NYT review Saab 9-5

This one’s been discussed fairly extensively in comments, even before I got the dozen or so emails about it in my inbox (thanks all).

The word “spin” has already been mentioned in comments, so I was loathe to bring the whole thing to the front page. Why go over this if people aren’t going to read it with an open mind (and funny that they’ll take everything in the NYT as gospel but voluntarily come here and be cynical about what I might write).


The New York Times has published a review of the Saab 9-5 and it would be fair to class it as “a mixed bag” of bouquets and bricks.

The reviewer – Laurence Ulrich – loves the fact that the 9-5 exists and even likes a lot of things about it, but feels that it shows too many signs of its GM origins and that it fades once you introduce it to some competition.

I’m not going to bother with addressing his more contentious points one by one in detail. There’s not a single thing in this review that’s new to a regular Saab reader, so any points I’d make are well known to you all. There are some things in this review that are fair points that I think Saab will address in coming model years (interior) and there are some things in the review that are just downright wrong or inappropriate (the unqualified comparison between an Aero model Saab and a base-mid model Buick).

Instead, I’ll bring these two things to the table.

1) The fact that everyone we’ve heard from who’s actually bought a Saab 9-5, loves it.


2) something that Hugh W, a New Yorker, posted in the comments discussion:

……while all of us wish that he would have said this is the car of the year, run out and buy it, I don’t think that it will do too much harm, and will likely help a lot. Let me explain. The NYTimes reader is intelligent and perhaps a bit cynical. They know that nothing is all good or all bad, that reviewers are sometimes concerned about little things that are of no concern to them, that to be a reviewer implies that there will be some not=picking and criticism. On the other-hand, there are enough good things said about the 9-5 to tickle the interest of anyone who has ever owned a Saab, especially those that have owned and liked their GM era 9-3s. But most importantly, it brings to a wide readership the fact that Saab is alive and has a new car, warts and all. For those that Saab was closed, for those looking for an alternative to the Germans, this is huge!!! They at least know now that there is a new kid on the block that’s worth checking out. Will they all buy? certainly not, but I’m equally certain that it will increase traffic into dealer’s showrooms and potential buyers and evaluate and decide for themselves.

The New York Times review of the Saab 9-5, which may require registration, is here.

67 thoughts on “NYT review Saab 9-5”

  1. I have a hard time believing that 0-60 MPH in 6.3 seconds is not considered fast for a mid-level luxury car. Are there that many four door cars under $50,000 that do 0-60 in the 5 second range?

  2. Your 1st point is a little weak… of course everyone who’s purchased a new 9-5 loves it. They were predisposed to like it — reviewers don’t have that luxury. 🙂

  3. The NYT just doesn’t get it. I’m getting tired of Buick comparisons. By the way the NYT has given the Buicks good reviews.

  4. I read the ny times daily. The times reviews for cars and movies and probably other things are notoriously negative. New Yorkers have pretty high standards. Some of my favorite movies ever were panned by the times. Regular readers know this. I do, however, remember an extremely positive review of the 9-3 SC back when it came out in 2006.

  5. I love SAAB and have owned 7 SAABS since 1981.

    I recently test drove a 9-5 2.0t xwd. Unfortunately no matter how much I want to love the 2011 9-5 I have to agree with the NYT’s review as the car lacks any “real steering or road feel” and for me that is a contentious point to say the least.

    All of my SAAB’s have had excellent road and steering dynamics including my current 2006 SAAB 9-5 2.3t despite it’s understeer. The 2011 SAAB 9-5, IMHO does not and for me (if I needed a new car soon) would drive me to either an Infiniti G37 (which has excellent driving characteristics I might add) or even an off lease four year old 5 series (hate to admit that).

    Why did we initially flock to a SAAB in the first place? I know why I did! Because it was different, had great road feel, those seats, and of course safety. The 2011 9-5 is gorgeous, safe, comfortable, but IMHO has less road feel than a Lexus.

    • Can’t change what you think there, but all I can say is that my own experience with a 2.0T XWD at the launch in Sweden was absolutely fantastic. The way the car handled was a particular highlight for me because it felt so much lighter and more nimble (even if not as flat-out fast) as the heavier V6 I drove the day before.

      Less road feel than a Lexus? I can’t say as I haven’t driven one, but I’m 99.9% sure about which one I’d want to own.

      • I have no doubt that the car that you drove at the launch was driving fantastic. There also seem to be a lot of other people who have a similar, very positive, experience. Unfortunately some journalists seem to have gotten test cars which were behaving less admirably. Brushing this off as the fault of the journalists is just not fair, at least not for all of the reviews, some were indeed written by idiots. I rather suspect that the 9-5 is a bit sensitive to the tire/wheel/suspension setup, some combinations just don’t seem to work well.

        • Gerrit, I’m not blaming the journalists in terms of them saying what they think. I’m sure they communicate what they think accurately but I think many times they don’t “get it” when it comes to what attracts Saab owners to Saabs. In my experience, it’s not that they have the best-in-class this or that. It’s the combination they offer and for me (and I think many others) it’s also the company itself and the way people can identify with it.

          Similar to the journos, I can only communicate what I think, but my thoughts come from the perspective of a Saab owner and driver. I think there are some differences between the two.

          What you say about setup is right, though, and it’s been obvious from the first round of UK reviews. I haven’t heard the same broadside of complaints from the US.

          • Does´nt Saab have 2 different chassie setup, a sport and a softer. And in Sweden you tested the “sport” setup whitch Saab sell here. And for the US they deliver the “softer version”. That would explain some differences. Have I dreamed that or am I talking about Volvo S60?

  6. NYTimes is spot on with this review.

    The article was the most honest assessment of the car and the brand I’ve read in a long time. And it doesn’t make Saab look very good at all. Comparing a car that will cost over $45,000 to a Buick is the kiss of death since the NYTimes Demographic is exactly the demographic they are trying to launch themselves into with this car. And no rich person is going to want to buy a freaking Saab 9-5 unless they are already sold on the brand. (ie. drinking the coolaid as many of us have admittedly done, myself included.)

    Plus, environmentally, the car sucks. Heavy, and a gas hog. Yuck. The 9-5 is permanently scarred, raced through production and came out only when it was too late.

    Essentially, the article said what needed to be said.

    • TD,

      The fuel economy for the V6 XWD is similar to or better than it’s main competitors, according to EPA ratings. That hardly makes it a gas hog.

      4 cylinder numbers aren’t out yet, but it’s hard to imagine that they won’t beat the competition’s sixes.

    • That’s pretty pessimistic. The 4 cyl 9-5 would be the most efficient car in its class. I agree the Buick name dropping is gratuitous (A Bentley could likewise be called a Volkswagen, an Audi A6 a Volkswagen, etc). But to me, the real thorn in the article was the $52k MSRP. Frankly, that is a kiss of death. The article was fairly positive on the car, but it was a rebuke of Saab’s market positioning if Saab really wishes to be compared with the market’s finest, just days after leaving the hospital.

  7. I am in NY and read the NY Times daily.

    The review by anyone’s standards wasn’t positive, the Buick for 30 k v 95 for 50 k etc

    But I don’t disagree, big readership in the number one market for Saab and importantly in the heart of the traditional Saab territory, the northeast including NY, NJ CT and that awareness that Saab is in business is the very big positive.

    This will translate to test drives and sales.

    • By the way i forgot to mention, the last Saab review I read on the front page of the Times Auto section was of the Turbo X in summer of 2008.

      That review was extremely positive, wasn’t cynical NY

  8. If Saab doesn’t do something drastic (design wise) soon to move its cars away from the GM designs, then the company is doomed.

    I just saw the new BMW 550i Gran Turismo and what is confirms is how unwise it was for GM’s to do away with the Saab hatchbacks. In doing so, they (GM) create a huge void that BMW, etc. are rushing to fill before Saab can wise up. BMW proves that in the hands of a stellar design and engineering team, desirable cars can be produced.

    But then again we old Saab new that ….

    That 550i GT is stunning.

    • I saw the 5-series GT hatch in Frankfurt last year and it almost made me throw up. It is a massive eyesore. I guess “stunning” might be an appropriate word, but not in the way I guess you’re using it.

      It was indeed unwise to do away with hatchbacks and many people have a long record of saying so both at TS and here at SU. Thankfully, they’ll bring it back with the 9-3 replacement.

      And everybody, please cut the “If Saab don’t do [the thing I think is important] then the company is doomed” statements. Saab are doing a million things right at the moment. The thing you think they’re doing wrong might make you wince, but please don’t condemn them for eternity for it – your pessimism can be contagious, whether it’s well founded or unfounded.

      • Agreed, the GT is a strangely looking car, to bulky and heavy. Compare with the A7 and wonder how the beamer designers could screw up so badly, again. The beamer de-bangling is working and the 3,5,7s are looking less bad, though. Also, the mb clash of angles, ovals and bllng (including the weird metal swosh over the rear wheel archs), will look dated in a few years. Saab is a timeless understatement and will look nice and fresh for decades. Just drove a 17 year old 9000 CS Aero to the LA car show, and it is still looking very, very attractive (great car and engine). Also, why can’t anyone realize that when it comes to “crispiness” a RWD (german) will probably always beat a FWD car, on the track, but I have to say in my (limited) experience the Saab XWD is at least on par with any of the latest german 4WD solutions. though different names, they will all produce plenty of grip, but will always be heavier and penalizing “crispiness”….
        Finally, why would any normal car buyer decide a purchase over the last 1/10th of a percent of “feel”, that can only be sensed in the most extreme cornering or other situation? To ME it does not make sense, there are so many other factors, bringing me back Saab, all the time…

      • I guess I am concerned that the direction for comments should be encourgaged to be positive or not pessimistic? I was under the impression that this was a forum to state our thoughts, reactions, feelings, etc about news regarding SAAB, both positive and not so positive.

        Many of us have owned several SAABs and certainly feel “qualified” to provide perspective on the positive and negative experiences with recently launched models. SAAB is moving in the right direction, but to base the 9-5 success on positive comments from those that have already bought the car, is a little underwhelming. While the car has received a good deal of positive press, the car needs to win over new customers as well.

  9. Bought a 2010 9-5 Aero today … tired of sitting on the sidelines. Of course, the $16K incentive clinched it. Now we have this amazing vehicle parked along side our TurboX. What to drive, what to drive … and I don’t even read NYT! 🙂

      • The ad ran in the Denver Post on Thursday. It’s for a Denver SAAB dealership. I called to inquire Friday night and learned it was on all 6 of their remaining 2010 9-5s in stock, with no stipulations. Visited on Saturday. Three of the 6 were fully loaded. Bought a diamond silver metallic fully loaded one. In the paperwork, I saw they credited $2K to owner loyalty cash. But I think that may have been a way for them to get a little of the incentive back, as they said no stipulations. End result … there were 5 left as of 4 PM yesterday. 🙂

          • +1.
            E, have you read the fine print on the contact the community got in at the last minute? (you must come back to the dealer in a week so they can tape stickers all around the car that reads: “SAAB 95 Aero 300hp, now only $54.900. Worth every penny”. You only have to keep them on for the next 12 months though 🙂

      • +1
        No 16K incentives to date unless the car you bought was put in dealer service and wriiten down like a lot, which still wouldn’t have put down that #

        E what area are you from??????

        • Denver. The one I bought was definitely not a dealer service vehicle. 56 miles. 4 others that were like that in terms of mileage … all $16K off. There was one that was probably a dealer service one … had 1,200 miles on it. Salesperson said they were taking a $5K loss at that discount, but worth it as they had the 2011s in and folks were more interested in them.

  10. “Saab offers a far more affordable Turbo4 model, starting at $39,350 with front drive and a turbocharged Ecotec 4-cylinder. Options on that version include a 6-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive.”

    Wait, the XWD 2.0L version will be available in North America? If so I’d serious consider buying it. So far it’s not on the web site.

      • That’s good to hear. I’m looking forward to test-drive one when I get the chance.

        Though they really need to update their web site, and perhaps put up a Canadian version.

  11. I think the report is fairly positive.

    “The 9-5 looks modern yet stately. Like the best Saabs of the past, it’s an individualist’s car, with a timeless character that should look as good a decade from now as it does today.”

    What else needs to be said? That’s all I wanted to read.

    • Oh, and isn’t that environmentally responsible at its heart:

      To purchase a car that most probably won’t be thrown a way in a few years time but rather kept and nourished over the years.

  12. Long post warning.

    Now that I’ve driven the new base 9-5 with upgraded seats in one of the worst conditions possible I’d like to point out a few things, but first a (short) rant.

    When 2/3 of the ‘car review’ talks about GM it loses 90% of its credibility in my eyes. Saab was owned by GM. What a news flash 😉 Who cares about platform sharing. How does that affect the drive per say? If an Audi chassis doesn’t work for me it has absolutely no merit who made it. I don’t care if the suspension is designed by the men from Mars as long as they did it in co-operation with Trollhättan to create a Saab.
    This is such a lazy way of writing I’m not sure Lawrence even bothered to go up the Interstate? Secondly, who in the world came up with the idea calling a $50k car a luxury vehicle?! $100k sure, but 50. Are you serious? An Aston Martin DBS9 costs, what $200k.
    The 9-5 is the next step up from the 9-3 and I have a hard time believing any Saab 9000 or 9-5 wagon owner ever thought of their car as luxury. It’s a performance workhorse FGS. What made it premium was the drive quality and reliability. Now Saab is measured against how well its interior plastics compare to what ever flashy interior you can find. What about things that are important in a car?
    If interior is the only thing that matters nowadays then god help us. I still want the ‘boring’ matt black fascia (no stupid bling on the wheel) and parchment interior, thank you.

    It’s a shame the negative out weighs the good reviews by 10 to 1 but I hope SCNA can get people driving Saabs so they can form their own opinion. Most of this has still to do with personal taste. Some like FWD, RWD others AWD so there is no point complaining that a XWD doesn’t feel like a FWD. Really?
    Ones you get actually moving the interior plastics has very little to do with anything and things like seat comfort, handling, mirrors (yes their huge), air distribution, torque, noise etc. etc. become important.
    I usually look out the windscreen and side windows, not stare myself blind on the fascia. Hate the Audi switches btw. They’ve always reminded me of an old Blaupunkt stereo from a 80s Toyota. Premium/luxury my…

    I happened to drive in my 9-3ss the same route the next day (without the hurricane like wind) I did in the 9-5 and I can only say my appreciation for the 9-5 grew. If I’d felt how slippery the road was I’d never gone for the speeds I did in the 9-5. Maybe, just maybe this is an other bonus for the 9-5 weight? A simply amazing grip on ice!
    This car should become big in NA if they get the word out the right way.

    • I glanced through Lawrence’s piece yesterday, and I agree with RS that the focus was misplaced. Bling plays second (or fifth) fiddle to how a vehicle copes with adverse conditions.

      there is no point complaining that a XWD doesn’t feel like a FWD.

      As I recall, Lawrence was complaining that XWD doesn’t mask Saab’s FWD roots. He made it sound like that was a bad thing.

      Lawrence clearly does not know anything about driving a vehicle in snow or on ice. He can’t possibly have tested a 5-series in the snow. It is a dead give-away when he manages to write nearly two pages on the interior, then only mentions how the car drives using a single paragraph or two. Very disappointing.

      I happened to drive in my 9-3ss the same route the next day

      …but how old are your tyres compared to the 9-5 you tried? Studs or studless?

      I doubt the 9-5’s weight gives it any advantages when tackling ice in a curve…

      Also remember to double check the speedometer. My 9-5 is showing 10% higher speed than what my GPS shows. My 9000 (and the 9-3 I had) were spot on… (I hope my 9-5 is the exception) Some of this is due to difference in tyre size.

      According to http://www.miata.net/garage/tirecalc.html the difference in circumference accounts for about 3%. My dealer claims they have received no instructions from Saab about having to compensate for different wheel size – I suspect the 9-5 is calibrated with a 19″ wheel in mind and once you get down to 17″ the indicated speed is really starting to differ.

      • Rune, the post was so long I left the tyre explanation out on purpose.
        The studded tyres on the 9-5 where new of course, but the ones I have are not so bad either (Gislaved Nord Frost 5). Honestly the difference was big. I know the 9-3 inside out but wouldn’t have dared the same speeds on the icy motorway (with or without the speedometer error). I suspect the 9-5 was just that much more quiet and so sturdy that it felt totally safe.
        I’m no physics expert but I do believe weight translates into friction and therefore a long slow corner felt it had better traction. Same thing accelerating from 40-120. The 9-3 would give more wheelspin imo. On the other hand I was quite cautious at tight and snowy ramps (wouldn’t want to wreck the beast on a Friday night 😉 ) and the 9-3 is more nimble there.
        Was really torn thinking about FWD vs. XWD. Ones Saab provides a 250hp+ diesel it will be XWD. If I can afford it.

    • But, we get a positive surprise diesel version. Granted, it provided to a consumption of 0.68 l / mil, which is too high by today’s standards and that take up the price because of taxes, but in our fixed spending round it is lower than that.
      In fact, we end of 0.57 l / mil, which is less than “environmental champion” BMW 520 dA and Mercedes E220 CDI aut.

      After reading this, I had to check the article on the Beemer, and I was quite surprised.

      Saab 9-5 TiD Aut: Eu-Cycle 6.8l/100km Dagbladet Test cycle: 5,7l/100km
      BMW 520d Aut. (Wagon): EU-Cycle 5,3l/100km Dagbladet test cycle: 6,2l/100km

      This is why I normally don’t believe the incredible consumption values from BMW. 😉

      • This diesel engine is perfect for the european market. I believe all the 9-5 at my local dealer are either tid or ttid. And they have sold a few of them. The latest delivery was a black aero ttid with 4wd.

  13. It’s clear that this site has taken a new path when it comes to consumer sentiment, whereby all comments need to be echo’d of corporate speak and only positive.

    No matter what this site moderater tells us, this is really feeling like a corporate blog.

    Is it no surprise that Swade is never letting negative/constructive comments continue? He’ll probably give us another lengthy justification for what he’s doing, but from what I know, the majority of my friends don’t visit here any longer because it’s a single-sided conversation with little opportunity for alternative viewpoints.

    Oh and forget it if you are female, asian or gay, Swade and Eggsandgrits are about as homophobic and bigoted as you can get.

    So here’s the question, why does Saab office endorse this? Is Saab against women, asians or gays and they use Saabsunited to echo their corporate agenda? It’s becoming all to clear lately since Swade got the “award” earlier this year.

    • I don’t share those feelings and condemn it.

      the following comments are not made at any one person…..

      Some people never share positive feelings, only negative. They are trolls, fire-bombers and inciters of arguments that lead to nothing productive about Saab. Having a logical argument about something you don’t like about Saab I am sure is welcomed. But to come here and just bitch and moan…. is not welcomed and quite boring.

      Swade and EnG go through great efforts to moderate this site and I pity them to have to deal with such narrow minded people who troll here from time to time.

      Remember this is a free and very valuable site. It is however not a place to come and vent your mind just to let yourself feel better.

    • Who said Swade isn’t letting negative/constructice comments continue. What he said was ……please cut the “If Saab don’t do [the thing I think is important] then the company is doomed” statements. Saab are doing a million things right at the moment. The thing you think they’re doing wrong might make you wince, but please don’t condemn them for eternity for it – your pessimism can be contagious, whether it’s well founded or unfounded.
      to me that’s a long way from banning constructive comments. I suspect that it’s pretty tiresome from his perspective, and fairly evident also, if one of us here has a wholly negative agenda with nothing positive to offer. enough said.

      But where in the world did your statement about Swade and E&G being homophobic and bigoted, and that females, asians, and gays, need not apply? And that by extension this is Saab’s corporate policy? If you can document some evidence of this, please do; otherwise, I think that I speak for most other readers and participants here, keep your opinions to yourself and go somewhere else.

      There is no doubt that Swade is a cheerleader for Saab. Otherwise, why would he be interested in doing what he’s doing? As he says, he’s and enthusiast and this is an enthusiast’s site. And all in all, I think his opinions have been right on, including criticisms when warranted, explantations and inside dope when possible through his contacts, and a good conduit for us to get suggestions back to Saab. If you feel that a consumer complaint type site is warranted, go ahead and start your own, and see what kind of following you’ll have.

    • This is a site for Saab fans and after reading this comment and your previous one I can’t see any evidence that you are one of us.

    • TD04Saab, there is a fine line between constructive criticism and whining.

      E.g. we would all love for Saab to push out a diesel version of the 9-4x. Or a XWD 9-3 Diesel. Or a… etc… (or the lack of a hatch!)

      Those decisions may turn out to be regrettable, but it is too late to do anything about them now. It won’t help at all if we start bashing Saab at the drop of a hat.

      I’m guilty myself of whining about the lack of hiper strut (and the satnavn system… and… etc…). But I can’t get hiper strut anywhere else either, so I have learned to live with it. 🙂

      Basically: state your criticism once and let it go. We’ve all read the “diesel or certain death” comments by now (several times!). There is little need to repeat it.

      My own little plea: Could we focus a bit more on the technology and actual driving experiences? I read the business related news because I want the reassurance that Saab is still alive (and kicking), but what I’d really love to learn more about is the cars and the people. An interview with some of the engineers would be nice.

      • +1 on the tech. and driving experience.

        -1 on feeding this troll, as any here that knows Swade, knows that what he is saying is nothing but FUD.
        People like him will always try to confront us with facts without any proof of what they say, and if you tell them to give some proof of their facts they start insulting you.
        It is really sad, but it is only the dark side of the internet, where people think only because they are(not really) anonymous, they can say anything without consequences for themselves.

      • Thanks Rune! That’s a great comment, and IMO would apply to most blogs and other places as well.

        I think we can all do well to check ourselves to notice ourselves when we go from constructing to venting – in case we want to improve things, or even just hope for them to get better.

        Venting is okay and sometimes necessary – don’t get me wrong – but reasonable or helpful in the long run, or to others, it is not.

        One of the things that attracted me to Saab in the first place is that it is decidedly quite “un-blingy”. I think some of the same qualities of being constructive and sensible both at Saab as a company, and here at SaabsUnited – at best – and helped organize rallies in support of Saab when in other places, many would simply have given up, cut their losses and denied any connection with the product, the company and its loss. It’s really the same – here and in the rest of society, and I like it here.

        That’s sort of the same as what I thought of the NYT review, by the way. Cheers.

  14. there are some things, that make me think this review is not quite objective. it tries to compare 300hp AWD 9-5 with Buick, saying it’s a lot cheaper. while surely he knows, that 220hp 9-5 is only 2000usd more expencive, than 184hp smaller Buick. it says M37 drives better and has better interrior, which surely is not true. Maybe A6, BMW5 and E-Classe are, but M37 is recognized as lower level and very different driving style from 9-5. there are more

  15. I’ve driven an E-Class. Numbest and lightest steering I’ve ever felt. Nice ride, but not a particularly good handling car.

    I don’t know about the current 5-series, but the previous model had a stark, boring, low tech interior.

    9-5 isn’t perfect, but neither are its competitors

    • Car and Driver has similar complaints about the steering on their long-term 535, and reviewers always complain about Audis not being “as sharp” as BMWs.

      The fact is that these cars are now over 5m long and closing-in on two metric tons. You can’t really expect them to feel like older cars that were 500kg lighter and much smaller.

      What’s amazing is that the performance and fuel economy has improved despite the extra weight.

  16. I’m still having fun with my 9-3, but I’m starting to think my next car will be a 9-5. The most creditable review for me was Swade’s review. What counts is MY test drive.

    Just a thought.

  17. Id give NYTs Ulrich an “incomplete” for finally testing last years model. The 4 cylinder is NEW this year, eagerly awaited by many, in dealers showrooms now, and he couldnt be bothered to drive it? BTW, the new motor is made in the US, in Tonawanda NEW FingYORK. If he even walked by one he would have seen the sticker. Maybe that should just remain a secret?

  18. I would like to begin by saying that I the 2011 is, IMHO one of the finest looking 4 door sedans on the planet (currently) next to my other favorite, the upcoming Audi A7. When I test drove the 2011 9-5 2.0t XWD the other day I really had my hopes up. When I sat in the cockpit my heart palpated in excitement.

    The joyful exuberance faded once I had the car at 65 mph. I felt nothing. No tactile steering feel or feel of the road that I did in my 900 Turbo, 1992 9000 Turbo, or even my 1991 Audi 200 quattro turbo (which I still have and has much better driving dynamics than the 2011 9-5).

    I really put the 2011 9-5 through its paces. I took the car up through Ventura Counties’ famous HWY 150 (windy, snarky, and fun) that takes you into Ojai. This is the same road that many auto journalists and car companies use to photograph and video new cars.

    Although the car’s excellent haldex system prevented me from having to use any braking while handling apexs and switchbacks, all in all the car was a snooze. I tried to usher in some driving involvement by paddle shifting and cruising at illegal speeds (85+) but still nothing. Sheez I could buy a used lincoln town car and get the same lack of driver involvement.

    The 2011 9-5 is a car that is the antithesis of why people initially buy SAABS in the first place unless (dont get offended baby boomers) they are trying to change their image and build cars for the 60+ AARP, retired engineer, hippy that sold out, baby boomer, rich as a whale crowd that could not see themselves in a Caddy or Lincoln. It kills me to say it but that is what this car drives like (IMHO): a pre-Opel Caddy/Buick in SAAB clothing.

    I am 36 years old so perhaps an older (wiser) SAAB-phile would disagree with me about the 2011 9-5. I just don’t get what this car is trying to accomplish. I hope that the AARP crowd buys thousands of the 2011 9-5’s so there will be a SAAB that we can look forward to driving and owning.

    • Gunther, I think if you drove a used Lincoln Town Car at those speeds on that road, you’d experience more driver involvement than you’d like 😕

    • Gunther, we all need to understand something. A 2000 kg car with four-wheel drive and 220hp isn’t going to be a go cart.
      If you need a car this size (sounds to me you’re looking for tuned 9-3 though) you should simply try the traditional FWD, with manual gearbox and a little help from our friends at Hirsch (which should be available over there by now?).

      There are different cars for different needs. One complains about torque steer, the other one lacks driving dynamics. Please do your homework and don’t have unrealistic expectations even if it is a SAAB.
      It’s like driving an old 3-series and complaining about RWD and how light (unsafe) it felt. Try using a handsaw to drive in nails 🙂

  19. Gunther, howcome the 9-5 did excellent on the skid pad test in car and driver, when its so numb and boring. To do this it must be very well balanced.

    • Skid pad results do not necessarily equate to good steering feel and a sense of driver involvement. My 2010 Acura TSX has phenomenal chassic dynamics (for FWD), and yet the steering is despressingly numb, which makes it feel much more remote than it should.

      Unfortunatelty, with the prevalence of electrically assisted steering (as in my TSX), this appears to be on the rise. The new BMW 5’s electric steering has been heavily criticized for lack of feel, and I’ve read similar criticism of Audis. Hopefully, over time, the engineers will be able to add excellent feedback to electric systems. The new Ford Mustang, for example, has decent steering feel with EPS, though IMO it doesn’t feel as engaging as the best hydraulic systems. (Apparently Honda/Acura nailed EPS with its first application, the NSX. I don’t know where it went off track since then, but perhaps EPS only degrades feel at higher levels of assist.)

  20. Is it just me or have there been no reviews about the other really important aspect of Saab’s, the size of the trunk (or boot to you Europeans)? I have a four month old baby and although the Tiguan is very nice that we’re driving at the moment, one trip to the inlaws in West Virginia made us realize how small the trunk is. Now there’s not enough room in the back of a 93 for two adults and a car seat (I miss my sportcombi), so I’m wondering whether the 94x or the 95 will be a better fit, but I’ve heard nothing over the trunks in both vehicles (nothing from the local dealer I emailed about it either).

    So, to all those out there that have a new 95, can you fit a stroller and two suitcases in the trunk, or should I be waiting for the 94x to come out? Can anyone provide a review based on feedback for a young family?

      • Tried to but it uses flash, which I banned from my system for bad behavior 🙂 I’ve seen some of the 95 specs but there’s nothing quite like hearing other people’s experiences, so thank you for that. The non-flash links just brought up tons of errors.

        In fact, going back to my original point, I’ve noticed the same thing with nearly every 95 review, they talk about the car as if its being driven by one person all the time, very little about how you would use it day-to-day. The Washington Post’s Warren Brown is supposed to be reviewing the 95 in a couple of weeks (he said on his weekly Q&A that he’ll try and review both the Aero and the base as someone, not me, asked him to review the four cylinder in particular). Brown, although he sometimes goes off at a 360 degree angle (his review of the XC60 hardly mentioned the car at all), is usually pretty good at looking at that specific angle: how people use cars. He’s review if its a good one, might sway people who were turned off by the NYTimes review.

        • FWIW: The biggest problem for me so far, is the low height below the rear window when putting the seats down.

          A 2m long bed fits fine length-wise. No need to adjust the front seats for average height people.

          But the hatrack (or whatever you’d call the divider directly behind the rear passengers’ heads) is so low that I had to really push to force my bed through the low opening. My bed is 23cm thick… I was quite worried that I would not be able to extract it on my own. 😀

          Make sure you try one for yourself now when there’s still snow outside. (you do have snow, don’t you?)

    • Can’t say nothing about a stroller and two suitcases, but somebody posted a picture here showing a Cello’s case in the trunk.

      And BTW, the Tiguan is a Golf in size; very, very small !!!! 😉

  21. Just thought of something as I browsed though som pictures fron the Saab Museum visit last summer.

    Dear Saab:

    Please put his front http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7b/Saab_Aero_X_Concept_%28394273860%29.jpg
    on the 9-5

    Put this dash/ color scheme and materials into the interior:
    AND you will have a winner!!!

    nice mockup image of Anthony Lo and the Aero X:

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