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Saab's luxurious new 9-5 is ready for take off
www.thelocal.se ^ | 10/11/2010 | David Hooper

Posted on 10/11/2010 10:41:01 AM PDT by WesternCulture

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.

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.

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!

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.


TOPICS: Business/Economy
KEYWORDS: automotive; cars; saab; sweden

1 posted on 10/11/2010 10:41:03 AM PDT by WesternCulture
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To: WesternCulture

9 To 5
Dolly Parton

Tumble outta bed
And stumble to the kitchen
Pour myself a cup of ambition
Yawnin, stretchin, try to come to life
Jump in the shower
And the blood starts pumpin
Out on the streets
The traffic starts jumpin
And folks like me on the job from 9 to 5
Chorus:

Workin 9 to 5
What a way to make a livin
Barely gettin by
Its all takin
And no givin
They just use your mind
And they never give you credit
Its enough to drive you
Crazy if you let it

9 to 5, for service and devotion
You would think that i
Would deserve a fair promotion
Want to move ahead
But the boss wont seem to let me in
I swear sometimes that man is out to get me
Mmmmm...

They let your dream
Just a watch em shatter
Youre just a step
On the boss mans a ladder
But you got dream hell never take away

On the same boat
With a lot of your friends
Waitin for the day
Your shipll come in
And the tides gonna turn
An it’s all gonna roll you away

2nd chorus:

Workin 9 to 5
What a way to make a livin
Barely gettin by
Its all takin
And no givin
They just use your mind
And you never get the credit
Its enough to drive you
Crazy if you let it

9 to 5, yeah, they got you where they want you
There’s a better life
And you think that I would daunt you
Its a rich mans game
No matter what they call it
And you spend your life
Puttin money in his wollet

3rd chorus:

Workin 9 to 5
What a way to make a livin
Barely gettin by
Its all takin
And no givin
They just use you mind
And they never give you credit
Its enough to drive you
Crazy if you let it

Fade:


2 posted on 10/11/2010 10:43:51 AM PDT by Red Badger (No, Obama's not the Antichrist. But he does have him in his MY FAVES.............)
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To: WesternCulture

I’m Swedish, but I doubt my next car will be a Saab.

I’ve owned three SAABs and I admit they were fascinating in many ways. But over here, Volvo is the most rational, safe and economically wise option.

Let’s face it; being rational, financially aware and secure is what Sweden is all about.

See nothing, hear nothing, say nothing.

- If central parts of Malmö are set ablaze during Muslim riots, I’ll just move to the suburbs.

In Sweden, Volvo has been at the top of the lists for nearly half a century. I guess things will stay that way.

SAAB is a bit too rock’n’roll for the well off, PC, Swedish middle class.

But; a big Welcome Back, SAAB!

(In Swedish, but I guess the images are like porn to SAABists:)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeiaY2E79JI


3 posted on 10/11/2010 10:45:17 AM PDT by WesternCulture
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To: Red Badger

Wonderful!


4 posted on 10/11/2010 10:46:07 AM PDT by WesternCulture
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To: WesternCulture

What is petrol?


5 posted on 10/11/2010 10:47:21 AM PDT by frithguild (Joe Wilson was wrong when he shouted "You lie!" Obama doesn't just lie - he lies all the time.)
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To: WesternCulture

http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/car/10q2/2011_saab_9-5-first_drive_review

I don’t see it selling very well...


6 posted on 10/11/2010 10:47:28 AM PDT by ltc8k6
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To: ltc8k6

4,300 pounds....


7 posted on 10/11/2010 10:48:33 AM PDT by ltc8k6
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To: frithguild

“What is petrol?”

- dunno but is heavily taxicized.


8 posted on 10/11/2010 10:50:56 AM PDT by WesternCulture
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To: WesternCulture

Sooo...you drive a chinese car?

(I am still wondering if the chinese paid ford for volvo with US bonds...)


9 posted on 10/11/2010 10:52:11 AM PDT by patton (Obama has replaced "Res Publica" with "Quod licet Jovi non licet bovi.")
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To: WesternCulture
Interesting lines, better than the previous model. Somewhat reminiscent of the VW Phaeton from the rear 3/4 view.

I briefly considered a SAAB SportKombi wagon, but ended up with a Subaru GT wagon.

I hope they kept the fighter jet-inspired cues for the dashboard and interior. The “flight check” blink-blink-blink effect as the controls light up is kind of cool.

10 posted on 10/11/2010 10:55:02 AM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: patton

I think the Chinese will be the next major wave after the Koreans into the US car market.

If the UAW thinks they’re hurting now, wait 10 more years.


11 posted on 10/11/2010 10:56:14 AM PDT by nascarnation
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To: WesternCulture

New Saab 9-5 = crap.

It has nothing in common with classic Saabs like 9000.

Just another remake of same Opel-based GM Epsilon II platform (Opel Insignia, Buick Regal etc).

Such an irony GM has choosen the Germany’s worst carmaker Opel as a thinktank to design all of it’s up to middle class vehicles.


12 posted on 10/11/2010 10:58:25 AM PDT by cunning_fish
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To: ltc8k6; WesternCulture
I don’t see it selling very well...

Ha! According to "westernculture" everything made in Sweden if far superior and there will be in demand to the point that they will never be able to make enough of them.

13 posted on 10/11/2010 11:00:28 AM PDT by raybbr (Someone who invades another country is NOT an immigrant - illegal or otherwise.)
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To: WesternCulture

With all those features, Saab just introduced a 10 year old Cadillac. Way to be cutting edge guys.


14 posted on 10/11/2010 11:00:30 AM PDT by Lazlo in PA ("Forces of Evil" member in good standing)
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To: frithguild

Petrol is what the British call gasoline.

Old Swedish car joke:
Sweden has two car companies, one makes cars for the fast lane, the other makes cars for the slow lane.


15 posted on 10/11/2010 11:02:22 AM PDT by E.Allen
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To: raybbr

C’mon. It is a German car. Only a few styling and some manufacturing are Sweedish.


16 posted on 10/11/2010 11:03:09 AM PDT by cunning_fish
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To: WesternCulture

I owned a ‘65 volvo 122 sedan.
It had more than 400,000 miles on the clock when a distracted woman driver smashed into the back of the car, pushing it into the car in front of me. She hit me so hard that the drivers seat (with me in it) landed on the back floor.
I sold the wreck to a guy who was building a Model T street rod project. As far as I know, the little 4 cyl is still running.


17 posted on 10/11/2010 11:04:29 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Impeachment !)
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To: ltc8k6

“I don’t see it selling very well...”

- The reason that SAAB still is around in the car industry is that their products still feauture the means necessary to compete in the premium segment - a segment most car makers wish to belong to, but few master.

Look at the Japanese and their efforts of taking over the premium/luxury car segment of the market in Europe and America.

The Japanese car industry failed big time in Europe and also in many parts of America. The products simply did not meet up with the demanding and discerning ideas of craftsmanship and superior engineering that this category of the market was looking for.

Apart from this, I’d say the car loving portion of the upper class and the upper middle class in Europe and America fancies a bit of spirit into a vehicle.

Something a Lexus never will have.


18 posted on 10/11/2010 11:09:35 AM PDT by WesternCulture
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To: WesternCulture

“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.”

Years’ old technology ...


19 posted on 10/11/2010 11:12:33 AM PDT by SeeSac
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To: SeeSac

Onstar did that long ago.


20 posted on 10/11/2010 11:19:21 AM PDT by Dogbert41
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To: Dogbert41

Even chicoms has it in their counterfeit copies of Chevy Aveo.


21 posted on 10/11/2010 11:23:30 AM PDT by cunning_fish
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To: WesternCulture
When I was in college in ‘70, a guy I knew had a 3 cylinder 2 stroke Saab. Oil was dumped in the fuel tank at the point of filling with gasoline.

Sometimes the mix was a little on the heavy side and an extra set of spark plugs was kept in the glove box as a backup.

It was real good on mosquitoes though...

22 posted on 10/11/2010 11:24:35 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Impeachment !)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

“As far as I know, the little 4 cyl is still running.”

- Great story.

In fact, often the engine is the last part of a car that gives in.

In the early 1960s, my grandpa employed a British ‘49 Ford engine for bringing up fresh water (from lake Vänern) to the kitchen of his summer residence where my grandmother was preparing the most fantastic meals I’ve ever enjoyed.

I was born in 1969. This “system” was still in use around 1980.

Best of regards!


23 posted on 10/11/2010 11:25:40 AM PDT by WesternCulture
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To: WesternCulture

Saab = EXPENSIVE to repair.


24 posted on 10/11/2010 11:35:27 AM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
It had more than 400,000 miles on the clock when a distracted woman driver smashed into the back of the car, pushing it into the car in front of me. She hit me so hard that the drivers seat (with me in it) landed on the back floor.

lol. How do you know it wasn't the crappy Volvo seatback that failed? Thank God there wasn't a child sitting behind you.

Volvo safety is one of the most overhyped lies sold to a gullible public by an avaricious advertising industry. If this had been a Chevrolet, the OP would have been filing a lawsuit.

25 posted on 10/11/2010 11:42:48 AM PDT by naturalized
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To: naturalized
Not just the seat back; the whole seat, frame and all, ripped out of the floor. I saw her coming in the mirror and braced myself for the hit. I sounded the horn to try to wake her up but she didn't touch the brake.
When the cop arrived, she told them I backed into her. Just then, two scrub-faced kids stepped forward and told the cop they'd heard the horn and turned to see her hit the Volvo.
The cop asked what they were doing in the neighborhood. They said they were Mormon missionaries, calling for the Lord...
26 posted on 10/11/2010 12:08:39 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Impeachment !)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

As a SAAB owner from back in the Dick Grossman days. The last great SAAB was the Sonnet.

My Blue 1972 97 Sonnet with a 2 bbl Weber Carb, Ashcroft exhaust, 96 Diff gears and soccer ball alloys put may a 911 driver to shame.

Sven Svenska lives!!!


27 posted on 10/11/2010 1:54:53 PM PDT by troy McClure
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To: cunning_fish
It has nothing in common with classic Saabs like 9000.

Back in the late 1970s, I worked at a Saab dealership in KC, and was really impressed with the quality of the 900 series. They weren't the best looking cars, but they were really reliable, and terrific to drive, especially the 900 Turbo.

Plus, you gotta love a car that comes from a place called "Trollhatten."

Mark

28 posted on 10/11/2010 2:38:01 PM PDT by MarkL (Do I really look like a guy with a plan?)
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To: WesternCulture

29 posted on 10/11/2010 2:40:52 PM PDT by Pharmboy (What always made the state a hell has been that man tried to make it heaven-Hoelderlin)
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To: oh8eleven
Saab = EXPENSIVE to repair.

They can be. But look at it this way. It's cheaper to fix a Saab and drive it for another 100,000 miles than it is to buy a new car. Heck, a repair on it is less than a couple of car payments on a new vehicle. (in any case it's always better to buy used wheels, unless you just like throwing money away on depreciating assets.)

They're fun little cars. But they're designed for tiny people with people with tiny feet. The bulkhead above the clutch pedal is always catching the top of my shoe.

30 posted on 10/11/2010 2:49:49 PM PDT by InternetTuffGuy
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

Owned multiple early 60’s 122 wagons and 544 sedans when we lived in New England in the 70’s. every time we sold them for more than we paid for them. All had over 250K miles.

Even though the twin SU carbs were a nightmare to keep properly tuned in the middle of winter (which I never could figure out as they were SWEDISH cars) those things would run forever.


31 posted on 10/12/2010 12:06:04 PM PDT by Prov1322 (Enjoy my wife's incredible artwork at www.watercolorARTwork.com! (This space no longer for rent))
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To: Prov1322
In additional to the Volvo, I owned four Jaguars, all with SU carbs.
The secret of SUs was (and is) they need an overhaul kit every 30-40,000 miles. And I always used automatic transmission fluid in the dash pots (the little lube supply on the tops of the cars.) Heavier oil would just gum them up.
32 posted on 10/12/2010 12:12:14 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Impeachment !)
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To: Pharmboy

Beautiful image.

This car will sell by its looks alone.

Regards from Gothenburg - city of Volvo,

WesternCulture


33 posted on 10/13/2010 3:53:47 PM PDT by WesternCulture
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