Thursday Snippets

Autoblog’s time with the 2006 9-5 continues today, with a close eye being run over the car’s interior.  It’s a pretty positive and realistic assessment, complete with plenty of detail photos.  It concludes in a fairly Saabish manner….

All-in, the 9-5’s interior is a pleasant place in which to operate, offering confines that largely belie its age. In true anorak fashion, this isn’t a showy specimen that envelopes in a crush of luxury features– it’s the type that manages ‘feature creep’ in a credibly unobtrusive manner, allowing owners to concentrate on the business of driving.

Autoblog also discuss the car in their latest podcast.  In the podcast they talk about the performance of the car, which they’re yet to write up.  They tend to think the same thing I do: great engine, by why doesn’t the primo car in the range have the V6?  They also discuss Saab’s current situation incomparison with the competition and as always, raise some points I’d agree with and some I’d disagree with.  Worth a listen.

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Last year there was the Employee Pricing Scheme, which was great for a month or so, but killed sales for a lot of the rest of the year.  Incentives and sales events will always be part of the landscape, but having been watching this stuff closely for around a year now and having seen the slump in Saab sales post-Employee Pricing last year, I got the jitters when reading about the first major campaign in the lead up to the North American summer: March Madness.

It’s an attempt to clear out vehicles that have been hanging around in inventories since November.  Edmunds have the full wrap and yes, it does apply to Saab too.  So if you’re thinking of picking one up, now might be a good time.

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Automobear have one of the best reviews of the Aero-X that I’ve seen.  Unfortunately the site is structured kinda funny, so I can’t link directly to the story.  Click here to go to Automobear and then select the 2006-03-09 entry from the date sequence on the left.

Indeed, Saab rediscovered its brand equity in Geneva – and, in doing so, has found that this equity extends to a rather larger audience than anyone might have dared believe. Saab may talk about "enabling individuality," but it seems that quite a few individuals want its brand of "emotional functionality;" want to be the "pilot in control" of a vehicle so well executed as Aero X Concept.

Disclosure: I did get a mention in the writeup, but that’s not why I’m linking here.  It’s just a really good writeup, going into plenty of detail on the car and the context of Saab’s concepts and the current environment.

Thanks to Mitch for the heads-up.

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Attention all you alternative fuel junkies: BMW are saying that they’ll have a hydrogen powered (read: holy grail) 7-series available for sale in the next 2 years. 

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I’m looking forward to this one.  TS’s first videocast!!  It won’t happen for a while, but I’m organising a day with myself and a few mates, one a BMW owner and the other an Audi S4 owner.  We’re going car-swapping for a day on some beautiful twisting roads in the Tasmanian countryside. 

Should be a hoot.

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4 Comments

  1. Interesting that BMW will be coming out with a hydrogen fuel cell car. I’m sure it’ll be VERY expensive. And those who can afford it: where are they going to get the hydrogen to power it? You think it’s hard to find E85 now? Hydrogen is even more scarce. I don’t know of a single location where a member of the public can buy hydrogen for an automobile.

    It’ll be good for BMW’s PR to be the “first” to come out with a production hydrogen car, but I doubt they’ll sell more than a few hundred perhaps to local governments for fleet use.

    I think ethanol is much more promising in the short-term, though hydrogen may be more ecologically-friendly in the long-term.

  2. Look forward to your report on the findings when you swap cars. I’d like to see what the S4 owner thinks of your Viggen. Very interesting point of discussion.

  3. wow, i thought hydrogen power was still years away. nice to see the world is moving forward, but i have to agree, ethanol and biofuels will be what bridge the gap. it kinda annoys me that there isn’t even the option here in Tasmania despite Australia being a major sugar cane producer. Unfortunely ethanol is a dirty word here, because in some states people were mixing it in with ULP beyond what they were supposed to, to the detriment of people’s engines.

    It won’t be until governments start legislating in favour of alternative fuels – like lower registration costs for bio cars, for example – that the masses (and not just celebrities and well heeled hippies) will start considering them seriously.

  4. My understanding of BMW’s Hydrogen system is that it is not fuel cell, but that it is internal cumbustion that burns hydrogen. As early as 2000, BMW released a handful of 750hL cars that ran on either gas or hydrogen. They were demonstration cars to showcase their technology:
    http://autoweb.drive.com.au/cms/A_53224/newsarticle.html

    It sounds like the 7-sereis will be the first with the bifuel, but BMW wants to offer bifuel capabilites as an option in all their cars in the future:
    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/11837613/

    I, for one, think that E85 is great, but the Hydrogen will be the long-term solution to motoring.

    At this point, the bi-fuel is a must, since hydrogen fueling stations are pretty scarce (Even more so than E85!!!)

    Cheers!… and go Gonzaga!

    ~Peter
    ’93 9000 Aero, 5spd, 71K(miles)
    White/Black

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