Is a Saab for you?

If you’re after the epitome of refined driving, whatever that is, then maybe a Saab isn’t for you. Maybe you should try a Lexus.
If you’re after supreme roadholding in high speed corners, then maybe a Saab isn’t for you. I hear BMW do that stuff quite well.
If you’re not sure whether you want a performance car or a luxury car, then every Audi ever made is just like you.
If you’re looking for an engine that screams at high revs, ‘cuase you like that sort of thing, a Saab probably isn’t for you. You should probably check out a performance Honda.
If you want gadgets that tell you what all your other gadgets are doing, Saab probably isn’t for you either.
If you want rock solid reliability and the soul of a car doesn’t matter to you, forget Saab. Maybe you should shop for a Toyota.
If you want butterflies to kiss you and fish to jump on your hook in thanks for you apparent environmental goodness, then maybe a Prius is what you’re after. Maybe.
If you want people to openly admire how well you’ve done for yourself then a Saab definitely isn’t for you. I can point you towards a couple of Mercedes dealers.
If you’re having a mid-life crisis then a red MX-5 is just around the corner.
If the only real engine in your mind is a V8, mate, then your local Ford or Holden dealership is the place to go.
But if you love driving and have a history of forming links and attachments with the cars you own and the people that make them, then maybe a Saab might suit you.
But if you’re after a car made by a company with a history of innovation, perhaps a Saab’s worth considering.
If you like the rush of a turbocharger and find torque steer to be somewhat interesting, then it’s quite likely that a Saab’s for you.
If you want the best seats in the business….
….and fantastic cabin ergonomics….
….if you love the idea of V6 performance from a four cylinder engine…
….and the possibility to uprate it even higher….
….then maybe you should be looking at a Saab.
If you want innovations that make sense, like headlamps wired into the ignition, a dash that can be de-luminated at night except for the information you need and heated seats, for example, then perhaps a Saab is what you’re looking for.
If you enjoy owning a brand of car that has a big and enthusiastic ownership base that you can connect with, then a Saab should definitely be on your list.
If you can look at this picture and know exactly what it means, then maybe a Saab is for you.
If you like the smell of two-stroke, perhaps a Saab might suit you.
If you want to be able to carry recliner chairs, washing machines, motorcycles, large amounts of musical equipment, or whatever else in your own car and not have them delivered, an older Saab hatch would be perfect for you.
If you like the idea of owning a sleeper, then a Saab could be what you’re looking for.
If you like the fact that you don’t see your own car on the road every 10 2 minutes, well….
And if you like the idea of driving what’s proven to be one of the safest cars in the world in both crash test and real world environments, maybe a Saab is what you’re after.
Most of all, if you want all these attributes – safety, comfort, performance, fun, responsibility, utility, innovation, history, anonymity and exclusivity – all in the one car…..
…..then maybe a Saab is for you.

Rony Lutz – X-Ray Saabs

I’m adding this press release to the archives here for two reasons.
First, because I haven’t got it on file yet, which is a rather stupid oversight.
And second, because I’ve added a huge gallery of X-ray Saabs to the downloads section of the website! Not all of the X-ray Saab images are by Rony Lutz, his ones are in the minority, actually, but I think you’ll enjoy them anyway.
Xray Saab
Rony Lutz, the man with X-ray eyes
With the precision of an engineer and the aesthetic sensitivity of an artist, Rony Lutz has spent the past thirty years depicting Saab’s technical innovations. From the pre-turbo days to the current Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan, his sharp eyes and sure hand have helped millions to not only understand the technology of Saab cars, but also appreciate their beauty.
Since 1972, each Saab model has left the factory accompanied by several X-ray-like illustrations. The new Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan is no exception. From the cabin interior, engine bay and suspension layout to the body structure and active head restraints, pretty much every single component has been beautifully illustrated. And behind each image, you’ll find the same man has mapped out and highlighted various components bit by bit with his pens, brushes and airbrush. And always by hand!
“My job is a blend of artistry, technical curiosity and teaching,”explains Rony, who was trained at an art school in Nuremberg in the 1950s. “Illustrating components is one thing, but they must be illustrated in such a way that the viewer understands why they are important.. “I also want to make sure each illustration can be used for different purposes, such as advertisements, service manuals and training material.”
Each illustration requires strenuous work. Lutz often borrows various components from Saab to work with in his office at home. This could be anything from a gearbox to a turbocharger or even a seat belt.
“One time I even dragged home an entire car door so I could dissect it properly.”
Rony Lutz usually follows a routine when creating a new illustration. First he sketches using a thin pencil. Next he fills it in with water-soluble paint using a brush. His final step is to use his only technical tool, an airbrush with compressed air and a tiny nozzle with “spray paint”.
“I don’t have anything against technology, but I think my method has many advantages over pure computer graphics. It might just be that I am stuck in the ideas of my generation and am part of a dying breed. But, because I illustrate by hand, I am forced to have a more hands-on understanding of every little component. If I understand why a certain aspect is good, I can choose to highlight it as clearly as possible. I think my three best characteristics as a technical illustrator are my artistic talent, my technical interest and my steady hand.”
Rony Lutz illustrations have been published in major motor magazines all over the world. In the past year, viewers of “Trafikmagasinet”, a popular programme on cars and traffic produced by Swedish public service television “Sveriges Television”, were able to see one of his creations. Part of the scenery in the programme was based on an illustration of a Saab 9000 engine.
Even though the launch of the new Saab 9-3 is now underway, Rony Lutz has already lived with the car for three years. He knows it inside and out and has illustrated many of its components. Because he is the only one of his type in the company, he is one of the key players in depicting the car in printed material.
A minor incident which demonstrates the impact of Rony’s illustrations occurred when his daughter was working in a restaurant in San Francisco. Some guests sat at a table with a number of car brochures for different brands, including Saab. Rony’s daughter saw a spread with an X-ray of a Saab 9000 CS and could not resist saying “my dad drew that”.
“She quickly explained herself and the amazed lunch guests stared at her with huge eyes and said ‘it must be a sign from above’. Shortly afterwards they pulled up outside the restaurant and happily tooted from their new Saab,” Rony adds with a chuckle.

2010 Saab 9-5 interior spied by AMS Sweden

Saab 9-5 mules have been quite scarce and with the new version expected on display in Geneva early next year, AMS are starting to get twitchy. Someone from AMS spotted a car with an Opel Insignia face and a lot of tape on it. When he looked closer, past the Opel badge on the steering wheel, the shape of the dash gave away the possibility that it might have been something else all together.
The original article with more pictures is here at Auto Motor and Sport. You Swedes should go there and read it in your native tongue.
Here’s the main image of interest. It’s grainy and there’s a LOT of reflection off the glass, but this could be the best close-up glimpse we’ve got of the new 9-5 so far.

What we can see here is a departure from Saab’s traditional all-green interior lighting. The lighting on the console seems to be green with the exception of the controls on the left. The lighting on the steering wheel appears to be red, which may be because it’s an Opel wheel (or maybe because that’s how it’s going to be). It’d be very odd to see two different colors in there, though.
What’s leading people to think this is a 9-5 interior, of course, is the shape of the dash. It’s certainly not the Insignia dash shape, so the badging on the car doesn’t accurately reflect what’s inside.
The mind boggles, but the body’s tingling with the thought that this could be the first genuine glimpse we’re getting of the car.
Following is a Google translation of the bit on AMS that pertains to the interior.
Again, for more images and the original story from Par Brandt, in Swedish, click through to Auto Motor and Sport.

Some rumors claim that the 9-5 is being tested in the U.S., where it does not arouse much attention. Others argue that Saab carries out testing and mask the car as an Opel Insignia, which we believe we have demonstrated for a few days ago. Lars Ryefalk were coming over from Denmark on the ferry when he quoted a closet Insignia, which is a bit odd given that the car has been out for a long time now.
When Lars looked into the car he saw the Opel-wheel first, but then thought that the interior looked “Saab” out. A few quick pictures with mobile camera, then it was time to run out of the ferry. Lars waiting to hear what engine it was in the car, but “Insignian” refused to start and therefore it was not possible to determine whether it was gasoline or diesel. Lars thought that backdoor makers saw joins out and wonder if it can be a Saab-chassis hiding behind Insignia-chariot? Maybe!


Saab Vs Poster Advertising

I first posted these on the Trollhattan Saab site back in June 2005. I’ve always loved these posters and when I first loaded them on the site I included the text for around eight of them. Unfortunately I tired of writing them all out.

Thankfully, Jeff I offered to finish the job.

Enjoy these brilliant images, now complete with text thanks to Jeff’s magnificent efforts.

It’s not quite a complete set, but it’s close….


What you see is what you get. A rather unimaginative way of looking at the world. Take the Saab 9-5 wagon. On the surface, a cargo carrier. But look under the hood. A turbocharged engine that generates enourmous amounts of torque. The car’s versatility is evident: Cargotracks for securing loads, an optional sliding floor to make loading easier. But what about the torsionally rigid body construction that gives the car handling characteristics similar to a sports sedan? Can you see that?

Plenty more after the jump…..

Read moreSaab Vs Poster Advertising

NAIAS: Steve Shannon on the 2010 Saab 9-5

This one’s interesting.
Steve Shannon’s taken off the Cadillac hat that he was wearing earlier in the week and put on his Saab hat whilst talking to the guys at Motor Trend. Asked about future model releases, he said enough to provide the following:

So what about Saab’s version of the new Cadillac SRX unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last January? It’s on the way, says Steve Shannon, Saab’s executive director in the U.S. Launch cadence is four or five months behind the Caddy’s, which means a late 2009 on-sale date and no plans for a U.S. auto show debut.
And Shannon says Saab continues work on a new version of its 9-5 flagship. “It’s about a year-ish away,” he says.

That’s all very encouraging, if true. And that’s a big “if” that I’ll have to try and iron out. One’s got to take a marketing director at his word when he says such things, but history’s proven that one has to also be cautious.
For starters, there’s the whole GM’s-in-trouble-and-has-put-non-essential-or-not-ready-enough-products-back-six-months-or-more thing that happened not-so-long ago. The outcome from that was that both the Saab 9-5 and 9-4x were believed to be delayed. In fact, GM’s own press release from November 8 said that the 9-4x would be seen in 2010.

GM will launch 15 new vehicles through year-end 2010, 14 of which will be fuel-efficient cars or crossovers, including the Cadillac CTS wagon and SRX crossover, Chevrolet Camaro Coupe and Equinox crossover in 2009, and Saab 9-4x crossover, Chevrolet Cruze small car in 2010.

In an interview with Eric Geers from Saab Sweden late last year we were able to all-but-confirm that the 9-5 will be appearing at a major international motor show later this year, with production following soon afterwards.
It may be a year-ish before you can walk into a showroom and buy a Saab 9-5 in Steve Shannon’s market, but according to my mail it’ll be rolling off the lines late in 2009.
As to the Saab 9-4x coming in only six months, with no US show debut planned……well, how much sense does that make to you?
I can tell you that the word to me via Djup Strupe a few months ago is that Saab were working hard to keep the car on schedule but that things were tough, there was a lot of discussions being had about it, and that the 9-5 was likely to come first. Maybe those discussions have been finished and the outcome has been favourable for Saab.
I hope so, but no US debut for the vehicle seems very strange. More than any other Saab, the 9-4x is a vehicle that’s made with the US as the primary focus.
I’ll wait on this one and try and find out more. If the 9-4x is coming sooner than expected, then great. But I’d like to hear a little more information before I get too excited.

Epsilon II: Buick Lacrosse vs Opel Insignia

The latest vehicle to come along on the new Epsilon midsize architecture has just been revealed prior to the Detroit Motor Show. It’s the Buick Lacrosse.
I’m not really keen on doing this, but people are going to be talking about the comparison anyway, so we may as well do it here.
The trap, of course, is that people will start thinking that the Saab 9-5 is going to follow directly within the footsteps of these two cars. I am NOT willing to accept that that’s a fait accompli. Yes, the Saab 9-5 will be built on this architecture. Yes, it’ll feature XWD just like the Lacrosse does (though they don’t use that name) and yes, it may even end up with one of the V6 engines.
But I am willing to hold out. I’ve heard from people who have seen it saying that the car looks awesome. That it’s going to be a killer. I know that they can take these basic architectures and apply much different driving characteristics to each model. I know that the 9-5 will be worth waiting for.
So with that said, here are the comparison photos of the Opel Insignia and Buick Lacrosse. There’s no doubt there’s more in common here than just the name of the architecture they were built on.
There’s some more notes at the end.
Click the photos to enlarge. Buick shots from Autoblog. Opel shots from GM.
Buick first, Opel second.
Front quarter view:

Read moreEpsilon II: Buick Lacrosse vs Opel Insignia

2010 Saab 9-5 is ‘on schedule’

A regular commenter at Trollhattan Saab posted what I think is a pretty important comment for Saab and for Saab enthusiasts:

GM announced to the US Saab dealers that the “new” 9-5 is back on schedule…..

Now, that could be anyone, of course, but through the magic of CMS software I can track this person’s comments over the life of this site and let’s just say that his contributions here give his comments some weight. Like this one, for example:

I have been an exclusive Saab dealer for 20 years next week….

The Detroit Auto Show starts this weekend and it’s not uncommon for a dealers briefing to take place prior to a major show like this one. I’d imagine that it’s this sort of occasion that’s just seen this confirmation of the Saab 9-5 take place.
We heard Steve Shannon say via Motor Trend, yesterday, that the Saab 9-5 would be around 1 year away on American shores. That, and this announcement to dealers today, would tend to confirm the whispers going around that the Saab 9-5 will be shown later this year and commence production shortly thereafter.


Saab 9-4x Interior Spyshot

Our mates at Auto Motor and Sport in Sweden have picked up some more Saab 9-4x spyphotos.
This time the 9-4x was caught testing somewhere in northern Sweden and it’s almost completely nude – including the inside.
Saab 9-4x testing - interior
I’m diggin this!!
I’m not so hot on the steering wheel or the dial surrounds, but everything else looks very promising. You’ll see on the hi-res version (at AMS, see below) that the materials aroud the center console area look great. It’s quite Saaby, without doubt.
It’s almost got me lusting after an SUV. Almost. I definitely want to drive it.
Go over to Auto Motor and Sport and get a much bigger version of this image. Theirs is a massive 2400px wide. I’ve reduced it to 700px as it’s their image, reproduced with gratitude and their permission.
They’ve also got some exterior shots of the car, but there’s no doubt that this shot is the prize.
There’s a fair possiblity that you’re also looking at what will for the basis of the new Saab 9-5 interior, too. I’d imagine they will theme both of them in a similar manner.
Thanks AMS, and WooDz!
Saab 9-4x testing - front view
Saab 9-4x testing - rear view
Saab 9-4x testing - side view

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