Build Your Own 9-5

RE-POSTED

I thought I’d bring this back to the top.

There’s heaps of great ideas in comments here. Have a read through them and if you’ve got any ideas to add, then please do so. I’m heading off to bed for now, but I plan to do a summary entry so that the people’s thoughts can appear fron and centre in a post on the front page.

Realistically speaking, if this car is only 18 months away from debut, then even the most groundbreaking idea is going to fall on deaf ears – but it’ll be a good measure to refer back to when the car finally arrive.

And Saab, if you’re reading this – USB ports would be a GREAT idea!

———-

They’re moving Saab production to Germany!

Some see this as an issue and some don’t, which is fair enough. I’ll expand on my position by saying that it’s OK to build some Saabs outside of Sweden, but I’d consider it essential for a company like Saab to maintain a significant presence in it’s home market.

They’re already getting most of the design and engineering done outside of Sweden. In fact, the guy I spoke to in Sydney about the Aero-X last year said it was one of the finest German concept cars he’d been involved with.. And yes, I was shocked.

So please, do something more than think about them in Sweden in the future – continue to build them as well as shape the way the brand develops in the future.

—–

One thing that I think we’ll all agree on, though, is that the next 9-5 needs to be great. It’s the flagship. It will most likely provide the greatest insight into the full application of the Aero-X design language and hence, what Saabs will look like for the next 5-7 years.

It’s an important car.

This article has been inspired by a thread over at Saab Central that Gripen pointed out to me a few days ago. For those of you that don’t visit there, I thought it might be a bit of fun to speculate, make wishes, make demands, advise, consult, insult….or whatever you want about the next 9-5.

What do you want to see?

Some of the best ideas (IMHO) from the SC thread

– 300 to 350hp
– AWD option
– better interior materials
– proper bluetooth and iPod integration
– great fuel economy

And a few ideas of my own….

– a premium hatch really is possible (OK, maybe not)
– resurgence of the Griffin luxury model
– top grade sports saloon handling
– BioPower as standard

Things I don’t want to see….

– Needless electronic gadgets and gizmos

I don’t want to list too much stuff though, because you all are smarter about these things than me.

So please go to it in comments. What do you want to see in the next Saab 9-5?

To get the vreative juices flowing, here one of the cgi’s we say a few months ago. it’s the best of the lot in my opinion. I’d be pretty happy if it came out looking something like this.

Saab9-5cgi_1_560px-thumb.jpg

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42 Comments

  1. …round about 350BHP are hardly enough to compete against the German rivials. There should be a 500+BHP option, also to use AWD to the fullest extant. It´s not about max. speed but acceleration! To get that power should not be a problem for Saab thanks to Saab´s turbo-technology.

    The cockpit should get only one screen for car data and navigation – above the steering wheel. A HUD should be naturally for a company which claims having a aircraft heritage, with an option to switch off the mentioned main display above the steering wheel.
    I cannot see a reason for having lots of instruments, gauges and displays scattered in the car as Saab did it at in the 9-3.

  2. Well, I’m all for the list of making the 9-5 ‘world class’ — that is, including the features that would put it in an elite grouping of vehicles. Performance, handling, quality, safety and ergonomics should all be top-notch.

    I’m really more concerned with the distinctive nature of Saabs to which you’ve aluded with the whole Germany/Sweden distinction.

    Saabs are different. They should LOOK different. I don’t want a Lexus-looking Saab. If I wanted a Lexus, I’d buy one! Ditto M-B, BMW, Audi and Volvo. Saabs are rounded and expose very few straight lines. They have a certain utilitarian character, as evidenced by the hatch, the oversized lighting (for safety), large glass surfaces, uncluttered interior and huge flat storage space on the classic 900. To take that concept a bit further, the side markers, mud flaps, oversized bumpers, side vents, and large engine compartment opening speak to that as well, but I don’t expect things like that to be carried over into the 9-5.

    I think that the 9-5 MUST be a bigger car than it is now. It’s not much bigger than the 9-3, which kills it in the North American market, and likely in other markets, too.

    One phenomenon that escapes our view from time to time is that in the USA, Honda is a company that consistently gets a premium for their cars over even larger vehicles that compete with them. Why? It’s because they’ve either a) gotten the ergonomics and quality spot-on or b) they’ve discovered some minor improvements and had the guts to implement them. Most of the time it’s both. So…. why can’t the 9-5 embody that spirit of quality and innovation in the Swedish way? For every person that bought a Honda Element because it has huge side doors and the ultimate low-maintenance interior, there’s a person that wants a high-end car that will easily carry a few sheets of plywood for a weekend project. Or a performance car that will allow 4 executives to haul themselves and golf clubs for a round on Saturday.

    Volvo has certainly mastered this — each car they build is still very ‘Volvo’ no matter how many Ford parts they throw at it, and they’ve been making vehicles outside Sweden for some time as well. I can even tip my hat in the styling department to the folks at Jaguar, even though they’ve succumbed on the performance front under Ford’s ownership.

    Saab hasn’t fared as well in my book. Beginning with the NG900, each Saab has lost some Saabiness from my vantage point. I’d like to see it come back in the upcoming Saab generation.

    Form is important. At least to me. Uniqueness is a lost art in the car business. Saab has the chance to remedy that.

  3. Generally agree with the above and I’ve said plenty on this before.

    Remember that besides being competitive in build and dynamics cost has to remain competitive. Some marques have gone too upscale in my opinion. BMWs are hideously expensive now.

    I like the idea about the heads-up display. With how many switches and controls are being used now there isn’t much room for a screen. Born from jets? How about navigation display ONLY as heads-up? And a simpler more traditional radio display? But not if it’s going to break. I’d rather see old reliable electronics than innovative unreliable ones. My ’00 has been okay, but my coworker just had to have her ’06 in for two separate electrical issues at the same time.

  4. I also wanted to say that I agree that it wouldn’t hurt to have special editions like the Gripen and Viggen across the model line but I don’t think it should be a high priority. But if Caddy (V), Audi (S/RS), BMW (M), Mercedes (AMG), Volvo (R), and even Saturn (Red Line) can do it, seems Saab should be able to do so simply.

    How about this?
    9-5 Gripen turbo GM3.6L 360hp
    9-3 Viggen turbo GM2.8L 300hp
    9-1 Draken turbo GM2.0 260 hp (engine from Solstice Turbo)

  5. Eggs, I wish Saab/GM would hire you as a design consultant! Most of all, I don’t want a copycat car, I want my Saab to be a Saab with emphasis on safety, handling/performance, function and form in that order.

  6. I truly hope we do not see those blacked-out A-pillars. It does not look good at all. It seems to me that the Function of the aero-x and the design language that may carry over is simply to emphasize SAAB’s aircraft heritage (which, at this point to me rings as more of an insult than anything else). I do not want the Form of the future vehicles to be based on something so trivial and non-sensible. (I’m not sure if it has been discussed, but has anyone wondered how you are supposed to enter/exit the aero-x if it is raining??? The aero-x, even if it may look pretty cool (and I know, it is just a concept car and not meant for production), is like the anti-saab).

  7. Hmmm, where to start.

    First up – forget Bluetooth, I want USB ports in the car. I can use the USB on my PC to charge and control my mobile and iPod so there should be a central screen for display with control using the steering wheel profiler switch. This should also be used to allow after market sat-nav to be fitted. A touch screen interface for controls rather than idistract, I mean drive. Digital radio too.

    A SAAB version of the Mercedes night vision system – a life saver in rural areas and high speed motorways. Active cruise control would be great too.

    Sensible and clever use of light weight, high strength materials – to quote Colin Chapman “always add lightness”. I understand the desire for 350+ BHP but I think that it is more in the Aerospace ethos to make cars faster by making them lighter, increasing economy and reducing emissions.

    Active safety that other manufacturers charge for should be standard – stability control, Break Drying and brake pre-tensioning.

    The interior should be classy but simple, with chunky, tactile rotary knobs where required, everything else on touch-screen or voice activated depending on preference.
    New trim materials should be on display, wood has no place in a car and metal has been done to death. How about ceramics?

    Utility as well, I miss the 12v socket in the boot of the Golf and storage compartments are great with a family too.

    Hirsch added as a model line (and yes I am stealing the concept of BMW M divison but it works) so there would still be after market Hirsch for all cars but there would be a specific model line with Hirsch interior, exterior and the engines would have about 25 bhp extra compared to the standard car.

    I would even see that a hatch just might give the car the edge and make it stand out from the crowd but the weight penalty is probably not worth paying (if following the principle of keeping the car as light as possible).

  8. There’s a few things that I see as definitely needed, especially if Saab is to stay in the game -or ahead- in fuel efficiency….

    Through all trims:

    -Direct Injection
    -Take auxiliaries off the drive train and run them on electric motors. (Don’t know how efficient they are.. But I hear the electric a/c’s are better).

    As for the “performance” model, whether that remains Aero or becomes another step:

    -Full-time AWD
    -HUD on windshield
    -Ride/Performance variable settings. I don’t see why there isn’t this option yet. You’d be able to maximize fuel efficiency when you know you aren’t gonna’ show off.
    Long drive, comfortable ride = “Cruise,”
    In-town show and go, a little bit stiffer ride = “Performance”
    Full out acceleration and track-feel, stiff ride = “Afterburner”

  9. Adam, just saw your post on the model names – good idea but outside the family they might not mean too much – better to stick with one name across the range and build a brand. Sadly consmuers are not smart enough to make the leap. Viggen for the top of the line sport model would do just fine. I think Hirsch would be the better approach though.

  10. I also vote for applying the Viggen name & badge on the top-o-the line vehicle. That should strike fear in the competition (especially if it’s got a 500hp beast under the hood) to turn the 18″ to 20″ AWD wheels.

  11. I love the idea of USB ports. That alone would turn a TON of heads.

    Here’s a list of must-haves:

    -Spectacular crash results (test and real-life)
    -AMAZING handling (no more “it’s just not as good as the Germans” slams)
    -Respectable acceleration (0-60mph but more specifically 60-100…or more!)
    -Simple but superb interior
    -Bluetooth
    -Heated/vented seats
    -XWD (tm-SAAB!) option
    -More, more sturdy, and centrally located cupholders in addition to the one in the dash (even if you don’t keep drinks in them, you still end up using them for holding stuff).

    That’s a tall order served up!

    Try taking any one of these away and tell me the car sales won’t suffer. Maybe the cupholders…but even then, a big gripe with Journos and passengers alike. Gotta get ’em!

  12. Being the flagship of the brand I also think it should set the standard for years to come!
    Things I’d love to see (most of them are already mentioned in the comments above):
    – Sport Sedan and Sporthatch variant
    – The AeroX nose like in the CGI here above (drop the chrome around the headlights of the current model please!)
    – (optional) AWD
    – Good handling… the idea of variable suspension settings could be a good idea here…
    – An (optional) HUD (let’s steal some technology from Cadillac this time 😉 )
    – Rattle free and quiet interior
    – Leave the key in the central position… or even better… the driver keeps its transponder key in its pocket and press a start button on the center console to start and stop the engine
    – (Optional) glass roof… they want us to believe this comes straight from a jet manufacturer, right?
    – Get the interior eqpmnt working right from the start this time!! (no bluetooth story like for the 9-3)

    I really hope GM will give SAAB some room this time to make some significant changes… fingers crossed…

  13. Ted: I’m indeed flattered.

    If I go as a consultant, I’m taking you and Jon with me!

    Jon’s comments have a LOT of merit. USB — great. Emphasis on less-is-more tactile feel and weight vs. HP are dead on.

    I think we my solve this thing yet!

    The most important thing that runs through all of these comments is this: don’t aim for a specific car as a competitor, aim for a BETTER car. Something different that fits better, looks better, acts greener, feels better. Go beyond the normal. That’s a Saab.

  14. “The most important thing that runs through all of these comments is this: don’t aim for a specific car as a competitor, aim for a BETTER car. Something different that fits better, looks better, acts greener, feels better. Go beyond the normal. That’s a Saab.”

    That is exatcly what is needed if this little brand is going to survive.

    Oh and please no start/stop button. By entering your key into central console and by turning it you are getting that feeling that connetcs your action with some real action(start of an engine). By using a button to start a car is starting to look like anything else you start with a button(TV, comp. or any other ‘stupid’ thing). It is not that ‘special’ anymore.

  15. Eggs, I like the idea of not focusing on the opposition but making a better car. However, I’m not sure that the brand has the time needed to do that. That would take a number of years to be effective. Does Saab have a number of years to do this?

    With the sales slump, it seem to me that the brand needs something flashy to get the consumer’s attention. Hopefully Saab will ride the Aero X’s success and put something out soon.

    While we are familiar with and enjoy the brand’s peculiarities, others are looking for something in the brochures or car magazines that attracts their attention. Does Saab currently offer anything like that?

  16. Should the next 9-5 be a direct competitor with something else on the market or “make its own road”?

    Should it try to match competitors feature-for-feature and Euro for Euro?

    If so, I think what the competitors have on the market will largely determine what the next 9-5 will be trying to emulate.

  17. I am an advocate of simply building a better car. We don’t need flash to catch attention, we need substance. Also, I care very little about SAAB expanding its model range. Please, just build one car model that is great. I would want this to be the 9-3, because I see that as SAAB’s fundamental model, but an all new 9-5 is what is going to hit us first apparently. 9-1? 9-4x? Who cares? Just one great, high quality car please.

  18. unfortunately, I think the fate of the next 9-5 is sealed, it’s less than 2 years away? …hopefully

    The USB drives are a great idea, it actually got all my friends attention better than anything other suggestions. It’s the Saab kinda ‘we did it first even though it should’ve been like this from the beginning’ thing. I’d love to see the return of the hatch i.e. 9000 aero but only in my (our) dreams will that happen.

    I wish Saab could afford to makes its own road but Im afraid that it would be a hit or miss model at that point. I hope you guys are fortunate enough to afford a new 9-5 if its any good, im not able to at the moment.

    The glass roof would look cool, but as long as we’re talking ‘form follows function’ I don’t think that applies. I’d want to keep AWD, or XWD, OPTIONAL, as well as the 5 million HP engine, OPTIONAL. Chrome or not, whatever. I think chrome would be along the lines of a copycat model.

    I like to use the 9000 aero as an example because, to me, it was a remarkable car, the seats and hatch still are! Keeping a hatch in the 9000 aero back in the day, wasn’t an attempt to follow the other euro guys, who were all sedans.

    Unforunately, in extreme driving, generally, to some, RWD will handle better than FWD. Most people that say this usually don’t know what they’re talking about, but I like to think i do know. Saabs wont impress journos no matter What!

  19. Saaboy: the USB thing has already been done by many aftermarket manufacturers. It’s nice because rather than having to have some sort of adapter for iPods and every other MP3 player (with different connectors and such on each one) or going with a substandard coax connection that hooks-up to the headphone jack on the player (like the current SAABs have) you can put your MP3s or WMA or AAC or Ogg Vorbis whatever files onto a USB flash drive and plug that into the stereo. So the track titles and artists’ names information is also transferred to the audio system for display.

    See this thread at SAABCentral (starting with post #6):
    http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=92112&highlight=flash+drive

    I agree on the XWD and high hp engines being optional. In some climes all XWD buys you is more weight and worse fuel economy.

    As much as people gush about the seats in the 9000 Aero, I’m surprised SAAB didn’t offer them in any subsequent models. Why didn’t the 9-3 Viggen, 9-3 Aero, or 9-5 Aero get the highly-praised Aero seats updated with SAHR?

  20. Actually, Viggen seats are gonna have to be 2nd place in the hierarchy of Saab seating. Then 9-5 aero seats, i guess… Yup, with the USB option, you can plug in your ‘johns garage made mp3 player’ as well as ipods and other junk :).

  21. Re Jon bashing hatch weight:

    9-3 viggen, 3 door (its a hatch incase u didnt know 🙂 ), specs tell me its just UNDER 3000 pounds. Some guys have even gotten it to put out 220hp and 250 ft lbs AT THE WHEEL, STOCK. Impressive for a heavy hatch isnt it?

  22. I dont see my comments as bashing hatch weight. I was arguing that SAAB should make every effort to reduce weight intelligently ie: not as a cover for cost cutting. Hatches generally weigh more than saloons so I would be a bit of a hypocrite to ignore this fact.
    Personally I think that a hatch could be the way forward to set the car apart from the crowd, provided they can keep the body stiff enough for safety handling and quality. They can do all of these for a hatch but it adds weight.

    Has anyone any thoughs pro or con about virtual dials? Not a Knightrider LED job but a good quality monitor replacing the dials behind the wheel where the driver can decide the dials he or she wants displayed kind of like night panel. For the Pimp my Ride generation they can have all the dials they want – oil temp, boost, lateral g in any colour. For us oldies it is classic dials in green. You could geven colour code by mode – normal green, sprt red etc. Kind of like what they have in aircraft. You should be able to down load formats form SAAB – you want dials from the 99 turbo, 900 or the Aero X? download onto memory stick and slot into the USB. The space behind the steering wheel becomes on giant SID. Of course as it is electronic it will go wrong…

    As for starter buttons. For Keyless Go yes. Insert key and press the starter button on the 320 drives me nuts.

    P.S.

    I dont want to get anyone excited but a few years ago Opel stated that GM saw a hatch back as a plus in the 5 series / 9-5 category if they were going to launch a replacement for the Omega. Its possible a hatch may be on the cards but not likely.

  23. Only two things I expect:

    – perfect iPod integration (with display and everything!)
    – Bio Power with 200 – 250 HP

  24. USB (idea already noted), AWD option, retain 2.3T (260hp), Bring either 2.0/2.3 biopower option to the states, Bluetooth integration, LED’s replacing all taillight, DRL, Fog and city bulbs, (cabin lights too!!), Aero-x Wheels option, some twin-turbo setup for a 300-350hp option that gets 30+ mpg highway, or premier the new 2.2TiD Twin Turbo arrangement) with massssssiiiive torque.

  25. If bluetooth is included, make sure it is A2DP. In other words, it is capable of streaming stereo music. This way not only will your phone sync with the car upon entry to the vehicle, but all your music will sync too.

  26. How could you ever get 30+ mpg with a 300-350hp engine, twin turbo? Maybe you could make the turbo so big that it doesn’t spin up until 4k rpm, and cruise on freeway at 3k and get good mileage? Sequential turbos would gulp gas grom the drivers urge to fly, if not the the motor itself.

  27. There are a lot of comments here about audio. I agree as I’m a music lover and I’ve thought the stock audio in all the SAABs I’ve owned has sucked. I haven’t heard the audio in a 9-5, but I’ve read that it’s a lot better than in the 9-3. Apparently Harmon-Kardon does audio better than Delphi (or Clarion, for that matter). Who knew!?!? 😛

    Lots of people are calling for iPod integration, but I’m hoping they’re using the word “iPod” as a generic term for any portable music player. iPod is the most popular music player out there, but it is not a standard.

    As for people who want to see a Bluetooth audio capability, I haven’t seen a portable audio player yet (surely not an Apple) that has Bluetooth capability. Maybe that Microsoft Rune (or whatever it’s called) has it? But I don’t want to be stuck having to buy a special portable audio player just to match it to my car stereo. Plus, where do I put it in the car (in the cupholder?)? Can I charge it in the car? That still requires wires. This is why I like the USB flash drive solution for car audio best. USB *is* a standard. And you don’t have to charge it…

    I can’t ever see affording a 9-5 myself, so what I’d like to see in a 9-5 is rather moot. However, it’s fun to speculate so let me add it’d be nice if it has an industry-leading audio system. That would require going to a source other than GM’s beloved Delphi, but they’ve done it before (Harmon Kardon).

    My mom’s new Acura TL has a DVD-audio-capable surround sound stereo system. It’s great in theory but the sound isn’t as great as one would think. I think the Infiniti M has a THX-certified surround sound system, but I’ve never heard it nor have I read any reviews of it.

    It’d be nice if the 9-5 would get a nice THX-certified DVD-audio (SACD & DVD-audio) with MP3, AAC, WMA, Vorbis, and all lossless audio file format capability surround sound audio system. The radio should be HD Radio-capable. Of course, it should also have XM satellite radio. There should be a DECENT subwoofer. Maybe put some tweeters in the top of the seats like in the Infiniti M.

    The audio system should be controlled through the navigation system (which they should source from Pioneer, which would have real-time traffic rerouting capability through XM Traffic like Pioneer’s AVIC line). This system should be touch-screen-based, but also have voice activation and chunky, solid rotary knobs.

  28. Saaboy: “How could you ever get 30+ mpg with a 300-350hp engine?”

    Well, if anyone can do it it’s the engineers at SAAB. They lead the world in efficiency. They eek the most horsepower and torque out of the smallest engines. Heck, Hirsch has an upgrade that will take 2.3-liter turbocharged I4 engine in the 9-5 up to 300 hp! I don’t know what that does to fuel economy though. SAAB has demonstrated the ability to get 300 hp out of a 2.0-liter engine, but that was with E100.

    I think if SAAB were to take my ideas from this post to increase fuel economy
    http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showpost.php?p=924076&postcount=16
    plus add-in all the new engine technologies that some manufacturers are using now they should significantly increase horsepower and torque while decreasing fuel consumption.

    Add to those ideas dual two-stage turbos with variable vane geometry technology, cylinder shut-down, VVL&T, SAAB Combustion Control, and SAAB Variable Compression technologies.

    For the first SVC engine prototype they used a six-cylinder engine but quickly had to abandon it because there was TOO MUCH power generated. They then went to an I5 engine with a displacement of 1.6-liters. Imagine if SAAB used a direct injection 2.0-liter I4 SVC engine. That should put out some serious power while being extremely economical and efficient.

    Many manufacturers already use one or some of these technologies, but none are using all of them in concert. I wonder what kind of power and fuel economy this would deliver?

  29. logan: while the Aero-X (and BioPower 100) turbine wheels look SWEET, I’m sure they’d be a beotch to clean.

    My ’85 900T originally had the 15-spoke wheels. SAAB’s brake pads offer really good performance, but they give off TONS of brake dust and it’s really difficult to scrub it off of multi-spoke wheels. I’ve read that the old Inca wheels on the 99 were a real hassle to clean too.

    Maybe this is why SAAB went to the “three spoke” design for so many years? 😛

    There was a really nice wheel available about five years ago in the SAAB accessories catalog. It was called “turbine” and looked like a turbine fan with much fewer spokes then the current concept car turbine wheels, each spoke was thicker, and there was more space between each spoke. I think it was a 16″ wheel. I really liked those but never saw them on any SAAB in real-life. Pity they don’t sell these anymore. Can you order a SAAB with wheels from the accessories catalog at additional cost or do you have to pay full price after dropping $40k on the car itself?

  30. Gripen I an refering to my iPod but the USB should work for any device. Also the USB removes the requirement for Bluetooth. Your Mobile (or Cell if you prefer) would be plugged into an area inside the armrest. You would then not need bluetooth AND the device is being charged. I see 2 more ports in the glovebox for satnav and iPod / MP3 etc.

    The biggest problem with a turbo that only spools up at 4000rpm is cronic Turbo lag. As for BHP vs MPG its down to physics. The lighter the car, the less BHP needed to get the required performance. A 2000 kilo 300bhp car will still provide less mpg than than a 1500kilo 300bhp car. Also look at the publicity for new 1 series from BMW to see what can be done with brake energy regeration – it boosts power AND economy. A lot of manufacturers are going down this route, I think GM calls it soft hybrid or something.

  31. Jon: I wasn’t aware the iPod is USB compatible. I have an iPod Nano, so maybe the iPod Video has that capability?

    The problem I would have with my portable music player being plugged-into an area in the armrest is that this area is generally used for storage of CDs and other junk. I don’t like the idea of my iPod rattling around in there (what secures the portable audio player? All players are different sizes and shapes). Also, that would mean you can only half-fill the space to where the USB connector would be. The current SAABs have a coaxial jack in the armrest meant for you to plug-in a portable music player. The problem with this is you can’t control the player, if you don’t like a particular song you can’t skip it, track info isn’t transmitted, and sound quality isn’t the best (analog connection).

    The system you’re talking about in the BMW 1-series (and coming in the M3 and 5-series) is called “mild hybrid”. I mention that as well as the start-stop system BMW’s introducing in the 1-series and M3 in that post I linked to at SAABCentral in a prior comment. Bosch is providing the start-stop system to BMW, so you’d think SAAB could easily license it as well seeing as Bosch used to be all over inside our SAABs before GM bought it.

  32. EggsnGrits’s comment is spot on. It really captures the essence of why my Saab feels like a part of my family.

    I think Saab lost its way with the whole “premium” car buzz that’s been going around lately. I would like to venture further that a truly premium Saab that competes with the Bimmers of the world is not a Saab at all.

    There is a sort of “man’s best friend” kind of simplicity in a Saab that many of us have grown to love.

    A 500hp 9-5 decked in chrome? Saab will have to contend with a lot of people switching to Subaru Outbacks, at least in the snowy northeastern U.S.

  33. Gripen: “Many manufacturers already use one or some of these technologies, but none are using all of them in concert. I wonder what kind of power and fuel economy this would deliver?”

    You’re right on with that one…. I see no reason why they can’t be incorporated into one package!! Also, run all the auxilaries with electric motors.. so the ony thing the motor runs, besides the wheels, is the alternator. Saab could lead the industry: No more settling for semi-efficient yet fun engines!!

    Couple the symphony of an amazing engine/turbo set-up with a trully efficient and fun gear ratio and I see no reason why we can’t have a high horsepower and high fuel efficiency.

  34. first: 1985 Grippen, thanks for the technical backing.

    i’m not sure if it is even feasible, but many cities are installing city-wide wireless networks. Would it be possible for new Saabs to get software updates via USB or WIFI in future cars?

  35. Cheers Gripen, it was bugging me what it was called. I wait to see how it works in the real world but I like the concept.

    As for iPod I have a Nano and I run it off a USB – maybe the difference is regional. For location I was thinking about dealer supplied cradles that fit inside the armrest or glove box like you get for mobile phones. My vectra had a 2 level centre console – the top shallow layer can hold the phone with CDs in the bigger space below. The MP3 or whatever would go into a cradle in the glove box – or even better load the files onto a hard drive in the car .
    My biggest bugbear with my 9-3 is the aux is in the dash not the armrest, which is a little untidy to my eyes. I had a Dension Ice Link in my Seat Altea which I think is better than AUX in as you could use the steering wheel controls to contol the iPod and it charged it up as well. Its not as good as USB IMO though.

  36. Some great suggestions most of what I want has been said. Some of the items mentioned are already in the GM portfolio. Night vision, heads up display, Bluetooth etc. I would like what I call “useful Tech”. I don’t want a Nav system standard, but would like Bluetooth and heads up display standard. High end sound system with Sat radio standard. GM’s HID can be turned off so no issues with it being standard. Make remote start standard on automatic cars, I would like it on the manual cars also but liability will keep that out. I would also like to see self dimming mirrors. I had them in a CTS loaner and loved them. Lastly I would love the option of the Panoramic windshield that the Astra 3 door has. I would like this available on all SAABs. Talk about a canopy!

  37. Lots of great ideas above.

    Problem is, even though I LOVE the USB idea, it isn’t as easy some think.

    Every USB device needs drivers, and the O/S needs to be able to have those drivers installed. Noe this could become a very complicated process, it would cost a fortune in development (software design, driver installation configurations etc) for all of the different types of MP3 players out there. And then we haven’t started on the whole format issue, we have AAC, mp3, WMA, WAV etc etc. It would be a rather large task.

    It’s not as easy as saying, yeah, lets just install a USB port, there is a LOT more to it than that.

    What if a new driver comes out? How will the system be upgraded? Would there be new firmware available, how would it affect the warranty if the end user upgraded the firmware themselves? What would happen if a rogue device is plugged in and crashes the entire system?

    Computers are complicated things, no matter how simple they have been made to look, and I think this is the reason why most have gone for the Aux input route.

    3rd party companies have installed USB input systems, but I’m pretty sure they are strict at what they support and what they do not support.

    USB, it’s an AWESOME idea, but I doubt we’ll see it due to the reasons I’ve stated above.

  38. While I did not read every post, from those I read and some I scanned, it seems people’s biggest complaints are interior elements, such as bluetooth, iPod connectivity, USB, etc.

    I completely agree, and what is great about doing this is once you have put the money into R&D for these things, you can port them over the your entire line!

    So start with the 9-5 and then update the 9-3. Talk about win-win situation.

    I hope Saab is reading these posts.

  39. “Saab” might be reading. But what can “Saab” do? Maybe there is a “Saab” junior who read stuff on this site every now and then, gives suggestions to “Saab” senior, and junior get’s a slap on the wrist for such action. And our pleas end there… How else could it work?

  40. Kaz: the USB ports I’ve seen on third party head units are not for adapting a portable music player to the system. They’re for plugging in a thumb drive (flash drive). So there would be no driver issues. You’d simply put all your music onto the thumb drive and then plug it into the head unit in the car.

    Talonderial: I mentioned electrically-driven A/C compressor, power steering pump, and water pump in the post I made at SAABCentral which I’d posted a link to in an earlier post here. I also mentioned some other fuel-saving technologies (such as integrated exhaust manifold). If you get a chance you should read it.

    logan: I’m not sure about software upgrades, but I can see in the future (not on the 2009 9-5) having a wireless internet connection in the car. Not Wi-Fi, but a cellular phone-based system that allows you to connect your audio system up to the internet radio station of your choice anywhere in the world. Why not? We’ve already got OnStar and most cellular phone providers have a data service where you can get a PCMCIA (I think they call them just “PC Cards” now) card with an antenna that allows you to get internet service on your laptop anywhere there’s a cellular signal. I can see integrating a digital wireless modem into the OnStar system and be able to tune into internet radio in your car. For example, there’s an over-the-air FM radio station in San Diego I really like that I can’t receive in L.A. (too far away). I could go to their internet stream (they have one at their website) and listen to that! If I know of some great station in New York, or Germany, or wherever, I can tune-in in my car.

    I doubt SAAB lacks ideas for features they’d like to put in their cars. I just bet it’s hard for them to get funding to develop those technologies. Also, you can pack new features into a car but each new feature is going to cost more to manufacture the car. You are limited to how much you can sell the car for. The 2009 9-5 can’t cost 200% the price of a 2007 model no matter how great it is. It also can’t cost more than the competition. So if they’re limited to how much they can sell a car for they’re limited to how much money they can spend putting great new gadgets into it that they might really want to and know customers really want.

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