Since splitting from GM, Saab has promised to take a new, more Scandinavian direction and the new 2010 Saab 9-5 is the first step. With an all-turbocharged powertrain and beefy styling, this is one spicy meatball.
Given their ownership by the company-that-shall-not-be-pronounced (Koenigsegg), it was expected that we'd see something exciting out of the brand and this is certainly different — even if a lot of this was designed and prepared under GM's supervision.
Engine choices are diverse, including a 1.6-liter gas turbo good for 180 HP all the way up to a 2.8 turbo V6 putting out 300 HP with a 2.0-liter fourbanger turbo with 220 HP. If you're more into bioethanol there's also an E85 variant of the 2.0-liter engine and a 2.0-liter turbodiesel. All transmissions will be six-speed with the option of a good old self-shift or a manumatic.
On the inside, the new Saab is getting a redesigned console that wraps around the driver and includes a heads-up-display and an aviation-themed altimeter (speedo). If you liked the Saab Aero-X concept, you'll probably like this latest 9-5.
ALL-NEW SAAB 9-5 SALOON Scandinavian Design Purity with Advanced Technology
• All-new premium saloon embodies a new era for Saab
• Scandinavian design inspired by the Aero X and Saab's rich heritage
• Engineered with driver focus for a sporty driving experience
• Excels in responsible performance with emphasis on safety and environmental concern
• Most technically advanced Saab ever with an array of ‘high-tech' features
• Public debut at the 2009 Frankfurt International Motor Show
Sleek, sophisticated and unmistakably Saab, the all-new 9-5 saloon signals the dawn of a new era for the Saab brand. With progressive, confident styling and advanced technology, Saab's distinctive new flagship will bring a fresh, alternative choice to the premium saloon segment when it goes on sale in 2010.
The clean, sculpted shape embraces the purity of Scandinavian design, and its dramatic wraparound window graphic echoes Saab's aviation heritage. With styling inspired by the award-winning Aero X concept car and a muscular, low-slung stance, the new 9-5 heralds the introduction of a bold and expressive design language.
The array of high-tech features on offer includes: an aircraft-inspired head-up information display (HUD); adaptive headlights (Bi-Xenon Smart Beam); adaptive cruise control; Saab DriveSense adaptive chassis with real-time damping control; keyless entry and starting; dual-zone climate control; dynamic parking assistance, and Saab XWD with eLSD: the industry-leading all-wheel-drive system.
The all-turbo powertrain line-up is the broadest ever offered by Saab, carrying forward Saab's rightsizing engine strategy focusing on responsible performance through the development of highly efficient four cylinder turbo engines. There is a choice of three fuels – petrol, diesel and E85 bioethanol – and with diesel power, the new 9-5 offers CO2 emissions as low as 139 g/km.
"This car is the start of a new era for our brand," says Jan-Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile's Managing Director. "We have created an advanced and very distinctive product by leveraging the power of our roots in key areas, such as progressive Scandinavian design, sporty driving and responsible performance. The new 9-5 delivers in all these respects, as will every future product from Saab."
‘Forward-looking design that doesn't ignore where it's coming from', sums up the visual appeal of the all-new Saab 9-5 saloon. "We are giving a fresh, very modern expression to some of our classic brand design cues," says Simon Padian, Saab Brand Design Chief. "We have visual themes found in our recent concept cars, such as the Aero X, which are inspired by Scandinavian design and our brand's aircraft heritage."
The face of the new 9-5 is defined by a deep grille flanked with curving, ice-block headlamp units. The entire glasshouse is presented as a ‘wraparound' mono graphic: the disguised windshield and side pillars giving the cabin Saab's signature cockpit look. In this interplay of proportions, the windshield and roof are reminiscent of the classic 900 model.
Viewed from any angle, the all-new 9-5 cuts a strong and powerful stance. The ‘organic sculpture' of the low-slung body blends clean, uncluttered lines with natural, curvaceous shapes. Brand design cues are evident in the ‘hockey stick' belt-line, the strong rear C-pillars and the fuselage-smooth surfacing of the bodywork. The large Saab logo embossed in the centre of the grille characterises the assertive, self-confident design language.
The car's dynamic character is emphasized by a falling roof-line that culminates in sweeping rear pillars that buttress a slightly recessed rear screen. Bumpers that are subtly flared to blend into the wheels convey latent energy. Below that smooth, flat rear deck, a full-width, ice-block rear light bar wraps into signature lighting.
The new 9-5's overall proportions stretch the traditional three-box saloon silhouette, while avoiding the fastback cliché of a four-door coupé look.
Inside the spacious cabin, simple forms define the architecture and echo the design purity of the exterior. Compared to its predecessor, legroom and shoulder width are increased both front and rear, with class-leading rear legroom. The choice of materials, the fit and finish and the tactile quality of the controls all reflect the new 9-5's premium character.
The driver-focused cockpit is traditional Saab, but its execution is pioneering. The deep centre console sweeps up at a shallow angle around the driver into the main instrument display, which is topped by a neat ventilation zone. Deeply recessed main dials include a rolling ‘altimeter' speed read-out, a reference to Saab's aviation heritage from the Aero X concept. Driver displays, including the optional head-up display (HUD) in the windscreen, are illuminated in signature Saab green and have a crisp, floating appearance. The car's ignition, now a start/stop button, remains between the front seats, next to the gear shift.
Infotainment choices include a top-of-the-line Harman Kardon 5.1 channel surround sound audio system and an 8-inch colour touch screen navigation system with hard disk storage for map data and 10GB for MP3 music files. A large centre console provides storage and connections for several portable devices through USB and 3.5mm AUX ports alongside a 12V power outlet.
Rear passengers can even access their own audio or watch a DVD. The rear seat entertainment unit in the back of the centre console accommodates audio controls and folding viewing screens are installed in the backs of the front seats. Wireless headphones are provided for listening and viewing.
On the road
An array of chassis technology is focused on delivering a sporty, rewarding driving experience that belies the 9-5's size. Saab XWD, the industry-leading all-wheel-drive system already available on the Saab 9-3, is offered at launch with the 2.0-litre turbo and 2.8V6 turbo engines with further applications due in the future. Available throughout the range are: adaptive chassis control, with driver settings selected through Saab DriveSense; Bi-Xenon Smart Beam adaptive headlights and adaptive cruise control. Three different suspension layouts are fitted according to engine power and all are available with a sport chassis setting.
Saab has some 30 years experience in turbocharging engines and the all-turbo powertrain line-up in the new 9-5 further develops its rightsizing engine strategy. At launch, the four-cylinder diesel comprises a 160 hp, 2.0-litre turbo engine with CO2 emissions of just 139g/km and the 2.0-litre petrol turbo engine develops 220bhp. A top-of-the-line 2.8 V6 turbo, generating 300hp and 400Nm of torque, is offered exclusively with Saab XWD.
Shortly after launch, a 1.6-litre petrol turbo with 180hp will be introduced, together with a 2.0-litre BioPower E85 engine. All transmissions will be six-speed.
A new era
Defined and equipped by Saab as its top-of-the-line contender in the premium saloon segment, the all-new 9-5 is the most technically advanced car ever produced by the company. It will be built at Saab's home plant in Trollhättan, where it has been engineered.
The all-new 9-5 makes its public debut at the 2009 Frankfurt International Motor Show. Combining head-turning good looks with cutting-edge driving technology, it's the start of a new era for Saab.