Just a few days after my own (2003) 9-5 Aero road test, Auto Express have taken the new 9-5 Aero out for a spin and given it a shellacking in print. Bear in mind, the consensus opinion of two (admittedly somewhat biased) drivers last weekend was that the 2003 Aero stuck to the road very nicely during a very spirited drive. The 2006 model is supposed to represent an improvement in terms of handling etc on the outgoing model.
Writer Chris Thorp was most unamused….
Opt for the automatic transmission, and the 0-62mph sprint takes 8.2 seconds. So performance fans will have to choose the manual, which completes the dash in a more impressive 6.9 seconds.
In the real world, both figures are irrelevant, because the front-wheel-drive 9-5 struggles for grip on anything other than a straight, flat road. When there is traction, the Aero’s pace is impressive, but most of the time the power is uselessly spun away. Accelerate with any amount of steering lock applied, and there’s plenty of torque steer, while the turbo powerplant does little to help, as it takes time to deliver full boost.
Despite adjustments to the steering and the chassis, the poor dynamic ability is emphasised even further by the lack of feedback through the wheel. One thing is certain – this Saab is better suited to motorway cruising than tackling a tight and twisty B-road.
That’s pretty much the opposite of what I experienced last week. We gave the car a very decent run around Grasstree Hill – 6km of winding roads – and found that the 2003 9-5 Aero stuck to the road like a fly on….on….stuff. With the reported improvements to the car this should be even more so.
Chris Thorp must have been absolutely gunning it, flat out. Either that or he’s not accustomed to driving at speed in a FWD car – which is a lousy thing to have to rely on if you’re a car maker as the writers call the shots.
The good thing about Auto Express is that they allow comments. If you’ve got 5 minutes to spare I suggest you sign up and give Chris some well-considered feedback.