When I drove the BioPower Saab 9-5 up in Brisbane at the start of this year, I was once again amazed at how good a car it was. I mentioned this whilst chatting with Saab Oz head honcho, Parveen Batish, and he shared my opinion that the press often write this car off to easily due to age.
The age of the car just means that every single bug’s been ironed out.
That might sound like a GM executive selling the product, which it was, but that doesn’t make it any less true. The 9-5 is a great driver’s car.
Carlist, from the US, have published a pretty comprehensive review of the 9-5 and it seems that they’ve grasped a similar understanding. It reads to me like they were part of the 60th Anniversary press event back in February. It also reads to me like they enjoyed themselves.
Our writer is Bob Plunkett, and he opens with this:
Flying across the California desert on a straight-line trace that swoops through every drainage wash, a sleek mid-size sedan from Saab of Sweden — the 2007 9-5 Aero wearing Ice Blue Metallic paint of a special 60th Anniversary Edition — rides the roly-poly pavement contours like a Saab 37 Viggen jet shooting through bumpy pockets of turbulent air.
With each whomp through a pavement dip, the independent suspension elements of coil springs and gas-charged shocks float and compress then float again in a bouncy rhythm which in time may rattle a rider’s equilibrium yet never upset the balance and poise of this precision machine.
And it barely trails off from there….
A run on a serpentine road winding over the San Ysidro Mountains near Warner Springs demonstrates that our 9-5 can hang around a tight hairpin bend while maintaining a flat stance with the 235/45R17 all-season tires tracing an aggressive line.
Such road tricks, while fun to perform yet unnecessary for everyday driving, reveal that Saab’s top sedan can maneuver around dicey street situations with the agility of a mechanical athlete.
There’s a great in-depth section on Sweden’s emphasis on safety and a good run-down on how the 9-5 actively and passively protects its precious human cargo. This is an emphasis I’d love to see a little bit more of in other reviews as it’s probably got more real-world relevance than a run through the cones. Not that I’m anti-performance – far from it.
But a lot of the people considering a 9-5 purchase are going to be doing so from a regular driving and commuting standpoint rather than a sheer performance perspective. What they need, and what the Saab provides, is real-world versatility and world class safety.