Do Singaporeans get new interiors?

I’ve found a really interesting article on AsiaOne.

Saab sold in Singapore in the first 11 months of 2010 only 13 Saab cars, which seems to be very very low even for Singapore. But those Saab cars were only 9-3’s.

The 9-5 has been presented today in Singapore. It will only be available in two versions, a Turbo4 in Vector trim and the Turbo6 XWD in Aero trim. Maybe Saab can double the figures in Singapore this year with the introduction of the 9-5 Sedan. The 9-4X and the 9-5 SC will also follow this year.

But more interesting than the introduction of the 9-5 in a new market are the pictures in the article of the interior of the car . What at the first glance, looking at the thumbnails, looks like a dirty IP panel, is in reality a new material for the dull mate-black IP fascia.

The pictures seem to be from the Vector trim, and the new material looks like a grey wood structure. It is not easy to define, because those are no studio pictures, but it is definitely a different interior finish.


After reading all your comments, I would like to share some more thoughts about it.

The Geneva Motor show is almost there, and most rumours say that the 9-5 SC will be presented there. Other rumours also say that the 9-5 will be updated in combination with the introduction of the Wagon. If I were Saab, and I had some prototype IP panels, or even production-quality ones, I would show them in Singapore.
This was the introduction of the car in that market, so people maybe doesn’t even know about the IP fascia “problem”.

We see in the pictures at least 2 different cars, a silver one in Vector trim and a white one in Aero trim. The one in Aero trim does even have the sunroof, so I expect it also has the colour Infotainment screen installed.
Unfortunately we don’t have no pictures of the interior of that 9-5 Aero.

I’ve already said, that it is difficult to define the material used for that IP fascia, but it could be some grey wood, like used in the E-Class or 5-Series, or maybe some acrylic material with a colour structure.

Talking about wood, how would this finish fit with the cocoa interior and the amarello wood panels? I don’t know, but if they decide to put wood as the IP fascia, which is the place where I would expect it,the amarello wood should disappear.

BTW, I’m still thinking that those panels should be offered in the K’egg white carbon fibre used on the Trevita cars. At least as an option.

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.

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

Saab 9-5 SU review: part 1

This is going to be a tough one (and a long one). The weight of expectation is pretty high and even more importantly, there’s a heck of a lot of information to get out there.

So how do you go about reviewing what is probably the most important vehicle launch in Saab’s history?

First, you have to look at it in perspective.

Yesterday we did a factory tour and much like the Saab Factory Tour that I did back in 2007, I saw cars going down the line and people working at putting them together. I saw hundreds of cars in the carpark and people/vehicles moving around constantly from place to place. The perpetual buzz of a big manufacturing company in action.

Whilst the 9-5 is the main story here at Saab right now, there is a second story for the press to see this week – Saab is alive!

Seeing all that movement around the factory yesterday, it would be easy to forget that just a matter of a few months ago, this place was under severe threat of extinction. In fact, it was effectively idle for 10 weeks (seven with no production and three whilst it ramped up to recommence). 2010 is only just over five months old as I write this, and for nearly half that time, the Saab plant was effectively idle.

So to see two ranges of vehicles on the production line, and one of them a brand new model, is a significant story in itself and a testimony to the work that was done to save this company at the executive level, and the work done to actually get the wheels turning again on the factory floor.

Having set the scene, we’re still talking about a car here and this car has to sell in various markets of the world. To do that, it has to appeal to customers and it must provide them with an experience that will make them happy to be back in a new Saab again.


So what of the new 9-5?

I’ll talk more specifically about the variations that I drove in subsequent entries, but here’s my overview of the model itself.

Read moreSaab 9-5 SU review: part 1

Video: Saab 9-5 Infotainment System

I got one of the product specialists, Mikael Jakobsson, to walk me through all the electronic goodies available on the new Saab 9-5.

I drove a fully equipped V6 car on Tuesday and the integration of the electronics was a real feature, especially as I was driving by myself in a foreign country and was quite reliant on the information provided to me via the car. It all worked seamlessly, as advertised, and became one of the real unexpected highlights of the car for me.


The menu systems are grouped in a smart way – can you call it ergonomics when it involves menu systems? I learned to use most of this stuff whilst driving, such is the intuitive nature of the systems.

Other items that we didn’t cover in the video are the Head-Up Display and some of the systems that run through the dashboard’s display.

For example, the speed sign recognition system, which reads speed-zone signs as you drive along and then displays the appropriate speed limit on the central dashboard display (it works brilliantly and is a bigger than expected help).

Then there’s the Head-Up Display, which shows important information projected on to the windscreen. It’s a great way to monitor your speed, but the biggest benefit I received from the HUD was the ability to see SatNav instructions right there in front of me whilst I was driving. Outstanding!

Autoblog were a little critical of the HUD because you can see subtle reflections of the actual HUD projector around the HUD information you see on the windscreen. I can see where they’re coming from, but it wasn’t prominent and the benefits provided by the HUD system far outweigh the fact that you notice something on the periphery of your view. To their credit, Saab have said they’re taking notice and will work to refine the system as time progresses.

My thanks to Mikael, who I’ll hopefully meet again when it comes time to review the Saab 9-4x as he’s the product manager for that vehicle ๐Ÿ™‚

Video: Saab 9-5 XWD and DriveSense (test track mayhem!)

Last time I attended an event like this, I did a video in the first Saab 9-3 with XWD, with Kenneth Backlund from the Saab Performance Team. Kenneth was there again today, but frankly, after this drive with Stefan Rundquist from Saab, I was too queasy/shaky/stunned to even think about a lap with Kenneth.

Don’t take that in a bad way. What Stefan did in this car was demonstrate something approaching the extraordinary capabilities of the Saab XWD system.

You’ll hear the rain and see the wipers. This track was incredibly wet today. We were in a 2.8T V6 Saab 9-5 and on some of these long sweeping corners were doing up to 150km/h and the car was totally rock solid – totally.

You’ll see in some sections that Stefan is actually steering quite sharply and trying to induce some forced oversteer (at over 100 km/h on a bend) and the tyres just dig in, shift the power around and keep the car stable.

It really was an incredible eye-opener as to what this car can do. I’ve mentioned already that to me, the V6 version of the 9-5 seems more like a smooth cruiser, that it doesn’t invite you to really test its limits. I think this video shows that despite its long touring credentials, this car is capable of handling whatever tests you might throw its way.

The video is from a handheld camera so it does move around a little with the frequent changes in momentum and motion, but hopefully you’ll still get a good sense of what’s going on.


My sincere thanks to Stefan for the ride – now I know how Saab felt back in 2009!

Video: Saab Factory Tour

To kick off day 2 of the Saab 9-5 launch program, they took us around for a quick tour of the factory. I had my still camera out for the first few minutes and then figured that was quite useless – and if we were allowed to bring in still cameras, then we could probably take video as well.

So I did.

We were driven around in a little cart with a bunch of seating buggies pulled behind, reasonably low to the ground, which is why things get blocked occasionally. The cart rarely (if ever) stopped, too, so it’s not the greatest video in the world, but hopefully it should give you some idea of what goes on there.

I believe the girl providing the commentary is the daughter of Saab’s marketing director, Knut Simonsson. That’s keeping it in the family for you!



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