One guy’s view – buying a Saab 9-5

I keep getting these stories and I’m so pleased to pass them on.

Again and again, the people who actually spend their hard-earned on a Saab end up being very, very happy.

Great to see a story come through from Germany, too. Just wonderful.

My thanks to Mikaik for sending his story through.


Hi Swade,

I almost can’t believe how much happened with Saab in one year. First the shock of the announcement from GM, then the hopes of a Spyker deal and, finally, the happy moment when all became official; Saab was saved (at least for the moment). I was very impressed by the effort Saab fans invested in the convoys and all other forms of showing their support for the brand. But then I got a bit angry seeing that some people, although Saab fans, started complaining about silly things and basically, at some point trashed the 9-5 almost completely.

I figured that the best way to help Saab is to buy a new car (although at that point I was still 100% I’ll keep the 9-3). I test-drove a 9-5 over one week-end, and I knew from the first minutes that it’s a good car. Of course, this did not prevent me from thoroughly testing it for another 150 km J.

The Monday after the test drive, I put my money where my mouth is and placed an order. Finally, last Wednesday, I’ve got my new car. It’s great. And java. And powerful. And fast. Did I mention that it’s great?!

It’s the 2,8l V6, Hirsch-ed to 330 hp. With the drive-sense (it’s still an option in Germany) and the HUD (of course).

First of all, maybe some people have doubts about Java (I know I did), it’s a colour that doesn’t show its true potential in pictures. I can assure you it is great. I was afraid it’d look plain black when it’s cloudy, but it’s actually quite obvious it is not black. In the sunset it seems almost deep red…I honestly think java is the best car colour I’ve ever seen.

Build quality: I’m impressed. Compared to the 9-3 is a lot better. Compared to BMW is …the same. And it’s not only me; a friend of mine, a big BMW fan, and owner, thinks that the quality of the 9-5’s interior is on par with the bavarians.

I’ve seen some comments from people saying they’re not buying the car only/mainly because of that black fascia. Frankly, this is rubbish. I did say it after my test drive and I can confirm it now: it’s not bad at all. Yes, it is black, and not the fancy ice-block design, but at least it’s a nice plastic. Plus, you don’t touch it all that much anyway. And you don’t drive staring at it (at least I hope no one would). The steering wheel on the other hand…personally I think it feels a bit cheap. I like the size and the shape, but I wish it’d have a more textured surface. But it wouldn’t prevent me from buying the same car again.

Ride: It doesn’t feel as fast as the 9-3, but it is faster (no matter what, I end up doing 80 km/h). It’s just that you don’t hear much in it, so you think it’s ok to drive a bit faster. You reach 180 km/h effortlessly and it still pulls like a train. Then comes the shock, with the realization that you’re on a part of the motorway with a speed limit (yeah, there are some, even in Germany), and you see ahead of you the frame of the speed cameraJ. The car doesn’t feel big at all. Which is quite amazing, knowing that it is 5m long and about 7cm wider than the 9-3.

There’s nothing I don’t like about this car. My wife likes it as well, although she was very much against getting an automatic car.

I’m happy Saab made it so far, and I’m confident they’ll be with us for, at least, another 30 years.

46 thoughts on “One guy’s view – buying a Saab 9-5”

  1. Mikaik, this is very inspiring. I suppose the V6 really proves itself on the autobahn. I do a lot of driving myself, between Oslo-Stockholm-Copenhagen, and whenever I see a NG 9-5 it seems to pull away so effortlessly from the rest. And yes, this seems to be the main preoccupation of the NG 9-5 drivers, leaving the rest in the dust… 🙂

  2. Good morning Mikaik,

    My congratulations for buying such a wonderful car. Enjoy it very much!!

    Really, Java is a very good choice.

    Cheers from Spain.

  3. Great review, thank you. We’re also in the process of ordering a 9-5 (not as fancy as yours, unfortunatly) and we are so in doubt which color to get. Were thinking of Fjord Blue, but also like the Oak and Java tints. Your review puts me back to Java a bit… hmm…

    Well, have fun driving your Deer-tuned car. We’ll probably make our order early March, waiting if there’s any news in Geneva. How long did delivery take?

    • Delivery took about 3 months. Which is already one moth faster than the 9-3, back in 2007 🙂

      Choosing between Fjord Blue and Java wasn’t easy. Now that I have the car, I know it was the right choice for me. The problem is that you don’t get to see one before you actually place an order (I’ve only seen black and two kinds of grey).

      I’ll try and take some “proper” pictures, maybe you’ll get a better idea.

      • Well done Mikaik! I was also sceptic about the java when I first heard about it here, but I changed my mind the moment I saw it IRL! It was exactly like yours and it looked just fantastic, when you see the car on the highway it really stands out, especially the java/aero.

      • Yes, those more interesting colors are hard to find in person. My local dealer has a number of new 9-5 cars, but they are all black, black, silver, grey, white, silver….

  4. Mikaik, what a great write up and you’ve got an healthy view on things as well. And your car… Man that is exactly the one I would choose. Maybe I would concider the 190hp diesel. But as I have driven the V6 I know it is a great engine and with that Hirsch kit it would be the ice on the cake I assume. Congrats to a great car and to you as a great Saab ambassdor!

  5. OT: Come oooooon show me the new 9-3 already. I’m looking for a new car and I’m dying to see it.

    phew, just needed to vent.

  6. Two fingers to BMW in their back yard, me likey… my previous 9-3 Aero was bought at the Saab City (no more) on Odeonsplatz and serviced by Luzzi and Luzzi on Wasserberger Landstrasse.

    Was the test drive along the A8 towards Ingolstadt?, that really is a nice piece of road, allowing for 130 mph+ cruising. Funny how short trips become long ones…. is that why Ian Allan Saab charge courtesy car users by the mile I wonder??

    Good luck with the new wheels 😉

  7. Hi Mikaik,

    Glückwunsch to your purchase!

    I will be looking for you and your new 9-5 in Munich since I have never seen one yet on the road…:-D

    Have fun!

  8. Congratulations from a fellow 2010 9-5 Aero owner in the US. I have had mine since last Sept and I think you’ll find the car gets more fun each day. Good luck

  9. Great story, Mikaik! Enjoy your new 9-5. I also enjoyed hearing that your wife prefers a manual transmission to automatic. 🙂

    • To clarify my last point…..I find that here in the US, I find that almost all women drivers want automatic transmission in this class of car.

    • The wife says:

      Theoretically, yes, I would chose a manual transmission to an automatic any day. I was persuaded I would not like automatic.That said, after the first couple of minutes of drive test, I was already a convert and decided that I could actually live with having to drive this gorgeous for some years. 😉
      And as a side note, I think that this car could be made a lot more interesting to the feminine segment of the market if only someone would say just how easy it is to drive AND park it. But then again, you can’t imagine it until you try it.
      Anyway, it’s a great car. Very happy with it.
      And thank you for the nice comments. Hubs has a way with words, has he not? 😉
      Roger, over and out.

  10. Congratulations, Mikaik!

    My local dealer has a java 9-5. The color is amazing.

    I had a 9-5 Turbo6 as a dealer courtesy car last Friday. Thanks to stories like this on S-U, I knew to keep the HUD up and watch my speed. Amazing car otherwise, felt like a V6 9-3 and very precise handling.

  11. I just overnight have been driving a white 2011 9-5 Biopower 4 automatc as a loaner can from the (excellent) Shaw Saab on Massachusett’s South Shore while my Turbo-X SC is in for a quick rear wiper pump replacement and I can confirm everything written here. Here’s my mini-review after my 24 hours with a 2011 9-5:

    – Styling: Absolutely gorgeous. The car is amazing in white.
    – Feel: It’s remarkable how similar to my TX the 9-5 feels, just far smoother, more refined, and higher quality. It definitely feels 100% Saab in how it drives, where everything is located inside, how everything works, and how everything looks.
    – Seats: The most comfortable chairs (that’s what they feel like) I’ve experienced in a car, better than my TX seats (which, while great, have always been missing something for me). It has the usual Saab seat heating RIGHT NOW.
    – Handling: As many have said, the car drives MUCH smaller than it looks, remarkably so. Amazingly, at times it feels more light and nimble than the BMW 135i I owned previously despite being MUCH bigger.
    – Power: For 98% of drivers, the 9-5 Biopower has more than ample umph and power. I was passing most everyone on the highway with ease. For me personally, though, coming from the TX which has silly levels of speed at any gear whenever you want it, I’d desire more power. If I went with the 4, it’d need some Hirsch tuning. I’d love to try a 6, but I wonder if the 9-5 doesn’t feel as “tossable” with that motor as with this 4…
    – Transmission: Shifts are a bit more noticable with the automatic than I’d like. The manual mode is useless given long delays between input and action.
    – Ride: Outstanding with the base suspension. I haven’t tried the sport, but I can’t imagine a mix of firmness and compliance better than what this 9-5 has right now.
    – Interior: I completely agree that the interior quality is on par with BMW, having owned recent 1 and 3 series models and having exposures to 5 series and MB as well. While this isn’t true of the 9-3, it’s completely true of the 9-5. It feels like it’s carved from marble, with high quality pieces. For Saab, the turn signal stalk is a revelation. With the previous gen 9-3, they felt like they were going to fall off, and with my TX, they feel, well, OK, but a bit cheap. Not this 9-5. Rock solid and very high “preceived quality” all the way. With the navigation system (well done), the impact of that black center panel is greatly minimized and my loaner car’s light colors with wood trim (which, as Pierre pointed out, needs some work) lighten and “luxury” things up substantially. While I’m usually a fan of all black interiors in luxury cars (as in my TX), for the 9-5 I think the lighter tones are essential for giving it a luxury “feel” compared to the black interior 9-5’s I’ve seen.
    -Dashboard: Beautfully styled and feels very Saab. Again, definitely do the navigation rather than the 1980’s style small green info screen.
    -MPG: On the highway, I averaged nearly 30 mpg.

    Summary: I have to say that my quick 24 hour exposure to the 9-5 dramatically changed my opinion of it as only driving a car can do. I previously viewed the 9-5 as a beautiful Saab that was still a bit too big for my tastes, down a bit on power in the 4 cylinder models, and perhaps didn’t feel “Saab enough” or premium enough in the interior. Well, I’m thrilled to be proven wrong. The 9-5 has MB and BMW levels of refinement and performance and the interior of my loaner in the way it’s trimmed and equiped absolutely feels premium. Does this model feel like it’s worth the $47,000-ish it likely commands? Absolutely. Most impressively is that, behind the wheel, this car is 100% Saab in how it drives, looks, and works and amazingly it doesn’t “feel” that much bigger than my 9-3 TX around town. While I personally still would like a bit more power in the 4 (hello Hirsch), most people won’t be left wanting at all.

    I had previously imagined that in a few years I would replace my current Turbo X with the next generation 9-3, having somewhat dismissed the 9-5 in my future plans somewhat as I waited for the first “Saab Saab,” but now I’m not so sure and will certainly think about it when the time comes. It’s certainly nice to have options :-). Existing Saab owners and anyone considering a car that size should absolutely drive the 9-5 before dismissing it as an “interim” model.

  12. Congrats – I am another us owner of a 2010 9-5 Aero since Nov. Love the car too! I wonder how much of difference the Hirched upgrade makes? Would be interested if it is worth the upgrade?

    • Thanks!
      My car seems faster and more responsive than the demonstrator (the stock 2,8), but it is difficult to compare them with 3 months gap between the rides. Maybe I should book another test drive?! 😉
      I think it was worth the upgrade, the car’s very nippy. But then again, would I possibly admit I’ve wasted my money on something useless?!

  13. Congratulations. Enjoy your car and maybe you can tell us more on the consumption
    and fuel type(Super plus?)…….I´m just dying to see the SC all Hirsched up…and hope to get one next year.

  14. Hello Mikaik,

    My congratulations with great purchase !
    I’m enjoing my 9-5 Aero 2.8 for 30 days already. And in general my opinion is absolutely same as yours. But there are few weak points that must be improved.
    – Strange situation with front window water noozles, at -25 C works noozle at the passenger side, but drivers not. (I had same story with my previous 9-5 2005)
    – Infotainment touchscreen user interface, not convinient. And i found 2 bugs 🙂
    – Main disappointment was that remote start feature available only in US.

    But all these points wouldn’t prevent me from buying this car again 🙂
    I love my Laser Red JET !


    • Yes, like Anders said – give us pictures!!! The only laser red 9-5 I’ve seen is in the Swedish magazine “ViB” long haul test. But I’d love to see some more!!

    • Then it’s a good thing the computer I have at work excels in not performing the required tasks and works at a speed that rivals the Z80. Builds up patience…

      What bugs did you find?

    • Here are pictures on the day of arrival from Sweden[email protected]/
      Really amazing colour ! 🙂 love it

      First bug – non working call button in the address book, so i had to touch phone number to call. Second also non working button, but somewhere in radio menu.

      Collest moment was when i saw BMW 745 with 2 passengers looked at me and showed thumbs up 🙂

      • I sooooo envy you right now. That’s just so beautiful that I don’t have any words. The color – the design – the rims – just everything. Enjoy every second of it.

        Which interior did you go for? Black or bright?

        • I decided to take black one.

          And further to all above said, black center panel looks absolutely fine, and material feels like velvet.

  15. It is so reassuring that those who have the exposure to these vehicles respond so positively. It is even more encouraging when those who have “doubts” are willing to express that their reservations are either valid or not valid. It is better for Saab to have a building sales momentum which is slower yet more substantial, than to be swamped with orders so large that they can’t meet them and end up alienating their customer base. : )

  16. I ordered my 9-5 Aero 2.0 TTiD XWD (Jet Black) yesterday and can’t wait for it to arrive (estimated delivery date: June 20th!).
    This is my first Saab… I was initialy in the market for a BMW 5 or an Audi A5 or A6 but then I saw the new 9-5 and it was love at first sight!
    I really look forward to driving it all the way from Belgium to the south of France in july :o)

    • One more example of how the 9-5 CAN compete with the BMW 5 series and Audi A6. Here is a first time Saab owner who chose the 9-5 over those other two! Congratulations on your order!

      Now, once you take delivery, your task is to show others the wisdom of your choice! Thus…more sales for Saab. 🙂

      • To be honest, I was also worried about buying a 5 series or an A6 because you see a lot of these cars in the streets and I like to be different (or maybe it is just being contrarian).
        What I find really cool about the 9-5 is that it has a look that sets it appart from the other cars of this segment. It has, litteraly, a killer look.
        I had read in reviews that the interior was ‘cheap’ compared to the germans but, comparing it with my father A5 or my uncle’s E class, I think they are on par (I don’t mind the black center panel at all, in fact I wouldn’t trade it for wood, but maybe that’s just me).
        And as a bonus , the interior really feels different too with the green lighting…
        Maybe SAAB means being different? I just love it 😮

  17. I forgot to add to my comments that my previous car was a 2008 BMW 535xi, before I purchased the 2010 Saab 9-5 Aero and I like the Saab as much or more! Of course I had 3 9-5’s before the Bimmer 🙂

  18. I was trying to get a peek at the interior colour, but couldn’t see it from the pics… Beige?

    And, btw, congrats on the purchase! 😀

  19. Pedro – yes, it’s beige. We figured it goes well with baby barf, one of my winter coats and my favourite bag. 😉

    The wife

    • …………….. excellent selection methodology! …………. andf +100 for the great laugh you provided me this late evening working here in Sweden!!

  20. Update: It appears there’s a -5km/h difference between the speed shown on the HUD and an external gps device.

    I’ve tested it at different speeds, as I think Rune believed there’s a percentage and not a fixed value. According to my gps, the difference is around 5km/h at 80 km/h, 90km/h, 110 km/h and 120 km/h. Tests were done using cruise control (for about 5 mins) and taking the average speed reading from the gps.

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