The next Saab 9-5 – no more excuses

The 2008 Cadillac CTS is coming out. Reviews are being published as I write this and the car is being pretty well received.

The only interest that I have in this car is what technology GM are debuting on it that should be passed on to the next Saab 9-5 when it comes out. And there’s several things I’ve spotted so far that are worth a look.

Direct Injection

This process, which uses higher pressures in the fuel rail to inject fuel directly into the combustion chamber in a similar manner to how diesels work, is the latest revolution in gasoline engine technology. The CTS with the 3.6DI engine gets “a 15-percent increase in horsepower, an 8-percent increase in torque, and a 3-percent improvement in brake-specific fuel consumption.”

I’m no techie, and I don’t know how turbocharging might inter-relate with this DI technology, but if that’s the sort of numbers that DI alone can bring to the CTS’s V6, then who knows what Saab’s ingenious engineers can do when they compliment the system with turbocharging. The XWD system will make it all fun, too.

Audio/iPod integration

Yes, actual integration with a real Apple iPod, just like other manufacturers do. And about bleedin time, too!

Via USB and auxiliary ports located in the center console, these devices can receive battery charging. With a special cord developed by GM and available at Cadillac dealers only for the CTS, iPod users can plug-in for full integration. This cord features the proprietary iPod output on one end, and both USB and auxiliary plugs on the other. This enables full integration of the iPod – including advancing tracks via the car’s steering wheel or console controls, along with battery charging, and of course, audio output.

There will also be facilities for people to store music or record digital radio onto a 40GB hard drive in the car. There’s a USB connection for transferring music files onto the hard drive and the CD player will be able to rip files onto the hard drive.

Ambient lighting

From the CTS press material:

Clean, white ambient LED light pipes are recessed between the upper and lower instrument panel. The result is a dramatic effect similar to indirect lighting used in contemporary homes. Subtle backlighting positioned in the door pulls and footwells completes the theater-style night lighting.

We’ve heard from Djup Strupes on this site already that the 9-5 will feature an interior that draws quite a lot of inspiration from the Aero-X. The use of lots of glass and lighting was one of the Aero-X interior’s features, so I’d definitely expect some serious lightpipe work to be incorporated into the next 9-5.


One thing that I can’t see in any of the press material so far is the mention of Bluetooth. People have previously referred to Bluetooth as being something that GM would offer on the 2008 CTS, however I’m drawing a blank from the press material I’m reading. It does have OnStar, of course.

I’ll keep looking for it.

UPDATE: “S” has advised via email that Bluetooth is not expected on the 2008 CTS, but in 2009, when a source he spoke to advised it should also be available on the 9-3 – Interesting!


Cadillac and Saab both have new 2008 models. The CTS for Caddy and the 9-3 for Saab, though the Saab looks like it’s more of an extended mid-cycle-enhancement compared to the CTS.

It’s no surprise that Caddy gets to debut the DI technology, but I shouldn’t whine too much as Saab got to debut XWD. Here’s hoping that one day, sooner rather than later, Saab customers will get to benefit from having both technologies available in one car.

I’d expect that the next 9-5 will definitely incorporate these new features as seen on the CTS, and hopefully quite a few more new innovations as well.

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  1. oh, if only they could find another acronym for direct injection… DI is already taken by direct ignition… for sure… saab is gona be left out in the international world of acronyms…

  2. “Jet Thrust Stoichiometric”? 🙂
    As by Saab’s cousin, Alfa Romeo.

    As for the technology, again, it’s nothing new. The technology itself is nearly 100 y.o (well, ok 55 y.o), but car industry again proves to be a slow adopter.
    Another caweat is this: These types of engines like low RPM’s, like big heavy V8’s or yor normal diesel. A Saab Turbo, its driver (like the ones driving Alfas) like a heavy right foot and lots of revs. What Alfa did is they only use this technolgy at low revs, reverting to normal config over 1500 (!) rpm.

    Oh, othe rnames for the technology? GDI (Mitsubishi) and HPI (Renault)
    More info:

    It’s new – in US made V8’s 😉


  3. hehe its funny, i always consider saabs and saab drivers relatively low-rev ppl seeing as to how saabs and turbos are set up to give you low end torque to really get moving without revving so high and being wasteful… i consider high revving, the ricer boys redlining at 8-9k rpm :D.

  4. Well, “hi revs” in relative terms…
    A diesel hax max torque at around 2000, a normal gasoline engie at around 4000 and a high-rever at perhaps 5000 (not motorbike though).
    A V8 also peaks torque at around 2000, like a diesel.

    Also, a turbo needs exhast gases to work, and you get more gases the more you rev. Saab make a good job at keeping that threshold as low as possible, but you can’t say a Saab 2.0t will do its best at or below 2000 rpm, can you?

  5. I hope the new 9-5 will have light bulbs the owner can change in an easy way. I consider it a safety thing to able to do that yourself in 5 minutes instead of having to wait days/week to have a done and in the meantime drive around with only one head light.

    There has been some articles in Sweden lately about this. On some cars (I think they mentioned Renault and Citroën), there is no way the owner can do it. It can cost up to $200 to have that done because it’s a 1 hour job. With Xenon-lights it’s even more expensive. There only the bulb itself cost about $200 and then you have to pay for the job to do it.

  6. I saw the new ad for the CTS during [American] football games today. They say the standard features aren’t significant – the question is “When you turn it on, does it return the favor?” Here is the commercial on YouTube Not a bad commercial, even if it doesn’t make me want to buy a Caddy.

    Bluetooth – the core demographic of Cadillac buyers probably think it is some sort of denture cleaning accessory anyway 😛 GM/Saab seem to be schizophrenic on this topic: “It’s ofice politics with OnStar”, “Nobody is asking about Bluetooth”, “It’s going to be available in ’09” -meh

  7. ctm on the Renault Senic you have to remove the bumper to change the bulb.

    Ambient lighting would be a big plus – the new XF is beautifully lit up inside. I would really like to see them do something special with the instruments as well – something that will be unique to Saab.

  8. TrakDah, I strongly recommend you update some prejudice about the (Saab) Turbos, V8’s, diesels and use of revs.

    What applied in the 70’s might not be so anymore…

  9. Riku,

    from, figures for the 2.0t:
    Max. Power: 154 kW (210 hp) at 5300
    Max. Torque: 300 Nm @ 2500 – 4000 r/min

    I would call my earlier figures pretty much in that ballpark (I said 4000 for petrol, not specifying turbo or not, which I should have done). The low end of this scale is low, but not low enough for a GDI to be of good use.

    For the V8 on the other hand was off; they have peak torque at a high 4000 too (figures for 9-7):
    Power output: 300 hp @ 5,200 rpm
    Max torque: 330 lb. ft. @ 4,000 rpm

    But my point is still valid: GDI/JTS/etc (chose acronymn) work best at (very) low rpm, sub-1500 or so – like a diesel.

    PS: my MY08 9-3 2.0T bio is being delivered in November – canät wait! 🙂

  10. TrakDah, the way I’m reading those figures (which btw are for 2.0 T, not t) the max torque is reached at 2.5 k.

    It doesn’t mean there isnt any torque below that. In fact, you hardly ever need to rev above 2500 in everyday driving and the engine is amazingly tractable already at 1200 (or even less) rpm.

    The 2.0 t, with its small turbo unit is a very torquey engine for its size (and I like it just because of that). The low rpm response is better then in 2.0 T, which has a bigger turbo.

    When it comes to the usable revs of a gasoline DI engine, I’d recommend you have a look at the Volkswagen/Audi FSI and TFSI engines, which (to me) don’t seem to have any rpm handicap against traditional indirect injection engines.

    The Diesel combustion process doesn’t seem to like revs above 4500 (or so), but they also pull very strong from 1000 rpm or even below.

  11. Being that you mentioned the new CTS and the 9-3, David Ponce at Oh Gizmo! had a drive of some 08 models including the CTS and 9-3 SportCombi. More good press for Saab. I’ve quoted what he said about the Saab below (although he’s pictured an 07 model):
    “I expected the Corvette to be a nearly orgasmic experience. I did not, however, expect to enjoy a station-wagon this much! The 2008 Saab 9-3 SportCombi was the surprise of the day, for me. If you’re a dad, and you want to be responsible, but aren’t ready to give up on sporty performance, this is the car for you. A 2.8L, 255hp turbocharged engine ensures that you’ve got some kick. But more importantly than torque and power was the incredible driving experience. The transmission was as smooth as silk; you barely had to think about changing gears that you’d already flowed there, seemingly not even of your own accord. The steering was perfectly balanced, neither too soft or too harsh. The thumbrests on the steering wheel were a nice ergonomic touch. The suspension was smooth, and hard enough to corner aggressively. The roar of the engine muted and sophisticated, but undeniably sporty.
    This Saab was a unique combination of elegance and performance, in an attractive package… even for a 26 year old blogger who fell in love with a Corvette.”

  12. Direct injection!! Cool. Swade – The primary benefit of DI and turbocharging is that combined with variable valve timing you can run rather aggressive valve overlap which is the time the intake and exhaust valve are open at the same time. This occurs during the exhaust stroke when gasses are leaving the cylinder – near the end of the stroke the intake valve is opened. This does two cool things:

    1. The exhaust gasses leaving the cylinder help pull the intake charge in and then…
    2. The intake charge builds inertia – this helps push the remainder of the exhaust gasses out and lets the intake valve be closed during the compression stroke. They have to close the intake valve at the moment during the compression stroke when the cylinder is fully charged with air and fuel so it can develop maximum power.

    Now with a turbo – you are forcing air into the combustion chamber (you knew that), but we can now do a few other things with DI.

    1. Forget about worrying about getting fuel into the cylinder – we put it in there at the top of the compression stroke near the moment when combustion occurs.
    2. You can use the valve overlap (especially at low RPM) to speed up the turbo faster and keep it moving at higher engine speeds where volumetric efficiency would change.
    3. Higher boost pressure is possible (more power!) because we are not leaving fuel in the cylinder for the compression stroke. No worry about detonation there. You can also advance timing as well (more power!).
    4. Valve overlap all assures all the exhaust gas has left the cylinder and that it is charged with air.
    5. At low engine speeds (read idle and cold startup) valve timing is used to maximize airflow through each cylinder (just like an air pump) to help the catalyst lights off in record time. Cold start emissions are significantly reduced.

    In the end: Fuel economy is increased, emissions are decreased and power is increased.

    What a great deal…

  13. Thanks Tedjs,

    i love the words “more power” in any setting to do with Saab. Combine that with reduced emissions and I’m sold.

    Seriously, being a non-techie I wasn’t sure how this could combine with turbocharging, but your words there give plenty of cause for hope.

    Let the Swedes at that DI engine, please!

  14. Last post (sorry):
    Considering that Saab Combustion Control with air-assisted direct injection from Orbital Corp. was “approved for production” in 2000 and was supposed to be on the new 9-3 when it came out in 2003, I say “It’s about time!”

  15. For Saab isn’t new the Direct Injection technology. Remember the SCC(SAAB COMBUSTION CONTROL)!!!!

    take a look at the 2.0T engine of the Saturn Sky, Pontiac Solstice and Opel GT. This is a version made from the Saab/GM L850 2.0Turbo, you can imagine who is responsible in GM for Turbo engines and where it comes many of that know how.

    Take a look a the press release of the new Global V6 engine from GM. Is it quite flexible and all the versions are capable of direct injection, included the V6turbo.

    Remember the 9-3x engine!!!! V6turbo 2.8 it’s the father of the 9-3Aero engine, with SCC. And also the “inteligent AWD system”.


  16. So lets see if you can take the iPod interface from the 08 Caddy and do something with it in a 9-3.

    While I wait for incentives, maybe someone will figure out something…

    As far as bluetooth…09???? are you kidding me???? And I thought Caddy was trying to appeal to younger customers?????

  17. I test drove the new Caddy CTS this weekend. A nice car — actually a great car. I tested the CTS4 with the uprated engine and AWD. It moved and looked good. While it’s no SAAB, I definitely think it will sell well and leave its customers happy.

    However, I asked the salesman about Bluetooth. He said that it was not offered BUT that the CTS had a superior technology: OnStar.

    I rolled my eyes.

  18. Swade – more power is always good when it comes to Saab? Let’s drop an LS7 in a 9-3 and see how that works out.


    I read on Wikipedia that Saab was considering putting a Triumph V8 into the 99, but went for the turbocharger instead…ultimately, it’s a good thing they did, especially because that engine was terrible, but it would be neat to see an old 99 powered by an old V8 just for fun.

  19. ctm: I’ve changed the xenon bulb in my 9-5. It takes less than five minutes, and I bought it off ebay for $70. It’s very easy. I don’t know why Saab thinks you need a dealer for it. (Though admittedly you’re supposed to aim them with a tech 2 afterwards, but no one does that.)

  20. Just so they don’t borrow any of CTS’s looks.

    I also hope they are careful about “mission creep”. The 9-5 does not need to be bigger and heavier and faster.

  21. jon- your request for something “special” for the interior and dash for the new 9-5 will certainly be granted. The current interior will look even further dated when the new one comes out. And one feature of it will DEFINITELY be unique to Saab on the displays.

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