SAAB of the week – 9-5 Turbo6

Radu's two Saabs
Over a month ago, when Saab’s production had been halted for about a week, Radu from Romania sent the crew an e-mail with a hint of buyer’s remorse. He had just purchased a 9-5 Turbo6, his third Saab in 8 years. Had he made a mistake trusting Saab?

I answered him the same thing I tell myself “this car is one I will keep for at least ten years”. I mentioned that the warranty would be covered by the dealer (at least that is the situation here in Sweden) and that parts are not thought to be much of a problem (Saab’s sister company makes a nice healthy profit from selling parts and will continue to do so post-Saab).

My lengthy reply to Radu ended with: My recommendation for you is to jump into your new car, drive it for an hour and see if you can avoid smiling. 🙂

The e-mails that followed were filled with a great sense of relief and enjoyment. Radu told me that his fiancé will get his 9-3 once his 9-5 is officially on the road (it takes time to get the bureaucracy sorted).

I have even showed it (the e-mail) to my father which is an engineer specializing in aerodynamics (he has a PhD in this field). When I parked my new 9-5 in front of his house he only said: wait a minute … Let me enjoy the view! The curves! The elements that make the vehicle friendly with the air that flows along, the profile that calls for great engineering in terms of shape”! He was amazed! He begun explaining what every item does in terms of airflow ease. Then he walked inside and it was the moment I showed him the e-mail from you. He read it carefully and said: “Normal! I would think the same!”

In the mean time I have had many hours behind the wheel smiling. I am not wiling to extend that many are looking at the new car. But is me feeling greatly inside and very secure that does indeed a lot of work. My idea is not to aim to make trade with the car in the next few years but to keep it to enjoy and perhaps to have my sons taking in onwards. I am also keeping my new 9-3 for my fiance! So thank you for reassuring me on the topic.

Radu is a 36 years old insurance losses independent surveyor (loss adjuster) from Romania with an impeccable taste in fine automobiles. The 9-5 is his third Saab.

From Vent in Austria - Radu's first 9-3

Lake Interlaken, Switzerland

Zippy and the Saab 9-5

Zippy’s a Saab 9-3 owner and one of our long-term family here at Saabs UNited and I know he’s been very keen to get behind the wheel of a Saab 9-5 V6 for some time.

Last weekend he had the chance to drive an Aero, courtesy of Rob over at Springmans Saab in Vancouver, Canada.

Zippy was kind enough to send in his thoughts.


I’d love to be able to say I actually laid down $70,000 and drove away with a massive smile on my face – as well as a huge hole in my savings – but in reality I had taken my car out for an inspection when Rob handed me the keys to a 9-5 Aero with a stunning dark cocoa and parchment leather interior and told me to ‘enjoy’.

The car was loaded with every conceivable option except a sunroof. At first the sight of all of those buttons seemed overwhelming bit in actuality they are intuitively laid out and after ten minutes in the car I was an expert.

I am not big fan of automatic transmissions, but the paddleshifters, in reality, have about 80% of the fun factor of a manual, which surprised me. If I were to have an auto I’d never have the car in Drive choosing to shift “on the fly’ as it makes the car just that much more enjoyable – and drivable.

Drivable? In Drive I found the car was a little reluctant to downshift when you put your foot down, even when in Sport mode. Heading out to the highway I decided to see what the car was capable of merging into traffic. I found my slot and floored it….my response was “holy $h1t” – said out loud – as a smile grew from ear to ear.

I loved the HUD, which was easy to read and showed my current gear when in “flappy paddle mode” as well as my speed which seems to reach high numbers in no time. Its a huge safety feature as I never had to take my eyes off of the road to check speed etc.

The engine doesn’t even feel turbocharged to me as it actually feels like a small V8 the way the power is instantly fed thru to the XWD system. I just cannot imagine what this engine feels like in a 9-3 TurboX albeit with “only” 280bhp.

The offramp gave me an opportunity to test the sticky XWD system which didn’t even flicker when I abruptly took my foot off of the gas at the same time as braking trying to trick the system. You would never even know the car had XWD. It just felt like a well balanced, rock solid car. I would love to be able to drive this car up Cypress Mountain with its hairpin turns and sweeping bends to see how it handles on the twisty bits. I didn’t get the opportunity to use the SATNAV system but the car sure looks better with the full colour screen over the green screen that was in the base 9-5 I had previously driven.

Heading back to the dealer I kept getting odd looks from people thinking to myself ‘what the heck is his/her problem?!” until I realised that people were actually looking at the car. A thirtysomething couple in an old(ish) E-Class stopped just ahead of me and to the left craned their necks getting a better look at the cars lines with that “what kind of car is that?!” look on their faces when the woman lowered her window and asked me what it was I was driving. Having explained her it was the new 9-5 I also took the opportunity to tell her who to go and visit if she wanted to get a really good look and take one out for a spin – or better yet replace their ‘German taxi’. They then held back to get a look at the cars behind as I pulled away from the lights. This car turns heads and I can only imagine what kind of response this car would get if it were driven in the busy streets of Vancouver especially in Arctic White.

My final impression? A very roomy rock solid four door sports car with a Jeckyl and Hyde personality. In Comfort mode it wafts along as a luxury sedan should but when switched to Sport mode it turns into a snarling four door sports car with the ride comfort a luxury car.

Is it perfect? It would be if it had a manual transmission. That is why I would have to get a manual 2.0T Aero Hirsched-up to 260bhp with XWD, a set of 19inch Edge rims, DriveSense and that SATNAV with HUD but no such beast exists here in North America so I guess I have to start saving up for the V6 Aero. All I can say is that anyone who owns one of these cars is very very lucky and I am 110% green with envy.

Thanks to Rob and Jason at Springman’s Saab for sharing the car with me and taking time to “talk Saab”.

Owner Review – Saab 9-3 XWD

There’s been a heck of a lot of focus on the Saab 9-5 for the last few months. That’s OK, and quite natural. It’s not the only car in Saab’s stable, though, and as 100% Saab is so fond of reminding us in comments, the Saab 9-3 is a cracker of a car and he likes his Saab 9-3 just fine.

This isn’t 100% Saab writing the following, however, it’s a guy known in comments here on site as Spikeieos. He was one of the 397 people who took ownership of a new Saab in the US in November and as you’ll see in his review, below, he’s got a lot of good things to say about it.


Greetings Mr. Wade,

I know there has been quite a bit of new generation 9-5 luvin going on, but I would like to share my adoration for the good old 9-3 and what a great car it is. I was enthralled at first with the new 9-5, however its size and trying to find a manual at a nearby dealer led me towards the more nimble and less expensive 9-3. There may have been some murmurings about the age of the 9-3 platform, but with the updates its received through the years its still quite the action packed car IMHO.

This manual TX edition 9-3 XWD in glacier silver metallic kept turning my head, so I took a test drive and the rest is history with me and my new car.

Wow, what a car. Kudos to the dealer who ordered this great combination of contrasting colors that make the car stand out. People notice me going down the road, and I really like that. Not many other manufacturers allow anyone to order such a bold looking color combination . When friends look at the car with dark wheels, blue-green silver, and ice block tail lights I feel like they are looking at my classic 900: its a love it or hate it kind of feeling about the car, definitely a Saab.

Its easy to feel and see the pride these cars are now made with. I was surprised how solid the doors feel and how quiet the car now is compared to earlier model years. The quirk in this car is the unusual whistle when first turning the engine over from the returned secondary air intake from MY 2003 for the 2.0t engine. After that the engine goes silent and not felt until you provoke it like the 9-5.

What puts this car above the others in its class is the handling, its the reason I got the car. The combination of XWD and the 18″ rims with Pirelli P Zero Neros make this car stick to the road unbelievably well. There is rarely snow where I live to prove its bad weather traction, only endless dry roads and long stretches of blue sky 360 days a year in the desert. Only the adventurous now dare to ride with me, as everyone else dislikes holding on to the oh **** handles the whole time as I dart around town. I’m still waiting to learn how to make the tires squeal, the car seems pretty unflappable.

There is no longer a need to brake when going around corners, just give it some gas coming out of the corner and the eLSD kicks in whipping you around (just watch out for the police who may think you are driving recklessly because their car cannot do that). I also like the improved handling and upgraded dampers, the lack of a V6 seems to help the weight balance and there is little body roll when trying to make the eLSD do its job in the corners. Very few 4 door sedans can claim to be this much fun in the discounted price range of the 9-3.

My faults with the car are limited to basic things like the radio and horsepower. When a friend who owns a Chevy Cobalt exclaims: “hey, its got the same radio as my car!”, I fall silent. And just like the old Wendy’s commercial, I keep wondering about the Bose sound system: “Where’s the bass?”. As Swade has previously mentioned, unfortunately the engine does not have the power it should at 210hp, so a software upgrade is a very welcome boost for an Aero model, which from the factory has a 0-100kph time of merely 8.6 seconds. I am still waiting for my free Hirsch upgrade SaabUSA 🙂

I agree the platform is now aging, but that point is mute with the build quality, handling and technology available. Top Gear reviewed one of the new generations of the BMW 5 series a while back. Jeremy’s opening remark on the review stuck with me: BMW has gone and come up with a new 5 series, but he was not sure why because the outgoing model was an excellent car in its own right. I hope in the future we can look back at this 9-3 which has been developed and refined through such tumultuous times and feel the same way.

Best Regards, David

Arild reviews his own Saab 9-5, on his own blog!

I hope you’re enjoying these ‘regular guy’ reviews of the Saab 9-5 as there are a few more to come…..

You’ll recall that late last week, I posted about a blog started by one of our own SU regulars. His name is Arild and he started his own website to track his ownership experience with the new Saab 9-5.

Arild’s written about a few things in detail already, but earlier today he posted his first broad review of the car.

I’ll give you the conclusion but head on over to Arild’s site as there’s a whole heap of great stuff to read about his car, and some excellent interior photos, too.

So does this new Saab 9-5 feel like a natural and modern evolution of the previous Saabs? Yes, even with a diesel engine! And I also should mention that I feel even safer in the new 9-5 than I did in the Saab 9-3

The highlights

  • The interior! This was a big positive surprise.
  • The diesel engine
  • The stability at high speed
  • The fun on winding roads


I love these reviews because they’re written by people like Arild, people who are putting their own hard-earned money into the cars.

Motoring journos have their place in the information circle. They drive a variety of cars and have a good basis for comparison and a good variety of experience to draw from.

But there’s inherent value in reading something from an owner, especially and owner who thinks the way you do when it comes to Saab.

Another guy’s road test of the new Saab 9-5

We’ve featured a few of these ‘people’s road tests’ already and this is another, from another long-term dweller here at SU. He’s known in comments as ’74Stingray, primarily because when he bought his SportCombi, his main ride was indeed a 1974 Corvette Stingray.

Hi actual name is James, and I’m glad he sent this through. Take it away…..



Those of you who have been here a while might remember my “open letter” to the Saab employees back on 8 June 2009. I wrote that entry shortly after the purchase of my very first Saab. Swade was kind enough to post it on SU where it was noticed by a thankful group of employees at Saab. I wrote describing my much cherished CPO 2006 9-3 SportCombi Aero and how thankful I was that the nice people of Trollhattan produced it. To this day, I still cannot say enough good things about this car. My only regret is not having “found” the thrill of owning a Saab sooner.

We have all read entry after info-packed entry about the 2010 9-5 from Swade. Several other members have also offered in their “driving impression” and I wanted to contribute. While not a professional writer or professional driver by any means, I do enjoy automobiles and telling a story. It was a distinct pleasure to write this for the SaabsUnited crowd.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Initial walk around

The lesson here is “look closer”. I was rather disappointed at first when I saw the black 9-5 at a distance. Black can be such a boring color. It always looks great clean but looks terrible with any amount of dust /rain spots on it. Once I got next to it and noticed that this shade was “Jet Black Metallic” my mood instantly changed. This is one very nice color when up close and personal with the car. The lines were sleek and they flowed together nicely. Right away I loved the car’s looks. The black 9-5 looked aggressive in a seductive fashion, a little leather and lace, if you will.

Read moreAnother guy’s road test of the new Saab 9-5

SUHRT report on the new Saab 9-5

Jörgen Trued hooked up with one of the SU Historic Rally Team sponsors and all-round good guy, North Toronto Punter, to give us a few video impressions of the new Saab 9-5.

They spent some time in both the base model diesel and the 2.0T and it’s this latter model that forms the basis for this video.


Of course, the answer to the question asked in the video (i.e. why give the TiD to so many reviewers?) is that the TiD will be the most attractively priced package for a lot of fleet customers, especially in the UK where many of those less favourable reviews have come from.

As NTP mentions in the video, the 2.0T really does hit the sweet spot nicely, giving a good blend of agility, speed and comfort. It really is my personal favourite of the bunch and I can’t wait to see what Hirsch can do with it (just for a little added spice).

Quick impression – living with the Saab 9-5

This is from Baracuda – I featured one of his photos in a snippets entry earlier today. Below are his thoughts on a quick blast in the 9-5 and a few more photos, too.

Like the Autobild entry, this comes from Germany. It’s always interesting to hear more thoughts from that part of the world.


So the car is an abslote eyecatcher, wherever you go or drive the people around are looking at the car. If a Saab driver is around on a parking lot you have plenty of conversation material with the new 9-5.

It’s running very nice and smooth and the V6 has enough power for the normal ride. But I am also waiting to see what Hirsch will get me. 😉

The quality overall inside the car looks very good except the fitting of the parchment premium leather on the seats. There is some space for improvement there.

The Navigation system is absolutely brilliant and intuitive. The voice control works perfect. And the Harman/Kardon Soundsystem is one of the best in car audio system i have ever heard.

The Lane Departure Warning System is also very useful and works pretty impressive. I also like the Traffic Sign Recognition because it also shows you when there is no speed limit here in Germany at that is a useful feature (I loved this too – SW).

The DriveSense System is really cool, you can really feel the difference between the three modes. I’ve tended to keep it in the Intelligent position.

Head-Up Display is nice to have in the car and it’s on all the time when I am driving.

The only thing that our family Turbo X can do a lot better than the 9-5 Turbo6 is the sound. But hey, the 9-5 is a cruiser.

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