2010 Saab 9-5 photochop

Auto Motor and Sport in Sweden have posted a new photoshop CGI of what they believe is the forthcoming Saab 9-5, which will be a 2010 model year vehicle released for sale late in 2009. The illustration is from an outfit called Schulte Design, who apparently make a habit of being very close to the real thing in their renderings.
There’s a story there too, for those who read Swedish, but I’m told there’s nothing additional to what we’ve already heard. It’s basically a summary article of all the 9-5 news that AMS have collected in the last year (which has all been posted here, too).
Click to enlarge, and if you’re a Swede-reader, click through to AMS for the full story. That AMS link will also get you access to a version twice the size of the one I’ve posted here.

My thanks to Par Brandt at AMS for the tip!

Saab 9-3 XWD tuning by Hirsch

Hirsch have finally lifted the covers of their upgrade package for the Saab 9-3 2.8 XWD. This tuning package will suit the Turbo X as well as Aero models with XWD. This tune is obviously for 2008 models, but I’m told that it will be the same package for 2009 models as well.
Using UK prices, the Hirsch tune comes in at GBP1,733.00, which includes VAT but doesn’t include installation. That’s definitely at the high end of the market, but it’s also at the highest end of the quality spectrum, too.
Hirsch XWDThe Hirsch XWD upgrade includes new software as well as a new intercooler and air filter housing. The output of you engine goes from 280hp to 300hp and torque rises from 400Nm to 430Nm. Top speed is still governed, but is lifted from 250km/h to 260km/h.
The tuning packages from Hirsch make for a very, very entertaining Saab. 20hp and 30Nm look like modest gains on paper, but (as always) it’s the way the car delivers the power that matters. With a Hirsch tune, the car becomes more responsive and aggressive when called upon. It’s not just the numbers at the upper limits that change, it’s the way it’s delivered.
Have a look at that dyno chart. The factory XWD tuning delivers maximum torque at 2500rpm. With the Hirsch tune, you get your response much quicker. The old torque max of 400Nm comes online at around 1750rpm and the new maximum of 430Nm kicks in at 2,000rpm, and it’s still carrying more than 400Nm right through to around 5200rpm. It’s a much more effective power band, making for a truly exhilarating drive.
Of course, the biggest thing about tuning your Saab via Hirsch is that you retain your original Saab factory warranty. I’ve heard good things about other tuners and know a lot of people that use their modifications, but only Hirsch allow you to keep your warranty.
If you’re fortunate enough to be in a market where Hirsch can sell you something, then check out their stuff for yourself. It’s the best there is in terms of both performance and support.

New Saab performance bits from Hirsch

Hirsch’s newsletter for this July has arrived and once again, it’s full of stuff that makes me want to scream WHY CAN’T WE GET THIS STUFF ALL AROUND THE WORLD???
I mean, seriously, can you think of a good reason why it shouldn’t be available?
For the unfamiliar, Hirsch Performance are located in Switzerland are they’re the only authorised and factory approved tuner for Saab cars. Their products are only available in certain countries, however, with North America and Australia being notable exceptions.
Hirsch have a couple of interesting new things for the lucky ones to consider this month, starting with the full info on their V6 XWD tune:

The XWD system offers excellent traction in all situations. Therefore, we felt that a little more power would be desirable. Developed, tested and certified:
300 hp and 430 Nm
Top speed: 260 km/h
0-100 km/h: 5.3 seconds (Automatic: 5.5 seconds)
80-120 km/h: 6.7 seconds
The performance upgrade kit consists of engine software, intercooler and air intake box.

Ever heard of Taras Czornyj? You mightn’t be familiar with the name, but you’re most likely familiar with his work. He was one of the lead designers on the Saab 9-3 SportCombi and the recent 9-3 facelift for 2008.
He’s not working with Saab at the moment. The last I heard he was teaching and doing a little bit of work with the guys across town at Ovlov. In his spare time he’s been designing some wheels for Hirsch.
These wheels to be exact. They’re a double-six spoke wheel, measuring 19 x 8 inches. Notably, they’re available in two finishes, being Satin Silver and Diamond Black (the latter is apparently quite fetching on a white convertible).
Here they are. Click.
Diamond Black Wheel

The V6 XWD isn’t the only one to get the tuning treatment. Hirsch also have a groovy tuning package for my favourite engine in the current Saab range – the 2.0T.
The tuning package lifts performance from 210hp to a very zippy 240hp. If you’ve got a 2008 Saab 9-3 2.0T then your performance upgrade will include the Hirsch dual exhaust. 2009 customers will get software only (my guess is because of the XWD).
I’ve promoted the Hirsch carbon leather interior trim previously here at TS. Hirsch are still producing that item, but have also (re)introduced a pure black leather version as well.

That’s the pure black on the left and the carbon leather on the right. The Saab 9-3 dash design is great, but if there’s a criticism of it, it’s that it’s a little too ‘sea-of-plastic’ for a premium vehicle. The Hirsch leather interiors take care of this.
Leather door handles and handbrake/slotcovers are also available to complement the dash kit.
I couldn’t imagine having a 9-3 or 9-5, access to Hirsch, and not making use of their stuff. It’s not inexpensive, but geez, it’s good.

Saab 9-5 tuning magic by Hirsch

I got these photos through from Switzerland earlier today.
This is news as far as I know – Hirsch now have a carbon leather dash accessory for the Saab 9-5. And it looks every bit as awesome as the dash on the 9-3.
This 9-5 SportWagon has received a 300hp tune, the carbon leather treatment on the dash and doors, a set of 18-inch Hirsch Performance wheels and the Hirsch dual pipe sports exhaust.
More to come later. In the meantime, click to enlarge and enjoy the luxury.

2009 Saab 9-5 – US model details

New for 2009

    * High-gloss metallic black interior finish on Aero model
    * Revised power window switches in center console
    * New 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels on Aero models
    * New exterior colors: Carbon Grey Metallic, Glass Grey Metallic, Nocturne Blue Metallic replace Titan Grey, Ice Blue and Fusion Blue (all body styles)

Saab 9-5The Saab 9-5 Sedan and SportCombi bring Scandinavian-inspired performance and luxury to the competitive midsize sport sedan segment. Available in both 2.3T and Aero models, they feature distinctive, aircraft-inspired design inside and out, in keeping with Saab’s roots in aviation.
The Saab 9-5 range includes the well-equipped 2.3T Sport Sedan and SportCombi models, as well as the uplevel and sportier Aero Sport Sedan and SportCombi models. All are powered by a 2.3L I-4 Turbo with 260 horsepower (194 kW) and 258 lb.-ft. of torque (350 Nm), mated to a five-speed automatic Sentronic transmission or available five-speed manual transmission.
All Saab 9-5 models are designed for sure-footed driving, thanks to a standard electronic stability program, traction control and anti-lock brakes. For 2009, the 9-5 range gets revised power window switches in the center console and new exterior colors, Carbon Grey Metallic and Glass Grey Metallic. Nocturne Blue Metallic is being reintroduced.

Read more2009 Saab 9-5 – US model details

The Saab 9-3 button dashboard – do we miss it?

My thanks to Rogan for preparing a page for the 2003+ Saab 9-3 range in the car pages here at Trollhattan Saab. Reading through that page prompted the following entry.

Regular visitors to this site will probably know that I love interiors. To me, the styling and layout of the interior is more important than the exterior appearance of a car. It’s where you spend all your time, where you engage with the car as you drive. The seats, the dash, the controls and switchgear – all of it have to combine to provide the right experience, the right level of control.
When I went to the 2003 Saab 9-3 premiere here in Tasmania a number of years ago, one of the first things I fell in love with was the dashboard. It was very much how I pictured a modern Saab dashboard should be: no nonsense, very functional, simple looking and very modern.
And that was before I saw it at night!
At night, any Saab 9-3 or 9-5 dashboard is a masterpiece to look at. You want to talk about jet heritage? All it feels like you’re missing is the wings.
Here it is:

And in a darker light, the real night-time view:

This view is a big part of it for me. My 9-3 Viggen had more of a 9-5 style dash layout but it still lit up like this at night and driving with this display on was a beautiful experience. Every function you wanted to perform had a button there for the purpose, meaning one-touch instead of a range of adjustments as on a dial. If you wanted to change the heating vent from windscreen to floor, you press the floor button rather than progressing through a number of settings via a dial.
Ergonomists will probably be able to tell you which one is better, but I always found the buttons easy to use once you got used to them.
It was to my personal chagrin, then, that Saab ditched the button dash in MY2007 in favour of a more generic dial setup, whose hardware could be shared between various models in the GM family. The heating controls turned to a simple 3-dial system and the radio was a common stock GM bowtie unit (albeit one that gave comparatively better sound than the original button dash unit in the 2003-2006 Saab 9-3).
The new (current) dash:

Notably, the new dashboard also lost the dashtop Saab Information Display (SID), which was a firm favourite amongst 9-3 owners. The SID moved to a small display in with the gauge cluster.
If I’m going to be honest here (and I should) then the newer dash layout is less cluttered and the dials are probably a little friendlier to most people.
But geez I miss that button dash. The ambience of the green lighting was fantastic and that old dash made the Night Panel button a major source of amusement and wonder. It really was a classic setup that was quite sophisticated and one that definitely elicited an emotional reaction – for this Saab blogger at least.
So what say you? I think I’ve made my own bias fairly clear, but I know mine may not be the consensus opinion.
Comments are open.

First spyshots: Saab 9-3x

Djup Strupe has been busy in the darkroom developing these shots of the coming Saab 9-3x (with a glimpse of the production version 9-4x thrown in as well).
These photos look like they’ve been taken from a video screen, hence the grainy and unsaturated nature of the shots. Consequently we get an impression of what they look like here, but not the level of detail required to say we’re seeing everything.
Click to enlarge and enjoy!
Saab 9-3x
Saab 9-3x
Saab 9-3x
Saab 9-3x
For those who are unfamiliar with this future model, the car is being referred to for the time being as the Saab 9-3x. Saab showed a concept car with the same name around 7 years ago, but this car is no relation to that concept.
The Saab 9-3x seen here is what you might consider as a Saab response to an Audi Allroad or a Subaru wagon. It’s raised by approx 30mm, is fitted with Saab’s groundbreaking Cross Wheel Drive (XWD) as well as some scuff plating at the front and rear, twin exhaust, some cladding on the sides and some bling here and there.
Whilst the earlier mail had the car debuting in London this month (July 08), recent speculation from Auto Motor and Sport in Sweden has the car showing at the Paris Motor Show in October.
Thanks to kdsaab in comments, and for those interested in more spypics, Los Jalopniks have a pic of the 9-4x that GM boss Slick Rick Wagoner produced today. Click here to check it out in all it’s fuzzy glory.
If the 9-3x is coming in Paris in October and the 9-5 is coming at Geneva in March, that must leave the Detroit show open for the 9-4x in January.

Saab 9-4x concept vs Saab 9-4x

GM released a small-ish and disproportional image of the Saab 9-4x last week. Small-ish and disproportional it may be, but it gives us that all-important point of comparison against the vehicle we have seen for real – the Saab 9-4x concept.
Turbin’s given the new image a little nudge to get it back into perspective and he’s also dug out a concept picture with the vehicle set at a similar angle.
Here they are. Click.

Bear in mind that this is most likely an Aero version of the production vehicle that we’re seeing here. The base model will probably be dressed down a little and I can tell you know that the base version will have 18-inch wheels whilst the Aero will have 20-inch wheels as standard.
This image of the production vehicle shows Aero-X style turbines, which even the concept vehicle didn’t have. I’d be very surprised if it turned up with these wheels. The wheels on the 9-4x concept have been seen on several test vehicles and I’d suggest that these are more likely to be the wheels seen on the production model.

This Aero version is certainly showing plety of bling and muscle. The silver paint on the production version emphasises the bulge of the wheel arches, almost to a point where I’d suggest that a white car might be preferable. Other exterior bling can be found on the foglight surrounds, rear view mirrors and side vents.
Although we never got to see them in action, the concept car featured light pipes that tracked from the external top corner of the light cluster, down the indicator lenses and along the base of the headlamps. It’ll be interesting to see if the production version features this sort of setup, or if it follows the 2008 Saab 9-3 lead and has the light pipe across the top of the lamps.
It’s quite obvious that Saab’s promise of staying very true to the concept vehicle has been realised in this image of the production version. On the outside, at least. We’ll have to wait a little while longer before we see how much of that beautiful interior has made its way into the production version.

My thanks to Turbin for putting those two images together. It’s certainly some good food for thought. Although I find it hard to get excited about SUVs or crossovers in general, I do remember leaving Detroit with good feelings about the Saab 9-4x. I suspect that those who are looking for this type of vehicle will have a lot to look forward to.
For the summary article on the Saab 9-4x concept, including features and specs a ton of pictures, click here. Bear in mind that that’s the concept vehicle, though. The production vehicle will look similar, but will come with V6 petrol engines only in the US, and a combination of petrol or diesel engines in other markets.

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