The Arctic NG 9-5 SportCombi (“The Phantom Saab”)

A rare beauty
A rare beauty
Anna and I spent the first week of August in Tromsø, Norway. It is a fantastic island to visit, especially in June/July when the sun never shuts down for the night. Yes, the rumors are true, they have their very own sun up there.

Aside from the usual family gatherings (my mum hails from this island) I had an ulterior motive this year. Tromsø also happens to be the home of one of the very few 2012 9-5 SportCombis ever made. #10 to be precise. Of course we had to pay our respects.

I met with two very enthusiastic brothers, the Østbø brothers, who ended up buying a 9-5 combi as well as a 9-4x during last winter’s auctions. They are second generation Saab aficionados and the older sibling has not one, nor two, but three Saabs. A 900, a Sonett and finally the 9-5SC.

A Swedish colleague tipped them off early on and preparations to buy the 9-5 started immediately. Harald was not a 100% certain he would be able to get the car road legal, but after

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The Independent Reviews the UK Bound 9-5 SportWagon

Chalk up more evidence that Saab UK is making all the right moves. The 9-5 SportWagon has been updated from the original 9-5 that was featured in the original press drive. That car had the fashion conscious large wheels and stiffer suspension that left journalists feeling that that the new 9-5 had a very harsh ride over the bumpy roads of England. For the SportWagon, Saab engineers revised the suspension to better handle the potholes and cracks in the road to give the car a much more comfortable driving experience.

John Simister, who reviewed the new 9-5 SportWagon for The Independent, came away impressed by the 9-5’s new skills. Unfortunately, he must have forwarded the review on to his editor before production came to a stop again. Hopefully soon the real estate deal will be finished or Victor Muller will come back to Trollhättan having secured near-term financing so the line can get started again. Either way, it’s not ideal that this restart has been so herky jerky, but relative to all that Saab has gone through, the current situation is a drop in the bucket. If John’s willing to believe in the company’s future based on the prospective Chinese deals, then the picture is essentially the same looking forward.

His is the first review I’ve read where the reviewer focuses more on the car than the company or their short term problems, which is incredibly refreshing. Of the different models he tested, the 2.0T Petrol version was his favorite.

That final car had the HiPer strut suspension in Sport specification, a smooth and lusty 220bhp petrol turbo engine, and standard, non-adaptive dampers. This was the one; its steering was crisp, progressive and natural, its ride was supple but controlled. This is how a 9-5 should be, even on 18in wheels, and it shows how good a 9-5 can be. Saab’s own engineers like it best, and so do I.

His conclusion is probably the most rewarding part of the article. It’s a reminder that Saab is the alternative for luxury buyers wanting to stand apart from the crowd.

Would it make me buy a 9-5 SportWagon over an obvious German rival? I do believe it would, not least because it’s a refreshing and worthwhile break from the default choices. Own a Saab, and it’s clear you’ve thought about it. And that, in today’s brand-obsessed world, has to be a good thing.

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