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.