Official North American Launch of Saab 9-5 July 27 (tomorrow)

Well, it’s finally here. A moment that we’ve all anticipated for months: the formal introduction of the new Saab 9-5 to North America. I expect a huge amount of media fanfare, particularly in the automotive press, but I’ll go out on a limb and predict that a fair number of financial media outlets will watch closely, too. The Saab saga is simply too juicy to ignore. A forgotten and neglected division of a corporate titan is abandoned and liquidated, alternately fought over and scorned, and then rises on a wave of enthusiasm and optimism lead by an unlikely hero from the Netherlands. To paraphrase a recent movie title, “There will be buzz”.

The launch is officially scheduled for Tuesday, July 27th 8:30AM-9:30AM EDT / 3:30PM-4:30PM CET.

Thanks to the efforts of the fine folks at Saab Cars North America, we are all able to listen in via the web. Please register here if you are interested in attending the event via the webcast.

I will be listening to the replay in the afternoon or evening afterward due to a schedule conflict (I have to work, you know!).   I invite your comments on the webcast and the event under this post.  The official press release is after the jump.

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Saab 9-5 Information Display

As you’ve undoubtedly heard already, the central binnacle of the Saab 9-5 dashboard houses the Saab Information Display (SID), where the driver can access a range of information about the car. I’m not sure, from memory, if the SID terminology is still being used, but it’ll do for now.

Control of the information shown comes from a rotary dial on the stalk to the left of the steering wheel.

Following are the various bits of info that can be displayed. Click to enlarge.

Saab 9-5 interior looking better than my test car….

For those of you who are still harbouring concerns about Saab 9-5 interiors looking a bit bland (as per some recent press reporting)…….

This is a screenshot as per the Belgian build-your-own 9-5 site. This selection was put together by “Me” and as you can see, it’s looking pretty fine, even without the dash panel.

What you see here is the Vector model, with parchement seats, cocoa interior and Dark Amarello finish wood. As “Me” said in his email:

If somebody tells me that this is not on par with Merc and BMW, then I go mad.

Saab 9-5 – the people’s road test (part 1)

OK, it’s high time I got to answering your questions about the Saab 9-5, from my first hand experience with the car a few weeks ago….. or as many of the questions as were sensible, at least 🙂

Simply, does it feel premium enough?

I’ve written plenty about the dashboard and the first run cars do suffer from that a little, but the design is absolutely fantastic and it’ll look tip-top once that’s sorted. In driving terms, I thought it felt fantastic. I don’t drive ‘premium’ cars for a living, so I can’t compare, but I was mighty impressed.

How much does the 9-5 Vector with the 2.0TiD 160hk weigh?

The car weighs between just over 1,500kgs for the lightest model and just over 2,000kgs for the heaviest. Specific weights for specific trim levels and engines weren’t given.

How does the balance and traction feel when accelerating hard out of a second/third gear corner? Primarily with the fwd 220 hp version. Does it roll much? Does it have understeer?

I’m not sure what you’re looking for in this question in terms of this car. It’s a big 5-meter long executive cruiser, so to expect it to turn a corner like a sports car would be unfair. But with the 4-cyl petrol engine, it does feel smaller than it is and personally speaking, I had a huge smile on my face driving this car on the winding roads to Hallerad.

My car had XWD, however. I didn’t drive the car with the standard chassis, which the Irish journos were complaining about in terms of body roll when I was there (in a TiD). I can’t comment.

How good is the throttle response when accelerating hard through gears?

In the V6 – awesome. In the 4-cyl – slightly less awesome, but still quite good.

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Saab 9-5 SU review – part 2 – Aero V6 XWD on the road

Jetlag is still kicking my backside, so I’m re-posting this to allow it to breathe a little longer. New content tomorrow.

Related content: Part 1 of the SU review of the new Saab 9-5

This has been at least 5 years in the making. Saab is said to have had a new 9-5 ready mid-decade but that vehicle was cancelled at the say-so of Bob Lutz (yes, I name names) and so the old faithful 9-5 was forced to carry on for another 5 years. Owners were asked to lease yet another vehicle – sometimes their third or fourth car of the same series. As rock-solid as the 9-5 became, a replacement was long overdue.

An all-new Saab flagship vehicle is a rare thing. The last all-new Saab from Sweden was back in late 2002. The last all-new flagship was late 1997 and prior to that it was in the early-mid 1980’s. I don’t want to overplay the sense of occasion, but this sort of thing doesn’t happen very often. Add to that the backstory about Saab’s survival against rather overwhelming odds and this really was a big day for a Saab enthusiast.

I started my Saab 9-5 launch experience with a day behind the wheel of the V6 Aero XWD model. This car has the high-feature V6 engine, assembled in Australia as it has been for the Saab 9-3 in the past. This engine is tweaked a little more so as to extract 300hp and 400Nm. That engine is matched to a six speed automatic with a manual mode that you can operate either via the shifter itself (slide it across) or via the flappy paddles on the steering wheel.

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Saab 9-5 pricing and equipment – United States

The following is the preliminary equipment listing for the new Saab 9-5 in the US market. Please note that this is for the 2011 model year, which is why it’s preliminary infor at this time, not confirmed as a final listing.

As has already been announced, the 9-5 will only be available as a six cylinder first, for a few dollars short of $50,000. The four cylinder model mentioned in this listing will be available in MY2011 and will start just south of $40,000. It’s my understanding that this four cylinder model will also be a BioPower model, Saab’s first BioPower launch in the US.

I’ll get other markets up here as soon as I can. You can check out all available market pricing (once they’re up) by using the following link: Saab 9-5 pricing

Click to enlarge:

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