Zippy and the Saab 9-5

Zippy’s a Saab 9-3 owner and one of our long-term family here at Saabs UNited and I know he’s been very keen to get behind the wheel of a Saab 9-5 V6 for some time.

Last weekend he had the chance to drive an Aero, courtesy of Rob over at Springmans Saab in Vancouver, Canada.

Zippy was kind enough to send in his thoughts.

——

I’d love to be able to say I actually laid down $70,000 and drove away with a massive smile on my face – as well as a huge hole in my savings – but in reality I had taken my car out for an inspection when Rob handed me the keys to a 9-5 Aero with a stunning dark cocoa and parchment leather interior and told me to ‘enjoy’.

The car was loaded with every conceivable option except a sunroof. At first the sight of all of those buttons seemed overwhelming bit in actuality they are intuitively laid out and after ten minutes in the car I was an expert.

I am not big fan of automatic transmissions, but the paddleshifters, in reality, have about 80% of the fun factor of a manual, which surprised me. If I were to have an auto I’d never have the car in Drive choosing to shift “on the fly’ as it makes the car just that much more enjoyable – and drivable.

Drivable? In Drive I found the car was a little reluctant to downshift when you put your foot down, even when in Sport mode. Heading out to the highway I decided to see what the car was capable of merging into traffic. I found my slot and floored it….my response was “holy $h1t” – said out loud – as a smile grew from ear to ear.

I loved the HUD, which was easy to read and showed my current gear when in “flappy paddle mode” as well as my speed which seems to reach high numbers in no time. Its a huge safety feature as I never had to take my eyes off of the road to check speed etc.

The engine doesn’t even feel turbocharged to me as it actually feels like a small V8 the way the power is instantly fed thru to the XWD system. I just cannot imagine what this engine feels like in a 9-3 TurboX albeit with “only” 280bhp.

The offramp gave me an opportunity to test the sticky XWD system which didn’t even flicker when I abruptly took my foot off of the gas at the same time as braking trying to trick the system. You would never even know the car had XWD. It just felt like a well balanced, rock solid car. I would love to be able to drive this car up Cypress Mountain with its hairpin turns and sweeping bends to see how it handles on the twisty bits. I didn’t get the opportunity to use the SATNAV system but the car sure looks better with the full colour screen over the green screen that was in the base 9-5 I had previously driven.

Heading back to the dealer I kept getting odd looks from people thinking to myself ‘what the heck is his/her problem?!” until I realised that people were actually looking at the car. A thirtysomething couple in an old(ish) E-Class stopped just ahead of me and to the left craned their necks getting a better look at the cars lines with that “what kind of car is that?!” look on their faces when the woman lowered her window and asked me what it was I was driving. Having explained her it was the new 9-5 I also took the opportunity to tell her who to go and visit if she wanted to get a really good look and take one out for a spin – or better yet replace their ‘German taxi’. They then held back to get a look at the cars behind as I pulled away from the lights. This car turns heads and I can only imagine what kind of response this car would get if it were driven in the busy streets of Vancouver especially in Arctic White.

My final impression? A very roomy rock solid four door sports car with a Jeckyl and Hyde personality. In Comfort mode it wafts along as a luxury sedan should but when switched to Sport mode it turns into a snarling four door sports car with the ride comfort a luxury car.

Is it perfect? It would be if it had a manual transmission. That is why I would have to get a manual 2.0T Aero Hirsched-up to 260bhp with XWD, a set of 19inch Edge rims, DriveSense and that SATNAV with HUD but no such beast exists here in North America so I guess I have to start saving up for the V6 Aero. All I can say is that anyone who owns one of these cars is very very lucky and I am 110% green with envy.

Thanks to Rob and Jason at Springman’s Saab for sharing the car with me and taking time to “talk Saab”.

Dave
Guest
Dave
5 years 6 months ago

I actually feel mine in underpowered. I very interested in the hirsch tune.

74stingray
Guest
74stingray
5 years 6 months ago

Good for you Zippy for taking it for a run!… and managed to fit “turboX” in the article somehow πŸ˜‰

Doctor Donk
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Doctor Donk
5 years 6 months ago

evil russian dealers / importers, when will they starting selling saabs and having one for test drive…… why it takes so ****ing slow… after reading another 9-5 review i just can not wait until my first test drive.

SaabKen
Guest
5 years 6 months ago

JEALOUS !!!!!!!!!!!!

Glad to see you had such a great time, Zippy. Wish I were there.

I’ve driven the Turbo X. And it was like: “H*** F*** !!!” feeling I had. And while I was driving it (with 3 others onboard), I was being egged on to push it, on a gravelly road. And that beast would not break traction no matter how hard I tried.

You remember Huey Lewis & The News’ song: “I Want A New Drug” ? Well, modern hi-po Saabs with XWD is it, man !

zippy
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zippy
5 years 6 months ago

@Dave. I found I had to keep my eye on the HUD to keep my speed in check. It is a deceptively quick car considering it weighs close to 4500lbs. Add 30bhp and more torque to that equation you could take Jekyll out of the dual personality completely. πŸ˜‰

@SaabKen. You have to head out there and give it a go. I so wanna get my hands on a TurboX with a stick.

TP
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TP
5 years 6 months ago

Completely agree: manual 2.0T Aero Hirsched-up to 260bhp with XWD, a set of 19inch Edge rims, DriveSense and that SATNAV with HUD
Thats the most attractive combo for pure driving envolvement.

Ken H
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Ken H
5 years 6 months ago

The description of people’s reactions in this piece made me think if it would not be an idea to get more cars on the streets instead of the billboards? What if Saab spend some marketing cash on getting as many of these cars out on the street, so people can actually see it in motion?

Ralph
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Ralph
5 years 6 months ago

Good idea.

gunteman
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gunteman
5 years 6 months ago

I revisited this comment thread just to present the very same idea, and you beat me to it!

It’s very evident that once people see a live 9-5, they realize how stunning it is, and how boring an A6 or similar is in comparison. I’ve heard a lot of “Damn! That’s gorgeous” type comments from non-Saabistas when a 9-5 suddenly appears around the corner.

Red J
Guest
5 years 6 months ago

It maybe enough if some sales people would drive at lunch time with a new car to the places where people are (not malls).

I think we did discuss about this one or two years ago.

Dmain
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Dmain
5 years 6 months ago
Hey Zippy, I was at Springman’s the previous weekend to get an oil change for my 09 9-3 Aero XWD (with the V6 280 HP and the 6 speed manual). I also took that same white Aero for a test drive too. I had my 13 year old daughter with me, so the first thing we did was figure out all of the electronics. I loved the Nav and Sirius XM radio interface. So much better that the β€œwall of green” in my 9-3. It took about 10 minutes with the help of my tech enabled daughter to get everything… Read more »
kenthebeardman
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kenthebeardman
5 years 6 months ago

Hi Zippy,
Great reading. You mentioned that the car had the cocoa / parchment interior combination, and that is not reflected on any SAAB site as a possible option for the new 9-5 V6 Aero, but solely limited to the Vector versions.

If your observation is correct, SAAB seemingly now have a wider choice of interior colour combinations also for the Aero.

That would be absolutely great, since I would love to have the cocoa / parchment combination in an Aero, since I am somewhat “allergic” to black carpets and dashes.

zippy
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zippy
5 years 6 months ago

Im pretty sure it was cocoa but there are two guys who frequent this site that could shoot down my theory. It didnt look ‘black’ enough to be black, if you get my drift.

@Dmain. I bet your car is a blast to drive though!!!! πŸ˜‰

SaabR
Guest
5 years 6 months ago
The Aero has the Parchment seats with the Jet Black interior, The Turbo6 next to it has the Parchment with the Cocoa dash etc. Maybe you got the two crossed? I will admit, the light interior (parchment) does seem to change how the black looks though. Either way you cut it, they both have their draw and I wouldn’t give either back if it were given to me! Dmain – we had a TurboX on the lot for a short time (although in automatic) and it was a blast. If I had one of those or one like yours to… Read more »
DMain
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DMain
5 years 6 months ago

Yes, it is a blast, and I never get tired of it. My favorites drive is Vancouver to Kelowna via the 3a through Manning, Priceton and Penticton; summer or winter (c/o Winter Blizzacks, which I just took off).

See you at a future WC Saab club outing!

SaabR
Guest
5 years 6 months ago
Zippy, It was a pleasure as usual! We always enjoy the opportunity to take some time when folks want to “talk Saab” and welcome anyone who wants to come by and chat. As for the test drive… I know you had fun. Judging by the smile on your face whe you got back, maybe too much? πŸ˜‰ @ KenH and RedJ. You guys are absolutely correct. Getting the cars out and about definitely raises the exposure to a surprising degree. We do take the cars out locally almost daily. I know I try to get out in them as much… Read more »
Red J
Guest
5 years 6 months ago

Rob,
maybe you won’t get a full-time job driving around Vancouver, but if the street presence is the problem (13 Saabs sold so far in Canada), then SCNA should get those cars out in the bigger cities in Canada, using some money from their billboard money. πŸ˜‰

Another way of doing it, is giving new customers some incentive (SCNA funded) to wear some big stickers like Till72 does in Munich.

Maybe people would accept to wear such sticker 1-3 months for a 1.000$ incentive, don’t know.

SaabR
Guest
5 years 6 months ago

Funny you mention that RedJ. It is actually something Jason and I were talking about the other day. I am all for it. The trick is to get the “money people” on board. I happily offered to do that to my own car (1999 9-3 Coupe) and although I think it’s a great looking car it’s probably not the best choice when trying to sell a new Saab! lol

Red J
Guest
5 years 6 months ago

1999 9-3 Coupe?
Which colour?
I had one till 2004 in silver.

Maybe Mr. Sweeting should be informed. πŸ˜‰

SaabR
Guest
5 years 6 months ago

Silver here too. I love this car!

Some photos…

SaabR
Guest
5 years 6 months ago

Ooops… forgot link below

SaabR
Guest
5 years 6 months ago
Red J
Member
5 years 6 months ago

Almost the same car, but mine didn’t have the black rear spoiler, the wooden panel the leather seats and the turbo. But it was a new car, it was mine and it was my first car. πŸ™‚

James
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James
5 years 6 months ago

maybe you just need to occasionally “strategically” park a few of the new 9-5’s around town… eg in a prominent downtown location or maybe in front of the local Audi or Merc dealer πŸ˜‰

James…

dmk
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dmk
5 years 6 months ago
A little off topic however I was just in Vancouver this past week for a few days. I’ve been pretty much in every city in the US and could not believe the amount of luxury cars in Vancouver, primarily BMW’s. My point being is that there were virtually no Saabs and it was real shame. Obviously the dealers and Saab Canada have a huge opportunity and really have to do something. I thought it was pathetic the few Saab cars I saw (all mostly older versions). And essentially ZERO American cars except for some trucks and SUV’s. There were some… Read more »
DMain
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DMain
5 years 6 months ago

Easy; just take a look at the brutal job Saab North America is doing in terms of marketing and adverstising in Canada. Totally non existant. I would be totally POed if I were the Springmans crew.

I refer you to the wonderful Saab Canada web site:

http://www.saab.ca/ca/en/start#/home/

Can you blame a high end motor car shopper for passing this one by? I am trying to interst a buddy who is about to drop $60K on an Acura MDX to wait for the 9-4x and he doesn’t believe that Saab will be in business in a years time. Brutal.

BaRa
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BaRa
5 years 6 months ago

Wow! that’s one of the worst kinds of online presence that you can have =-(

SaabR
Guest
5 years 6 months ago
dmk I hope you enjoyed your visit. You are absolutely correct. There is alot of money here and there are alot of luxury and premium brands cruising around. I think what it boils down to is demographics and exposure. There are certain high-end population areas here that prefer BMW I think and when it comes to changing that it ends up being a matter of exposure or lack of. Sometimes it’s just a difference in preference. For example, I have a customer waiting for the new 9-5 SportCombi. He will be among the first to have one when it arrives.… Read more »
Jason Petho
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Jason Petho
5 years 6 months ago

Calgary is the same way.

Plethora of imports, Saab included. The Calgary Saab dealership had a “grand opening” a couple weeks ago, so I suspect there will be some newer Saab’s hitting the asphalt soon.

Jason Petho

Pedro
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Pedro
5 years 6 months ago

I have yet to sit in a 9-5, but from the pictures I have seen online the dark cocoa and parchment interior is my favorite 9-5 interior.

Muppen
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Muppen
5 years 6 months ago

Offtopic!

Why has SAAB never caught on like other niche automakers in the US?

Interesting replies on this forum:

http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?5211400-Why-has-SAAB-never-caught-on-like-other-niche-automakers-in-the-US&highlight=saab

dmk
Guest
dmk
5 years 6 months ago
SaabR, Thanks for the note and explaining things a bit. I did have a nice visit to probably the most beautiful city in NA. And boy that website it real bad–is your BC dealer even listed? And you make sense about the exposure issue. Many questions on how to handle that and not enough answers. Perhaps parking one or two new Saabs across the street from that huge Brian Jessel BMW dealership with some signs on them. That is done here in the states although usually at shopping malls and such–not sure if it work near a competing dealership. That’s… Read more »
Jason Powell
Guest
5 years 6 months ago
dmk, We do hear you on all accounts. We actually have had cars at 2 malls so far this year, 1 in Langley with 3 cars and 1 right now in White Rock with a 9-5 Aero. Our biggest problem out here is trying to do it all alone. Rob and I on a daily basis are running ideas past eachother trying to think of different things to do. With advertising money being small, we are trying to think outside the box. One thing that we just recently (Saturday) did, was we are offering an additional $1500 to customers off… Read more »
FB
Guest
FB
5 years 6 months ago
Sales in Canada aren’t about to pick up anytime soon. Saab of North America named this great distributor for the country 10 months ago and the web site, which has been up for 6 or 8 months, is still 2 pages deep, …, 3 if you generously take into consideration that there are 2 official languages in Canada. My 7-year old can do better with iWeb in less than 2 hours! I went to Saab Laval (North of the city of Montreal, 2 million people and no dealer on the island) for servicing my 2006 9-3 SportCombi and wanted to… Read more »
SaabKen
Guest
5 years 6 months ago

Hey Rob (SaabR),

What are you guys doing for the auto show ? Need volunteers from SCWC ? Drop us a line on SCWC. I’d like to help if I can.

Ken

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