Zippy’s a regular here at SU and other regulars know he’s been pining for both Saab’s return to his beloved Canada and a chance to drive the new Saab 9-5.
Over the weekend he got to experience both, first hand.
My thanks to him on sharing his experience with the Saab 9-5.
Last Saturday I had the pleasure of seeing the new 9-5 for the first time which, I might add, looks much better in the metal than in pictures which tend to make the car look very big and bulky. The model I saw was a six speed manual carbon gray base 2.0T with Curve 17inch alloys and whilst the car would would look better with 18 or 19inch alloys (more on than later), taken in its entirety the car looks fabulous!
The slope of the rear deck is my favorite styling feature and the rear end is by far the the 9-5s most interesting external feature. Lets face it, its gonna be the part of the car that most drivers are going to see.
So, to the interior. First thing I noticed is the steering wheel is smaller than in my 9-3SS. The interior quality is by far the best I have ever seen in any Saab even without the sat-nav system and those seats are simply amazing comfortwise with firmness in all the right places and half decent bolsters to keep you in your seat when you wanna have a little fun in the curves.
The all black interior was garnished with the nice wood inserts around the facsia and on the doors and a splash of aluminium but Id get the parchment leather with the cocoa upper surfaces as this would look simply amazing. The fit and finish was to a high standard but I did miss the cool-to-the-touch aluminium metal interior door handles that my 9-3 is fitted with.
So what is it like to drive? Start the engine and you hear nothing. Is the engine even running? Its that quiet at idle. The shifter has a nice short throw and is very smooth in its action but it didnt stop me stalling it first time. Rob, the sales consultant at Springman’s, told me he did the same thing when he first drove the car so I didnt feel so bad.
The 9-5 feels like a totally different car to the 9-3 but it would only take a short time in the car for it to “shrink around its driver” and feel like the sporty car it quite obviously is!
Second major thing I noticed was that the steering has significantly more feel than I am used to which is one of by “issues” with the 9-3SS. It seems much more responsive to input and is nicely weighted. On the road the car is very very quiet and the only time you would ever hear the engine was when you gave it a bit of gas. I loved the altimeter style speedometer so much that I rarely even looked at the needle which more often than not showed that I was going faster than I thought I was. Yes, the 9-5 is THAT quiet.
Even the roads in and around our fair city didnt disrupt the cars ride and suspension as noise was very subdued even over potholes. The ride was quite firm but I got the feeling that having 18 or 19inch alloys fitted to the car would make the car a little less floaty. The 2.0T engine gives the car its real Saab character as its peppy and not afraid to rev. If the 2.0T is this much fun the Aero must be an absolute riot!!
We didn’t get a chance to hit the highway (roadworks are horrendous at the moment) but the highway is where Saab’s excel and the 9-5 would be no exception. One thing I did notice is the number of people that gave the car a second look which, lets face it, is not at all surprising.
In summary, this is one heckuva car. Its drop dead gorgeous. Its comfy with a perfect balance between sporty and luxury and for the price its a steal as comparable cars having a sticker price that would easily be 10-15% higher. The only thing I would change would be the alloys. I’d upgrade to a sexy set of Edge rims and use the Curve 17inchers for snow tires. The most difficult choice for me would be the colour. Arctic White? Glacier Silver? Java Metallic?
I’d like to thank Rob at Springman’s Saab in Langley for taking time out from his day to chat about all things Saab and giving me the opportunity to be “the first consumer in BC to ever test drive the new 9-5″.
One last thing I feel I should mention is that we need to understand how difficult this last year or so has been on our dealer network. Dealers are looking forward to getting more inventory at which time I expect we will see much more advertising. We need to understand that “Rome wasnt built in a day” and that our dealers are working very hard with the resources they have to get the Saab name out there. With our support we will be able to look back at all this in a few years time knowing that we did the right thing!!