Saab UK issued a press release detailing the new specifications and changes for the 2012 9-5. Click past the break to hear all about them.
First up is the new engines. Both the Saloon and the SportWagon will get more efficient diesel and petrol engines, with lower CO2 emissions (down 4.7% on average)and improved fuel economy. They’ve fined tuned the engines (hopefully to deal with UK drivers’ tastes) and best of all, they’ve added for the first time on any Saab ever Start/Stop functionality for the 2.0 TID engine. Whether or not this is coming to the rest of the world we’re looking into, but it’s a welcome change. The 160 hp, 2.0-litre TiD engine with manual transmission has projected CO2 emissions of only 125g/km (Saloon) and 128g/km (SportWagon), a great increase in efficiency. They qualify for zero-rated excise duty and benefit-in-kind company car taxation of only 18 percent.
In combination with manual transmission, this engine features Start/Stop functionality as standard. It automatically stops running when neutral is selected and the clutch is released, and restarts when the clutch pedal is pressed to engage gear.
Saab chassis engineers went to work adapting the car on UK roads once again to gain better ride refinement, particularly on rough surfaces. They’ve already done this before to great response from the UK auto press, and hopefully this takes them that much further in competing against their rivals. On the Vector SE, the suspension adopts revised front spring rates, damper settings and bushings. The Aero gets standard DriveSense (which has been featured in the US Aero model), which gives the advanced adjustable dampening system. All XWD models come with a standard eLSD (electronic Limited Slip Differential) like the Turbo X introduced.
The interior is where I and many others have been praying for a solution to the plastics problem, fortunately there’s one in sight. The metallic effect dash center panel (which they’re calling black pearl, NOT carbon fiber, got it?) will replace the matte plastic, which will go a long way towards increasing the premiumness of the car. It’s standard on both Vector SE and Aero models. And here’s the best news yet– satellite navigation and digital radio (DAB) also become standard on all models. Finally, the death of the monochrome radio– at least in the UK. This decision can’t be understated by Saab– it’s a necessity for a car this big and at this price point. For the extra few hundred Saab needs to pay to get it in the car, they get much more back in value, at least that’s my opinion. Vector SE models also gain a multi-colour main instrument display (the one between the speedometer and tachometer on the dash). Well done Saab UK.
New active safety features include an optional rear-view camera which is mounted above the rear license plate and displays its picture on the standard 8″ touchscreen. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is also available in combination with automatic transmission and a Head-Up Display (HUD) (meaning I think you need the Auto and HUD to be able to get the ACC). It uses a radar system mounted behind the front grille then automatically brakes or accelerates to keep a safe distance behind the car it’s following. Full distance control is provided from 112 mph (where legally permitted) down to a standstill. If the car in front comes to a complete stop, the ACC is re-engaged by a tap on accelerator pedal. A Following Distance Indicator (FDI) shows the distance to the vehicle in front, and Forward Collision Alert (FCA) gives a warning in the main information display and the HUD if the vehicle ahead is too close. Sure this has been offered on competing BMW and Mercedes models for a few years now, but now it’s on a Saab and you can bet they won’t charge you near as much as the Germans do.
All in all, every change brings the 9-5 more in line with the competition. They’re all simple tweaks, but they add up to create great value for Saab owners. Once again, just as Tim Colbeck suggested in his first interviews, Saab wants to compete on a value equation with their rivals– a more rewarding and exclusive driving and ownership experience for less money. How can they lose with that?