As I already wrote in a post earlier this week I had the opportunity to take a closer look at the 9-5 Hirsch Performance. The base for the car is the 2,8T V6 Aero. Hirsch added the 330 hp engine upgrade, lowering kit, aerodynamics package, 20″ forged wheels, quad exhaust and leather interior…
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I just love the looks of the car. It’s sportier but it’s still a 9-5. Designwise there are two details that I want to point out about the body kit. One is that the side sills cover that small grille behind the front wheels. Looks great, especially on a white car. The other is how the rear spoiler follows the lines of the car.
The big fun begins as you start the engine. The quad exhaust sounds extremely great. From a dark mumble at low revs up to powerful roar at full throttle there is everything in it. I had my window down during my drive on small roads so I could enjoy it even more. That illustrates the fact that inside the car the sound is never annoying. It’s there when you push the car but during relaxed cruising the car is almost as quiet as the standard 9-5. Here’s a small soundbit (it’s not that loud, so you’ll need to turn up the volume on your computer a bit):
I picked up the car near Nürnberg so the first part of my drive consisted of 160 km autobahn to Munich. Luckily there was not that much traffic so I could travel at around 180-200 kph. On a few occasions traffic was even light enough to push the car to about 250 kph. Even at those high speeds the 9-5 Hirsch Performance is remarkingly stable. As you can expect with 330 hp and 430 Nm the acceleration of the car is impressive. One particular thing I liked while accelerating at full throttle was that as the automatic shifts from fifth to sixth gear just over 210 kph you still can feel a push in your back. On the other hand it’s really relaxing to cruise at 180 kph.
Back in Munich I’ve did a roundtrip I like to go with cars I get for a test drive. It features a country road, a bit of up and down with serpentines and – my favourite part – a small, winding and in some parts heavily patched road through a forrest just before I get on the autobahn back home. Despite the 9-5 can not neglect its size I was impressed how well it can handle those small bends even if you dare the car a bit more. I did a good part of that roundtrip in manual mode using the shift paddles and a bit higher revs and yes, that’s a bucketload of extra fun (here and then the tyres let me hear how far I went…). For a moment I almost forgot about the car’s size. 🙂 The autobahn was pretty empty so I could take the car up to 255 kph, my personal best this time as I didn’t want to overdo it just to reach the max speed of 260 kph. I didn’t play with my GPS but I heared from another test that they measured 263 kph as the limiter kicked in. So the HUD speed seems to be pretty exact with the 20″ wheels.
This car also featured the carbon leather dashboard. I’ve seen already seen a few prototypes during the development but for the first time in the car. Contrary to the 9-3 where the dashboard is replaced with the Hirsch equivalent the parts for the 9-5 consist of a thin platic part covered with leather. These parts have an adhesive tape (like e.g. Mercedes uses to affix spoilers to cars) on the back to stick them to the standard dash. The reason for not replacing the original part is easy: all the buttons and knobs are seperately screwed to the dashboard which in case of replacement would lead to too many working hours for installation.
While I really like the looks of the carbon leather the dashboard will also be available in plain leather just like with the 9-3. It’s a bit hard to photograph but I tried.
Now the white Hirsch has gone back to Switzerland (sniff) and I have to say that I was pretty impressed. I’ve driven the same roundtrip in a standard 9-5 2,8T a while before and I can assure you that I felt the differences the Hirsch stuff makes, especially at high speeds and in quick bends. Not that the standard 9-5 is bad, but if you like it sporty you will get even more fun out of the car. As for the fuel consumption I ended up at about 13,5l/100km which I think is not a representative number as I was pushing almost all of the time. Also, I had no problems with ground clearance even though we have some pretty ugly speed bumps around here. And those looks – I didn’t think I’d ever say that about a white car but it looks just stunning. In metal even better than on those pics.
Thanks again to Manfred at Hirsch for making this test drive possible.