Whilst I’m pondering what to write for my own first up review of the 9-3 Convertible, Peter S has just alerted me to the fact that Edmunds have just published their ‘first drive’ review of the new 9-5. (Thanks Peter)
Better than than the previous model, seemingly by some distance. However, it still lacks some punch compared to its classmates.
The headline reads pretty well though: 9-5 out of 10. Click that link to read the full review, but here’s a few snippets:
Over a Thousand Changes
Although numerous, the changes really come down to an exterior face-lift, a worked-over chassis, a new control layout, 10 extra horsepower and a price cut of about $2,000. Additionally, the wagon is now called the SportCombi just like the new 9-3 wagon, and the familiar Linear, Arc and Aero trim levels are gone in favor of a single model offered in sedan and wagon body styles.
This single model is a blend of last year’s midlevel Arc and sporty Aero models, which means it’s fully equipped with leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats with driver memory, seat heaters in all five positions, a 240-watt Harman Kardon audio system with an in-dash CD changer and satellite radio…..
….Inside, designers replaced the 9-5’s clunky array of climate and audio buttons with a slick new set of metallic-trimmed dials and buttons from the GM parts bin. Normally, we’d be skeptical about a Saab sharing its center stack controls with the Chevrolet HHR, but the new pieces integrate nicely into the 9-5’s cockpit and greatly improve its ergonomics…..
….Its innocuous expression gone, the 9-5 needed more of a performance edge as well, so engineers went to work on the standard suspension to tighten up the car’s traditionally soft handling. Fifteen-percent stiffer shocks are fitted at all four corners, and all 9-5s get the thicker stabilizer bars previously exclusive to the Aero trim level…..
….driving the 2006 Saab 9-5 is a remarkably familiar experience. We sampled a sedan and a pair of SportCombi wagons, all equipped with the sport suspension, and they felt like traditional Saabs through and through, which is both good and bad.
Unlike most premium cars, the 9-5 hasn’t put on the pounds over the years. As a result, it feels refreshingly lightweight and nimble when you’re pushing through tight corners. Plus, the car’s fully ventilated disc brakes feel strong with a reassuring pedal feel…..
….This refresh has certainly improved the 9-5. It looks, rides and handles better than before. But the improvements don’t go far enough to get the 9-5 up to speed with its competition.
If you’re in the mood for looking at the 9-5, there’s heaps of pictures, including interior pictures, here. In addition, every tiny bit of information you could want from Saab about the new 9-5 is here.