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  1. #1
    Frank
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    Test and reviews of the Saab 9-5 - online media

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    2011 Saab 9-5 Aero XWD - Road Test - Car and Driver


    Björn Again: This could be the start of another of Saab’s excellent adventures.


    Saab’s 11th-hour rescue at the hands of Spyker recalls one of our favorite stories of redemption. Although few would call GM’s stewardship of Saab “excellent,” it was certainly an adventure, and the parallels to the 1989 cinematic masterpiece Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure are strong. The heroes in both stories coasted for 20 years or so before being saved from the brink of disaster: Bill and Ted by a time-traveling rock groupie from 700 years in the future, Saab by an equally unlikely Dutch supercar maker. And forecasts for Saab’s future under Spyker are dubious—“Bogus Journey” may turn out to be as apt a descriptor for the follow-up to Saab’s GM interlude as it was for the Bill and Ted sequel. Spyker scooped up the gasping Saab for a $74-million song, plus $326 million in shares of the newly formed Saab Spyker Automobiles.

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    Saab Spyker CEO Victor Muller says that, by 2012, the company will break even, with worldwide sales totaling just 85,000. Saab sold fewer than 18,000 cars in the U.S. in 2008, but its global sales total actually exceeded the magical 85,000 by roughly 10,000 units. And this was with mostly outdated and/or badge-engineered products. Prior to this 2011 model, the 9-5 had gone 13 years without a redesign—twice as long as most cars today.

    And then along comes this knockout. The taut styling invites long stares, and the aggressively tapered greenhouse and blacked-out pillars identify this as a Saab—the first in a while that doesn’t look like a ’90s model. Two trim levels ultimately will be available. The base model will be powered by a 220-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four and will be offered with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmission and front- or all-wheel drive. For now, only  the uplevel Aero is available, powered by a turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6 that churns out 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. This is paired exclusively with a six-speed auto and Saab’s XWD all-wheel drive.

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    Cool touches abound inside, neutralizing the sea of black plastic in which they swim: The IP needles are rendered in neon-slime green; the shifting-matrix air vents look likethey were inspired by the same ’80s music videos that Bill and Ted watched; and the start button is mounted in Saab’s traditional ignition-switch location on the center console. Nestled into the middle of the speedometer is a high-resolution display showing supplementary  vehicle, navigation, or audio information; a head-up display is optional. In a nod to Saab’s aeronautical past, the IP display can show speed in an altimeter-style scrolling readout that, combined with the traditional speedometer surrounding it and the head-up display, results in triplicate reporting of velocity and zero convenient alibis for the question, “Do you know how fast you were going?”

    A chassis controller that Saab calls *DriveSense is standard on Aero cars, optional on the upcoming 2.0T. It offers three positions: comfort, intelligent, and sport, with intelligent being the default. In sport mode, the steering gets heavier, the throttle and the shift mapping become more aggressive, and the shocks firm up. “Intelligent” is the same as “comfort,” but it mimics the sport mode’s shock and steering settings under hard cornering.

    Even widely available gadgets and functions are executed here with an extra degree of thought. For example, Saab’s lane-departure warning chime is particularly shrill when the car drifts over a line, but it is programmed not to beep if it detects steering input. So, while most systems scold the driver for making unsignaled lane changes, the Saab does a better job of detecting the driver’s intentions and spares most of  the nannying.
    It’s comfortable inside, too. The fantastic bolstering of the front seats had some staffers suggesting that GM keep these thrones and install them in the Corvette. Firm bottom cushions keep them comfortable all day long. Those confined to the back seat will be pleased, too, as the Saab offers more space than the BMW 5-series and Mercedes-Benz E-class. Saab may not enjoy the cachet of those cars, but comfort doesn’t care.

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    What appears to be a haphazard scattering of  buttons across the center stack turns out to be highly intuitive, and specific functions are easy to locate. Most tasks are controlled via an eight-inch display, navigated either by poking the screen or twirling a knob below it. The menu structure is logical and the range of options offered is impressive, allowing drivers to tailor exactly what differs, for example, between DriveSense’s comfort and sport modes.

    Although the 9-5 tested here is the top-of-the-line Aero model with a turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6, its speed is only middle-of-the-road. Zero to 60 in 6.3 seconds isn’t slow, but we expect a bit more from a 300-hp, $50K luxury car. This is the same engine we savaged for its nonlinear power delivery in our review of a Cadillac SRX [August 2010] and the same V-6 that Saab has been using for years. With the 9-5, we noted nowhere near the dissatisfaction we found with the SRX and attribute that to the Cadillac’s extra 400 pounds and resultant slower acceleration magnifying the fluctuations. However, this aging engine is far less linear than the latest direct-injection turbo mills.

    Still, power builds so quickly that, in first gear, you need to grab the paddle to upshift by 5500 rpm if  you don’t want to crash into the fuel cutoff at 6500. Turbo lag isn’t much of an issue—it’s just one continuous pull unless you’re slow on a shift and hit the redline. Then the drivetrain takes a second to collect itself, shift, and spool back up before you get full acceleration.

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    The automatic has paddle shifters mounted to the back of the steering wheel, and in manual mode refuses to upshift until ordered to do so. There’s an attempt at mimicking rev-matched downshifts, but the result is obviously an automatic transmission falling down a gear.

    The 9-5 rides on GM’s Epsilon II platform, architecture it shares with the Buick LaCrosse and Regal as well as assorted GM products. Up front, Aero models pack GM’s new-for-2010 “HiPer Strut” suspension, a sort of modified MacPherson strut that GM says better maintains negative camber under hard cornering (resulting in a more consistent contact patch) and also reduces torque steer; 2.0T models get conventional struts. Out back, both cars ride on a multilink arrangement. Our results are a testimony to the efficacy of the setup, as the 9-5 was utterly free of torque steer, although all-wheel drive tends to help minimize that, too. It stuck to the skidpad with 0.89 g, a number that matches the last 335i sedan we tested. Braking from 70 mph also approaches the 335i’s, taking 173 feet, just five feet more than the BMW. Saab’s XWD mitigates understeer in the front-heavy 9-5, though the nose still leads the way at the limit.

    The 9-5’s steering is heavier than the LaCrosse’s and weights up nicely as cornering forces build, but the wheel offers only slightly more feedback than the Buick’s. The car’s cornering ability, however, comes at the expense of ride. Even with DriveSense in comfort mode, the driver feels—and hears—a lot of movement from below. Rotate the knob to the sport setting, and the car’s body is tied even more directly to the road surface. Body movements are much more restrained, but surface imperfections send sharp jolts through the structure. Unless the asphalt is still steaming, it’s better to leave the car in comfort mode.

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    At the 2.0T model’s expected starting price of about $40,000, the 9-5 is a compelling luxury alternative. But an Aero version loaded up like the one tested here crests $50,000. That price nets a fully loaded 335i, a car that is pretty much perfect. Or, if you need the back-seat space, a comparo-champ Audi A6 3.0T.

    Compared with the pedigreed European luxury marques, Saab is all but invisible to consumers who don’t think it’s already dead. Spyker’s first task is to proclaim to the masses that Saab is indeed destined to survive—and is about to do so with the marque’s best-looking frontman in a long time. While we can’t see the new 9-5 stealing many sales from the German elite, if Saab can keep that break-even point low, the handsome new sedan ought to divert enough sales from GM and other mid-luxury players to keep this new adventure from turning out to be way bogus.

    http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/..._xwd-road_test

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  2. #2
    Frank
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    Left Lane - First Drive: 2010 Saab 9-5 Aero

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    This is the review that almost wasn't written. This is the car that almost wasn't driven. This is the automaker that almost didn't live.

    At the risk of sounding like a cliched, patriotic Jeep ad (although the patriotism here would be fully Swedish), that the Saab 9-5 is alive for the 2010 model year is the result of unparalleled perseverance from both internal and external forces. About six months ago, Saab built about 60 9-5s while General Motors was shutting down the brand. The 9-5s were spared the fate of becoming Nordic Tuckers thanks to Spyker's Victor Muller, Saab Sweden's Jan Ake Jonsson and Saab USA's Mike Colleran. With Colleran serving as their negotiator in Detroit (despite receiving a GM paycheck), Muller and Jonsson plucked Saab from ashes. The lingering question from everyone: Was it worth it?

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    The best Saab ever
    Unfortunately, calling the 2010 9-5 “the best Saab ever” damns it with faint praise. Saab has unquestionably made some great cars over the years, like the rally-proven 93, the rocket-like 99 and 900 Turbos, the segment-defining 9000 Aero and even the admirably tossable current 9-3. Line up every Saab variant built and you'd fill the smallest room of Jay Leno's garage. Starving for cash is a way of life at Saab. In the last 25 years, Saab has had two midsize designs (9000 in 1985, 9-5 in 1997) to rival five generations of BMW 5-Series sedans.

    A mere glimpse of the new 9-5 is enough to dispel thoughts of the outgoing model. Viewed head-on, it is almost a dead ringer for the well-received Aero X concept car, while even the side and rear profiles reveal interesting styling details. The sides are perhaps a little too slab-like for our tastes and the C-pillar, usually a controversial cue on Saabs, is an acquired taste. Yet the clamshell-style roofline and the fascinatingly complex tail lamps make up for most of our misgivings. All of the 9-5's lights, both front and rear, are covered in a trick blue-hue clear plastic, a bold look that screams “Scandinavia.”

    Unlike cross country friend-and-foe Volvo's conservativeness, the 9-5 is both intricate and cohesively simple at the same time. The design is fresh and modern, if a little trendy. Most of the 500 or so 2010 9-5s that are hitting U.S. shores as you read this will all be range-topping Aero models with the trick 19-inch turbine-style alloy wheels. Less stylish 18s are standard. It's not until you climb into the 9-5's cavernous rear seat area that you realize how large this new sedan is. Especially toward the end of its long life, the outgoing 9-5 sold mostly to buyers who came to look at a 9-3 but realized they could get a marginally roomier and more powerful 9-5 for about the same money. No longer will that be the case; the 9-5's much increased dimensions mark it as a clear mid-sizer and not a compact offering.

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    At 197.2 inches long, the 9-5 is probably the largest sedan most buyers will find. That's a good thing in North America, but it could hinder European sales. From the front seat, the 9-5 feels much smaller. That's mainly because of the intimate feel courtesy of a wrap-around dashboard and upright windshield. The driver never feels constricted, though, and the Aero-specific seats of our test vehicle were, in typically Swedish style, among the best we've ever experienced.

    Today, 9-5s might not say “General Motors” anywhere obvious (finding the logo makes for a fun scavenger hunt), but GM devotees will recognize some switchgear. Turn signal stalks, pictographs, the navigation system and a high-resolution screen situated in the speedometer. At least Saab traded some of its unique flavor for GM's best parts bin goodies. The navigation and audio interface is top notch and we loved using the heads-up display that shoots the car's current speed onto the windshield. Unfortunately, one of the 9-5's most unique styling element feels instead rather incomplete. The show car we saw at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show boasted a trick tech-styled applique on the dashboard. The part, we're told, was too complex to produce in mass quantities, so instead the 9-5's dashboard is swathed in black plastic. It's good plastic, but it's plastic. We hope future 9-5s get something different.

    Ignition
    Despite its GM influence, certain Saab touches inevitably remain. Following the latest automotive trend, the 9-5 eschews a key for a fob (a reformed Cadillac key), but at least the starter button is located behind the gear lever. Tradition? Maybe.
    For the short (think month-long) 2010 model year, Saab is starting things off with only a handful of range-topping 9-5 Aeros. They feature a 2.8-liter turbocharged V6 also seen in the Cadillac SRX. Good news: Before disposing of Saab, GM enlisted the Swedes to turbocharge a standard V6. Here, it cranks out 300 horsepower at 5,300 rpm and a decent 295 lb-ft. of torque at a low 2,500 rpm. Mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic with both paddle-style and gear lever shift-it-yourself ability, the V6 is smooth and quite torquey.

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    The V6 is mated exclusively to Saab's all-wheel-drive system, XWD, which consists of a Haldex center differential and an electronic limited slip rear differential. It normally supplies most power to the front wheels, but a sport mode sends more grunt to the rear (and firms up the steering and increases throttle response). A comfort mode exists for grandma, while an “intelligent” mode adapts to the driver's habits over the long run for a not-quite-as-sporty feel. At a portly 4,400 lbs., the 9-5 is about 250 lbs. chunkier than a BMW 535i xDrive or Audi A6 quattro. For 2011, the 9-5 will be offered with front or all-wheel-drive 2.0-liter turbocharged models and a standard six-speed stick. The 2.0Ts feature 220 horsepower and, Saab estimates, up to 34 mpg on the highway – 4-5 mpg better than the segment leaders. We'll look forward to driving a 2011 9-5 soon.

    Ready for takeoff?
    Saab doesn't deny that the 9-5 shares some of its basic platform with the Buick LaCrosse and Opel Insignia. While we haven't driven the Opel, we have enjoyed the LaCrosse. And, not to get ahead of ourselves, we rather liked the 9-5. But the two could hardly feel less alike. We slung the 9-5 through twisty byways along the New York-Pennsylvania border and found it to be a genuine blast to drive. Set to sport mode, the steering feels “just right,” offering good control and rewarding the driver with positive feedback. The V6 willingly tugs the 9-5 along, at times feeling very rapid (especially in terms of midrange torque), although the six-speed automatic occasionally balked at the suggestion of a downshift.

    The 9-5 stops just short of feeling aggressively sporty, instead walking the fine line between outright performance sedans and luxury liners. It feels amazingly light on its feet – especially given its curb weight – and extraordinarily tossable. Credit the standout steering for one, but also the firm-yet-compliant suspension. The same couldn't be said for the brakes. For now, U.S.-spec 9-5s get typically soft GM-feeling low dust brakes. For 2011, certain models will eventually be available with extra cost Brembos. Bring 'em on! Range-topping 9-5 Aeros use the unique HiPer front strut suspension created by Opel to mitigate torque steer by ensuring that the strut and wheel don't rotate together. Application in an all-wheel-drive car might seem a little odd, but Saab ensures us that it instead helps add in more steering feel and better control. Regardless of their intention, it seems to work. We'll have to wait for a spin in a standard 9-5 without the suspension setup to judge its effectiveness.

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    A brief opportunity to toss the 9-5 around the track at the Monticello Motor Club revealed predictable behavior but an impressively nimble feel. We continually doubted Saab's assertion that the 9-5 is as heavy as it is, although its dimensions tell another story. On the open road, though, the 9-5 really shines. The steering is straight line accurate and the car displays remarkable refinement, with nary a wind whistle entering the cabin. A serene cruiser and a nimble driver – what more could you ask for?

    Leftlane's bottom line
    Look beyond a few pieces of switchgear and the 9-5's uniquely Nordic nature shines through. It's not a Saab of yore, but it shouldn't be. It's a Saab of the future, a car that almost didn't exist. Absolutely the best Saab ever, it's the kind of car that could easily save an automaker. And it will need to. Saab's biggest task will be luring buyers who might otherwise take home a needlessly tech-heavy (and surprisingly non-sporty) BMW 5-Series or the still staid Mercedes-Benz E-Class. With many buyers trying to eschew the traditional luxury image, the amazingly fun-to-drive 9-5 certainly has a fighting chance. At about $50,000, the 9-5 Aero is expensive, but it's not out of line with the quality of execution. The upcoming 2.0Ts will be in the much more reasonable mid-to-upper $30,000 range. Saab and its dealers simply need to get buyers into their showrooms. They will no doubt be impressed.

    2010 Saab 9-5 Aero base price, $49,990.

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    http://www.leftlanenews.com/saab-9-5...ve-review.html

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  3. #3
    Frank
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    The Local - Saab's luxurious new 9-5 is ready for take off

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    Published: 11 October 2010

    For Swedish carmaker Saab, its new 9-5 model could not be more important. Contributor David Hooper finds out if it lives up to all of its pre-launch hype, and considers the company’s plans for the future. Saab’s painful separation from General Motors has been well documented, but with new owner Spyker now in place, financial backing from the Swedish government and the European bank, an engine deal with BMW and a stunning new flagship model now on sale, the next mission in the carmaker’s story is ready for take off. The aircraft puns are quite unavoidable once you have driven the new 9-5, and for most owners, sitting in the cockpit of this car is as close as they will get to piloting a fast jet.

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    Sink into the luxurious leather driver’s seat and you are almost there, surrounded by a plethora of switches and dials on the centre console which control the car’s main functions. There is even a touch-screen display to programme your destination into the GPS navigation system, change radio stations, or select your favourite album from your MP3 player. But for any would-be pilots, Saab has two more treats in store – a head-up display which can project the car’s speed, rev counter, cruise control setting, or GPS navigation instructions onto the windscreen in green lettering, while on the dashboard, the centre dial can display what looks like an aircraft’s altimeter, but actually shows the 9-5’s road speed instead of a plane’s height. It looks brilliant, and I loved it. As well as doing a good impression of an aircraft, the top-of-the-range Aero model I’ve been testing had yet more tricks up its sleeve. The optional touch screen GPS system will not only take you to your destination, but if your mobile phone is paired to the car via its Bluetooth system, it will even provide the phone number and ring it up for you, so if you’re going to a restaurant, your table will be waiting when you arrive. It’s all clever stuff, but most importantly, it’s intuitive and easy to use.

    Saab isn’t known for updating its range of cars too regularly, but I have to say, this new 9-5 has been worth the wait. There are few cars I get excited about driving these days, but from the moment I saw the first press pictures of Saab’s new flagship, I have been looking forward to getting to grips with this one. In my opinion, it looks even better in the metal than it does in those carefully lit publicity pictures, but you have to give it a close inspection to notice the subtle blue tinges to the light units, and the cleverly-styled Saab badging on its bootlid. It’s a big car, aimed squarely at the executive market, which provides generous room inside for five people to travel in the lap of luxury, and its huge boot will accommodate plenty of luggage.

    The range starts with a 160PS 2.0-litre diesel engined model, while for those who prefer petrol, a high output 180PS 1.6-litre engine is available for a small premium. Further up the range is a 2.0-litre petrol engine, with the model I have been testing, the 2.8-litre V6, sitting at the top of the tree. Another interesting point worth noting is that AWD versions of the car are available with 2.0-litre petrol or diesel engines, as well as the top of the range model, so unlike some of its premium German rivals, slippery winter conditions won’t pose any problems for Saab 9-5 drivers. There are two trim levels from which to choose, Vector SE or Aero, and of course, a generous options list to make sure you can have your car just the way you want it.

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    The start button, making its debut in the 9-5, is located in the same position as the key used to be, so will be familiar to fans of the brand. To drive, the new Saab 9-5 feels as special as it looks. Beautifully put together, there is no hint of a squeak or a rattle, the steering is nicely weighted and provides just the right amount of feedback to the driver. Travelling in this car is as smooth and as comfortable as it gets. At motorway speeds, the interior is impressively quiet with very little wind or road noise making itself heard, and in the V6 model I tested, the hushed tones of the silky smooth power plant are a delight to hear when you press the pedal towards the plush carpet.

    As adept at cross-country sprints as it is on a motorway cruise, the AWD system gives the new 9-5 an in-built feeling of security. Most Saab drivers will never explore the upper limits of this car’s performance envelope, but even with its mighty 300PS fully deployed, it handles in a predictable and assured manner, having despatched the 0-100km/hr benchmark in a mere 6.9 seconds, it is an engaging machine to drive quickly. The diesel engined cars, although obviously not as potent, are just as capable in the handling department, with any engine noise kept to a minimum inside the car.

    Success for the new Saab 9-5 range seems assured. Beautifully designed and built to standards befitting a premium brand, I feel that like me, the company’s loyal customers will struggle to find much to criticise in what is arguably Saab’s most important new model ever. But will it be enough to ensure the carmaker’s future? As excellent as it is, this is a large executive car, the market for which is shrinking the world over as we motorists are encouraged to switch to smaller, greener, more fuel efficient vehicles. The rest of Saab’s range is long-in-the-tooth and beginning to show its age, so if the company is to ensure its long-term survival in a fiercely competitive global market and thereby secure Swedish jobs, it needs to follow up its undoubted success with the 9-5 with a smaller, more affordable, greener vehicle – and fast!

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    If it can do this, then the foundations for Saab’s future will be built on so much more than a wing and a prayer. The company’s association with General Motors, however, isn’t quite over yet. Creating new cars is a long-term and ongoing project, so July next year will see the launch of the estate version of the 9-5, the Sportswagon, followed by a new 9-4X Crossover model. In 2012, an all-new 9-3 range is in the pipeline, which as well as the saloon and Sportswagon, will renew one of Saab’s greatest successes, the 9-3 Convertible.

    Victor Muller, who owns Dutch firm Spyker, has declared his desire for a small car, while at the Paris Motorshow, which runs until October 17, the Saab stand will be showcasing an all-electric prototype, based on the current 9-3 Sportswagon. As for the company’s long-term future, a deal with German carmaker BMW to supply its 1.6-litre petrol engine has just been signed at the Swedish company’s headquarters in Trollhättan. This is a big step in the right direction, which I expect will lead to further co-operation, perhaps in the form of a small diesel engine. A Saab spokeswoman explained how the company is working on strategic partnerships with other companies and is currently in the process of rebuilding its global sales network. It is also busy developing new markets in countries which could not be more diverse than the Swedish firm’s homeland – China, Russia, India and Brazil.

    Saab then, certainly has the ambition to succeed – if it can translate that ambition into sales, then its long-term future, and that of its predominantly Swedish workforce, will be assured. As a long-standing fan of Saab, I wish them well.

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  4. #4
    Frank
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    Auto Motor und Sport - Die Limousine, die Saab retten soll

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    Saab 9-5 2.0 T im Test - 22. Oktober 2010

    Der neue Saab 9-5 soll die Zukunft der angeschlagenen Firma retten. Wie stehen die Chancen auf Erfolg? Im Test die Fünf-Meter-Limousine mit dem 220 PS starken Turbo-Benziner unter der Haube.

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    Für alle, die wieder mal herumzetern, der neue Saab 9-5 sei kein echter Saab mehr, machen wir eine Rechnung auf: Seit 1947 entwickeln die Schweden Autos, und das letzte, das ohne fremde Hilfe entstand, war der 900 von 1978. Das ist jetzt 32 Jahre her: Die Tradition der reinen Saab ist mittlerweile also kürzer als die der Kooperationen. Die erste war übrigens der Saab 9000, der sich das Fundament mit dem Fiat Croma I teilte. Wer will sich da an der Verwandtschaft des neuen 9-5 mit dem Opel Insignia stören?

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    Saab 9-5 überragt seinen Vorgänger um 17 Zentimeter
    Zumal sie nicht allzu offensichtlich ausfällt. Äußerlich erinnert nichts an den Cousin aus Rüsselsheim, dafür einiges an seine Ahnen, die der Saab 9-5 mit der steilen Frontscheibe und kleinen Fensterflächen zitiert. Bei den Abmessungen bricht er dagegen mit der Tradition. Obwohl Saab in ihrer Klasse immer recht kompakte Autos waren, überragt der neue Saab 9-5 den Vorgänger in der Länge um 17 Zentimeter. Ein Teil der sperrigen Maße erklärt sich damit, dass er ein wenig repräsentativer als der 4,83 Meter lange Opel Insignia sein sollte. Mit schwer überschaubaren Folgen bei der Rundumsicht. Große Teile der Front- und Heckgebiete der Karosserie entziehen sich im Test dem Fahrerblick. In der Stadt lindern der Parklückendetektor mit Lenkanweisungen und die mutigen Parksensoren das grundsätzliche Handlichkeitsdefizit geringfügig, an dem auch der große Wendekreis schuld ist.

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    Saab bietet aufpreispflichiges Head-up-Display
    Zu den Vorzügen der ausufernden Karosserie zählt das Raumangebot des Saab 9-5. Im Fond reisen Erwachsene oberklassig auf einer bequem ausgeformten Bank, mit üppiger Kniefreiheit und genügend Kopfraum trotz der flachen Dachlinie (nein, hier werden Sie nicht lesen, sie sei coupéhaft, das heißt es ja inzwischen sogar bei einem Volvo-Kombi). Vorn sitzt man nicht weniger bequem, aber weniger weitläufig. Das liegt an breiten, recht steilen A-Säulen und dem niedrigen, weit vorgezogenen Dach, was für jene Heimeligkeit sorgt, die ebenso zu den typischen Saabseligkeiten zählt wie die Cockpitgestaltung im Flugzeugstil. Obwohl der Autohersteller mit dem Flugzeugbauer Saab offiziell seit zehn Jahren nichts mehr zu tun hat, gipfelt die Jet-Folklore im Saab 9-5 in einem 1.000 Euro Aufpreis teuren Head-up-Display sowie einem einblendbaren Digitaltacho, der aussieht wie ein Höhenmesser.

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    Zweiliter-Direkteinspritzer ist aktuell der beste Opel-Benziner
    Innen zeigt sich die Verwandtschaft zum Opel Insignia auf den ersten Blick an den Fensterhebertasten oder der knopflastigen Bedienung. Allerdings lässt sich bei Infotainment und Navigation das meiste über den berührungssensiblen Bildschirm erledigen. Zum Teil geht das auch über die Sprachsteuerung, doch man debattiert nur ungern mit dem begriffsstutzigen System. Kurzweiliger ist die Stimmenvielfalt der Navigation, bei dem sich drei Damen die Ansage-Aufgaben teilen. Jetzt aber los. Druck auf den Startknopf - der sitzt wie früher das Zündschloss zwischen den Vordersitzen -, und der Motor faucht sich warm. Benziner? Vier Zylinder? Turbolader? Alles da, und damit drei Grundbedingungen von Saab-Fans an ein Triebwerk. Der Zweiliter-Direkteinspritzer ist aktuell der beste Opel-Benziner - was bei den oft wenig überzeugenden Qualitäten vieler GM-Ottos allerdings nicht allzu schwer ist. Er treibt den Saab 9-5 im Test mit stämmigem Schub, sachtem Wastegatepfeifen und hoher Laufkultur an.

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    Saab 9-5 mit ruckigen Schaltvorgängen
    Für 2.200 Euro extra verkuppelt ihn Saab mit einer Sechsstufenautomatik. Solange der Saab 9-5 lässig über die Autobahn schnürt, kooperieren Motor und Getriebe harmonisch. Weniger überzeugend gelingt das auf Landstraßen. Da schaltet das Getriebe vor Kurven schnell noch in den hohen Gang, lässt den Wagen um die Ecke rollen und ruckt sich dann beim Gasgeben hektisch und wenig treffsicher durch die Stufen. Also unbedingt die Schaltwippen am Lenkrad für 150 Euro ordern - obwohl sie nur reagieren, wenn der Wählhebel in der manuellen Gasse ist. Wenn wir gerade beim Bestellen sind: Das hervorragende adaptive Bixenonlicht (410 Euro für den Saab 9-5 Aero, sonst 1.350) muss mit, ebenso wie die adaptive Dämpferkontrolle namens Drive Sense. Sie hat drei Modi: Komfort, Intelligent und Sport. Sport ist genau drei Minuten lustig, nervt danach für immer mit ständigem Stuckern, zappeliger Lenkungskennlinie, giftiger Gasannahme und einer noch hektischeren Automatik. Dagegen verbessern die beiden anderen Abstimmungen den Federungskomfort erheblich. Mit dem normalen Fahrwerk mangelt es dem Saab 9-5 an Abrollkomfort, woran die 19-Zoll-Bereifung mit ihrem 40er-Querschnitt keineswegs unschuldig ist.

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    Saab 9-5 ist ein kompetenter Langstreckentourer
    Drive Sense kriegt das in den Griff, lässt das Fahrwerk in Stellung Komfort sanft auf Unebenheiten ansprechen, den Saab 9-5 aber um Biegungen wogen. Das bleibt zwar ohne Einfluss auf die hohe Fahrsicherheit, doch auf Intelligent fährt der Saab 9-5 bei leicht strafferer Grunddämpfung agiler und kaum unkomfortabler. Wobei noch immer die rückmeldungstaube Lenkung stört. Der kann man im Test zumindest zugute halten, dass sie nicht zu sehr zickt, wenn der Ladedruckzeiger vor den roten Bereich zuckt und eine 350 Nm hohe Drehmomentwelle über die Vorderräder hereinbricht. Es gibt noch ein paar Kritikpunkte: der hohe Verbrauch, das für die Klasse geringe Angebot an Fahrerassistenzsystemen oder eine unvollkommen funktionierende Verkehrszeichenerkennung. Aber der will kein perfektes Auto sein, sondern ein kompetenter Langstreckentourer - und ein wahrer Saab. Weil er beides ist, wäre es schon wegen ihm schade, wenn sich die Firma tatsächlich trollen müsste.

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    http://www.auto-motor-und-sport.de/e...l-2785839.html

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  5. #5
    Frank
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    Auto Bild - Ist der 9-5 ein echter Saab?

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    Von Martin G. Puthz
    Saab 9-5 Aero: Test — AUTO BILD 34/2010 — 31.08.2010

    Eben noch kurz vor der Bruchlandung, will der schwedische Autohersteller mit Flugzeugbau-Wurzeln jetzt wieder durchstarten. Ob das mit der Neuauflage des 9-5 gelingen kann, verrät der erste Test.

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    Ein Saab, der unterm Blech ein Opel ist? Wenn das mal gut geht! Die Schweden hatten ja schon einmal Pech damit. Als General Motors das Kommando in Trollhättan übernahm und 1993 den Nachfolger des Ur-900 auf die Vectra-Plattform stellte, ging es mit der schrullig-schlauen Lieblingsmarke der Freigeister und Intellektuellen abwärts. Langjährige Kunden kauften anderswo, neue ließen sich kaum locken. Der Rest ist bekannt. Mit 418 Neuzulassungen bis Ende Juli dümpelt Saab in Deutschland längst auf Exoten- Niveau. Jetzt will der holländische Sportwagenbauer Spyker als neuer Eigentümer durchstarten – mit einem Auto, das unterm Blech wieder ein Opel ist.

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    Technisch steckt dem noch zu GM-Zeiten entwickelten 9-5 der Insignia in den Knochen. Man merkt allerdings nichts davon, zumindest äußerlich, schon weil der Schwede seinen Genspender um 18 Zentimeter überragt. Mit 5,01 Metern streckt er sich sogar 14 Zentimeter weiter in die Länge als eine Mercedes E-Klasse und ist damit diesseits von Kampfjets und Verkehrsflugzeugen das Größte, was je die Werkstore bei Saab verließ. Der gute alte 900, für viele Fans die Blech gewordene Essenz der Schwedenmarke, wirkt im Vergleich zum Neuen filigran und zierlich, doch die Verwandtschaft fällt sofort auf. Auch der moderne Wiedergänger ist markant und charismatisch. Passanten drehen sich um, zücken gar ihre Handykameras – wann hat es das bei einem Saab zuletzt gegeben? Einsteigen, bitte. Sensible Näschen schnuppern Opel-Duft, auch die Schalter kennt man – trotz anderer Anordnung – aus dem Insignia. Wirklich stören kann das aber nicht. Im Cockpit finden sich genügend Elemente aus der Saab-Folklore, um bei Traditionalisten Heimatgefühle zu wecken – und Wiedersehensfreude.

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    Tasten und Knöpfe haben sich gegenüber dem zum Abgleich mitgebrachten Ur-900 aus dem letzten Baujahr 1993 zwar vermehrt; damals gab es ja auch weder Stoßdämpferverstellung noch komplizierte Multimedia-Menüs. Der Fahrerplatz sieht heute aber mehr denn je nach Flugzeugkanzel aus – Saab war es immer wichtig, seine aeronautischen Wurzeln auch im Automobilbau aufscheinen zu lassen. Ein Head-up-Display (1000 Euro) projiziert wichtige Fahrdaten in die Frontscheibe. Mit der Night-Panel-Taste (Serie) lassen sich bei Nacht störende Lichtquellen abdunkeln. Und der Startknopf sitzt – Ehrensache – da, wo früher der Zündschlüssel war: zwischen den Vordersitzen. Klar, dass Neulinge ein paar Minuten brauchen, um sich einzufuchsen. Für vollendetes Jet-Gefühl müssten die Vordersitze etwas niedriger eingebaut sein; große Piloten thronen auf den üppig gepolsterten Ledersesseln eine Spur zu hoch. Hinten fühlt man sich wie in der Business Class. Beim Knieraum kommt der 9-5 dicht an chauffeurtaugliche Limos wie den Skoda Superb heran; nur mit Platz über dem Scheitel knausert er.

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    Ready for take off? Dann los! Unter der Haube des Testwagens steckt ein schubstarker Zweiliter-Turbo – typisch Saab, obgleich es die vierzylindrige 220-PS-Maschine auch im Opel Insignia zu kaufen gibt. Das Leistungs-Loch von früher wurde zugeschüttet. Auch muss kein sperriger Schaltmast mehr durch die Kulisse geschoben werden wie einst im 900. Für 2200 Euro sortiert eine Automatik die sechs Fahrstufen – zügig, ruck- und hektikfrei. Der Vierzylinder macht gleichmäßigen Druck, gießt übers gesamte Drehzahlband harmonisch-lässig seine Newtonmeter aus und jubelt willig bis zum Rand der roten Skala. Akustisch hält er sich dabei diskret zurück, während sein hubraumgleicher Altkollege rauchig-sexy aus dem Auspuff röhrt.

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    Wer das Steuer zu gefühllos findet, kann in den Menüs des Adaptivfahrwerks "DriveSense" (1160 Euro) den Lenkwiderstand erhöhen. Auto zu straff? Dann im Comfort-Modus einfach die Dämpfer softer stellen. Die Mittelstellung "I" wie "Intelligent" bemüht sich um den idealen Kompromiss. Kurze Wellen kommen wegen der flachschultrigen Räder aber immer durch – vor allem an der Vorderachse. Mit steigendem Tempo wächst das Feder-Feingefühl jedoch. Stoisch, wie von einem Laserstrahl geführt, läuft der 9-5 geradeaus. Winselnde Vorderräder beim Herauszoomen aus engen Kehren sind dank des Allradantriebs (2500 Euro extra) Geschichte. Am Limit verhindert das elektronische Hinterachsdifferenzial plumpes Schieben über alle viere, sorgt mit variabler Kraftdosierung zwischen den Rädern für eine sanft eindrehende Hinterhand. Das würzt das satte Fahrgefühl mit einer Prise Sportlichkeit.

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    Beim Thema ESP folgt der 9-5 der von Opel bekannten Safety-first-Philosophie. Eingriffe erfolgen lieber etwas früher als zu spät – im Unterholz nordischer Nadelwälder lauern schließlich jede Menge Elche, die es im Notfall sicher zu umkurven gilt. Bleibt zu hoffen, dass auch Saab die Kurve kriegt. Mit diesem Auto könnte es klappen.

    http://www.autobild.de/artikel/saab-...t-1241454.html

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    Frank
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    L'Automobile - Premier essai Saab 9-5 : Drakkar amiral

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    Saab 9-5 2.0 TiD Linear
    Publié le 10/06/2010
    Auteur : Philippe Lebrun

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    Repoussé pour cause de changement de propriétaire, le lancement de la Saab 9-5 est maintenant programmé pour septembre 2010. En guise d'entrée de gamme, l'imposante routière suédoise reçoit un diesel de 160 ch.

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    En pleine restructuration, Saab s'apprête à commercialiser la deuxième génération de 9-5. Développée en parallèle avec l'Opel Insignia, elle devait être construite en Allemagne, mais au final, le vaisseau amiral de Saab sera estampillé "Made in Sweden". Plutôt longue pour la catégorie (5,01 m contre 4,90 pour la BMW Série 5 et 4,87 pour la Mercedes Classe E), la 9-5 ne manque pas d'habitabilité à l'avant comme à l'arrière. Mais, comparé à une VW Passat, plus courte de 24 cm, le volume du coffre n'est pas exceptionnel (515 dm3 contre 532 pour la VW, selon les constructeurs).

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    A bord, on regrette la faible amplitude des réglages du volant. En revanche, comme d'habitude, les sièges de cette grande Saab sont bien dessinés. On retrouve également le tableau de bord dit de type aviation, les ouïes d'aération au grillage original, la commande Night Panel qui permet de plonger les compteurs (excepté le tachymètre) dans le noir, et, bien sûr, le contact situé au pied du levier de vitesses. Sauf que, sur la 9-5 équipée en série d'un dispositif de démarrage sans clé, il s'agit désormais d'un bouton poussoir. L'image aéronautique de Saab est même renforcée avec l'option affichage tête haute (disponible en pack).

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    Fidèle à ses habitudes, Saab privilégie les moteurs suralimentés. Ainsi, en entrée de gamme, la nouvelle 9-5 s'équipe d'un turbodiesel introduit par l'Opel Insignia. Bruyant au ralenti et à l'accélération, ce quatre-cylindres de 160 ch se fait heureusement plus discret à vitesse constante. Avec la boîte automatique à six rapports, les reprises sont suffisamment vives, mais le poids de la voiture (plus de 1.700 kg) se fait ressentir sur petites routes sinueuses impliquant un comportement pataud. De même, le confort de suspension s'altère nettement sur chaussée dégradée. Décidément, la 9-5 aime surtout les routes droites et lisses. On peste aussi contre la direction inconsistante au point milieu, un défaut qui disparaît sur les voitures équipée du pack DriveSense comprenant la direction à assistance variable (VEPS) et la suspension pilotée, hélas indisponible avec cette motorisation. Côté prix, à 39.890 € pour la version de base Linear, la 9-5 2.0 TiD est bien placée face aux BMW Série 5 et Mercedes Classe E correspondantes, mais bien plus chère que sa cousine germaine Insignia, facturée 33.200 € et uniquement disponible en version haut de gamme Cosmo Pack.

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    Saab, un nouveau départ
    "Aujourd'hui, la marque Saab est indépendante et libre de ses choix," aime à répéter le Néerlandais Victor Muller, emblématique patron de Spyker, nouvellement à la tête de Saab (voir L'AM n° 768). En s'émancipant de General Motors, le constructeur suédois a dû récupérer tous ses biens et concentrer la production sur un seul site. Ainsi l'outil de production du 9-3 Cabriolet a été rapatrié d'Autriche. De même, celui de la nouvelle 9-5 a été récupéré en Allemagne. En effet, établies sur des plateformes proches, les Saab 9-5 et Opel Insignia devaient initialement être produites à Rüsselsheim. Désormais, les modèles Saab sont fabriquées à Trollhättan, patrie de la marque, en Suède. Seul le futur SUV 9-4X bénéficierait d'une extension de partenariat avec GM et serait assemblé au Mexique dès 2011. La même année arriverait le break 9-5 Estate. En 2012, la 9-3 serait remplacée, puis Saab lancerait une petite 9-2 ou 9-1. Dans les pays où la marque suédoise est diffusée, les réseaux sont à réorganiser. Sur le marché hexagonal, on dénombre 43 points de vente (début juin 2010). Rien de catastrophique quand on sait qu'on en comptait 55 avant le changement de main. Saab France espère trouver quelques autres candidats avant la commercialisation de la nouvelle 9-5 en septembre prochain.

    http://www.automobile-magazine.fr/es...drakkar_amiral

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    Frank
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    Autoblog - First Drive: 2010 Saab 9-5 proves being born from chaos builds character

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    by Chris Paukert on Jun 8th 2010

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    A funny thing happened on the way to bankruptcy court for General Motors. As part of a bid to have its red-stained slate wiped clean, it moved to divest itself of a number of brands in its bloated portfolio, with Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab all earmarked for sale or closure. However, only one brand inspired sufficient passion among both owners and those with the financial wherewithal to rescue it from GM's 'wind-down' apple polishers. Oddly enough, it was the tiny Swede that successfully swam out to the life raft. Saab, the marque with the smallest and oldest product lineup, lowest volume, and the poorest brand recognition among American consumers somehow found a way to survive.

    How, exactly, did this come to pass? For starters, unlike any other of GM's death-row divisions, owners and fans rallied in dozens of countries, urging anyone who listened to "Save Saab." Now, we're not naïve enough to think that a band of loyalists were all it took to change the course of automotive history, but it's telling that there were no pitchforks and torches – or even a handful of picket signs – produced over the axing of the other brands. Saab remains a seldom understood, much loved brand, and we know that the displays of unity from Saab's scorned faithful stoked the fire of unlikely suitor Victor Muller, CEO and owner of Spyker Cars, as his team waded through a stomach-churning series of negotiations. After watching from the sidelines while bids by other small automakers and investment groups fizzled, the Dutch businessman and his team eventually pried the battered brand away from GM – but not before Saab had been partially liquidated.

    While Muller clearly has an affinity for the Swedish marque, he insists it wasn't boyhood sentiment that drove the purchase – it was the company's robust Trollhättan operations and a raft of promising, almost-here product that pushed his team to persevere. That stream of shiny new tin begins with the car you see before you: The 2010 9-5. Click through to the jump to see if Muller and Company have good reason to be optimistic.

    During our trip to Gothenburg, Sweden to drive the new 9-5, representatives vigorously pointed out that their new sedan positively brims with "Saabishness" despite being developed entirely under GM's corporate umbrella. We had to wonder: Could the same Detroit decision-makers that gave us the half-hearted Subaru-based 9-2 and the utterly cynical Chevrolet Trailblazer-in-drag 9-7X actually know enough about the brand to deliver a competent and authentic 9-5 as a parting gift to its new owners – a Saab Saab? As it turns out, yes.

    As Muller told us, GM finally started to 'get the picture' with Saab in 2005, back when it decided to develop the stunningly canopied Aero X coupe. Despite never making it to production, the arresting 2006 concept (only the second showcar in Saab's entire history) actually gave Saab a much-needed fresh design direction, the production adaptation of which can be clearly seen in the new 9-5.

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    While the 9-5 doesn't have the Aero-X's jet-inspired tilting canopy, clear acrylic gauges or its novel drawer-style trunk, it does have an expressive, modern design that's extremely slippery (.28 cD). Its face is clearly evolved from the Geneva concept, along with details including blue-tinged 'ice block' lighting, turbine-style alloys, and blacked-out A pillars that lend the windshield a similar wraparound look. More traditional Saab cues including the 'hockey stick' greenhouse surround and prominent C-pillars also make the scene. Overall, it's a deeply handsome set of clothes that we think will wear the years particularly well because it doesn't rely on fussy surface development, tacked-on aero addenda or a lather of chrome.

    Make no mistake – this is a very big car whose clean design helps it hide its bulk. At 197.2-inches long, the 9-5 shadows its chief rival, the Audi A6, by nearly four inches, and it's more than four inches longer than BMW's new 5 Series. Dimensionally, the closest comparison we can draw is actually to the Buick LaCrosse, which is predictable because they both ride on long-wheelbase derivatives of GM's Epsilon II architecture, the basic platform of which also underpins the Opel Insignia and Buick Regal (albeit in a shorter form).

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    Despite shared architectures and similar drivetrains, the 9-5 looks, feels and goes down the road in a wholly different fashion than its TriShield relatives. Indeed, sampled back-to-back, you'd probably be hard pressed to find much common ground. That's not a knock on any of the models in question, but instead a testament to the efforts of both Saab's stylists and its engineers. Perhaps we shouldn't be terribly surprised – GM made sure that the Scandinavian team had considerable input into the dynamics of the entire Epsilon II family, an assignment that apparently gave technicians the proper perspective to ensure adequate differentiation and, well, Saabishness.

    That coherence may start with the exterior, but it carries over into the 9-5's cabin, which is unlike anything else in GM's stable. Traditional Saab cues like a driver-centric dashboard, joystick-toggled eggcrate vents, green instrument lighting, and a console-mounted ignition (now push-button instead of key-based) are all present and accounted for, as is a nifty new round information display nestled in between the analog tachometer and speedometer. The latter can display everything from trip mileage to speed limits to an amusing altimeter-style speed readout that's more fun than functional.

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    There's even Saab's excellent 'Night Panel' function that extinguishes all non-essential gauges for distraction-free nighttime driving – something that's particularly welcome now that there's an eight-inch screen in residence. Unfortunately, the Night Panel switch looks exactly like other automakers' start buttons in both form and location, and while that won't be a problem for owners who spend a few weeks with the car, it's an ergonomic snafu likely to haunt the unfamiliar.

    More praiseworthy are the center stack controls and the easy-as-pie touchscreen infotainment unit. The buttons and knobs are all logically arrayed, and we're quite pleased that Saab has avoided the temptation to fit an all-in-one controller like those popularized by German rivals. One thing that is remarkably Teutonic in feel, however, is the 9-5's somber dashboard. Particularly on the doors and in front of the passenger, there really isn't enough to hold one's interest in terms of trim. We're not advocating for wood (we hear a grain package will be available, however), but something to break up the darkness would help make the interior feel more premium, be it piano black or some sort of additional aluminum trim.

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    We sampled both the front-wheel drive 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder 9-5 (due this Fall as a 2011 model) and the fully accoutered, grips-at-all-fours Aero XWD flagship, and they both have similar interiors with one distinct difference: the seats. In the 'base' car, we found the buckets to be comfortable enough, albeit a bit short on lateral bolstering. The Aero receives significantly better furniture – its front seats manage to have much more robust lateral support while being supremely comfortable – and there's a bottom cushion extender for those long-of-leg. We think that Saab should offer these seats to 9-5 intenders regardless of how many cylinders and driven wheels they choose to pay for. After telling nearby officials as much, a flurry of subsequent conversations and smartphone emails would appear to indicate that they're at least open to making them an option.

    We noted plenty of space up front, and rear-seat legroom is positively mammoth, although that gracefully lilting roofline and a rather high bottom cushion means that headroom is limited for taller folks, and ingress and egress is a head-stooping affair (although not to the level of a Mercedes-Benz CLS). Tri-zone air-conditioning is an option, as is a twin-screen DVD entertainment package, so rear seat occupants should have few objections, even on longer trips.

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    One final recommendation: As appropriate as it might seem for a company steeped in aeronautics, skip the heads-up display if you can. While it imparts a wealth of useful information, we noted significant and distracting glare from the HUD's housing (cue additional executive conversations and emails). A fix is promised, and unlike the red-tape laden bureaucracy at GM, we actually believe an adjustment will be made in a timely fashion, so consider this a temporary warning.

    But enough about the furnishings – how does it drive? We exited the parking lot at Gothenburg-Landvetter airport aboard a front-drive 2.0T six-speed manual transmission model and immediately felt at home. Despite being a large car, the 9-5 "drives small" – and not just when pushed. Even at everyday commuting speeds, its easy responses and good visibility make it feel significantly tidier of dimension – perhaps Volkswagen Passat-sized. There's none of that artificial forced heaviness that has creeped in to some Germanic rivals, but that isn't to say that the steering is featherweight, the brakes are soft or the gearbox is loose. On the contrary, the inputs are well judged, with a nicely weighted clutch with linear engagement, a gearshift that's orders of magnitude better than that of previous Saabs and a right-sized steering wheel that offers good precision and communication from the hydraulic rack-and-pinion setup beyond the firewall.

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    The direct-injected twin-scroll turbo four produces 220 horsepower at 5,300 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque at 2,500 rpm, meaning that there's a slightly longer delay in reaching peak power than we've come to associate with some new DI engines of similar size. From where we sit, this is actually a source of entertainment and differentiation, as it subtly reminds us of Saab's 'big thwack' forced-induction heritage without resorting to actual massive turbo lag. Indeed, also unlike force-fed Saabs of yore is the conspicuous absence of torque steer, even with a conventional MacPherson strut front suspension on the base model. Saab indicates 0-62 mph arrives in 7.9 seconds, but surprisingly for such a small displacement engine toting a super-sized body, it feels a bit quicker than that, and it's good fun hearing the turbo whistle blow while keeping the engine in its powerband. Keep the throttle planted and the four-cylinder will run to 149 mph, with the V6 pushing to 155.

    Regardless of how many cylinders you specify underhood, you can also get Saab's new DriveSense adaptive handling – it's standard on the V6 Aero and optional on I4 models. Basically, it's a three-position dial on the center console that optimizes the car's various systems for tailored ride and handling. Damping rates, steering weight, shift points and throttle mapping are all tailored to one of three modes Comfort, Sport or Intelligent. The first detent allows for more suspension compliance and a relaxed throttle for maximum fuel economy. The middle setting curbs power steering assist, raises shift points, makes throttle control more urgent, stiffens the dampers and, critically, sends more torque to the rear-wheels. As you might suspect, the third mode, Intelligent, seeks to find the best balance between the other two settings, and it succeeds. Of course, if you think you know better than Saab's engineers, it's also possible to alter the system's individual parameters through the touchscreen.

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    We didn't have the chance to sample a 9-5 without this trick bit of siliconry, so we'll need to try DriveSense on a wider range of road conditions to really judge its merits. Sweden has a beautiful network of rolling B-roads that threads through its densely wooded interior (it's not entirely unlike the Pacific Northwest), but its roads are in such good repair that we didn't get the opportunity to feel how it behaves over buckled pavement. Interestingly, we understand from Saab's engineers that the standard four-pot's setup is oriented toward a more sporting experience, so even though DriveSense appears to work as advertised, we suspect the base front-driver might be just as well without it. In fact, less supportive seats aside, we actually prefer driving the four-cylinder 9-5 to the Aero XWD.

    It's not that there's anything wrong with the 300 horsepower (at 5,500 rpm), 295 pound-feet of torque (at 2,000 rpm) turbo V6. We've loved the torque-vectoring all-wheel drive since we first sampled it in the 9-3 Turbo X, and the six-speed automatic is largely commendable in its smoothness, although we do wish the paddle shifters worked when the gear lever was left in 'D.' Overall, the Aero may be more accomplished, but it's also not as engaging, in part because the addition of power and an automatic gearbox encourages less interaction from the driver and in part because at 4,464 pounds, it's significantly heavier than the 2.0T (3,472). While certainly not out-of-line for its class (particularly given its massive equipment list and all-wheel drive), the Aero's weight and grippier Haldex setup mean that it just doesn't feel as tossable as its FWD counterpart, even with its standard 'sport chassis' setup that includes a bigger front anti-roll bar, stiffer springs and a 10 mm lower ride height. Interestingly, V6-equipped models utilize a totally different suspension setup than the four-cylinder model, one that includes GM's new HiPer strut front suspension and a linked H-arm setup out back.

    Rounding off the more polished V6 model is a note about noise: The 2.8 is seriously quiet – almost too quiet. With a quoted 0-62 mph time of 6.9 seconds, it's the quicker car, but if you're really that concerned about off-the-line snap, there are swifter offerings in this class. In short, the 2.8 Aero is a really fine cruiser, and it's the better bet for inclement weather, but enthusiasts would do well to sample the front-drive four-cylinder model first.

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    As a bonus, the four-equipped 9-5 figures to be much less expensive. Saab has already stated that the 9-5 Aero will retail for $49,995, and at first glance, the Aero seems to be priced uncomfortably close to that of its more prestigious European rivals – the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E Class all start in the same neighborhood. But it's important to note that at that price the 9-5 comes loaded to the headliner with features like sat-nav, moonroof, lane-departure warning, active bi-xenon headlamps, park assist, heated and cooled leather seats, iPod integration, 19-inch wheels and a heads-up display – all items that can easily add another 10 grand to its competitors' bottom lines. If you want to go for the full Saab smörgåsbord, there's the aforementioned tri-zone HVAC and rear-seat entertainment packages, Harman/Kardon audio, along with some rather nice (if unnecessary) Brembo brakes that we sampled on a test track (what's a Swedish car launch without the obligatory 'moose test'?). Oddly, the bigger binders actually require downsizing to a unique 18-inch alloy, as they don't fit under the turbine 19s. Alternatively, we understand that the base 9-5 2.0T will retail for somewhere in the neighborhood of $38-39k, and even with a few options, this package strikes us as a much more compelling buy, pricing out against much smaller cars like the A4 and C Class.

    In our interactions with Saab's new leadership, we were pleased to find that they have a rich appreciation for what the Scandinavian brand stands for – and just as importantly, a plan for what it can and should be. While it's clear that Muller and company don't view theirs as a brand that should be all things to all people, the wider market seems to be finally cottoning on to many of Saab's traditional strongholds, placing an increasing emphasis on small-displacement engines, forced induction and foul weather performance. That bodes well for Saab's strategy to find profitability not by blending in with the mainstream, but by sticking to its oddly endearing knitting. After a belated birth following much disorder and chaos, the new 9-5 paints a promising future for Saab, and we can't wait to see what it can develop as a fully independent company. Skål!http://www.autoblog.com/2010/06/08/2...-drive-review/

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  8. #8
    Frank
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    Winding Road - The 2011 Saab 9-5

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    By Matt Davis - March 29, 2010

    Amsterdam, Netherlands

    The first-generation Saab 9-5 had a thirteen-year shelf life, and stopped being produced in Tröllhattan, Sweden only when the suppliers stopped delivering all of the necessary parts back in July of 2009. And the suppliers stopped delivering parts because General Motors (with an embarrassing sense of near enthusiasm) had announced that Saab would be either sold or shuttered, sending Saab sales worldwide into a tailspin. We were as shocked as many of you surely were. Just one more move in GM’s long history of dubious achievements: the near eagerness to kill this hallowed Swedish brand which, by all accounts, it never even tried to understand adequately. But we step into the lobby of our very 1970s-feeling Marriott hotel at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport to meet our collaborator on this stealth mission, the Spyker Saab CEO, Victor Muller. Joking, sort of, our host looks at us and says, “Crazy isn’t it? To get the first 9-5, I had to go and buy the company.”

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    Saab’s new Dutch owner Victor Muller is an adamant, outspoken kind of car guy. Exemplifying this sometimes impulsiveness, while we were talking with him near the airport he handed us the key fob to his pre-production 2011 Saab 9-5, and said we could have a spin in it so long as he was our constant passenger. Genuinely surprised, we did the right thing and accepted the offer. We’ve liked driving every GM world car (or former GM world car) that has been built on the global Epsilon II architecture, be it the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia (European and U.K. car of the year 2009), Chevrolet Malibu, or Buick Lacrosse. The Chinese got it, too, at the end of 2008 under the latest Buick Regal, and we saw this car on American soil finally at the latest Detroit show as the very handsome Regal GS. Now it has found its way to this decidedly more Saab-like second-generation 2011 Saab 9-5.

    While gathering pearls of “the new Saab” wisdom from Mr. Muller as we drove his 9-5, it didn’t take long for it to wash over us that Saab, in this new premium sedan, has a success on its hands, so long as it doesn’t get all screwed up. The 2011 Saab 9-5 is a dynamic driver and looker, very well built, not quite yet at the Audi level of cabin refinement, but laced inside and out with that sturdy Scandinavian alternativeness that we’ve been missing in Saabs for some time now. “Of course,” adds Muller, “This 9-5, as great as it is, is not the 9-5 I know that we can create in Sweden for the third generation five or six years from now, but it’s a bloody wonderful first product to have inherited right at the start of our ownership.”

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    It’s been a long and bumpy road to get to gen-two, even. Back in 2002, we visited the then new and now closed Saab/GM Advanced Design Studio just outside of Göteborg, Sweden, and on the wall there was a 1:1 full profile drawing of this very car, as created by the Saab advanced design team, that we were told to “not see.” The 9-5 was basically ready to go way back then but, we won’t go into how GM Europe screwed that one up. Saab was told to settle for a semi-new (glorified mid-life-like) updo for the 9-5 instead. So, the first-generation Saab 9-5 has had this awkward-as-hell thirteen-year life cycle, while the rest of the premium executive segment has thundered ahead with new models and profits. The last 2010 Saab 9-5 rolled off the line in late July, and production of the finalized new 9-5 just started in mid-March.

    Saab sales in North America dropped 35 percent between 2007 and 2008, with total ’08 sales hitting just barely over 20,000. Then 2009 hit together with GM’s overly excited announcement that Saab was history, and Saab’s North American sales plunged a further 59 percent to just 8,680 vehicles. Not good for a market that should be buying at least 50,000 of your cars per annum. While chatting with Muller, we couldn’t help but notice that this 9-5 is a fully loaded Aero trim with the 296-horsepower, Holden-supplied, 2.8-liter V-6 as pumped up by a Borg Warner turbocharger, and fitted with the company’s outstanding XWD that combines an electric limited slip rear differential, together with the Haldex all-wheel traction. Nice package, and we gunned it whenever we could just to watch the turbo gauge and hear the slight whistle of the turbine.

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    “It was so frustrating for Saab fanatics like me for so many years,” says Muller. “Not only did we have to wait 13 years for this next 9-5, but we waited a ridiculous amount of time for four-wheel drive, while GM Europe took whatever profits Saab was making and threw them into an Opel/Vauxhall black hole.” Muller will come out with these refreshingly honest statements all day long while his PR team squirms nearby. “Now we’re independent, our next four models are paid for,” Muller goes on, “And I am committed to returning Saab to its roots, while at the same time finally bringing the brand up to the level of quality and respect that the Germans rightfully receive these days.”

    The 9-5 Aero interior is an honestly solid execution in taking the recent Opel/Buick/Cadillac high quality and making it Saab’s own. The dominant color, apart from the soothing grays in the leather and dash of this tester on this cloudy Dutch day, is a vibrant, antifreeze green. All instrument needles, some touch-screen sat-nav buttons, and several ambient lighting trim bits around the cabin shine with this traditional Saab hue. We felt embraced in Nordicness as the cabin glowed soothingly around us. There is no longer a standard key insert for the ignition by the driver’s inboard thigh–let’s just call it “that heritage anchor.” It has been suitably updated to a push-button StartStop with tiny light slots that glow green, too. The old-time, space-hogging handbrake lever is gone as well, all 9-5s now being fitted with a discreet electro-hydraulic handbrake. Looking straight through the three-spoke Aero-design steering wheel, inspired by recent show cars like 2006’s Aero X, you see a digital onboard data dial. Among other things, this little disc can show an airplane altimeter-style speedometer readout, which struck us as sufficiently cool.

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    As we’ve always felt in Saabs, the full leather and its stitching can still be made to be more upmarket. “Yes,” agrees Muller, “We are going to be working massively on perfecting the Saab interior experience, and a big part of that is constantly improving the materials choices.” Not long after the midsummer North American launch of the 9-5, in fact, Muller tells us there will be a premium-level personalization program offered in part to help solve the puckered-leatherette feeling of the current material. The Aero sport seats could be more sporting as well, as regards their overall support especially at the sides. Any improvements to the outgoing 9-5’s exterior looks are going to be better than what Saab’s larger car was forced to live with in recent years.

    This 9-5 at least starts to rediscover formerly shunned airplane fuselage-style sleekness and angles. The shape of the car is very clean, and looks good in this lighter silvery gray. All of the lighting elements deliberately take on a chilly feeling, particularly up front where the term “ice block” is being used by Saab to describe the slight blue tint. In back, a new look that will be part of all future Saabs is the bar of light running the width of the trunk—it’s a distinctive touch we like. Particular to the Aero look are the much meaner and larger front air intakes, nineteen-inch “turbine” wheels dressed in aggressive Goodyear Eagle F1 tires, adaptive cornering LED headlights, and the dual rectangular exhaust tips visible through the fascia. This exact car we got to drive, in fact, is the only model of the 9-5 initially arriving in North America. The 217-horsepower, turbocharged, 2.0T four-cylinder will arrive later in 2010, and the XWD and eLSD will be available as options for that motor, too. In a really evolved move, the new 9-5 Saabs for North America will all come available only with the 6-speed Tiptronic automatic. The manual shift linkage we’ve tried on European 9-5s and 9-3s is the worst we have ever had to live with in this century. Only if this standard and traditional setup is greatly improved should Saab think of bringing it.

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    The sort of driver involvement in the sportiest Aero Saabs has always been uniquely pleasing. We find ourselves employing more body English here and there as though we’re autocrossing and being cheered on by Swedish fans. The Holden V-6, with intake and exhaust variable valve timing and most of its 10.9-psi, turbo-aided 295 pound-feet of torque ready between 2000 and 6000 rpm, gets this larger 9-5 to 60 mph in a decent 6.7 seconds. There’s a minimum of turbo lag involved, although it will be better when a twin-stage biturbo setup comes along for a Viggen version. “The Viggen name should play a significant role in the future,” Muller confirms. Talking length, the 2011 Saab 9-5 is 6.8 inches longer at 197.2 inches than the outgoing car, with a wheelbase stretched by 5.3 inches. This makes it longer than both the Audi A6 and BMW 5-Series (seven-inches longer than the Insignia or Regal). Muller stands just over six-foot four-inches, and he set himself up in the driver’s seat. We, at six feet, sat in back behind him, and there was a tremendous amount of space for knees and head. So, the 9-5 is sizeable, finally, and competitive in the part of the market it has been meant for all along.

    The chassis control system, called here Saab DriveSense, works on a rheostat to the left of the automatic joystick. Set to Comfort, Intelligent, or Sport, the system controls the suspension feel, steering assistance, ESP threshold, and throttle/transmission response. Between the “C” and the “I”, we felt little difference initially. But once Muller nudged us to put the foot into it, the potential difference in the Intelligent setup became clearer. In this mode, various dynamics parameters adapt at eleven different levels depending on how you’re generally driving at that time. Saab chassis teams have improved the damper feel at lower speeds in urban areas and at speed over highway bumps to where there is less steering column vibration. We still wish, however, we could set up the suspension independently from the rest of DriveSense.

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    The steering wheel-mounted shift paddles that come standard on the Aero V-6 operate nicely, though Saab should play with their appearance and feel on the fingers a bit more. While at it, tightening the steering ratio to avoid too much hand-over-hand action wouldn’t go amiss, either. In Sport of the DriveSense, things improve this way a touch, but the overall steering needed 2.7 turns, lock-to-lock, and doesn’t yet feel Aero optimized, really. Forced on-center steering feels a bit robotic compared to others in this segment and with these aspirations, too. Again, we just had to push Muller’s Saab harder to get at the less composed side of the Scandinavian persona. It’s tradition, and we actually really do like it.

    For years, Saab and Volvo both fell into the trap of believing they could charge just as much or more for their cars as the Germans. This error is being fixed, too. Though Muller really takes hard aim at the A6 with his thinking on the 2011 Saab 9-5, he knows he cannot quite yet go straight head-on with the A6 3.0 TFSI Quattro, even though on paper, in many aspects, he can do so comfortably. It would be a major coup to start the 2011 Saab 9-5 Aero Turbo6 XWD at $49,000. Get this worthy head of steam going, introduce long overdue improvements, and then the price can start creeping up to Audi territory.

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    Add Spyker Saab personalization packages, a Viggen, the 9-5 SportCombi wagon, a good looking 9-4X crossover in 2011, the outstanding turbo 2.0-liter motor, and now you’re talking. At least to us, Muller seems genuinely motivated to—as he has announced many times to the media—make Saab build real Saabs again. He wrapped up our meeting and drive by showing us something on his iPhone. You know the Audi A3 and BMW 1-Series competitor Muller has mentioned as a next step to slide in below the next 93? It’s about the size of the 9X concept car shown at Geneva in 2007, will be called the Saab 92, and it is stunning and exceptionally Saab distinctive. And, yes, the dash between the numbers is being retired with the intro of the new Saab 93 in 2013, getting back to the pre-GM traditional naming pattern.

    We are hoping this all works. Not just because our offices are in Michigan and Saabs are perfect year-round premium transportation, but also because we are shamelessly in love with the Saab we grew up with before GM came in and fixed everything that wasn’t broken.

    And because we like to see the confident Germans sweat a little. 2011 Saab 9-5 Aero Turbo6 XWD
    Engine: turbocharged V-6, 2.8 liters, 24v
    Output: 296 hp / 295 lb-ft
    Top Speed: 150 mph
    Weight: 4630 lb
    0-60 MPH (est.): 6.7 sec
    Base Price (est.): $49,000
    Price as Tested (est.): $55,000

    http://www.windingroad.com/articles/...2011-saab-9-5/

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    Frank
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    Motor16 - Prueba. Saab 9-5 2.0 TiD 160 CV Vector La imagen no lo es todo

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    El nuevo 9-5 es el primer coche de Saab como compañía ‘independiente’, aunque arrastra el ADN de Opel como se puede percibir en numerosos detalles. La marca sueca quiere hacerse un hueco con su flamante berlina entre los modelos ‘premium’ y para ello aporta una imagen con personalidad, pero para competir con Audi, Mercedes o BMW hacen falta argumentos mucho más sólidos.

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    A principios de 2010 Saab era un enfermo terminal. La planta de Trollhättan no fabricaba ni un solo coche y sus líneas de montaje estaban vacías. Sólo un milagro podía resucitar a esta marca nórdica que empezó fabricando aviones y lanzó su primer automóvil en 1947. Cuando parecía abocada a su desaparición, llegó la pequeña compañía holandesa Spyker –especializada en la fabricación de deportivos artesanales y presente hace pocos años en la Fórmula 1– para comprarla.

    Desde entonces, Saab lleva unos ocho meses produciendo coches, sus dirigentes apuestan por la independencia empresarial y han diseñado un nuevo plan comercial. Todo el desarrollo de futuros productos se realizará en su sede central, pero todavía tardarán un tiempo en tener su primer modelo cien por cien sueco –por ejemplo, el futuro 9-4X todavía se fabricará en México, en una planta de General Motors–.

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    Ahora, los primeros pasos de su revitalización reposan sobre el nuevo Saab 9-5, una berlina de más de cinco metros de largo a la que, sin duda, han proporcionado una imagen exclusiva y bastante personal, que puede conectar con aquellos conductores que buscan un automóvil poco visto. Pero el desarrollo de este coche se hizo en paralelo al del Opel Insignia, con el que comparte plataforma y numerosos componentes, aunque el 9-5 es 25 centímetros más largo –cuenta con un gran voladizo trasero– y presenta 10 centímetros más de distancia entre ejes.

    Mandos » que delatan su procedencia
    Al acceder al interior del nuevo Saab 9-5 rápidamente se aprecia el habitual sello que la marca sueca imprime a sus modelos. Destacan el diseño ergonómico y funcional de todo aquello que envuelve al conductor, las clásicas y útiles salidas de aireación con rejilla que distinguen los salpicaderos Saab, una instrumentación muy legible y una presentación general aceptable. Pero también notamos enseguida que estamos rodeados de numerosos mandos utilizados en modelos de Opel o Chevrolet (palanca de intermitentes, selector de las luces, pulsadores de las ventanillas...), algo impropio de un coche bastante más caro que apuesta por un estilo diferenciador. Y, sobre todo, esperábamos un acabado más trabajado en una berlina que, según la propia marca, quiere codearse con los Audi A6, BMW Serie 5 o Mercedes Clase E.


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    Un análisis detallado de la consola central, por ejemplo, deja ver piezas cuya unión no queda alineada como debería, hay demasiada holgura en algunos puntos y remates que no encontraríamos en un modelo ‘premium’ alemán. El puesto de conducción y el área del acompañante ofrecen bastante confort. Y detrás encontramos el espacio esperado en altura y anchura, y un hueco para las piernas de los pasajeros más holgado que en algunos rivales, pero el túnel de transmisión es muy voluminoso y la consola –con salida de aire específica para esta zona– es demasiado invasiva, lo que resta comodidad al pasajero central.

    Además, el respaldo es más duro en esa zona, no tiene una forma ergonómica y carece de reposacabezas, una ausencia inexplicable en una marca que siempre ha cuidado mucho la seguridad. Igualmente, la anchura e inclinación del pilar C deja a los pasajeros laterales algo encajonados, retrasados frente a la posición de la ventanilla, lo que les resta visibilidad. El puesto de conducción y el área del acompañante ofrecen bastante confort. Y detrás encontramos el espacio esperado en altura y anchura, y un hueco para las piernas de los pasajeros más holgado que en algunos rivales, pero el túnel de transmisión es muy voluminoso y la consola –con salida de aire específica para esta zona– es demasiado invasiva, lo que resta comodidad al pasajero central. Además, el respaldo es más duro en esa zona, no tiene una forma ergonómica y carece de reposacabezas, una ausencia inexplicable en una marca que siempre ha cuidado mucho la seguridad. Igualmente, la anchura e inclinación del pilar C deja a los pasajeros laterales algo encajonados, retrasados frente a la posición de la ventanilla, lo que les resta visibilidad.

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    Con 515 litros de volumen, el maletero puede acoger una buena cantidad de equipaje, pero su forma no es muy regular y el umbral de carga queda bastante alto. Para sujetar mejor el equipaje, Saab ofrece un rail en forma de U –por 245 euros– que incluye un divisor telescópico de la carga. Al observar con detalle, vemos que el techo del maletero en su parte final no lleva ningún recubrimiento y si levantamos el suelo aparece otra ingrata sorpresa: no hay una rueda de repuesto ni tan siquiera de tamaño reducido, ya que de serie lleva un kit reparapinchazos –sólo en las versiones 2.0 TiD–. Llegado el momento de dar vida al motor se perciben otros cambios en el 9-5. La clásica ubicación entre los asientos de la llave de contacto y de la palanca del freno de mano ya es historia en Saab. A cambio tenemos un cómodo botón de arranque y parada, y el freno de estacionamiento es eléctrico –se desconecta de forma automática en cuanto tratamos de iniciar la marcha–.

    En esta ocasión probamos la versión 2.0 TiD con cambio manual de seis relaciones –también está disponible con una transmisión automática de las mismas velocidades–. Es una de las mecánicas diésel que monta el Insignia –un bloque desarrollado a partir del 1.9 Multijet de origen Fiat que aprovechó Opel cuando GM se asoció al grupo italiano–, que anuncia 160 CV de potencia y más de 35 mkg de par. Su funcionamiento es algo ruidoso en frío, lo que también se nota cuando se acelera a fondo circulando a baja velocidad. Ya en carretera la sonoridad se percibe menos en el habitáculo, al viajar a cruceros más sostenidos. Su respuesta, en cualquier caso, se topa con unos desarrollos del cambio muy largos, que culminan en una 6ª de 64,7 km/h a 1.000 rpm. Por eso, mientras en algunos rivales de similar potencia podemos circular más ‘despreocupados’, al Saab 9-5 TiD le cuesta despertar hasta que se percibe que el turbo carga y gana en agilidad. En ciudad incluso hay situaciones en las que hay que ‘jugar’ con el embrague para evitar que se cale.

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    Sin conocer el peso exacto de este TiD 160 CV –Saab sólo habla de un mínimo de 1.575 kg, pero sin detallar el lastre de cada versión–, la berlina sueca tampoco transmite sensaciones de coche ligero. En concreto, necesita 10 segundos para pasar de 0 a 100 km/h y supera la barrera del medio minuto cuando alcanza un kilómetro recorrido. Las cifras que hemos registrado en recuperación advierten que las maniobras de adelantamiento sólo serán rápidas si circulamos a 80 km/h y vamos en 4ª, pero nos obligarán a reducir si llevamos engranada la 5ª o la 6ª y no queremos emplear más tiempo del recomendable para rebasar a otros vehículos. En buenas condiciones de autopista, este Saab se encontrará en su hábitat ideal y permitirá obtener consumos bajos; pero en carretera normal, con un tráfico más cambiante, parece más complicado que el reprís surja a golpe de acelerador. Durante nuestra prueba el consumo medio de esta berlina turbodiésel ha sido de 7,3 litros, un gasto bueno teniendo en cuenta su peso y envergadura –los desarrollos del cambio basados en el Insignia EcoFlex se hacen notar–.

    Por otra parte, los especialistas de Saab han logrado una buena calidad de rodadura, que deja percibir al 9-5 como un coche bien asentado sobre el asfalto. A ello contribuyen la moderna estructura multibrazo posterior y una huella de sustentación mayor, por ejemplo, que la del Insignia. Balancea muy poco –en esta versión incluye chasis deportivo rebajado, con reglajes más firmes–, se muestra preciso en los apoyos y no compromete el confort de los pasajeros. Sólo cuando se busca el límite, el tren trasero parece acusar más el gran volumen de la zaga, aunque ante cualquier exceso surge un eficaz control electrónico de estabilidad, que actúa en el momento justo, sin interferir antes de tiempo. El 9-5 va bien, pero dejará algo fríos a quienes esperen un tacto de matices deportivos.


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    El nivel de terminación Vector de nuestra unidad –hay un Linear por 2.000 euros menos– implica un equipamiento de serie bastante completo –ver pág. 22– pues incluye, por ejemplo, climatizador bizona, tapicería mixta cuero-textil, asistente de aparcamiento delantero y trasero o hasta los airbag laterales traseros. También incluía opciones interesantes como el Pack Vector Plus (faros bixenón, head-up display..) o alguna que no lo es tanto, como el sistema de aparcamiento pilotado –798 euros–, que se limita a buscar un hueco para estacionar, pero que no maneja la dirección de forma automática como los sistemas de otras marcas.

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    Tampoco es muy lógico que, en una berlina de este nivel, quede entre las opciones la conexión para teléfono bluetooth –¡por 790 euros!–, un dispositivo que incorporan de serie numerosos modelos de segmentos inferiores y que aporta seguridad en la conducción. Mejor están las alternativas en iluminación, como el asistente que cambia de forma automática la luz de carretera a cruce para evitar deslumbramientos –141 euros–, o el sistema de faros inteligente –1.411 euros– similar al de Opel, que se adapta a condiciones de lluvia, cruces peligrosos...

    Esperábamos más de este 9-5, que se queda más cerca de algunas berlinas generalistas que de las ‘premium’, excepto en el precio.

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  10. #10
    Frank
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    Cars.com
    By David Thomas
    November 8, 2010

    Saab may be an independent car company now, but its ties to the pre-bankruptcy General Motors are apparent in the all-new 9-5 sedan. The impressively styled Saab 9-5 can't escape its big price tag teamed with a dated interior. It's like the car was frozen in time before the economic collapse and now has to contend with a market that's more competitive than ever. The other strike against the 9-5 is that, for 2010, it's available only in the top-of-the-line Aero trim level, which is so performance-oriented it sacrifices much-needed ride comfort.

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    For 2010, the Aero XWD trim starts at $49,165. Next year, the 2011 9-5 line will fill out with a base Turbo4 model ($38,525), featuring a 220-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and a Turbo4 Premium ($43,435), which comes with more standard features. There will also be a Turbo6 XWD ($48,030) with the engine and power of the Aero, minus the ride and handling upgrades.

    Styling
    Before you can judge the 9-5 on its merits as a mode of transportation, its design demands attention. Saab made a serious gamble going with such a distinct look, but it will likely pay off with the one group that may overlook the rest of the car's failings: Saab enthusiasts. The large rear C-pillar, rounded rear window and high trunklid hark back to the beloved 900 hatchback, even though this is a sedan. The rear also features huge wraparound taillights that look light blue during the day, when unlit, and either red or amber when the lights are turned on. A stylish black lacquer effect highlights the front A-pillar and the tops of the side mirrors. A jewel-like turn-signal indicator, which also looks blue when unlit, bisects each mirror.
    It's a stunning design that might overshadow some of the car's drawbacks.

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    Performance
    For the 2011 model year, the Saab 9-5 will be available with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and front-wheel drive, or a turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6 and all-wheel drive. For 2010, the Aero trim comes with the turbo V-6 and all-wheel drive. The Aero is also available with 19-inch wheels and more aggressive shocks and struts that lower the car 10 millimeters. While I enjoyed the engine's spirited turbo-ness — whooshing to speed in bursts like a traditional turbo should while still delivering smooth around-town acceleration — the ride was ridiculously harsh. The steering and handling are good, perhaps very good, but that means little in exchange for the quality of the ride. On rough road surfaces, like the concrete highways on which I commute, the ride was nearly unbearable for long stretches.

    I'm hoping the non-Aero, 2011 turbo V-6 with all-wheel drive will be more comfortable while still delivering the punch of that engine. The car feels much lighter than the spec sheet portends. At 4,365 pounds as-tested, it's the portliest among competitors like the Audi A6, Volvo S80 and BMW 5 Series. Even with this weight — which isn't helped by Saab's all-wheel-drive system, designated XWD — it feels as light as the Audi and Volvo and definitely lighter than the 5 Series. The Saab 9-5 is also noticeably longer than those competitors, yet it feels nimble when cutting through flowing highway traffic.

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    Interior
    While you can forgive the Aero's ride comfort somewhat because of how the XWD is equipped, the interior won't improve as you move down the trim level and pricing chart. Cheap black plastic makes up a majority of the dashboard, instrument cluster and stack of controls. It's a clear sign that this car was conceived years before GM began putting its best interiors into vehicles like the Chevy Equinox and Cruze.
    Luckily, the doors and front and rear seats are decked out in rich-looking and rich-feeling leather, which is an upgrade over other trim levels. The seats overall are on the firm side, but I found them quite comfortable. One taller editor complained he couldn't adjust the seat appropriately for his frame. Other editors, too, said the seat bottom wasn't wide enough. This is why they invented test drives. The backseat is huge. Its 38.8 inches of legroom bests the competition, and in real-world tests it won rave reviews from passengers.

    Two little things that every automaker should emulate are the outstanding cupholders and the adjustable center armrest. The cupholders use a simple tab that folds down to turn the large space — perfect for venti lattes — into the proper size for a can of soda. The adjustable armrest moves forward and up in a single motion, and it's padded in the same rich leather as the seats. It's also easy to adjust to the perfect height. While I hope Saab addresses the bulky plastics of the dashboard, it should leave the rest of the interior as-is.

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    Features & Pricing
    All 2010 and 2011 trim levels come standard with leather seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a cooled glove box, a USB port, Bluetooth connectivity and a nine-speaker sound system. The 2011 Turbo4 Premium trim and above add power-folding and auto-dimming side mirrors, tri-zone climate control, keyless entry, remote start, push-button ignition and parking sensors. My test car came with an $825 Technology Package that included a head-up display and perhaps the loudest lane departure warning system I've ever heard. I thought Darth Vader was on my six, it was so loud. Still, that price is pretty reasonable for the head-up display alone.

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    The stunning 19-inch wheels were another $750, again, a relative bargain compared with what competitors charge for wheel upgrades. Navigation was another $2,395, or about the norm in the luxury space. It's the current GM nav system, which is good overall. It includes lots of features, like the ability to pause and rewind live radio, but the navigation screen is low-resolution and there's no live traffic overlay. All told, my test car came to just over $53,000 — a significant sum, to be sure.

    Safety
    The Saab 9-5 comes with the standard array of airbags, antilock brakes, stability control and break-away pedals. As of this writing, the 9-5 has not been crash-tested by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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    Saab 9-5 in the Market
    If you're interested in aesthetics and a sporty ride, the 9-5 Aero XWD would be a logical choice. However, you'd have to be quite overwhelmed by its styling alone to be dissuaded from similarly priced competition like the Infiniti M37 and Audi A6. You'd pay considerably more, though, for similarly equipped all-wheel-drive Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5 Series sedans. The Saab 9-5 is flawed in many ways, but there is promise beneath its intriguing sheet metal. Once Saab can deliver a quality interior like its neighbors at Volvo, it'll have a total package. For now, only fans of the brand's history are likely to take a chance on the 9-5.

    Video review


    http://www.cars.com/saab/9-5/2010/reviews/

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