Saab 9-5 on Carlist

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.

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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.

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8 Comments

  1. Was the tester duped or did he really do his homework to appreciate the 9-5? First time to read such a positive review of Saab.

  2. Nice to see some one from the auto press finally gets it!!!

    I have had my 9-5 for almost two years and love it!!

  3. Jakob – I had two (MY01), behaved a bit erratic (that is now me) and sold one. Regrets – you bet.6 years ownership is a shipload of an experience.

  4. Steve I feel like I’ve been howling in the wilderness. Yes the 9-5 is “old.” Yes it is just 2-wheel drive and GM plastic interior panels; yes the new BMW twin turbos now surpass (at a substantial price premium). But this 07 9-5 Aero is a terrific car, especially for the price. (See a photo on this link:) http://www.trollhattansaab.net/archives/2006/12/denver_95.html#comments

    After 6,000 miles and not a peep, sound, squeek, rattle or malfunction. Yes I baby the thing like a first born, but it is a car that is as mature and perfect as it’s going get; the bugs have been worked out. I have been like a kid in a candy store since I got it last November. Dealer told me I was the first in U.S. The Aero package was special ordered back in July with a $1,000 non-refundable deposit and manufactured later in Trollhatten.

    My old 900 SE used to slip the tires in hard turns under acceleration with lots of torque steer. It is all gone now. The suspension is very important. A road construction crew failed to post a warning sign on a 3-inch high straight edge ridge of concrete at an intersection. I hit it head-on with both tires traveling 45 mph. Wham! I worried the whole front end had been shaken loose. But the Saab gulped it up and there have been no ill effects on alignment, steering or suspension. Whew.

    The point is, the 07 9-5 is one hell of a more-than-placeholder for the new MY 08 or 09 design. It’s at the end of an evolutionary process.

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