Till72 is a SU regular living in Germany. He owns a Saab 9-3x and pretty soon, he’ll be heading off to the Saab Ice Experience for a bit of ice driving and ice hotelling.
Prior to all that, though, he’s been having a few more localised adventures. This is what he’s been doing.
Driving a couple of 9-5s, including one owned by Rene Hirsch
Early in the morning, last Wednesday, I was heading towards Sankt Gallen, Switzerland to get a new goodie for my Saab 9-3x. This alone would have been exciting enough but in addition I had a special appointment that day.
But first, I have to rewind a little…..
A week earlier my dealer was kind enough to leave his Aero6 to me for two days so I could get a proper impression. One night I took a ride on a route I often take, in normal life and when I test drive a car. It’s a small winding road with some hills, some serpentines and at the end a few kilometres of Autobahn. The Turbo6 was super impresive – not for a single moment did I feel that the 9-5 was underpowered when accelerating out of the curves or overtaking. XWD and drive sense do a great job and I had it to “intelligent” all the time. I even tried to overdo it a bit in some occasions but nothing really could ruffle the car.
As I got on the Autobahn, I had no traffic ahead (it was quite late) and the road there is absolutely straight so I kicked the pedal down and the 9-5 accelerated eagerly until the HUD showed 252. I lifted my foot a little as there were some bends ahead (I’m a bit shy when I’m driving someone elses car), which I took at 240 without feeling unsecure for a second. To prevent comments about going that fast on public roads: I was literally alone on the Autobahn at that time.
I came away with a very good impression of the Aero V6, which was useful as I had another V6 to drive the next week 🙂
That brings me back to the trip to Switzerland. We had real Saab weather on that day. First sleet, then snow, then sleet again. As I crossed the Swiss border it was snowing heavily, one of those days when you’re even especially happy that you’re in a Saab.
As I arrived at Hirsch’s service area, I handed over my car keys and Manfred from Hirsch and I went up to the dealership where René Hirsch handed us the keys to his personal Saab 9-5 Aero V6. I can tell you that I was pretty excited getting the chance to drive Mr Hirsch’s own car. So with Manfred as navigator I went for a spin through that heavy snow…
I had expected that this test drive would be somehow slower than the week before. Swiss law makes speeding quite expensive to start with. And with the weather, it was maybe the slowest test drive I’ve ever done (remember, I’m shy when I drive someone elses car). Nevertheless it was an excellent test for the handling under those conditions. On our trip we took small, hilly and winding roads and had at best up to 20cm of snow with ice underneath. We passed quite a few cars that could not get up the hills but XWD had absolutely no traction problems.
Towards the end of the test drive we had some clearer roads and I could experience the performance of the engine and the tweaked suspension a bit better. The car feels sportier than the standard version but is still comfortable. The 20“ wheels also play their role in improving handling and they look just awesome.
The extra kick in acceleration with that 330 hp/430Nm performance upgrade is the icing on the V6 cake. We went on the Swiss autobahn where I had the chance to feel acceleration up to some speed I won’t mention here but you can really feel the additional thirty horses. I would have loved to take it to top speed but I have no doubt that you can reach the 260 kph (electronic) limit.
It’s no secret that I’ve always been a fan of the Hirsch stuff. Now I am even more so, and I’d recommend the upgrade to Aero6 owners who’d like some extra driving pleasure.
Secretly I hope to get a chance to try that car again in dry conditions someday… 🙂
As we came back to the dealership I took a look at the showroom which was filled with eight Saabs and ten Lamborghinis. Even though I am not a particular fan of Italian sportscars I have to admit that it’s much better if Saab is to share a showroom with Lamborghini than, for example, with Opel as it was quite often here in Germany.
I can predict quite a few comments as I write this and to those concerned about engine power, I say this: those 330 hp are well suited to the 9-5. Most people would even be fine with the 300 hp base version but those ten percent more power add more than ten percent of additional fun. Combine it with the tweaked suspension and the 20“ wheels and you’ve got a real sporty but comfortable car. It may not be enough to race a 911, but that’s not the purpose of a 9-5, is it?
Thanks again to Andi at Autohaus am Goetheplatz in Munich and René and Manfred at Hirsch for making these experiences possible.