AutoExpress compares the Saab 9-5 vs. the E-Class

Our friend and TurboX driver, NorthTorontoPunter, has found what I think is the first comparo 9-5 vs. Teutonian 3, at least one of them.

In this case the Saab Aero Turbo6 XWD has been compared with the Mercedes E350 Sport. (link)

To make things short, the Merc has won the battle.

Saab’s new 9-5 flagship provides incredible value for money, with an advanced four-wheel-drive system, more power and torque than the Mercedes, plus a distinctive and roomy cabin. The bad news for the firm’s bosses is that it narrowly fails to make the grade against its illustrious rival….

It doesn’t seem that the big pieces of black plastic, read IP-fascia, have been the problem here, but if we continue reading,

……– and its poor resale values and thirsty engine are the main culprits.

we see that the main Problems of the car are a “unknown” resale value and the auto transmission used in that car.

I can’t say nothing about resale values, I think nobody knows how much a used Saab 9-5 in 3 or 4 years will cost, but if you lease such a car, the lease companies will try to use a very low resale value, just in case. I hope Saab tries to remediate this, but I don’t know if they even can.

And what about the consume values, or as Europeans say, the CO2 values?
The Saab emits 244 g/km of CO2 in the combined European cycle, the RWD Merc only emits 205 g/km CO2, but even the E350 4matic emits 15 g/km CO2 less than the Saab.

And what is the problem here, why can’t Saab get similar values as the Merc with an automatic transmission if they seem to be able to do miracles with the 9-3 diesel?

The problem here, imho, is the transmission. I’ll bet 1$ that changing the current transmission with the new9 speed automatic transmission from ZF the 9-5 would get their values under those of the Merc.

Saab should ask ZF if they are interested in a low volume test series 😉

75 thoughts on “AutoExpress compares the Saab 9-5 vs. the E-Class”

  1. I like the way you write news.

    ZF looks good but SAAB should use own gearboxes if they got any for real (like dual clutch(?) for GM)

  2. Dr. Donk,
    well I’ve spoken about that transmission, because it is more on par wit the 7G-tronic used in the Merc.

    ZF is good, but if Saab can create top notch gearboxes I do also prefer that. 🙂

  3. 9-5 is ~20 cm longer than the E-class.
    I think it’s positive journalists think the 9-5 should be pitted against the very definition of premium/luxury cars. Great consumer indoctrination.

  4. Do these cars cost the same? Not a fair comparison I think. You can see from the moon the Saab will not stand a chance. Time and money being the main reason. What would Saab have come up with having the same resources and, important, the same time to hone their cars to perfection like Mercedes was able to. It has taken Audi at least 20 years to reach the standard of today.

    • The Saab costs £38,585 as a list price, £46,935 as tested.
      The Merc costs £41,155 as a list price, £43,840 as tested.

      So yes for all intents and purposes, they cost the same. As a direct rival, it was hard to pick anything else. And i deliberately chose the E-class as to give the Saab a fighting chance. As many should know, i’m no Saab hater!

      • Hi Graeme,
        nice to see you here. I think it is a good comparison you made. It shows that Saab can already compete with the Top 3. 🙂

        One question, why didn’t you choose the E350 4matic?

        • Hi Red,
          I’m always around. Usually lurk until something i’ve written has been picked up to be honest – too much going on, not enough time!
          Anyway, as i’ve said later, the E350CGi 4-matic is not available in the UK (and frankly press fleets have been so badly decreased in light of the recession it is normally very very hard to get the right spec car anyway).

      • Actually, when you say that you would want to favor Saab but you can’t… Because you can’t chop of the hand that feeds you?

        • Read on Ken,
          The hand that would be feeding me would be Saab since I’m in discussions for a long term test car. We already have a Mercedes, so being nice to them is no use to me. And since Saab have spent plenty on website advertising, it could be said that we’d be more likely to be biased to the Swedish firm…
          So no chopping involved.

  5. The auto magazines are all biased toward the German makes. There’s no sense complaining.
    You just ‘follow the money’. These auto ‘journalists’ and their magazines are getting hundreds of Euros from German car(and accessory makers) advertising and it’s their bread and butter. They are not independent, like say, Edmunds Motoring. Just ‘FOLLOW THE MONEY’. It’s a fact, man. Look me in the eye and say ‘they’re independent’. In anything in life… follow the money.

    • Wrong…
      Actually if i was going to be biased to any manufacturer i would have been towards Saab. not one of the German three.
      I’m keen to secure a 9-5 as a long term test, as we all know the more you live with these cars the more sense they make.
      Oh and it would replace the hole left in my life from my recently departed tuned Saab c900T16s and sit nicely next to my 9000CS track car…


  6. Who cares, that E-Class is quite possibly the most hideous looking car on the road today! The MB specced up to the same standard as the 9-5 probably makes it £14000 more than the Saab. Might I suggest AutoExpress compare the C-Class which probably costs the same as the 9-5. We all know who the winner would be in THAT comparison.

    • What? Do you want SAAB be compared vs hondas and opels? It is good that saab compared with merc E and 5er.

    • zippy,
      I think the 9-5 should be compared with a E-class. The Saab outperforms the Merc in many aspects, so nothing to worry there. But it also shows the weak side from Saab. The 6-speed auto gearbox may work well, but the torque converter used is not “state-of-the-art”, and Saab has to do something about it. As always, it can’t be done overnight.
      The Merc also uses a torque converter gearbox, and the Beemers do it also, and they get better consumption values, so there is no need of a DSG.

    • Hmmm, next you’ll be telling me to test the 9-3SS against an Audi A1?!?!
      9-5 and E-class make perfect bedfellows. They’re both large cars for the sector, and neither are as overtly dynamic as an MSport 5 series and both similar costs (see the above). The Saab was actually more expensive as tested!

  7. It’s funny, to me:

    The review seems to favor the 9-5 in terms of sportiness, features, features, road manners, and power.

    But the smaller, less-customizable, less-comfortable Merc wins, just because of the “green” factor, and, as Red J wrote, unknown residual value.

    Can you say “biased?”

    • No you can’t say biased.
      “Green” factor makes a huge difference here in the UK, where the test was conducted.
      Co2 emissions mean the Saab will cost owners £180 extra a year. Not much for those that can afford these cars, granted. But many of these vehicles are company cars, so when the difference to a company car user would be either £232 or £463 annually it all adds up. Fuel cost difference over 20,000 miles is around £242 even on our figures rather than official quoted. And i can assure you, that as a Saab fanboi I was trying to be very restrained with the accelerator in the 9-5, and less so in the E350. Didn’t help enough in the end though…

      • More by curiousity, as I have seen different methods applied – when you are considering the “green” factor, are you doing real life measuring of the consumption by measuring how much you need to refill, or is it based on factory data/trip computer?

  8. I also wonder about the statement that rear wheel drive should be considered a plus if you are looking at executive saloons. They should have road-tested this pair on some snowy and icy roads. I suppose the fact that the Merc probably wouldn’t be able to get from its parking spot, let alone get through a fast corner without leaving the road, may have hjad some slight effect on the test results.


      • Well, London-to-Luton v.v. on the freeway wouldn’t be a very frightening icy or snowy round-trip, now would it? But I get your point. On the other hand, lots of snow and ice seem to become a regular feature of contemporary winters, even in -normally mild- climate zones such as western Europe. Considering that, it imho wouldn’t be that bad an idea to take cornering and general road holding on ice and in snow a bit more seriously and to make the presence resp. absence of 4WD/XWD a factor in writing up your conclusion.

        My 2 pennies 😉


    • Guess what, the week of testing these cars Britain had some of the worst snow it has had in decades. In fact it was so bad that my parents flight down from Scotland to Luton was cancelled due to the weather.
      And what car did I take to the airport ready to pick them up? The Mercedes…
      Remember, the snow we’ve had has been exceptional, so the benefits of four wheel drive aren’t as important as they are in some areas. Especially for ‘sporting’ saloons.

      • Sorry, I wanted to respond to Graeme but chose the wrong ‘Reply’- button. So the comment above Graeme’s is the that should be here.

        Re-read your comment once more. If you drove down to Scotland to pick up mum and dad in the Merc then you have truly made a heroic choice.;-) I would have picked the XWD Saab as a no-brainer.


        • Sorry, no i had the Mercedes ready to pick my parents up from the airport in Luton, they were flying down from Scotland. As it was, we never got to see them before Christmas at all. Damn weather.


          • Graeme,

            The problem with non-Saabs is that they have a tendancy to follow tracks in the ice. There are also numerous vehicles that have dangerous habits of violently shooting into opposing traffic — even on fairly straight roads. Then there’s “snow eating” capabilities. This week I have frequently used my rental car (Ovlov V50) as an example. Despite its FWD configuration, it could not manage to drive through 5cm of snow. Full stop. My old Saab 9000 with 16″ studless wheels did fine. And my old 9000 is noticably less nervous on the icy roads. (it knows not to follow the deep tracks)

            You’ve never experienced any of that..?

  9. Nice one Red J, unbiased and in depth – I like it.

    The good thing about this comparison was how close the Saab will appear to a potential customer who may not be up on his cars. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they ‘panned’ the Saab, but they didn’t.

    And great point about the autobox. I’d imagine it’s an ‘old school’ torque converter (it’s an AW, right?), I’m sure it won’t be long before Saab have sourced a double-clutch setup, if only to reduce the CO2 – however I’m not sure such a box could handle this engine? But, the 9-3 desperately needs a double-clutch setup asap if it’s going to keep up – anything expected with the facelift/new car? I know the purists prefer manual, but if Saab is a luxury brand, it needs to keep up in this area, too.

    Btw, Saab Ireland has just come up with some very competitive prices for the 9-3 (119g/km).
    Linear 1.9 TTID (130) €29,300
    Linear 1.9 TTID (160) €29,900
    Linear Sport 1.9 TTID (130) €30,950
    Linear Sport 1.9 TTID (160) €31,550
    Linear Sport 1.9 TTID (180) €32,150
    It may not be quite cheap enough, but it should give people something to think about as it undercut it’s opposition by about €5,000 or so.

    J “loves his automatic gearboxes” Fan

  10. Let’s see, has more power and torque than the E350, AWD and is more spacious (and heavier?), and said to be somewhere between the E and S class in size, yet the emissions let it down??? Actual measured economy of both cars was within .9mpg of each other (20.8 vs 19.9). Unfortunately it’s all about the taxes (based on the almost fictitious formal CO2 ratings) in the end, not the actual real world fuel economy.

    Anyway I WANT THE SAAB.

    A very sad reality that SAAB has to address this but it’s making the right moves with the 9-3TTiD.

  11. SAAB should NOT try an ever design a transmission again. There are so many superb transmissions that can be purchased from excellent suppliers.As long as the result is good no one will care. SAAB needs to spend $$ on superb Swedish interiors, safety features, design, handling, new materials to reduce weight, new engine tech and things the driver will touch and feel.

    • Mark,

      FYI, Saab does not currently design or manufacture their own automatic transmissions.
      They do design and manufacture manual transmissions, but that’s not what we are talking about here.

  12. The very moment I looked at the pictures and saw the wheel was on the wrong side of the cabin, I stopped reading any further.

    Perhaps Swade and Turbin can elaborate further. What good is a good transmission if I keep opening the windows every time I try to shift gears?


  13. Well, what can I say, this is the right way to lose a test, I think. It’s a comparison that flatters and interests regardless of the writers’ final conclusion.

      • We always try to be fair in our tests, and i really was rooting for the Saab to win.
        However it just couldn’t be justified. People may talk about ‘imaginary’ resale values, but actually they are generally very accurate, and with the Saab losing an extra £2,191 after three years, plus the higher running costs (tax liability, VED and fuel for example) the Mercedes had to emerge the winner.

        • I totally agree with Graeme that the Mercedes E does have some advantages over the 9-5. In Europe we’re all over CO2 stuff, even more then energy labels. It’s a political thing, driven by the idea that global warming is mainly a human factor, but still it’s there. Most of the car taxes are based on CO2 emission.
          I do however think the Aero6 is not a car made for the European market. It’s a big, american V6 that is build for the US market. I would never buy the V6 over here (Holland in my case) and always go for the 4 cylinder with XWD. It’s more Saab anyhow. I’ve driven both and I think the 220hp Aero is more responsive and better handling then the Aero6.
          This way I don’t understand why always the V6 is being tested. I would never buy a Saab V6, not in the past (remember the old V6’s in the 9-5) and not in future.

  14. “I can’t say nothing about resale values,”

    I got here in the post and realized it was not Swade doing the talking;)

    Good contribution Redj.

  15. I like the Aisin auto, but they are to weak for a 2,8 turbo. An a.t. on the 9-5 should be able to handle at least 550nm. More power = more fun, and better reviews.

  16. I think it is overall a very very positive review for the 9-5, as it puts it definitely in the premium class and very close to the class leader since decennies. The weaknesses the review cites are effective weaknesses. Resale value is very low right now for a new Saab. It is not guessing about what the price will be in 3 or 4 years. It is what the dealer or leasing company will insist on putting in in the leasing contract. Thus, even if the buying price of a new Merc is much higher, the difference in leasing rates will come off quite a bit. Furthermore, CO2 emissions are important in many European countries, as taxation looks at them. People here cannot complain about that and on the other side be happy about the succesful CO2 reduction for the 9-3 diesel for Sweden.
    There is reason however to be optimistic about those factors in the medium- to longer term. If Saab will survive, and show a hopefully impressive turnaround with attractive new models and model specifications, the resale values will start to rise. The survival risk premium, that hits resale values right now, will disappear. And with respect to the C02-emissions, typically a start-stop system already helps a lot. That should be possible in the not too distant future. Longer-term, hybrids can help a lot. Finally, without those goodies, effective consumption should fall, if GM will be able to optimize its engine line-up. At the NAIAS, the GM CEO told reporters, that GM suffers from a delay in reserearch and development, because due to looming and effective bankruptcy all projects were canceled or reduced to a minimum. He primarily pointed to engine development, that was hit most, and said GM will try to make up for the delays in the next 1-3 years primarily with respect to fuel efficiency.
    In some respect, the review is too good to be true. It would have been fair to compare the 9-5 XWD to a E350 4-matic, not the RWD. And in general, for European buyers the biggest weakness of the 9-5 is the absence of a big diesel up to now. Most European countries are Diesel, and most European premium brands sales are centered on Diesel engines. The true negative is that Saab lacks a engine to compare it with the E320 CDI.

    • The E350CGi 4-matic isn’t available in the UK, otherwise you’re right about it being a good comparison.
      However, great comments Michael and just the way this test should be looked at (and how i hoped it would be received). Makes a nice change not to just be ‘bashed’ for being ‘another UK journalist’.


    • Yes, you are right with the Saab diesel and its market necessity, but may I softly remark here that it is the diesels making us lung cancers. 🙁 So I pretty much hope, moreover expect, that diesel-mania will be subject to extinction very soon. Healthiness must ultimately overcome cost-effectiveness (I know that’s an illusion anyway). Sorry for being partially OT.

  17. Not sure what components of the cars contribute to what extent to the consumption; I must however concede that Mercedes is still very active in the field of aerodynamics. The E class has a drag coefficient of 0.25 (vs 0.28 for the 9-5) and given they are comparable in size, the E class will consume less at least in those portions of the driving cycle that simulate motorway driving.

    Also, the E class is afaik the best tested Mercedes ever. They finally realized that they were about to ruin their image.

    • Thyl, the Saab and the Merc have different consumption values in the city and not in the highway cycle.
      Therefore the problems of Saab are:
      1. Weight
      2. Torque converter losses.

  18. If the new ZF 9-speed gearbox fits, they should consider it for the V-6. No doubt it will bring down the duel consumption a bit.
    But Saab could win more by reconstructing the engine. First project: direct injection.

  19. Something tells me Saab has some tricks up its sleeves with the new gearbox joint venture they started up. There’s no reason why they can’t innovate and deliver some uniquely Swedish gearboxes to compete with ZF. Especially when mated to the new hybrid rear axle, the torque conversion should be much more seamless in the new 9-3. I have a feeling this MPG problem won’t be around too long.

  20. The keyword here must be the new rear axel drive from Saab that makes the car into a kind of hybrid car. It collects energy on deacceleration and stores it in batteries through a motor-generator, on acceleration it reuses the store energy to gain speed by the motor-generator.

    This saves fuel and there by CO2.

    I will love to have this system on my OG 9-5. OG9-5 has OK fuel consumption on the highway – but start/stop driving in the city is a killer for its fuel efficiency because a big car has a lot of mass to accelerate and deacceleration. E = ½*mass*(V2-V1)^2. Here the energy in the fuel ends up as heat in the braking disks instead of moving the car from A to B. Here the NG9-5 has even more weight than the OG9-5.

  21. I’m sure Saab has plan to solve this age old automatic gearbox problem, it’s been achilles heel for ages I think and it’s MAJOR problem as premium cars tests are nearly always done with an automatic box.

    GM has a dual clutch coming in few years time but there’s no certainty that Saab has contract for it. Quick solution would be to offer a manual stick with the flagship.

  22. First of all, I am very surprised that so far it was not highlighted imperatively enough, that comparing a 4wd to a rwd in terms of consumption is ridiculous, knowing that 4wd demands a lot more energy due to its construction (eg. it’s heavier, has bigger resistance, etc). It also has its own benefits nonetheless, but of course in a different field from emission and consumption.

    Secondly this is the first E-Class in a 25 year period that I would say is not inviting and desireable for me. It has clearly lost its magic. It already lost it before, in terms of quality but now also in design — it’s very ambiguous for the first time.

    I understand there is evidently a marketing today full of cliches, and now we have to look at a car through the glasses of its “market positioning”, rather than your natural aspect. And now if we’re talking about an “executive car” then the cost factor grows above all considerations. OK, then all executives, would you please chose a Kia or Hyundai which cost definitely less than a Merc or an XWD Saab.

    Apart from that, I’m happy to see that the 9-5 holds the field, and the belief is confirmedf that Saab have made a wonderful job with the 9-5. Thankfully, with all ranges of them! 🙂

    • Marque wrote
      “First of all, I am very surprised that so far it was not highlighted imperatively enough, that comparing a 4wd to a rwd in terms of consumption is ridiculous, knowing that 4wd demands a lot more energy due to its construction (eg. it’s heavier, has bigger resistance, etc). It also has its own benefits nonetheless, but of course in a different field from emission and consumption.”

      Not ridculous at all. If Saab made a 2wd Aero V6, or Mercedes offered a 4WD E350 Sport then that would solve it. They don’t and they are both sporting saloons (the Aero being the Saab flagship) and the E350 being the mid-range sporting saloon.

      Obviously the 4wd system does affect the emissions and economy of the Saab, but there’s no choice in the matter. It’s 4WD or not 4WD. Unless you want us to adopt a policy of not testing the 9-5 Aero V6T at all, then that’s how it has to be.

      It could have been worse – we could have put it up against a 5-series MSport 😮

      • Greame, well then I should refine it a bit. It is not ridiculous to compare them, but
        A) then you shouldn’t blame the 4WD for its higher cons. and emissions, or
        B) you should compare them too in the field where 4WD has its evident benefits.

        But other than that, I agree with the statements in the article and am quite happy with having Saab covered in press.

    • On a footnote: and well, frankly it’s not a car’s *market positioning* that makes me wanna get in and own it… Come on, I give a shhh about market positioning.

  23. As someone trying to sell Saab’s, it’s just great to see us appearing in a positive manner in the motoring press. Thank’s Graeme.

  24. Graeme,

    If your still out there, that was a good and interesting comparo/review, and one that I think was totally appropriate given that both these cars are aimed for the same market segment(in the US, and I guess in the UK as well).

    I think people need to pay less attention to the ranking of the cars in these reviews, and just read the review itself more for the details offered. After all everybody prioritizes different aspects of a car in different ways. Everyone weights different factors on their own personal scale.

    For example, Graeme makes the point that the Saab seats are a lot more comfortable and supportive than the MB-Tex seats in the E-Class, someone like me might consider that a more important factor than someone else, or someone might even prefer the MB seats (I can’t imagine why, but I’m sure there are people who do) .

    Comfortable seats might be more important than projected residuals for someone who keeps a car for ten years-we all weight things differently.

    Graeme: Again, if your still out there, I’ve got a couple of questions, if you could be so kind I’d like to hear your opinion:

    I’ve driven the E-Class, but as of yet have not driven the 9-5. You seemed to prefer the steering in the E-Class to the Saab. To me the E-Class steering felt overly light and devoid of feedback. Could you go into a little more detail your impressions of the Saab’s steering vis-a-vis the Mercedes? Also, did you play with the Saab’s DriveSense steering effort settings at all, and if so how much of a difference did it make? (It’s my understanding you can set the amount of steering effort independent of the other DriveSense settings).

    Also how did the build quality and solidity of the Saab feel to you compared with the Mercedes (particularly the interior)? Was there much of a difference?


  25. sorry to partially hijack BUT although i love my turbo-x, i don’t think i will ever buy another saab again given the shocking resale value that haunts the brand.

    was resale always this bad of something from the gm era? this is my first saab btw.

    i think concerns pointed out in the article are valid though since the car can’t compete with it’s rivals, it’s true worth is reflected in the use car market. it’s unfortunate but the product does lag behind competitors in a big way. i hope the new saabs can do something over time to increase the brand appeal to the general public and not just a few enthusiasts.

    • Rich, can you be a bit more specific?

      In what way does a 9-5 lag behind the competitors? What is it you think will cause the 9-5’s resale value to drop compared to the competitors?

      Historically, for the past two decades, Saabs have had noticably better safety than the germans. The old 9-5 was best in its class (only recently matched by an Ovlov).

      The AutoExpress comparison points to minor differences, which sometimes goes in the Saab’s favor.

      It is the market that decides the price. If the price is too high, then nobody will buy. Saab is a less known brand. The number of people interested in buying a second-hand Saab is limited. Thus I see no easy way for Saab to resolve the resale value.

      In the mean time… They have a product that is excellent to drive. One that is extremely safe. For those of us actually using the cars and plan on doing so for a while, it makes perfect sense. If you immediately park your new aqcuisition in the garage to guard its resale value, then a Saab makes absolutely no sense.

      If you want to invest your money wisely: Buy some property instead.

      • having not driven the new 9-5 or the new e class i’m only speculating on the tactile experience and going off reviews in print or on tv such as fifth gear.

        sure..simplistically it’s supply and demand which determines price, but the demand for the saab isn’t there because for various reasons which include poor branding, the poor dealer network, and in the opinion of the a lot of the press, the cars just aren’t competitive overall as a package to it’s rivals for the price. give the cars more appeal, advertise more etc etc…do something to try plump up the demand. it’s undisrupted that GM neglected the brand in this regard and in terms of product development.

        so i think saab spyker now can do more to gradually influence prices in the primary and secondary markets over time. i’m just saying i’d like to see this as carrying forward the same formula and calling a car premium but pricing it so will not make it premium and it’ll be reflected in prices. buyers have deserted the brand since it’s hey-days in the 80s and 90s.

        i dunno about other countries but the resale of saabs in australia is a joke. dun get me wrong..i love saabs. my turbo-x however is a disappointing car. perhaps i’ve been spoilt though with an e500, and z4 m-roaster in the garage and having had a wrx.

        • Rich, I’m not sure Saab can ever win those comparisons.

          Last week I compared a new Ovlov (with 16000 km on the odometer) with my old Saab 9000 (295000 km on the odometer). Which one do you think could handle 5 cm of snow with ease? (and could go on to take on at least twice as much snow?)

          My suspicion is that whatever makes Saab excell in ice and on snow, is also what keeps them from being the absolutely best on summer roads.

          The reviews are not very in-depth IMO. The ones so far have not told the whole story.

          If you only drive on dry summer roads, then I strongly suspect a Beamer is the better option. RWD helps it accelerate faster on dry asphalt and keeps the weight down (compared to AWD). Win-win. There is no way a Saab can compete with that. (throw some gravel on the road, or snow, then the picture changes completely, which is why Saab did pretty well on the rally circuits)

          My 1997 Saab 9000 can take on any Beamer there is. In the winter that is.

          Many of us are waiting with baited breath for the BMW 3-series vs 9-5 comparison in the Swedish magazine “Teknikens Värld” next month. Given their previous experiences ( I suspect they will do a thorough job on this one. They want to compare 9-5 FWD to 9-5 XWD and 3-series AWD. On snow. My hunch/belief is that the FWD 9-5 will win the test (except if they test stop-start in the middle of a very slippery and steep hill).

          You need to take your TurboX somewhere with snow. Then you will easily find the joy you’re looking for.

          (meanwhile… your TurboX is most likely far safer than any German cars… Which is something car reviewers completely overlook)

          • as someone who’s forked over a small fortune for my turbo-x over a bmw 335i, i should try defend it however given the car’s i’ve owned and driven i really can’t.

            i dare not drive my xwd in a spirited fashion in wet let alone the snow. it’s understeers severely….perhaps only a little less that a fwd aero (we have a 9-3 vector at home also btw). i’m no mechanic but the whole thing about the xwd being able to preempt traction loss and make up for it doesn’t translate to the surefootness it suggests….severe understeer is discussed by other turbo-x owners in the saabscentral forum and in various other places on the net. awd how the lancer evo x does it is the way to go. even my old wrx without lsd could not put a foot wrong.

            having not driven my turbo-x in the snow, perhaps my comments are unfair however on the road, it’s clear to me and the xwd is very disappointing. we don’t have x-drive or 4matic in australia so perhaps i’d be equally disappointed….perhaps. despite this i’m a saab fan still but just haven’t had a good experience compared to other cars i’ve driven.

          • Rich, out of curiosity why do you say you love your Turbo X if you think its “so bad”?
            We all know GM destroyed Saab’s residual (brand value) and XWD was designed for snow.

          • Rich, it’s ok, we all come on a bit strong from time to time 😉 but your right when it come to resale value. It shouldn’t be a problem for a small premium manufacturer unless your (GM’s) marketing was the worst in the business in terms of informing customers what Saab is and stands for.
            The second biggest reason IMO for the less than great resale value of the NG9-3 is that the SS doesn’t have that Saab practicality and is too often modestly equipped (no wow factor). It seldom offer the famous ”I want the Saab” feeling at first glance to someone who’s not familiar with the brand, until you get them behind the wheel on a long trip, or in terrible weather…

            Ones upon a time the most sought after and most expensive used cars where Mercs and ovloV’s around here, because they offered what those second hand customers wanted and people KNEW about them. (quality, practicality, value for money, prestige and so on).

            To those who seek answers: Build only cars that will sell themselves even after 5 years (sporty, practical, reliable, good looking -inside and out- family cars. Sounds like 900T to me BTW) and let people know how good they are. Then resale value will become a self fulfilling prophecy, but I hope they already know all this at THN.

            On the Turbo X. Keep it long enough and it’ll be worth twice the money 🙂

        • Rich, I think driving style is an important factor, if you want to drive a FWD car the same way as a RWD car, you are going to struggle.
          With a few tricks up your sleeve you can make a FWD car behave balanced, and even a bit tailhappy. If you just gun it like a RWD you become a plough…

          The Turbo X has, as far as I understand, been set up with a very neutral (maybe even more understeered) balance, and I am sure that with the wrong approach it’s not going to deliver the big thrills.

          (WRX and Evo are rally-bred cars, one should not compare with those. )

          • @RS – sorry….i think i might have come across too negative.
            i just feel that as a owner and daily driver who spends a lot of time in my cars, the turbo-x hasn’t met my expectations given the price. not sure what they cost in europe but they are not cheap in oz.
            why do i love it when it’s been such a disappointment? i love the look of it and have a thing for limited editions. i like something a lil unique.

            @ken h – yes i know..i have to drive each car differently.
            i drive the M-roadster very differently to the E500 or the Turbo-x.
            I’m not expecting the turbo-x to powerslide…i do that in the M-roadster
            (yes i’m sometimes a hoon)
            i only test drove the 335i in the dry, and it was a superior…a key reason why i chose the turbo-x was cuz having had a wrx, the confidence of AWD in the wet had me sold and i was expecting the same from xwd.

            maybe the saabs of your era were a lot more competitive….anyway everyones opinion is different of course. just a lil healthy discussion 🙂

  26. As with Ken H I can testify to the practically neutral handling character of the X and certainly the equal of, say, the BMW xdrive or 4 matic equivalents. As a matter of fact, with 15mm spacers all round (as I have, but not in winter) it is even possible to invoke a touch of oversteer!

    The drivetrain is so competent that the car is (relatively) underpowered (and for its weight…). Within Saab there were several who who wondered/wished why it wasn’t launched at Vectra levels (325 HP) and why the product managers of the day didn’t have the fortitude to insist on such. The Saab disease is that we’re too often the Bridesmaid (and accepting of such).

    Thankfully the discrepancy between what should have been is easily bridged with a tune (and
    with tried and true Maptun, BSR, and VTuner available at reasonable cost– for a North American Hirsch is irrelevant) there is nothing stopping you from achieving S4 (if not M3, in the dry…snow and ice on the track would make for a most interesting duel) performance levels.

    XWD brings the best of FWD and RWD together (no torque steer; no wheel spinning power limitations). I find my GF’s FWD Maptuned 2.0T — automatic even, and only to stage 1 — to be a tire-shredding handful when I plant the throttle at moderate speed.

    I don’t know what to say about the resale/residual issue that will plague the brand short term except to take it on board. And build the most reliable, best warrantied, desireable cars on earth with a well-oiled, consistent ( I’d rather fewer if higher quality) network of consistent dealer and service centers.

    Back to the 9-5: Cutting edge, more geared DSG transmission; Lower the rear seat cushion 3 cm; Start-stop; 365 HP + (Ford Eco-boost ?) engine with 400 pds +torque; proper dash/console surface; Viggen body updates (with 150 kg diet); up to 7 year warranty and we’ll be offering a car that will bow to none. Obviously this won’t happen for next year…but better get on your horses because 2013 ain’t far away ( and 2016 is not acceptable).

    • I think I have to move to Canada, it seems that street racing is legal over there 😉

      I don’t have the money to buy such a 9-5 NTP edition, but I would if I had. 🙂 I don’t know if Saab will be able to get such an NTP edition with the current architecture, but I’m sure they will improve the current car constantly.

      BTW, what will happen on 2013 ? Is your X-Wing coming out of lease? :-S

  27. Me (:) ) It doesn’t have to be about the money (entirely). You get a etter auto transmissions in a Mitsubishi Lancer these days (DSG)…and those 7 and 8 speed autos are across the MB, Audi line now.

    And they’d save money on the seat stuffing at the rear.

    it’s just a question of how fast we can make it happen, eh.

    • In Europe a 9-5 with DSG and 365 HP+ and Viggen parts and … would cost more than the current Aero Turbo6, which I can’t afford.

      I don’t know when Saab will have a DCT (DSG) ready, but everything is pointing in the right direction.

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