Saab 9-5 vs BMW 5-series

Sometimes the motoring journos don’t ‘get’ Saab. So it’s up to we Saab owners to sing the virtues of these little Swedish cars.
A three year old Saab 9-5 against a new 5-series? Any motoring journo worth his seat on the gravy train would scoff. Surely, given a choice, anyone would prefer the 5, yes?
Introducing Chris, an Aussie and for the last 12 months, the owner of a 2004 Saab 9-5 Aero.
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Saab 9-5 Aero A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go for a drive in a friend’s 2006 BMW 525i. We had all been out for lunch and he didn’t feel like driving home so I was given the keys. My usual ride is a 2004 9-5 Aero with automatic transmission and I was keen to compare it to the “ultimate driving machine.”
Technically this is not a true comparison as the 5 series BMW is not a direct competitor of the 9-5. It is also a very new design and a newer car than mine. Although I didn’t ask I believe the BMW I drove featured professional navigation, electric seats, full blue tooth kit and probably a few more gadgets that I couldn’t see (or find a use for). My 9-5 Aero is stock standard and the only option I would want (but unfortunately don’t have) is the ventilated seats.
The exterior
This comes down to personal preference. I prefer the previous 5 series exterior design and am not attracted to the current one. Of all the new BMWs i think the 3 series Coupe is the only good looking one.
Saab 9-5 AeroVerdict- On this count you know I will always prefer the 9-5 because that is the car that I chose for myself. I think the 2004 model year was a great combination of body kit and alloys. The new 9-5 is growing on me but I still prefer the older version.
The Driver’s Seat
The BMW’s seats, with full electric adjustment and memory, lacked lateral and thigh support and felt too short. A previous ride in the front passenger seat had indicated that the seats were uncomfortable and this drive confimed it. Whilst I didn’t slide around, the seats just didn’t seem right. The 9-5 Aero’s sport seats on the other hand provide lots of support, are very comfortable on long drives and look brilliant in their two tone grey/black leather.

Read moreSaab 9-5 vs BMW 5-series

Saab are Swedish

I figured I’d better write that headline just in case anybody who’s important at Saab forgot. Or maybe it’s for those at GM who aren’t directly playing in the Saab sandbox, but make decisions that effect Saab.
It sounds pretty rudimentary, but sometimes it’s the simple things that get overlooked.
After writing the recent editorial piece at The Truth About Cars and after thinking about Bell Springsteen’s follow up piece a little, there was something he wrote that resonated with me:

I read Trollhattansaab.net in order to explore the main question that Mr. Wade often contemplates on his site. How does a brand that currently sells under 160k vehicles a year attract enough passionate owners that Trollhattansaab.net receives well over 5k unique visitors per day? Why is it that Saab drivers are so passionate about being Saab drivers?

Firstly, being the pedant that I am, I need to clarify those numbers. Saab sell around 130,000 vehicles per year. last year was their best ever at around 134,000. Also, sadly, this site attracts more like 4,000 individuals per day on average. It serves around 6,000 pages to those individuals, but there’s not as many as mentioned.

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Onwards then, to the crux of the matter.
What gives this brand it’s mojo? Why do we Saab drivers love being Saab drivers? And is that in danger?

Read moreSaab are Swedish

Saab Everywhere Bike

I’m a little red-faced to say that I’m not much of an environmentalist. I recycle, my wife and I carpool most of the time, and I’ve installed a few energy-saver light bulbs. I’m pro-biofuels but I also love giving the car a bit of welly. And whilst I once enjoyed a bit of cycling, the mere thought of it nowadays makes my legs ache.
Gripen’s much more of a greenie than I am. I’m sure he’d ride a bike more often if he wasn’t out in the sprawling suburbia of LA. Given his interest, Gripen thought he’d check out Saab’s two-wheeled offering:

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Saab has often been criticized by supporters and critics alike in recent years for bringing products to market “too late”. An oft-pointed-to example of this is how Saab entered the SUV market with the 9-7x just as the SUV market was cooling-off and transitioning apparently to “crossover” vehicles being the next hot trend.
The automotive industry seems to be cyclical in regards to trends. In the 1980s when the “minivan” was the hot segment to have an offering in, sales of coupés dropped drastically. Whilst families saw the practicality in owning a minivan, it eventually became a symbol of giving up on your dreams and trading-in your life and it was no longer fashionable.
Enter the Sport Utility Vehicle. You can still fit the wife and 2.5 kids and the family dog in there, but now it will look to others like you’re about to take the family up the side of Mount Kilimanjaro. After a while there was a backlash upon SUV owners and now we have the kinder, gentler “crossover” vehicle.
Saab’s missed/ignored most of these waves, but I’m pleased to report that Saab is releasing a ‘vehicle’ just as the trend is taking off. No, I’m not referring to their upcoming crossover. I’m referring to the Saab Everywhere Bike.
Saab Everywhere Bike
The Saab Everywhere Bike is a “city bike” designed by Dutch bicycle firm Biomega.
It features a foldable design which allows one to fold the bike small enough to fit in the smallest of Saab trunks (that of the convertible). Further, if one needed to take one’s bicycle into an elevator or a confined space like a stairwell the bike folds up small enough to do so as to not be unwieldy.
The bike also features eight gears with hidden cables (they’re internal to the frame), disc brakes, and includes an integrated cable bike lock. The cable is actually a structural element that acts as the downtube when the bike is unfolded, so if a thief were to cut the cable to steal the bike it’d be all but useless to him as it would just collapse when the thief tries to unfold it. Saab Bike RackAlso available is an optional carrier which affixes to the seat post and allows one to carry a light load .
The picture below is of another related Biomega product, the Puma Urban Mobility bike (US$775), and you can see what the carrier looks like attached to the bike.
Puma Bike
I’ve looked-into it and though some of Saab’s automotive competition have offered bicycles in the past, they oftentimes are either straight road (race) bicycles or high-tech mountain bikes. Saab is the only one offering a “city bike” as best as I can tell. Audi used to sell a couple of mountain bikes designed by their Quattro GmbH division but I don’t think they sell them anymore, Mercedes-Benz has a “hybrid” bike, which is a bicycle with electric motor assist, and I’m pretty sure F.A. Porsche design used to sell a road bicycle.
The Saab Everywhere Bike is available from Saab Expressions for SEK10.705,000; €1 190,00; £812,50; or US$1,169.00 (from the U.S. Saab Expressions store. The European Saab Expressions store is charging over US$1,500.00) depending on your local currency plus shipping charges. The carrier doesn’t appear to be available to U.S. buyers unless it’s ordered through the non-U.S. Saab Expressions store and shipped internationally ($90 plus shipping/handling). Those of you in Great Britain might be able to save some shipping costs by ordering the bike and carrier through Elkparts, which is also selling the bike for less (£749,00) than Saab Expressions.
Cycling is a great way to get exercise and avoid a lot of urban congestion. The Saab Everywhere Bike is the right product at the right time from Saab.
Saab Everywhere Bike

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