The Saab 9-5 – all car and no crap

I roasted the 9-5 a few weeks ago for being behind the competition and I still think that Saab will benefit immensely from a new 9-5 coming to market. But this is an interesting eye-opener.

I have to thank WooDz for sending this in. I don’t have a link to the test he’s referring to, but his research and writings make a good point – the 9-5 might be a little long in the tooth, but still represents pretty good value and a neat package.

WooDz’s writings:

I’ve recently been reading a German Auto magazine where they put the Mercedes E 200 Compressor against the Audi A6 2.4 V6. The test was more about driving the budget end of the model range as opposed to the AMG E63 or the S6. The bottom line had the Mercedes outdoing the Audi by 2 points, achieving 72 from a possible 100.

After reading the technical info I thought that it would have been nice to see how the 9-5 2.3t Linear would have pitched up against the two Germans.

For a start it’s €4,500 cheaper than the Audi and €7,000 less than the Merc.

But we all know that the Saab is going to have a few short comings because of this. First up it’s not German and therefore what Managerial executive would want to drive it. Secondly it’s smaller than the other two and the slowest by 6kmh with a maximum speed of 230kmh. (BUT…..when was the last time you drove at over 140mph?)

Then there’s the luxury aspect. None of the following are available options on the 9-5 Linear.

Front Parking sensors
Active Cruise Control
4-Zone Climate Control
Electric Steering wheel adjustment.

It doesn’t have light sensors that are corner sensing. Neither does it have Air Suspension or ‘Keyless Go’.

But I guess as you were reading through the monstrous amount perceived inadequacies I’m sure you came to the same conclusion as I. What the hell do I need all that gumpf for, when it’s only going to weigh my car down and eat away at my fuel?

Once you take all the useless materialistic rubbish out of the picture you’re left with a good cost effective tourer. Most car reps want to get from A to B quick, safe and still feeling fresh. Heated seats are good and so is leather to up the image.

But what tends to impress most is getting through the traffic without a fuss. So what the 9-5 offers is 280nm of torque from 1800 – 3500rpm as opposed to best the Germans can offer with 250nm from 3500 – 4000rpm which was the Mercedes E200.

What this means is that you get 0-100km/h in 7.8secs in the Saab, whereas in the Audi it takes 9.4seconds and the Mercedes 9.8seconds.

What about mid-range acceleration? The real life sort of stuff that Saab build there drivetrain around. This is where the Germans start to really look a bit shaky. From 60-100km/h the Saab takes 7.5 seconds, the Audi takes 9.8 seconds and the Mercedes E200 takes 10.1 seconds.

Unfortunately the Saab has only got 5-Gears so its fuel economy isn’t great, But it’s still better than the 6-Gear competitors and what’s more the acceleration from 80-120km/h in 5th Gear is just 11Secs! closely followed by the Audi in 17.8 seconds and finally the Merc with 19.6 seconds.

Just go and count those 8.6 secs out loud…. and whilst you do, go and put the kettle on……

Yes the 9-5 is looking a bit, well, like a car designed in the 90’s

But it’s by no mean’s dead and buried. I’m sure there are a few people out there who are thinking that Saab might not be for them anymore….That the only sure way to get class leading engineering is from a German manufacturer. They may still have a soft spot for the Gripen but not now because GM is involved.

Maybe after reading this you may realise that the Saab 9-5 is a worthy contender. After all, new or used the 9-5 was designed by Saab, engineered by Saab and is built by Swedes.

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Sensational stuff, WooDz.

Exactly the sort of message that Saab need to get out there in the market.

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8 Comments

  1. Great analysis. The 9-5 is great great value for money – it is a shame that saab still is unknown to many people. The benefits of 4 cyliners and a turbo are huge, it is just that ordinary people does not understand that (and I do not think that the marketing dep. has done a good enough job in marketing the performance combined with fuel efficiency….).

    Think what prevent the 9-5 from continuing to sell OK is that the “face” is a bit too extreem. It works well in sweden due to the biopower (as the only other options are the volvo V50 and the ford focus), but in the rest of the world it is a bit too extreem.

    Read an article yesterday in the swedish newspaper DN (the daily news) commenting on 90% of the 9-5s sold in sweden being combis). There where also comments on what will happen when volvo launges the new V70. The conclusion from the saab people where that there would be some price competition and extra equipment = even better value, but I agree, the new 9-5 will not come one day too late…

  2. The Saab 9-5 is the best kept secret on the road. I just love having all this power, a whole lot of space and comfort , and great fuel economy (40+highway) all in the same car. It just doesn’t seem possible, yet it is!

  3. WooDz said: “(BUT…..when was the last time you drove at over 140mph?)”
    There is no speed limits on speedways in Germany. My friend has a 9-3SS Aero Hirsch Step2 (252HP/370 Nm) and he used to drive regulary between Hungary and Germany. On the German speedways he uses almost “full throttle” so he drives around 140 mph or over.

  4. Well, WooDz hit the nail on the head with the ‘not German’ comment — I really believe that most people in the US that drive a Mercedes drive one because of the image — pure and simple. However, I’ll give M-B one thing: their cars last forever. Saabs used to be that way. The NG900 and 9000 aren’t proving to be as long-lived as the 99 and C900 have been.

    I guess that even M-B can’t claim that the C-series is that durable, and the recent issues with the smaller Benzes don’t look good, either. However, overall I think that Saab loses the reliability and longevity competition.

  5. eggsngrits, the 900 and 9000 haven’t been around long enough to find out if they are as reliable as the c900 and 99. I doubt they will last as long, but probably pretty close.

    Great write up as well, but we’ll be welcoming all the tech gadgets and advancements in the next 9-5 that other cars have today, so it doesn’t really excuse the fact. Every time I ride in a 9-5 I am reminded about how nice of a car it really is, it’s just put itself out of the market for most people.

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