I guess you could look at the oft-critical Swedish press as being about as tough an audience as Saab could get. So when I saw an email in my inbox saying “New review of 9-5 from DN in Sweden” I steeled myself for a rough ride.
I shouldn’t have worried, really, because as I’ve been saying consistently over the last few months, the new Saab 9-5 really is a cracker of a car – even when it’s being driven by the Swedish press (and even if it is a little big).
This is a Googletrans, sent through by Per K.
Large and comfortable, but a low ceiling in the back seat. Beautiful instruments, but too many buttons around the radio/CD. Wonderfully elastic engine. There you have Saab’s future hopes in the 9-5, in a nutshell.
- Rating: 4
- Engine: 4 cylinders, volume 2 liter, 220 hp at 5300 rpm, torque 350 Nm at 2500 rpm.
- Interior space / cargo volume: 5 liters pers/515.
- Transmission: Six-speed manual transmission, front-wheel drive.
- Speed Resources: 0-100 km / h 7.9 seconds, top speed: 240 km / h.
- Fuel consumption: 8.2 litres/100 km in mixed driving.
- Security: Full-pot, five stars.
- Pros: Appearance. Space. Comfort. Driving characteristics. Soundproofing.
- Cons: Low ceiling in the rear. Large and unwieldy in town. Uncertain resale value.
The first thing that strikes you when you press the start button is the steering wheel is too skinny for one so körglad car. Everything else in the cockpit is so generous, not least its beautiful sport seats with soft leather (option).
The four-cylinder powerhouse under the hood has the characteristics of a six. Variable valve timing, two-liter displacement and direct fuel injection. It gives both lower consumption and better performance, according to Saab. The effect is 220hp and a full 350Nm torque at a modest 2,500 rpm. It makes the engine closest unaffected even if the speed drops and you will remain at a higher gear. Just press on the gas and the 1.7-ton car shoots away.
If you press the pedal to the bottom and right switches, you can reach 100 km / h after 7.9 seconds. But here comes the next catch: to get the power on the tarmac. Although the double-action turbo gives a smoother flow of power than in the old days the turbo kicking cars flutters it to the front end, especially with the fat 18-inch wheels that sit on our test car.
One way to alleviate this problem is to choose four-wheel drive version XWD.
Saab want to match 9-5 against the Audi A6. It’s not smart to say so publicly. Audi has a lead of a couple of generations from the 9-5, who had to live all over 13 years. Next spring there will be a new A6. Already the present model makes it difficult for Saab. Even more exhausting it becomes against the Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5er.
That does not mean the 9-5 is poor. On the contrary. Saab owners who leave the old 9-5 will do the wave. Customers with open eyes try 9-5 and Volvo S80 and perhaps a similar Lexus might as well stick to 9-5. Saab should be talking more about the Saab as the smart Scandinavian choice than as an Audi counterpart. A wannabe can never take the lead!
Saab’s President Victor Muller has said that the new 9-3, which is completed in 2012, will be a real Saab without compromise.
If you want to be a little nasty in the interpretation, he means that 9-5 is not such a car. During the Saab Ground cover is a car full of standard GM parts. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s obviously very limited opportunities for Saab to make it a distinct car. The most troublesome Efekta is the car’s length of just over five feet. It is 10-15 inches longer than the competition. The size is the obvious disadvantage in the big city.
The shape of the steeply sloping takparti presents a slim profile, but at the cost of the long back seat passenger hit his head on the ceiling. The withdrawn waistline gives the small window in the rear doors. It enhances the feeling of confinement, something that hardly welcomes children prone to motion sickness.
With its size, body shape and its high price, the 9-5 will be no big seller in Sweden. By contrast, large sedans are hot in the U.S., Russia and China. Here at home, it is dual-purpose vehicles that are popular. Not until next spring we will see the wagon of 9-5.
As a company car may Saab attract some customers. It is doubtful if they choose ethanol BioPower version, rather it will be diesel. The explanation is that the government would remove the current discount of the benefit of ethanol cars from 1 January 2012.
In addition to efficient diesels in Saab’s plans various forms of electric power.
But to meet the future need for healthy revenues. On the fly. And it is the role of 9-5 to play, as an immediate cash generator. Can it?
Then we are back in the driver’s seat. Highway. 110 km/h, speed was displayed not only in the speedometer, but also projected to the windshield of head-up display to underline Saab’s relationship with combat aviation.
The 9-5 comes into its own when the road narrows, the tighter bends, the more convincing the finely-tuned chassis.
The old 9-5, I fell for ever. But the new impresses on several points. Rewarding to drive, cool shapes, first class comfort (fram!) and safety is likely in the world. Smart details like väskavskiljare in the trunk.
This is, in short, a damn good car – if only it were not so damn big!