Question: Saab 9-5 vs Merc E350

Sometimes I feel like I’m an alien.

RedJ wrote yesterday about a road test comparing the Saab 9-5 and the Mercedes E Class.

I clicked on the test and I read through some of it before thinking to myself “Why am I bothering with this one?”

Further to that, I have to ask myself Why did Auto Express bother with it? I know that the readers of automotive magazines like these tests. I guess that’s why.

How the 9-5 compares to the E Class is slightly interesting on an intellectual level but is completely irrelevant on an emotional level because I’ve got absolutely zero interest in any model from Mercedes Benz. None whatsoever.

And I don’t know of many people here who have talked about Mercedes, either.

But why confine it to Mercedes?

Maybe I’m just a complete sucker, but I have no serious interest in anything non-Saaby with the specific exceptions of a few models from Alfa Romeo and Porsche (and those aren’t models that compete with anything from Saab, they’re just things in specific niches that I’d like to own one day).

When people talk about this-model-from-Audi, that-model-from-BMW or this-model-from-whoever, I find myself wondering why. I have to ask myself OK, it’s probably a good car – but would you want to own it? It’s one thing to go through some quasi-intellectual exercise comparing what are essentially meaningless numbers on paper, but would you want to own it?

Maybe I just enjoy these cars too much. And I’ll be the first to admit that I do. I love the cars and I love the company. I love the little town they’re built in. I love the history behind the company and I really love the idea of them proving themselves in the future. A company with the qualities of Saab – as long as they’re preserved and persist into the future – deserves a place in the automotive landscape.

I know the Mercedes E Class is a good car. A great car, in fact. I’ve always had a very healthy respect for Mercedes Benz.

But owning one?

I could barely imagine anything less interesting. I’m an alien. I want the Saab.

——

Question

What other brands do you seriously – not just in arguments or intellectual exercises – but seriously consider buying as an alternative to Saab?

167 thoughts on “Question: Saab 9-5 vs Merc E350”

  1. I must agree with you the only option for me is Alfa Romeo. But that day will probably never come! Im thinking of getting a SAAB tattoo of the logo 🙂

    • At least I’ve only ever had a serious hankering for a T603. Very serious. Nearly bought one once…

      But – Swade – the point is that “we’re Saabies”. The vast majority of Saab buyers are not. They want a car of a particular size and type and price. A 9-5 or 9-3 happens to fit that bill – but so does an E/5/A6/whatever or C/3/A4/whatever. THAT’s why journos do comparisons. Not to preach to the choir, but to help “real buyers” make their minds up about which is the best car in any particular segment.

      Do they actually achieve anything? Very likely, yes. Not as much as they’d like to think – if they slated a BMW or Merc or Audi, it’d have as small an effect on total sales as if they praised a Saab to the rooftops – but it does have a bit of an effect. Especially in introducing a left-field option to those who aren’t particularly au fait with the car market. All those people who still think GM closed Saab, f’rinstance…

  2. At this moment in time and space if I wouldn’t own a Saab I would be considering buying a BMW.

    As for E-Class, I think I’m to young to own a Mercedes 😉

  3. Swade,

    maybe I’m a loner, but I serious consider having a MB as an alternative to Saab.

    ok, I do live in Brazil and Saab was never sold here, but I will be divided when it enters the market, which is likely to happen in the near future. I’ll have to choose between a new 9-3 hatchback and the recently released Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe – even if the Saab comes only with four doors. and I’ll be certainly divided.

    on the flipside, no other German brand turns me on, nor does Volvo.

    • For me Merc would be the only alternative (as we already have one). Audi is too boring, BMW ostentatious and Ovlov just wrong. I mean I possibly could live with owning a nice Beemer or Audi but Volvo….it just wont do.

  4. Jaguar XF/XJ as main/single car.
    Renault Megane RS for a “fun” car. Twingo GT for a commuting car (either that or Abarth 500). 🙂

    I truly hope Saab will launch a small car though…

  5. Not really anything else but Saab, but maybe Subaru or Porche as second car.

    A bit OT. It is to bad that we Saab nuts aint enough in numbers to cover 120K Saab sales a year. I guess most Saab buyers are no real Saab nuts, but do consider Merc, Bimmer, Awdee, Ovlov et al. as well. That is why things like CO2 and the likes will matter for the survival of our favourite company

    • I’ve worked for a Volvo and Mercedes-Benz dealership for almost 3 years now. Realistically, I would choose a used Volvo — maybe an older V70 or an S60 and hopefully a C30 when the kids are grown. 🙂

  6. As long as I can buy a Saab there is no alternative.

    We had a Subaru, which was not a bad car at all, but it did just not feel right. It had no soul.

  7. If there were no other option, than buying a SAAB, I think I’d consider a Subaru outback. It’s a decent car with a good engine and 4×4. Other than that I don’t know. Doesn’t really matter ether couse I will drive SAAB forever.

  8. Most likely is that my next car will be a NG Saab 9-5 SW.

    But I would also consider a V*lv* or an Audi because they’re some very fine cars as well.
    BMW or Merc I would not consider. The first is too sporty (from an image point of view) for me; what works against the latter is that I have not yet the beer-belly that fits between the seat and the steering wheel….

  9. None, but if i have to – i pick BMW 7e or Merc GL most likely (looks ugly but should be nice to drive both road and offroad).

  10. In case that buying a Saab was strictly prohibited: I would probably go with a small Audi or Volvo or midsize Peugeot. Or Seat Leon, just because I really like the car, nothing to do with the brand. When I am a bit wiser -read Wealthier- I think Audi/Jaguar. But regarding Mercedes, I can say that my parents considered a C-class before our Saab and the reason for not buying one was that Belgium is full of Mercedes and they wanted something “different”. Sounds like a classic Saab-story, right? For Belgium, it makes PERFECT sense to compare Saab and Mercedes since they are both aiming at the middle-age and middle/upper-class people who want some European quality product. I would almost call it the main competitor of the 9-5 after an A6.

    • I have a 50 % SAAB = SeAt. I can take you all out of the illusion that this should represent the sporty and emotional branch of VW cooperation. It is sort of between two SAAB’s and will be exchanged as soon as the 9-3NG comes out. This is one of the most soul-less cars I ever have driven, so I can not recommend it along the SAAB.

  11. Jaguar … because of its history (fan of William Lyons, Bill Heynes, Norman Dewis, etc) and the fact they are making some very nice cars at the moment. I also appreciate that the cars are made in a factory in Castle Bromwich which during WWII made the Supermarine Spitfires that saved the world from the Nazis.

  12. I second the Porsche / Alfa fascination.

    I tried the Audi thing back before they were the #1 choice of “cocks” (Clarkson reference). Nice cars but way too austere. Rock soilid but no soul.

    My very first car was a Subaru GL. I still have a soft spot for those things but I’m not seventeen anymore.

    My 9-5 is the best car I’ve ever had. I love it as much as one can love a car without being concidered bizarre. A Mercedes may hold more value, a Toyota may be more practical, a BMW may make my neighbors more jealous — but my Saab makes ME happy.

    Wow, I rambled. Oh well you’re all cool. I’ll click publish anyway.

  13. My non-SAAB toy is an Aston Martin DB9. However, much like you the only real choice for me is SAAB! I bought the DB9 for all the wrong reasons, namely speed. That car mainly just sits. My true driving pleasure is the SAAB.

  14. For my the comparison makes sense bearing in mind that it is the opinion of a journalist, not ours. In fact, after reading both comments, anyone can draw his own conclusions: I would buy the Saab because “it is a great value for the money”, and I like best the external shape and also the interior.

    Talking about others cars, apart from the Saab 900 NG, I have a MB SLK MkI and I am most satisfied with it. I would say it is also a “quirky” car that set a trend (coupe and convertible in one) when it was presented. And I think it has a more modern-younger quality that a lot of its brand brothers. For me, the SLK is a modern classic, like the original Saab 900.

    I like a lot the Alfa Romeo designs but I would not buy one because of poor reliability. And I hate Volvo and their boring designs. And Audi is the paradise for the people that is unsure of himself and wants “the high level car that anyone has”.

    • Audi is the paradise for the people that is unsure of himself and wants “the high level car that anyone has”.

      Thanks for this definition, one couldn’t have put it better!

      I also used to have a boss a couple of years ago – he was living in Barcelona – and he always quoted “Audi? It’s the cheapcar here”. (He had a Subaru WRX back then, btw.)
      I don’t know how much right he had in saying that, nonetheless I wasn’t surprised at all. Audi for me is the worst of all. Has a completely meaningless “image” and equally, a blank design. But I know a lot of their drivers, and frankly it doesn’t make it better at all.

  15. A few days ago my wife and I drove in our ’07 9-3 convertible next to a BMW 335i Convertible.

    I ‘ve asked my wife, if she could imagine us in this car. We both said: ” NO WAY!”. I know, we would say the same for Audi, Mercedes, Opel etc…

    So, as long a Saab is alive, first choise will be Saab…

    Second choises:
    Alfa Romeo (159 Sportswagon)
    Land Rover Defender

  16. When I couldn’t lease another SAAB in December of 2009, I looked at quite a few brands, and ultimately chose an Audi A5 coupe.

    My two MOST important criteria are that the car HAS to have a manual transmission, and the color HAS to be black. From there…it’s all “icing on the cake”.

    After that, the car has to be fun to drive, i.e. it MUST have excellent handling, have good performance (doesn’t have to set any land speed records), not look like every other car on the road, and get 28+ mpg on the highway.

    Finally, I wanted an AWD car this time around, what with the glowing reports on SAAB’s XWD system, and the fact that I do a lot of winter driving in places that get serious snow.

    All of my SAABs over the years have satisfied those conditions (except for the A/XWD), and it wasn’t easy finding a replacement.

    BMW: Far too many on the roads where I live. You could throw a pebble in my town and probably hit 100 BMWs of all models. M series cars of all types are a “dime a dozen” around here. Especially the M6. Seriously.

    M-B: The only model in the US that I considered with a manual trans was the C300 Sport Sedan (and no AWD), but the performance is only OK…and like BMWs…they are all over the place around here.

    Volvo: No manual transmissions available in the US on any models I would even remotely consider. And now that Volvo are owned by the Chinese…forget about it.

    Alfa Romeo: PLEASE Mr. Marchionne…bring Alfa back the US. I would dearly love a 159 Sport Wagon. 😀

    So I was left with Audi. The A/S4 is a nice car, but like the BMWs & M-Bs, they are as common as Chevys. The A6 is too big, and doesn’t come with a manual trans in the US anyway, and that left the A/S5 as my only alternative.

    The S5 is beautiful, but the fuel mileage isn’t that great, and the 2.0 TFSI A5 with the Sport Package (similar to SAAB’s Aero package) actually out handles the 3.2L A5 & the S5 by a nice margin.

    http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/car/09q4/2010_audi_a5_2.0t-short_take_road_test

    So an A5 with the Sport Package was what I ended up with, and am enjoying every minute of driving it. 😀

    Now…all that being said…I am waiting patiently for an XWD 6-speed manual 2.0T 9-5 that I can tart all up with Hirsch mods, when my A5 lease expires in the Fall of 2013. So VM…et al…make it happen for me…please? Thanks in advance.

  17. Volvo C30 with all the sporty goodies and body kit included

    That will be the Viggen replacement if the next Saab hatch 9-3 or 9-2 variant doesn’t end up being any good…. which is impossible right?

    Bring back the hatch!!!!

    • Aah, the C30. Not realy a hatch like a Saab hatch and with the ugliest taillights in the world.
      The C30, by my moms husband called the uggliest, most plasticy car car you can get besides a Trabi for the price of a BMW

      • On my day off last week, I followed a white C30 that was purchased from our dealership. I’ve always liked the C30 (fun to drive, cool design, etc.) but I have to agree that the tail lights look funny from the rear. The way they light up is a bit different than expected.

          • OTOH it is quite understandable that the other swedish might attract Saabistis but to me it is nothing but WRONG. I had to allow myself thinking about the options a year ago (who can guess why?) and I could see me in Merc or even in Audi or Beemer but never ever in a Ovlov. It is curious since they are generally good cars but to me just as much an alternative as a Lada (a russian crappy car based on Fiat 124 for those who don´t know).
            That´ll never change – me and Volvo are not a pair.

  18. We own a 2006 MB E 350 4matic wagon along with my 2009 9-3 Aero XWD SC. They are even the same color combination. The MB is buttery smooth and relaxed. We bought it used 3 years ago. It has had lots of things break on it and is not as much fun to drive as the 9-3, of course. My wife loves it, though. I still like those gas sucking Land Rover LR4s (the MB replaced a LR3) and Rangies and also own a 1973 NAS Series III. So would seriously consider a Landie. But only if Saab was no more, which isn’t happening.

  19. I think we’re all just tied to the Saab religion on this blog, so I don’t think this crowd is going to give you the ideal response you’re looking for. For me it’s a Saab or nothing, but I do still get excited seeing what Jaguar/Land Rover are doing. The CLS mercedes is something when I see it I could imagine myself wanting if the 9-5 didn’t exist. Fortunately we don’t have to go through that wrenching rediscovery process we thought we might have to when Saab was in jeopardy last year at this time.

    You know what’s interesting is to see the average buyer walking around an auto show and seeing their reaction when they get to Saab. It’s usually a WTF moment where they realize this car actually competes at a high level with Audi BMW and Merc, yet they can’t reconcile it in their head. I asked a few random people walking around the New York show what they thought about the car and whether or not they’d be interested in getting it if they were in the market, and the response I most frequently got was akin to, “Actually I always thought about buying a Saab but I just went for the more established brands instead.” Kind of reminds me about the reaction I get when I tell people I’m an architect, “Oh I thought about doing that when I was a kid or in school but then I said ehh..” How many sales does Saab lose because people are 3/4 of the way sold but hold back because of some really stupid superficial issues that could be quashed with an effective marketing campaign? I wonder.

    • “How many sales does Saab lose because people are 3/4 of the way sold but hold back because of some really stupid superficial issues that could be quashed with an effective marketing campaign? I wonder.”

      In the US? Trust me…a LOT.

      Hopefully, with fewer GM types at SCNA…and more people who really CARE about SAAB…things will change for the better. They sure need to do something ASAP.

      I was a SAAB Sales/General Manager back in SAAB’s good days of the late 1980s & early 1990s. I had many customers come in who had never driven a SAAB, and once I put them in a Demo, and told them to take it out for an hour or so, almost all ended up coming back and purchasing a SAAB.

      But it takes caring dealers in the first place for this to happen. And at least around where I live…those are few and far between. SCNA need to get a handle on this even faster than a good marketing plan. Because when you have Sales & Service staff turning customers off with crappy (or downright rude) attitudes…SAAB is in HUGE trouble in the US.

      • You’re both right. Improved customer service and an excellent warranty (that the masses know of!) would do wonders. Might push a lot of folks over to Saab as most people know its a good Swedish brand but they don’t want to take any chances.
        Well, no risk involved if Trollhättan/SCNA would come out and say “-We’ve got you covered for many years what”.

    • About the architect thing, I never get that. What I do get is “But I thought you were an architect? And now you tell me you’re in marketing?” Sometimes people’s minds are not flexibel at all 🙂

    • Personal story – back in 1969, my dad looked at the newly introduced 99 and test drove at two local dealers. He owned a ’67 Volvo 144S and liked the safety plus FWD benefit that the Saab had but Volvo did not. One shared the showroom with Dodge and only had three cars in stock. The other was a one car showroom, but exclusively Saab dealer. He didn’t buy the 99 because he said Saab didn’t seem to show growth – instead he traded in on a Volvo 164. He finally bought a Saab when the exclusive dealer expanded – he got one of the first 9000 Turbos in 1986. That dealer is Reinertsen Motors in Denville, NJ.
      I agree growth and establishment is huge to the US consumer. I also think once they get a chance to live with a Saab for an hour or more, they will get one, but it has to make sense financially and as I said yesterday, leasing will be the key to US sales. Saab needs to prop up the residuals instead of giving incentives to consumers, which only undermines the product.

  20. For me it’s only SAAB (own my 13th now, and I have loved them all). If there were no SAAB to buy, I think I would consider a Volvo or a Alfa.

  21. The car tests might make sense to the other buyers that have less fanatic preferences…

    I was to the hairdresser, used to go to a no fancy one where it took 8 minutes to get a hair cut, no reservation needed, but Costel, my former hairdresser, has now retired. My loving and caring wife booked me with a more upscale hair stylist, where it takes over an hour to get a hair cut. During the time he makes sure that every single hair is correctly cut, what you do, small talk. I did not really have any interest into the conversation until we came into cars, car repairs, sensors software and all other things that can be a problem on a 10 year old car. The hairdresser was driving a 1999 BMW 3-series. Then he said (out of the blue), SAAB is an interesting car, I have never driven one, but I like the looks, it is something special… I would like to try one.

    For a guy like my hairdresser, or someone who is in the market for a new car (new or new to him/her), SAAB measuring neck to neck or close to Mercedes/BMW/Audi in a car test, might get them to the show room, and from that to a test drive, and we know what usually happens then…

    Further, be happy that it was tested versus a Mercedes and not a Ford Mondeo, or a Opel Insignia, being compared to Mercedes shows that the auto journalists considers it to be competing with Mercedes for potential buyers. I would never ever buy a Mercedes, but is as many considered to be a premium car, to quote Auto Express ” The German brand has been making top-notch executive models for decades”, being compared with Mercedes is a good thing!!!

    Then we have the auto journalist problem, that they tend to have a preference towards German makes, and it is a safer bet to let the Mercedes win… as more readers most likely drive or have their dream car to be a Mercedes/BMW/Audi, not a SAAB, but this is different story…

  22. Swade, how about this reason:

    Maybe in the USA, maybe in the UK, somewhere there is a guy writing a piece called ‘I want the Merc.’ This fellow might never have considered anything else but a Merc. It doesn’t matter how good or bad the Mercs are, or how good or bad the opposition is: he wants the Merc. Now, one day, this fellow opens up AutoExpress and he reads about the Saab 9-5, a car that is not on his radar – nothing is, of course, because it’s not a Merc. He is shocked at the comparison. He tells himself that he hates the Saab, but deep inside, he secretly likes how it looks. Then, he reads the data and sees that not only is the 9-5 a match for his beloved Merc, it’s actually superior in a number of areas. Then there is the safety, the fact that it’s a little different, and this strange Scandinavian idea… He finds it all intoxicating. He is deeply shocked, traumatised even. ‘I want the Merc!’ he tells himself, over and over again. But it’s too late. The AutoExpress comparison roadtest has got him. He walks out of his home and jumps into his Merc. ‘I want the Saab,’ he says, sadly, and drives to the nearest dealership…

    Now take out the ‘Merc’, and insert whatever make you want. Saab needs to find new customers, people who have never bought them before. These kinds of tests are necessary for people to see that Saab are as good as, if not better, than other cars – that the 9-5 is no longer a dozen years old, but is up to date. Saab cannot rely only on sentiment, as it doesn’t get the job done.

    There you have it. People actually ‘cross-shop’ Mercs and Saabs. It happens. Really. Ask my father. Ask my uncle. Ask my friend’s father. Ask my friend. Ask my next door neighbour. Ask my old next door neighbour. All of them have done it.

    Ok, I have zero interest in German cars. I will never, ever buy a new one. But when I do buy a new Saab, I will be examining what Volvo, Skoda and maybe Hyundai/Kia are up to. It’s up to Saab to build the best car, if they do this, then there’s no problem. I *want* to buy the Saab, but I’m not going to wear blinkers.

    Anyway, that’s just my take – I respect this is a Saab site, for Saab enthusiasts. And a fine site it is, too!

    • What he said ^
      Seriously though, you hit the nail on the head J Fan.
      I’ve been a Saab fanboi for years, and will continue to have a huge soft spot for them for many more i expect. But for every Saab fanboi there’s at least the equivalent amount of BMW fanbois, or Mercedes or Audi fanbois.
      Saab NEEDS to convince NEW customers they want a 9-5, not the diehard enthusiasts found on this and other Saab sites.

      • Graeme, what was your impression of the driving ergonomics/comfort? I didn’t see any references in my quick glance through the review.
        This is probably the number one reason for us to buy Saabs. Driving characteristics (goes straight on any surface) overall handling (+torque) and reliability probably second and third). Safety fourth…

        • Hi RS.
          Okay, first of all the Cabin is very comfortable, the electric sports seats very supportive and finished in the premium leather of our test car felt very very nice. There was more side support than in the Mercedes part electric items, though the Saab seats didn’t adjust quite as low as we’d have liked them to.
          When we previously drove a 9-5 Aero here in the UK it did without the DriveSense package. And honestly, i couldn’t recommend it. I ensured that the car for the twin test had this fitted and it made such a difference. It still fidgets a little over broken UK roads but it was acceptable. All E-classes get adaptive dampers as standard (though there is no way to manually control them for the driver) and it has to be said that it did have a slightly better ride (though wheels that were 1 inch smaller in diameter).
          The engine seemed very strong in the Saab, of that there was no doubt. And in the pouring rain its 0-60mph figure was impressive at 6.4 seconds, but the painfully slow auto box meant it was much slower than the Mercedes to 70mph. On a dry day the Merc would have been much closer to 60mph as well. The auto-box was one of the main issues with jerky shifts and a keenness to downshift even under relatively gentle acceleration.
          In summary – both are very good. And it would likely be down to personal preference if based on these categories alone. For me i’d take the Saab for a long journey (but only because i’m a proper Saab fan), but wouldn’t be disappointed one little bit if someone told me to take the Mercedes instead.
          Hope that helps answer your question?

          • Yes it does and I think you actually nailed it right there. Wish the comments of the Saabs “work environment”, long journey philosophy and better than on paper performance would reach your readers.

            BTW what’s your take as a journalsist on a ‘halo’ 9-5?

          • For some reason it won’t let me reply to your post RS, so i’m doing it up here instead.
            Happy that you agree with my thoughts.
            As for a halo 9-5? Well if we’re talking A 400bhp Viggen then it sounds great to me as an enthusiast.
            As a journalist however i’m not so sure. The chassis (at the moment) simply isn’t as capable (in terms of feedback) as some of its current rivals. Market a halo Viggen model and it HAS to offer ultimate driving thrills and feedback, otherwise what’s the point? I think in time there is a place for such a car, but at the moment no – they need to concentrate on decent diesels for Europe, hybrid’s for America and more fuel efficient petrols as well as better gearboxes (both manual and auto).
            I’ve got to go, i finished work half an hour ago and i have a 9-5 TTiD manual 2Wd with drivesense waiting for me. It’ll be my first drive of this car, and i’m confident it will be the pick of the range. Bring on the weekend…

      • +1. Once upon a time in 1999, (when I had the NG 900), I read a test in the German Auto Motor & Sport between the Saab 9-3 TiD, Rover 75 CDT and Passat TDI. Of course the Passat won the test by points. (VW/Audi always win there.) But the Rover won the comfort part and the Saab came third. I went for a test drive of the Rover 75, very nice car and more refined than the 9-3 at the time. What put me off buying the Rover was the retro dashboard and the lack of a hatch. So I upgraded to the 9-3 TiD which I kept for almost 10 years. Reviews will never be the deciding factor for me, but it might inspire me to look at alternatives I did not really consider before.

        Today I drive a Volvo V50 and I will probably replace it by a Saab in the future. The only other brand I seriously consider would be Citroen because of the hydraulic suspension and overall comfort.

        If something like a Tesla Model S had Saab seats and was affordable, it would definitely be on the list too.

  23. Well, I plan to have my 6M Turbo-X SC for a while, since I won’t find that kind of combo in many other makes and love Saab in general.

    I also can’t can’t follow the crowd and hate passing 30 of the same car I’m driving on the highway… I also can’t go back to the Germans (I’ve had prior BMW’s) after the horrid quality experiences I’ve had (or haven’t had) and I hated the assumptions people thought about me because I drove a BMW.

    That said, if I were in the mood to cross-shop, I’d probably look at:
    1) Volvo
    2) Jaguar
    3) Infiniti

    In that order, all CPO… Infiniti gets on the list because they have more manual transmission options than many competitors. I keep hoping, as an American, that Cadillac or Lincoln will make a car that I desire. I respect what Cadillac had done, and especially like the new CTS-V wagon, but their Art&Science design motif just doesn’t appeal to me. Lincoln has finally entered the 21st century, but again, there’s no brand narrative or desirable design going on there.

    Hopefully, this just won’t be a problem for me at all and it’s Saabs all the way… Now, I can’t wait to see an upcoming XWD 9-5 SC in those Hirsch rims shown in the photo a few days ago… WOW!

  24. Mazda MX-5, Alfa Romeo 159, Citroen C6, Jaguar XF, Renault Mégane Coupé. And of course the Superformance Mark III, but that one requires ridiculous sums of money – which I don’t have.

  25. I do not know what to choose. Audi are doing some things right, but… Nah.

    But speaking of Mercedes… There is a Saab dealership way up in the north of Norway. I visited their showroom before New Year’s eve, and was surprised to find a MY10 Mercedes E-class in their showroom (a “C220”?). Turns out that someone traded in the Mercedes for a new 9-5. The guy saw a picture of the 9-5, and ordered one without any test drive.

    That is a decision that makes sense to me.

    (in case anyone are curious: Our 9-5 is not doing too well. I spoke with the mechanic yesterday, and he was still chasing down prices from Saab, trying to figure out if it pays off to repair it or not — the damage did not look too bad to me, so I think they’ll eventually decide to repair it)

  26. There are of course people that might think of trading their Merc for a Saab but maybe they are few. They like Merc for what the brand stands for and the same goes for many Saab owners. But I think anyway it is an interresting test and many readers might think so as well. And as you say Swade, if you don’t care you don’t need to read it.

  27. 1. Chrysler 300c (been there, driven that, loved it, would have another)
    2. Landrover Discovery – all-round capable motor, perfect family vehicle, too pricey
    3. Jaguar XR – lovely coupe
    4. Koennigsesgsgsg – you know the one (a tad pricey too!)
    5. Audi A5, not A7 though, not keen on the hatch
    6. 159 wagon
    7. VW Scirocco, not practical, but only good looking VW

    Not on my list –
    1. any M-B, cold clinical and surprisingly plasticky interior
    2. A4, A6, Q7, sat in tehm all, all so dull
    3. % series – loved the recent one, bored to tears by the new one, same goes for 7, where are BMW headed?
    4. Volvo – styling very soft and feminine, not remotely sporty or exciting
    5. Vauxhall/Opel all a bit dull bar the new coupe, lloks good

  28. Four years ago I was seriously considering selling my ’01 9-5 Aero and buying a new E320CDI. The Aero had 150k miles on it at the time, the deal on the Benz would have been fantastic (dealership was getting ready to change hands, car was a demo=$15+k off), and the modern diesel Benz cars are very torquey plus the benefit of improved fuel mileage.

    After I got home that night, I did more thinking and reading–that generation of E-class was dimensionally identical inside and out to the old 9-5…. and since I’d paid the car note off, I decided I didn’t want another $500 car payment for a while. Another 130k on the odo, and I’m still very happy with the Aero. 🙂

  29. I can’t see myself choosing another car over a Saab, there is just no reason for me to do that. Mercedes-Benz do make some good and beautiful cars, but they are no Saabs and absolutely no Saab-Saabs.

  30. I would get
    Saab: As soon as the future of the company is secured, and new 9-3 is available (and looking good)
    Audi: I’m actually likely get A4/A5 if it gets a facelift in the autumn.
    Range Rover: I only they would price the Evoque sensibly.
    Jaguar: If they come up with X-type replacement I’d definitely be interested!

    I could consider
    Alfa Romeo: Would love to but reliability and poor resale values make it a no-go. The new 159-replacement might be however too good to resist…
    Mini: Would love to get one but they are too small (even the Crossman)
    Volvo: Love the new S60 exterior design, but brand is just so dull…
    Volkswagen: Love the new S60 exterior design, but brand is just so dull…

    I would not get
    BMW: Love the design, and undisputedly they make great cars, but I could not imagine buying one because of the image. As someone once said: “a car for people who are not quite certain what luxury is, and buy BMW just to be sure”.
    Mercedes-Benz: A brand which is driven by people who symbolize it: Old and tired.
    Subaru: Their exterior and interior design is always generation old. Interiors are mostly made of cheap plastic.
    + Mazda, Nissan, Renault, Fiat, Citroen, Lexus, Toyota, Skoda, Seat …

    • My boss at work drives a Cooper S. He’s been driving stick for 23 years and has never had any part of a clutch burn up on him (so he’s not wreaking havoc on clutches). Earlier this year, his clutch went, the dealer put in a new one (but not a new flywheel, because they said it was still fine), and it cost him a ton. Now, his clutch AND flywheel have gone up. The dealer is replacing them for THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS. You know what this says to me? Minis are junk, stay away from them. Thank God I didn’t buy one when I had the chance.

      My clutch just went up (I’m really not very good at driving stick, but I do it anyway because I enjoy it…it could have been my fault, but the clutch has about 80k miles on it, so it was time for a new one anyway). A new clutch disk/pressure plate and flywheel will cost me about $800, plus labor. Who says Saabs are expensive to repair? Bah.

  31. Saab for a long time. Even if it wouldn’t be available from as new factory cars anymore (god forbid), I would look for good occassions, as I did in the past.

    However, if all those options would be ruled out eventually, I might have to switch to:
    1) Volvo (V70 probably)
    2) Audi A4 (Avant)

  32. Why so many negative comments against Mercedes E?
    By Saab´s introduction of the all new 9-5 II the company had not only signaled its comeback but also insisted to play a competitive role in the upper class field of cars like Mercedes E, BMW 5, Audi A6, Nissan Infiniti and so on.
    Now the motor-magazines are more and more observing the brand again and it`s their job to start comparisons of such cars. What we should see as Saab´s enthusiasts very positively is the 9-5 II is also a part of this game. In my opinion this fact alone is precious and may be an inspiration for Saab´s working people.
    Now they are in again and not any longer out. The 9-5 II has lost a battle as swade mentioned, but I mean, only. The competitor was a very famous one. I specially hope that Saab has a future and will get the opportunity to show its ability of a strong improving of its standing in order to play on the same level as all the brands we know as the top sellers in this league.

  33. Well it was not my choice, so I´m now owner of a Toyota that my mother bought because of the need for an automatic and the fact that it´s inexpensive and freed from Roadtax for 5 years.

    BUT!!! I would never ever buy a Toyota if the money was mine.

    Only brands I would even think of looking at besides Saab would be Bimmer and Honda.

    Cheers/Tom

  34. I like Subaru with SAAB, not instead of. If there were no SAAB (and in Dallas, we no longer have a new SAAB dealer…) I would probably have an 80’s Mercedes along with my Forester. I had a W123 (300 D) a several years ago and loved it. I am on the fence now as it is coming on 4 years with my 07 9-3 convertible and I am getting the itch to replace it. I do not really want a 3rd current gen. 9-3, trying to wait on the replacement coming in 2012. I do not really have the choice of the new 9-5 either with the current dealer situation. Even so, it would be the 2.0 T not the Aero. I guess, if I had to buy a new car right now with no SAAB, my choice would be a Subbie Legacy GT. Nice enough car, but the service I receive from my Subbie dealer would make it the only choice.

  35. As it is now I cannot imagine buying another brand. But when the future for Saab was its darkest I thougt about what to choose and it would be any of these:

    Honda Accord
    Subaru Legacy
    Audi A4 (a bit less appealing then the above two actually, I think it is so generic (not to speak of VW Passat))

    Logically I guess I would turn to Volvo but there is something about that (typically Swedish) Saab vs Volvo thing I just cannot get over.

    Alfa is very appealing but I would not buy it for safety reasons.

    BMW is also nice but it screams a little too much “look at me, I’m successful” to my liking. And I want FWD.

  36. If the Jets hadn´t given birth to Saab?

    Subaru – Had a Leg04 and a Outb07 before the 9-3X. But todays gen doesn´t turn me on.
    Alfa Romeo
    Volvo
    Honda – Accord latest generations. Civic.
    Lexus
    Mitsubishi – If they get their act together and deliver a proper sedan/combi. Not space ships like the Grandis.

  37. I don’t know much about Mercedes anymore, their product lines having gotten so confounded. I do know that every time I’ve attended a comparrison ride-and-drive, I’ve naturally had preconceived opinions about which cars I would like and which I wouldn’t. I always walked away from those events surprised that the Mercedes always exceeded my expectation, where the other German marques might have disappointed me some. That said, and I am sadly old enough to be seen in one. The only ones I’ve ever fancied owning were an old G-wagon….the diesel variety with MB tex seats, rubber floors, manual transmissions…..and some older E-class turbo-diesel wagons.

    I cannot think of another brand that I’d be interested in generally, though there are some particular non-Saab cars on I’d own if I could: 2CV, DS, R5 turbo (sorry, it’s the bloodline), original Mini Cooper, and a 1970 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible.

  38. As I wrote before, last May i finally received my first 2010 manufactured Saab 93 Vector SC 1.8T Biopower. Since then I believe that I have become one of Spain´s main bioethanol private buyers, feeling sad about my VISA receipts but very happy considering the combination of my only favourite car brand and the fuel I use. Apart from Saab, if GM would have closed the factory, I probably would have chosen a VOLVO S60, just because it is a Swedish car and my father used to drive an old 245 SC for many years. Alternatively I would have possibly remained faithful to RENAULT, simply because apart from Saab I am not interested at all in expensive or luxury cars, especially those MB, Audis or BMWs.

    By the way Swade, I am also still paying my house off and it took me many years to save enough money for my Saab. How is it possible you as a complete Saab fanatic and leader of this Saab community has still never felt the delicious sensation of entering a bright and complete new Saab of your own. You Australians seem really strange guys.. Anyway, your old yellow Saab 93 looks cool and I wish I would have had one like yours before! That is the advantage of old Saabs and Volvos as compared to the German cars which after 7 years look like completely uninteresting objects to me.

    regards

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