Hirsch Performance Leather Interior For The 9-5 – Re-Posted

When I posted this article two particular questions came up. So I went to clarify them and decided to re-post the article.

1. Why is the kit not available for RHD?
As sad as it is, this is related to the lack of production at Saab. Of course it can be made for RHD, too, but this will only happen if Trollhättan really starts to make cars again. At the current state the expected sales just can’t justify the tooling costs.

2. How durable is that heavy duty adhesive tape?
The parts in the white 9-5 Hirsch Performance prototype have been affixed with that tape over a year ago. One winter and one summer have caused absolutely no problems. The manufacturer states that it is good for 300+° F, which should be enough for a car interior. Additionally, the fact that other manufacturers use this tape to mount spoilers speaks for itself I think.

Some of you have already spotted it on the Hirsch Performance site – the leather interior upgrades for the 9-5 are now available. The kit contains a cover for the light switch panel, centre stack and and gear lever cover.

I am a huge fan of the leather interior parts Hirsch offers. I installed them on both 9-3s we have and they make such a huge difference. The parts for the 9-5 are no exception – I’ve followed the development process a bit and got to see the final parts on my last visit to St Gallen a few weeks ago. One of the most astonoshing things to me is that they manage to upholster the parts with carbon leather without distorting the structure. A really fine piece of craftsmanship.

While the leather interior parts for the 9-3 replace the standard parts, the covers for the 9-5 are affixed on the original panels using a special heavy duty adhesive tape. Other car manufacturers for example use that tape to mount spoiler parts. The reason for that approach lies in the fact that all switches in the centre console are screwed. So it would take a huge amount of working time to loose and tighten that screws when replacing, let alone getting all switches back to the right position.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the white 9-5 Hirsch Performance prototype that had this interior installed and believe me, this is a good, practical solution. And if you have a steady hand, you can surely do the installation on your own.

As with the 9-3, two different kinds of leather are available. Nappa leather, that with ornamental seams is the more understated and very precious version. The other variant and my personal favourite is Carbon leather, which is natural leather, embossed with a carbon fibre structure. I just love the haptic and the sporty look it applies to the inside of the car.

Both versions give the car a more premium feel. Those leather updates are the most beautiful interior option I’ve seen for the 9-5 so far. Another advantage of the black leather is that it minimizes distracting glare in sunny as well as night driving conditions. A huge enchancement that is sure worth the investment.

Check hirsch-performance.ch for more info.

52 thoughts on “Hirsch Performance Leather Interior For The 9-5 – Re-Posted”

  1. Maybe Hirsch should think about a less black leather. Maybe dark brown leather for the Cocoa interior?

    But from those two I would chose the carbon leather, it puts a structure to those big black surfaces, making it less monotone.

  2. I`m toying with the idea of the 9-3 leather upgrade, but it seems only the top section of the door grab handle is leather covered, likewise the handbrake lever. Presumably the leather (which someone else remarked on as being quite thin), is glued on. But it does seem that the upgrade leaves the lower part of the handles and brake lever as the original rubberised covering, which sort of defeats the object of the exercise – any comments would help me come to a decision, because the feel of the originals is truly awful.

    • You’re right that the leather on the door handles doesn’t go all the way around. That was a minor disappointment for me when I had the package installed. The parking brake leather does go all the way around, and that’s very satisfying. Besides the nicer feel of the leather, the installation also eliminated the squeaking from the door handles that had always bothered me, besides the tacky plastic feel of them. On the whole, I’m well pleased with the change; it makes the car feel more finished to me, and I like the fact of having added my own, “personal” touch, in all sense of the word. The next thing I want to do is remove the dashboard fascia and get it repainted so that the chrome rim goes away. Oh, the car is a 2008 Aero, truly the best car I’ve ever owned, which includes four other Saabs, a BMW, a VW, and Volvo.

        • I just got a set for my convertible- love the feel of it, but still question the price value ratio. But with the French seam stitiching, it feels great everyday when I pull close the door. Leather does feel very thin- I do it holds up well over time, anyone have a set for some time? I love the look of the smart cover, i noticed the newer factory models dont even have the credit card slot in the cover anymore…since I never used it anyway, i guess i didnt loose anything with the solid leather cover
          Wish the dash kit was still available for the pushbutton dash, so i think I’ll have mine painted steel grey after the new year to match my exterrior. Focusing on the detsails of my car- helps me avoid the current turmoil.

  3. hallo,
    i lissing very mutch of the saabcar 9.5……… but notting of the convertible 9.3 griffin,i wait of april,it is very pleaser for us when jou give information of the griffin,thanks!!!!!!!!

  4. This should be standard instead of the materials they currently use; hopefully when production starts back up again they will have a new supplier and have the autoshow version of the dash instead of the plain plastic.

    • Kanundrum,
      the dash materials (problem) has been solved with MY 12. In other words, MY 12 will use different materials than the current ones, but not the ones from the Frankfurt Motor show back in 2009.

      I had my car hirsched from the first day, but it was done by my dealer, I don’t know what is the problem of doing it this way versus letting it be done in THN.

  5. Seems to be well crafted and adapted.
    Apropos the discussions about GM: The one item that annoys me each time I see pictures of the 9-5-interior is the GM-steering-wheel – and the buttons on it -. to “smart”/fancy/vulgare – not very Saabish/Scandinavian …

    • Have you driven with it yet? It’s actually the best Saab wheel I’ve ever felt. Great grip width, the flattened bottom provides a great center, and the volume control rolls instead of pushes down which is far more ergonomic. Is it the brightwork that you don’t like? The font?

      • I didn’t like it until I drove one. It is incredible, for sure the best wheel I’ve ever driven with ever. Feels like it is the only way to drive after trying it.

      • I too like the NG 9-5’s wheel. I wish it were slightly thicker like the TurboX wheel, but I dig the flat bottom and the rolling volume control also.

      • Ummm, Not sure what you me by rolling volume contol, but that is certainly not the case on my NG 9-5 Aero, the thing that looks like a “roller”, changes the pre-set station if you “flick” it, the buttons to the right of that adjust volume. I also am not a big fan of the cruise switch, nor the lack of places to rest my palms on the bottom of the wheel with that giant spoke impeding on my hand space. And since you mentioned font, bring back the griffin!

        • Furthermore, it could be a bit more padded, or the leather thicker. On my 1500 mile journey back with my new car, I had some hand fatigue from the hard steering wheel. Yeah, I’m picky and obsessive, but ultimately isn’t that what helps to build a better car?

        • Roll/flick … just not push. 😉

          I do link the cruise on the wheel. Hands don’t need to leave the wheel to activate it. I just hit it with my thumb to turn it on.

          Agree that the griffin looks better on the wheel because it a) looks cooler; and b) adds some color!

          • Ok, I should’ve been clearer. The cruise on the steering wheel is fine. It’s the cheap toggle switch to turn it off/on I have an issue with.

            And yes, the Griffin is cool and the color is needed in there.

            At least I can look out my kitchen window each morning and see it on the hood of the car and know that’s it’s still around.

          • Unfortunately the volume control is by up/down pushbuttons. The roller-looking control is for tracks/presets (up/down) and audio source (push).

            It is a great steering wheel, though.

        • Agree- I’m okay with the Griffin on the inside, but use script on the outside, Wifes 9-7x aero went out of warranty two weeks ago- this weekend, the hood emblem was lost. Or keep the griffin but go to a jewel cut silver griffin like vauxhaul or holden. It smacks of inferrior quality- everyone I know has had to replace their hood emblem no matter the model

  6. It’s important to note that the leather dash kit for the MY10 and later (NG) 9-5 Sedan are not available in the North American market. This may change going forward.
    AJ Murphy
    Just Saab

    • It’s just dumb. Since it’s for left side driver cars, why wouldn’t it be available? Do I have to go through the foolishness of ordering from a dealer in GB? I’ve done it before. Anyone know what the price will be (in Euros)?

    • Bring it to North America! And add me to those who would like to see another color or two. Anyone know about any company that may be able to do real wood in these areas vs. leather?

    • I have a customer interested in this, glad to see it will be available in the U.S. market. We have performed the performance upgrade to many already, and 1 exhaust upgrade. Always uncomfortable telling somebody “No, we can’t do that”.

    • As soon as production is resumed and there are a serious amount in the market it should come. Meanwhile, the only Hirsch offer for the 9-4x is the 330hp upgrade for the 2,8T.

  7. Having had Hirsch leather interiors in both of my 9-3´s this is my view.
    The 04 9-3 had the best looking leather dash, plain leather with nice WHITE stitchings around the big hole! My old Turbo X had the same plain leather, that one felt cheaper, thin and NOT so rich and with a matte look so it almost felt plastic.
    Now thinking about the NEW 9-5 and if it should get the new Hirsch leather but I am not sure.
    – Sorry but it looks glued on stands out to much, the buttons like the Nightpanel lies deep down etc. The twisty & turn knobs the same issue.
    – Needs to be matched with a full grain leather sock around the shifter especially on the manual 6 Speed.

  8. The Uk version of the MY12 Griffin is the SE – prior to mine being delivered in June, I had the use of the previous model with the chrome rim to the dash. I found this to be a distraction as it reflected in the windscreen. Thankfully, that feature has been removed in the SE – no more reflective problems. Incidentally, although the car is known as the SE, the tags on those little pockets on the seat sides still carry the name Griffin – so I tell everybody it`s a SAAB Griffin SE!

  9. Question regarding the “special heavy duty adhesive tape” used to affix these leather panels … is there a certain temperature they are rated to? We live in the southern USA where it is not uncommon to have external temperatures exceeding 100 degrees for weeks at a time. Does the adhesive start to melt or give off odor when the vehicle’s internal temperature is 140? I’m guessing not, as my car’s computer electronics don’t “melt” … and I’m guessing it’s not warm enough right now anywhere to field test this … but I am curious to see what Hirsch says, or if something is written in the paperwork that comes with the leather. Thanks.

    • 140°F is 60°C, which is a not that extreme temperature for the air in a car that stays a couple of hours under the sun, even in Switzerland. 😉

      • Right on! Of course, we’re at 100+ degrees outside at 11 AM and stay that way until 8 PM in the dead of the summer for several months. This summer we had something like seventy 100+ degree days. Ugh.

      • 300+ is good. We don’t hit that inside the car … otherwise our rear entertainment system would melt! Looking forward to the kits being offered in the US!

  10. I’ve this carbon leather upgrade since 2 weeks in my 9-5NG and its beautiful, fitting extremely well and is a real worth upgrade for the interior. Recomendable for everyone!

      • If the tape is as strong as it sounds from the descriptions so far I wouldn’t risk doing it myself even if it’s an option. Why? Well imagine if you get it positioned at even an oh so slightly wrong position or angle it probably isn’t going to come off to be repositioned very easily. Not only would this look bad but looking at the pictures it could impeed the operation of the knobs. I’d see getting the dealer to do as something of an insurance policy. Just my cent cents, I’m sure you skilled DIY and engineering types out there will laugh at my cowardly words 🙂

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