Saab 9-5 can have better real life mileage *UPDATE*

Was it really a petrol powered 9-5 in the UK MPG Marathon?? Their own site says this “and the test model’s twin-turbo 190 hp version, which also comes in all-wheel-drive” Did they compete in Class 4 for diesel cars with CO2 emissions over 121 g/km?
In June Saab Spain showed in the ALD Ecomotion Tour that the Saab 9-5 TiD can have 17% better mileage values than the European test cycle (NEDC).

This time ALD and Shell have organized a similar event in the UK the 2011 MPG Marathon. Saab entered the UK event with a 9-5 Saloon Turbo4 Aero, which has already quite decent mileage values for its size.

The Saab 9-5 was driven by motoring journalist Iain Robertson accompanied by navigator, Robert Marshall, returning 43.81mpg, a 27.35% increase over the official combined fuel consumption figure of 34.4mpg and a place on the podium.

You can read a rather long press release from Saab UK after the jump

Maximise fuel efficiency with Saab

Saab’s commitment to delivering a more fuel efficient drive for its customers was demonstrated amply, when it entered a 2.0-litre petrol turbo 9-5 Saloon Aero in the 2011 ALD Automotive /Shell Fuel Save MPG Marathon; an annual fuel economy driving challenge held over two days and covering a challenging 370-miles designed to replicate a typical motorist’s driving route.

Saab’s 9-5 2.0-litre petrol turbo, driven by motoring journalist Iain Robertson, one of the UK’s top eco drivers, accompanied by his experienced navigator, Robert Marshall, returned an impressive 43.81 mpg, a 27.35% improvement over its official combined fuel figure of 34.4 mpg and a victorious place on the podium.

Iain Robertson commented, “We employed neither ‘tricks’ nor ‘cheats’ to prove the immense potential of the car’s engine. In other words, we relied on the Saab’s engine technology to cut fuel usage and its superior amount of torque, at remarkably low engine speeds, to achieve the improved figure.

“It is only by adopting a series of carefully applied driving techniques that we know the savings were possible. Yet, they are techniques that can be applied by any careful driver.”

It has long been expected that drivers seeking greater fuel economy would creep along main roads and cause other road-users some inconvenience. The Saab entry in the MPG Marathon has disproved that contention.

“The key to obtaining a good fuel return,” continued Iain, “lies in reaching a sensible and legal cruising speed and maintaining it with little more than a whisker of throttle depression. Planning as far ahead as possible, to avoid unnecessary fuel-sapping stops, and accelerating progressively, to pass slower vehicles, are by far the most effective means to driving economically.”

With a company history based on producing vehicles possessing an engineering conscience, Saab endeavours to ensure that even its highly-powered petrol turbo models can return extraordinarily good fuel figures.

Charles Toosey, Managing Director of Saab GB, said, “Excellent on-road performance can still work hand-in-hand with respectable fuel consumption. Even though Saab produces a number of high-performance petrol cars, developing well in excess of 220 hp, allied to exceptional pulling potency of 350 Nm, high fuel costs need not be a consideration, as long as the car is driven in a judicious manner.”

Avoiding harsh acceleration is key but, reaching the required cruising speed, without indulging in the car’s cruise control technology, is also crucial. In fact, maintaining momentum is every bit as important and this is where the ability to plan and look beyond the normal driver’s range of sight is imperative. Block gear shifting (such as going directly from second to fifth gears) and avoiding harsh braking are additional techniques that can be applied.

Naturally, traffic snarl-ups that occur for commuters on today’s roads are known to increase fuel consumption. Yet, Iain Robertson offers an antidote to that situation.

“If a driver is caught up in traffic,” he proposed, “losing one’s cool is an unfortunate by-product. By concentrating, avoiding stop-start scenarios and even seeking alternative routes or departure times, to miss out the traffic build-up, a car’s fuel economy will benefit to new and measurable peaks.”

The Saab 9-5 all turbo powertrain line-up starts at 1.6-litres and carries forward Saab’s rightsizing engine strategy, which focuses on responsible performance through the development of highly efficient and smaller capacity four cylinder turbo engines. Both petrol and diesel engines are offered, with diesel CO2 emissions as low as 125g/km. Prices start from £26,995. For more details on the Saab 9-5 range, visit

31 thoughts on “Saab 9-5 can have better real life mileage *UPDATE*”

  1. Ha, fantastic news!
    Again, kudos to the Saab engine engineers and what they can do with “less” of a budget compared to the “competition”….
    Great driver helps also, good tips in the article how to reduce the consumption.
    Did the Saab 9-5 win with the 27% better mpgs than spec?

  2. This is not unusual, at least in comparing USA EPA mileage estimates to real world. The mileage estimates are made by measuring the amount of fuel used in the emissions test, which includes periods of full open throttle. The ability of any turbo engine to produce prodigious amounts of power results in a far higher fuel consumption.

    • Here in Europe it usually happens the other way around… Official numbers are usually a bit on the optimistic side when compared to real world driving.

      • The driving cycles used for measuring fuel consumption have a rather low average speed and accelerations are done slowly, but are repeated many times. In other words, the average load on the engine is low and you’re never anywhere near full throttle during the cycle. When you then put the car in the hands of a regular driver he or she will drive faster and accelerate harder, and the fuel consumption goes up.

        The kind of driving performed with the european driving cycle also tend to benefit small light cars with underpowered engines, particulary if they have start stop and other technologies that benefit the fuel consumption at low loads and standstill. That means some cars will be on the optimistic side, while generally more powerful, larger and heavier cars will be on the pessimistic side.

  3. I do drive a 9-5 Vector TID and have already 41.000 KM with this car.
    My average consumption over this whole period is 6.1 liters/ 100 Km.
    The car just drives so good and is economic in her consumption.

  4. Both petrol and diesel engines are offered, with diesel CO2 emissions as low as 125g/km.

    Is this a typo? Or have they further improved the consumption figures for the MY12 9-5 SS TiD.

    • No it is not a typo, the MY 12 9-5 SS TiD will do 125g /km and the SC 128 g/km, and something tells me that this is the end of the road.

      • Bloody he$$. That’s 30% less than our old faithful (9-3) which can be driven easily under 5 L/100km (highway) if one wishes to save a little on fuel.
        Now, lets get that line moving 🙂

  5. Saab – please start building my next car. PLEASE…… I thought an average of 33.4 mpg from a 9-5 Aero 260PS Auto wasn’t bad…even better when it achieves similar mpg to my girlfriends Golf 1.6 Auto.

  6. I’m not surprised. Even my 9-5 2,8T gets better mileage than the official figures. I’ve been driving to work (only town) in the last couple of months and the average consumption never went higher than 14l/100km. The official figure is 16,2. And we’re talking about the hirsched version.

  7. These and the Combis would sell HUGE worldwide in that “quirky niche” known as police, cab, livery, light delivery. Even normal people would buy them. Conspire with the Chinese whatever, DO what needs to be done to save the world from the dreaded German auto-superiority MYTH!!

  8. I have a 2010 2.8T V6 Aero. I can average 24 MPG in awful DC traffic. On the highway at 70 mph, I can easily average 30 MPG in comfort mode,.

  9. The last 10 days I have owned a new 9-5 XWD 2.0 AERO petrol engine with Hirsch upgrade 260HP.
    Average consumption is 11,7 L/100 km
    It’s very bad if you compare it with my old 9000 CD turbo 1992 (11 L/100 km)
    And also with my previous car , Honda Type-R (8,5 L/100 km)

    • Nikolaos, I don’t mean to be rude but did you look at the specs before buying the petrol 9-5 XWD?

      If we look at the official figures, the combined consumption for the Turbo4 with Hirsch is 10.4l/100 km so I wouldn’t say 11.7 is that bad if you drive a little more urban. Hirsch reports 15.6l/100 km as the official city figure.
      The 9000 is a 1400 kg car, so the NG 9-5 at 2 tons especially with 4WD and autobox is definitely more a highway cruiser than for example a 9-3 with FWD.

  10. My TTiD XWD have finally come down to some really good fuel consumption figures.

    I did a 2 x 400 km runs the other day and the average fuel consumption was 5.8 l / 10km (the meter told me that the average was 6.4). It took about 20 000 km before this happened, but now, I can drive for 900-1000 km with out stopping for fuelling and there is still some left. Where I live this is a good thing because there is far between gas stations.

  11. The best I ever did with my 9-3 TTiD convertible (MY2011, 160HP/360Nm), is a real life consumption of 5,24 liters over a distance of 1023,4 km. Which is actually pretty close to the official figure for mixed usage of 5,2 liters. I also found out it helps me to consume less if I keep track of my actual consumption figures – it’s a great motivator 😉 I keep my log at .

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