12 printed pages later…….
We’ve had some fantastic contributions to the post where I asked your ideas for things that Saab should be building into their next generation 9-5, which we’ve recently been getting suggestions is around 18 months away.
There can be no underestimating the importance of this car to Saab worldwide. It’s the flagship model and as such, speaks a lot about Saab’s future direction and capability.
I asked you, the people who know Saab the best, what you’d like to see in the new 9-5 and following is the best summary I can give of your responses. It may be in vain, but I hope Saab are reading this and ticking some boxes as they do.
Whilst a number under 300 was mentioned occasionally, the general figure mentioned was somewhere in the order of 350hp. The feeling pervading all of this was choice – e.g. have a range of engine specs that can carry the vehicle through the spectrum from, say, 250hp through to 400+ for a high-spec model.
Whilst a reasonably quick re-scan of the comments failed to find a mention of the term “V6”, I think it’s generally accepted that the flagship vehicle needs a V6 engine at least in order to retain it’s credibility in the pecking order and deliver the smoothness expected of a vehicle in this class.
Acceleration at speed is more important than off the line. If the journos don’t get it then hit them in the head with a brick that has it carved in.
Turbo, Twin-turbo, direct injection, variable vane technology, cylinder deactivation.
Petrol, Diesel & BioPower.
I don’t want to create another category, so I’ll cover this here: XWD
There’s a lot of support for XWD, but primarily as an option. People want to have that choice. It’s seen by most as a thing for the higher performance versions of the car. Though I’d imagine that if Saab could engineer the system so that it’s unobtrusive and retains the car’s economy ratings then there wouldn’t be a lot of complaints.
RJ mentioned the phrase “Amazing Handling” and with the addition of XWD and some licence given to those very capable Saab engineers, maybe this is a distinct possiblity. There was also a comment with regard to variable performance settings so that the driver can adjust the handling response.
There was also mention made of building lightness into the car – i.e. finding ways to keep it lightweight but retaining strength. In doing this maybe you can improve performance whilst maintaining economy and safety.
This is perhaps the area that saw the most comment, which I believe is a valid indication of the renewed importance the cabin plays in the automotive experience. Remember, the exterior appearance is the hook, but the interior is where the owner will really experience the car. So….
Do I need to write it again??? OK….
All points of contact need to feel good. Intelligent design and use of materials and lighting will be a definite winner for this new car.
There was lots of talk about technology, too. The main issue was connectivity and in the two main points of concern, it’s really important that Saab find a proper, workable solution that’ll stick accross multiple markets. Those two main points of concern are Bluetooth and In-Car Entertainment and the days of something working in one market and not in another have to stop. People in the US can quite easily find out that people in Europe have working Bluetooth – and it annoys them.
If Bluetooth is to be integrated, then try as best as possible to make it future proof. A standard called A2DP was mentioned, where there’s the capability of streaming music from the bluetooth device. This isn’t commonplace in phone/audio devices right now, but in the future….
A lot of suggestions were made for the inclusion of USB ports to allow the transfer of information from Personal Music Players to the In-Car system. This does pose some problems, however, in terms of drivers used and obsolescence. If an easily integrated solution can be found, though, it’d set a new standard.
Other items of importance:
* Aside from the connectivity issues, great sound quality for the audio system
* Interior build quality. Keep it rattle-free
* Heads-up display. If it’s practical and useful then it’s wanted.
* Night vision display (I’d suggest that being an option, but that’s just me)
* Heated/ventilated seats
* Utilitarian layout (even for this flagship model – BRING BACK THE HATCH)
* Chunky, tactile knobs
* More sturdy cup storage
One suggestion that I thought ws quite fascinating, but possibly also quite fantastic, was the idea of the entire dash being a display unit that’s capable of being customised according to driver preference. Want a style reminiscent of a 99 turbo – hey presto! Want something all in blue? hey presto! The variables are almost infinite.
I’d be happy to have the Trolls at Saab sift through ideas like these (and many more, I’m sure) and make a call as to which ones are needed and which ones are “me too”. I’d like more of the former and less of the latter, but that’s just me.
I think most of us tend to trust the design department to come up with something that will be fitting for the brand. The Aero-X has built up a lot of good will out there.
The main thing apparent was an emphasis on utilitarianism. The design should be of sufficient quality as befits a flagship vehicle, but retain that functionality that’s been present in the best of Saab designs in years past. It needs to be unique, not an attempt at running with the bigger players.
It needs to retain and improve on Saab’s record for safety.
It wouldn’t hurt to draw on Saab’s heritage in the nomenclature, either – a 9-5 Griffin as a luxury range-topper and a 9-5 Aero as the performance range-topper.
Whilst that’s a reasonably long wish-list, I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of it is quite realistic. Hopefully the brains-trust in Sweden is thinking along the same lines as their customer base.
I trust that what we’ll see in the next 9-5 will be sensational anyway, regardless of how many items from this list we can or can’t tick off.
My thanks to everyone that contributed. When the car finally comes and your feature is on it you’ll be able to point to this post and tell your friends “I told them to do that. They read that site all the time!”