You know I love the Saab 9-5, but there was a timely reminder today as to why it needs to be replaced with a new, bigger model – and soon.
That reminder came, of all places, from Chevrolet.
Over the weekend, GM let loose one of the worse-kept new release secrets with confirmation that the Chevy Cobalt SS would be following in the steps of HHR SS in getting a 2.0 litre turbocharged engine putting out around 260hp.
Now, you know I’m no techie, and I wondered about this, but Tedjs has confirmed with me that this is basically the same 2.0 litre Ecotec engine that’s in the Saab 9-3. The Saab version of this engine, in its highest trim, puts out 210hp from the factory. This new iteration in the Chevys is turbocharged and intercooled, just like the Saab, but also features direct injection.
For my fellow non-tech types:
With direct injection, fuel is delivered directly to the combustion chamber to create a more complete burn of the air/fuel mixture. Less fuel is required to produce the equivalent horsepower, especially at normal cruising speeds, of a conventional port-injection combustion system. Direct-injection technology works well with turbocharging and helps deliver a great balance of power and economy.
So what does this have to do with the Saab 9-5?
Well, it’s quite obvious that the Saab range needs to grow. It’s limited to two worldwide models at the moment but there’s at least two all-new models on the way, with the 9-4x and 9-1 in the pipeline to compliment eventual replacements for the 9-3 and 9-5.
It’s also quite obvious from this 2.0 litre Ecotec release that it’s capable of a lot more than the 210hp that Saab are currently getting from it. But a 260hp variant would put it right up there with the Saab 9-5 in terms of output. In other words, the 9-5 needs to grow, physically and in terms of output, so as to make room for the other models beneath it.
And for those asking why you’d spend the extra on a Saab when you can get the same in engine in the Chevy, well, you’d be in the Chevy, wouldn’t you? Call me snobbish if you like, but I’ll take Saab performance, design, handling comfort and safety over a single power output stat any day of the week.
By the way, I think it’ll be fun to count the number of vehicles noted as being tested and proven at the Nurburgring from now on. So far we have the 9-7x Aero and the Cobalt SS. It’s the motoring equivalent of “99% fat-free.”