoenix
5 years 8 months ago

Great job Jeff! And I love the ending. If we didn’t build them that way we would have to walk. 🙂

Phoenix
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Phoenix
5 years 8 months ago

Ask the journalists in the test with BMW xDrive and 9-5XWD. The BMW was apperently not built that way and the journos had to walk. And push.

GerritN
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GerritN
5 years 8 months ago

Amazing! As always.

BaRa
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BaRa
5 years 8 months ago

Very nice mock-up! Love it.

Toby
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Toby
5 years 8 months ago

I thought that too, I think it is a critical part of the story and you don’t get it with any other mass brand-not that Saab is even that. it is a very cool thing to hear about all these guys lending their cars to us and…what a lovely looking car I never wanted a 9-5 until today.

Here’s a thought…how quick is that car? What can it Kill if not a 911?? is it S6 standard? What is its closest perfomance competitor maybe the V70R? I’d Just be interested to know…

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
5 years 8 months ago

Positive encouragement is another reason I love all you guys and put the effort in. Thanks.

As a reward, here’s a billboard to go with.

Daniel G
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Daniel G
5 years 8 months ago

Very nice!

Jeff
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Jeff
5 years 8 months ago
saabista63
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saabista63
5 years 8 months ago

I admit I’d love to see that ad on my way home.

J Fan
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J Fan
5 years 8 months ago

Fair dues, Jeff! Nice work!

vince
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vince
5 years 8 months ago

Jeff , the ad is awesome… It’s the perfect ad for my neck of the woods (Canada) esp. now that we have plenty of the white stuff on the ground

Richard
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Richard
5 years 8 months ago

That is simply awesome! Gorgeous image, bold statement. THAT should be plastered on billboards across Canada for the rest of this winter. 🙂

vagabond
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vagabond
5 years 8 months ago

Off topic comment: Saab stock is surging again this morning. Why don’t you get on board guys. That’s one way to help Saab.
I think I’ve doubled my money. However the stock can be volatile. I watch the price every day and it seems to take a jump when there is good news forthcoming.

pekko
Guest
pekko
5 years 8 months ago

lets see ifthere is some announcement about antonov tomorrow. Is it anniversary of preliminary deal between gm and spyker tomorrow. Spyker stock is rising nicely, i do everything as i can to support saab, i am spyker shareholder and i own 2 saabs. Long live Saab!

matsvbg
Guest
matsvbg
5 years 8 months ago

I live in Thn and thank god we dont get 95″ of snow here annually…I’d say the yearly average is maybe 20″ if even that…..travel up to the north of Sweden however where the winter testing grounds are and it’s a whole different story.

2-don
Guest
2-don
5 years 8 months ago

That 9-5 looks amazing! Is it possible to see a couple of photos of it without the snow? 🙂

Robin M
Guest
5 years 8 months ago

A great write up Till and so happy you got to test drive such a fantastic up grade. Well done you.

zippy
Guest
zippy
5 years 8 months ago

Great story and check out all that snow Mr Hirsch’s car is making light work of. I wonder if the guys at Springmans are up for top speed run in their new Aero once that highway has been upgraded and I have enough money in my bank account to pay the ticket?

Having said that I bet its been bought already!

Am looking vorward to seeing what Till hd done to his 9-3X though.

Anders
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Anders
5 years 8 months ago

Great story! That 9-5 is looking fine and the snow really suits it!

J Fan
Guest
J Fan
5 years 8 months ago

Nice one Till, do you still have those decals on the 9-3X?

till72
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till72
5 years 8 months ago

Sure. And they’ll stay until the last guy has realized that Saab is alive.

J Fan
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J Fan
5 years 8 months ago

I take my hat off to you!

till72
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till72
5 years 8 months ago

Somehow I feel my car would look naked without those decals…

AsherSPG
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AsherSPG
5 years 8 months ago

Till-

Just got a new 9-5 and I want to do something similar…

“The All New 2011 Saab 9-5”

Where did you get the graphics?

Asher

GerritN
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GerritN
5 years 8 months ago

What’s the price difference between the base Aero6 and the Hirsched one?

Toby
Guest
Toby
5 years 8 months ago

£1011 (GBP) for the stage 1 ECU re-map.
Not sure about the different dash, wheels and suspension etc no price details that i can find…I’m guessing at least another £7k on top looking at the reported pricing for 9-3 and og9-5 if you were to go for the wheels,pedals steering wheel, decals, brakes and suspension…. isn’ that around $14,000?
Not sure if that’s worth it if it gets you she speed of a standard BMW 528i…but then you would have every conceivable toy that the beamer lacked plus XWD for that.

decisions..decisions..

J Fan
Guest
J Fan
5 years 8 months ago

Sounds like the 330 bhp Hirsched 9-5 is a bit of a stealth car. I love stealth cars.

Do we have official stats for it’s performance?

till72
Guest
till72
5 years 8 months ago

Here they are

J Fan
Guest
J Fan
5 years 8 months ago

Thanks very much 🙂

Tedjs
Guest
5 years 8 months ago

Nice shots – looks like a winter here in Cleveland, OH.

David.Baxter
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David.Baxter
5 years 8 months ago

Very nice pics!

saabaudi
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saabaudi
5 years 8 months ago

I guess you´re living in Munich or near this Bavarian city and since you mentioned in this report your intention to have a further test with another V6 you could have gotten perhaps some experiences with the 6-cylinder engines of BMW and Audi in the past.
So I would like to ask you if you could give us some comparing impressions of Saab 9-5, Audi A 6 and BMW 525 not only relating to the 6-cylinder engines of these cars but also of their general behaviour.

till72
Guest
till72
5 years 8 months ago

Well, BMWs behave quite funny on snow… 😉

No experiences driving Audi or BMW, at least not within the last five years (though youre right that I live in Munich) and no real intention to drive one. What I meant was that I’d like to get my hands on that Hirsch Aero in dry conditions.

saabaudi
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saabaudi
5 years 8 months ago

Perhaps the fact to live in such a city where the normal citizen is daily surrounded by colonies of BMWs and Audis may be the reason to drive a car of an actual niche-brand like Saab.

Doctor Donk
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Doctor Donk
5 years 8 months ago

Does it have quad exhaust, how did it sound comparing to stock?

till72
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till72
5 years 8 months ago

I just had a quick look and I’d say it was the standard exhaust. There are a few things that were on the car shown in Zurich that are in the final stages of development now, just like the leather dash.
One reason the car had the tweaked suspension is that Rene Hirsch is the main test driver.

Harald
Guest
5 years 8 months ago

Does anyone know if the 20″ wheels are for sale now? They haven´t put anything for the new 95 online yet…

Doctor Donk
Guest
Doctor Donk
5 years 8 months ago
vagabond
Guest
vagabond
5 years 8 months ago

Good news coming!. Spyker stock up 14.39% on the Amsterdam exchange today, 11% in the pink sheets OTC in New York.

Doctor Donk
Guest
Doctor Donk
5 years 8 months ago
That car should be tinted! I think i know the reason – why Hirsch used 20 inch rims for new 9-5. They wanted a bit wider tire for improving braking (which probably a good idea with brembo big brake kit), handling and overall car exterior. Times before Hirsch used Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires in their wheel kits, which are gone and replaced with all new 2011 Michelin Pilot Super Sport (Not just pilot sport 3 which is lower end tyre). But it is not available in 255/45R18 and in 255/40R19. But you can get them with 255/35R20. Also those… Read more »
cmhohioman
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cmhohioman
5 years 8 months ago

Beautiful car…very nice photo with the snow and Alpine/Swiss architecture.

Jörgen Trued - SUHRT
Guest
Jörgen Trued - SUHRT
5 years 8 months ago

Any interior pictures?

Superwide tires are not good in snow. Guess 205´s would be better.

till72
Guest
till72
5 years 8 months ago

No interior pics because there was nothing new to see…

Had a chat with Manfred about their plans for the interior and I’m currently working on some more info.

montahue
Guest
montahue
5 years 8 months ago

Being a swede and as slave under the jante-law i have to say the 9-5 looks to much of what is not a saab with 20″ rims. They are vulgar and not very practical. Its a big car and it needs big rims to look proportional, but i would feel silly driving around in a 9-5 with those rims. 19″ is more than enough and probably 18″ is what fits it best. Rims 20″ size only make you look around for the beamer guy that owns the car.

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