Will the Saab 9-5 have a V8?

I’ve had several different independent sources, one of whom was totally unsuspecting, mention just this week that the next Saab 9-5 will be released some time during model-year 2009. The 9-4x is expected that year, too, and evidence is mounting that indeed both will be released, probably within months of one another.

That’s the good news.

Saab desperately needs to replace the 9-5 given that the current model is basically a 10 year old car.

Consider, though, the fact that Saab is now owned by General Motors. Even more, consider that General Motors are in the business to make money – as much as they can. And even more, consider that General Motors have recently committed to model developments for Saab over the next 5 years that include a new 9-5, a new 9-3, a totally new 9-4x and a totally new 9-1. There’s even talk of a second, bigger SUV after those are all done.

To cash in on this model development schedule they’re going to need to expand the range of product they offer – particularly in the US.

Now, considering that the US is so fond of their big thumping V8 engines (go on, admit it) what are the chances that the new Saab 9-5 will come with a V8?

And what will be the reaction if it does?


I’d like to remind GM of two words – Responsible Performance.

These words are being bandies around by Saab executives worldwide at the moment as they give speeches to introduce the refreshed Saab 9-3 for 2008.

Responsible performance hinges on safety and efficiency. In producing a spirited car, Saab always have to keep their commitment to safety. When I was driving the new XWD Saab 9-3 back in Sweden last June, one of the product development guys spoke to me explicitly about this question: Was is responsible and within the Saab ethos to produce a 280hp Saab with XWD that would encourage more aggressive driving? You can hear him say it in the video.

When it comes to efficiency, Saab have always tried to do more with less, though the “more” part of that expression has always had an implied limitation that the car would not go to excess. This has been the Saab way. The Swedish way. They built turbocharged fours to bring forth the power of a (1970s) V8, for example. As a result of building cars to a philosophy they built an identity and a loyal following.

Today, Saab have a pretty clean TTiD that gives great performance with great fuel efficiency. They have BioPower technology, stamping themselves in an emerging ethanol market and giving the capability to drastically reduce fossil carbon emissions. Both are part of the solution, not the solution itself, but Saab are players in those markets nonetheless.

So in the spirit of responsible performance – do Saab need a V8 in the Saab 9-5 of the future? Personally, I think not. But what will the market think?

Will GM consider that the Saab 9-5 needs this to be a true Saab flagship, capable of taking on the Audi A6 and the like?

There’s only one way to settle this, of course. And that’s with a poll. Or two.





Cast your vote and have your say.

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  1. I voted “Do I Have To?” for the V8 9-5, and “Heck Yeah” for the turbo 8 9-5. Turbo 8…*cargasm

    I mean, who in this country can say no to a V8 with the power of a V10 and the efficiency of a V6?

  2. Is it not odd that there have been no sightings of the 9-5? If it so near production, there must be mules running around all over the place – that white Vectra in drag is the only reported sighting so far, and it was defintiely a mechanical test-bed only – where are the full body test vehicles with chequerboard tablecloths??? Are you holding back on us Steve (you get nobbled by Mr Shannon to keep schtum? ) 😉

  3. They can offer a V8 if they want to, but I won’t buy it. It’s taken me two years to accept the idea of a V6 for my next car — and I’m only willing to do that to get the other things that in the U.S. come only when packaged with that engine.

    So, a V8? Sure. Only a V8? Not on your life. But that shouldn’t be a problem since BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and even Cadillac all offer V6s in their similar cars.

  4. Well let us not forget that one of reasons why Saab created such a huge following with the turbo charged 4cyl engine is that such Saab was capable of tearing to pieces any competition in its class (such as BMW, Porsche, Alfa – you will remeber the famous video of the 80s testing the turbocharged Saab against its rivals).
    Just my 0.02 cents.

  5. saab needs to compete or get out of the game. offer a v-8.

    the “more-with-less” philosophy seems to have been more a function of front-wheel drive physics, than of moral superiority.

    with adaptive all-wheel drive (xwd), which is what the environment is becoming these days (look at a $19k nissan cuv), saab needs to think/change more “vertically,” rather than “horizontally.” the kind of “9-5” approach doesn’t work, obviously. and, the limitations of fwd are coming to an end for saab. still offer the 2.0t and biopower, but don’t limit a buyer’s cross-shopping recollection or impression of the brand to a v6.

    when “understated” becomes “overlooked,” it becomes a victim of its own success.

  6. A V8 engine is a very important issue for the future 9-5. From a Saab perpective it doesn’t fit the ethos. However; Saab has always been about innovation ‘more from less’. But as time evolves so does market perception and expectations. if everything remained constant then there would have not been a need to introduce the V4. If it were not for Saab USA wanting something mind blowing for the 1976 North American Car show then would have had to resigned to developing a V8 as costs in trying to harness the Turbo were spiraling out of control. Some say Saab never recovered from those costs which is why Saab could never increase thier portfolio by more than 2 models…. Alas I digress.
    I don’t think Saab can afford to sit back and not move with the times anymore.
    The words “Resposible performance” can actually be translated into..
    “We don’t have the budget to develop this engine further, So we’ll make up some rubbish and hope the public buy it”.
    With All premium players housing V10’s and V12’s in thier stables I think it’s very important for the 9-5 to offer at least a V8. Yes it has to be Turbo Charged, yes it must run on Ethanol and yes It must have the performance to match the best. To have a V8 producing 500 or 600hp would truely be Mind Blowing.

  7. V8s don’t need to be the devils spawn that they used to. Look at Volvo – they “bought” one from Yamaha which is apparenty cleaner, more efficient, smaller and just cleverer than most of its peers and now have it in a couple of cars. Volvos image is not THAT different from SAABs in some ways and it hasn’t killed them.

    Saab don’t need to just drop a V8 in a halo car and leave it at that. That would be hollow. If they continue to focus on building a range with clever engines to match, a clever V8 will slot in there easily.

    I read somewhere recently that the Volvo XC90 V8 is the biggest selling SUV in the world – all due to the US. Now if that is bankrolling the little C30 hatch and the C70 coupe I don’t know what is. Unnnerstan?

  8. It’s a kind of “brainwash”.
    What extra features the V8 can add to a Saab owner?
    I think, almost nothing.
    We need dynamic turbo performance, economy, safety, unique design.
    A turbocharged V6 (petrol or diesel) will do it, definitely.
    For those, who need real life joy of driving combined with utility and economy a turbocharged V6 is more than enough.
    The V8 is for those people who rank the cars by the catalog and marketing data and want to have the same things what other brands have – even it has no real advantage in real driving situations.

  9. I think the next 9-5 will definitely have a V-8, of course it should be turbocharged but should and GM/Saab relationship don’t always go together. Hopefully that mistake is a thing of the past….

    If not a V-8 for the top spec 9-5, then it should be a twin-turbocharged twin-scroll. I think that would bring the performance level equal to the competitors and retain all-day drive-ability. They’ll have to spin it like Porsche does but with a little weight-management or some help from Lotus… I think it’s very doable.

  10. I think a turbo V-8 would be a great addition, at least for the US lineup, and arguably necessary for the US market.
    In addition to being E85 capable, it should also have other fuel saving features–such as being able to run on one bank of cylinders as well as hybrid-like no idling (with the help of a big starter motor it can start immediately, so it doesn’t need to idle at traffic lights.)
    Saab should not be afraid of entering the more power game.

  11. Please, tell me the reason why the V8 is a “must have” in 9-5 technically ?
    Because the reasons above all about that “because the other brands have”, and it’s a typical marketing lie…

  12. I was already charmed by a daihatsu copen with a 3-cilinder turbo, or in the past by a suzuki cappucino. So i don’t feel the desire for a V8.
    But competing again for title as a DRIVERS CAR, if you compare again M3, S4, S6, C63 AMG etc or whatever their krautwagons & coupés are named, that’s someting else. They put V8’s or similar in the size of a 9-3. Combined with twin turbo and fuel-efficiency … and yes go for the difficult solution of cabin-stiffness, crash-efficiency and weight-management.

  13. Ivan – Lie or not, not having a V8 option is hurting Saab. WE sure as heck know that a turbo 4 (or at the most, a turbo 6) is all one really needs, but to your average AMG/M buyer, no V8 option = no sale, ever.

    Is it possible to have a BioPower hybrid? I would assume so. If Saab did that with a V8, along with a totally badass turbo setup (twin turbo twin scroll, like Talonderiel said), they see some sales, guaranteed.

    I mean, back in the 70’s, Saab considered shoehorning a V8 into the 99. They went with the turbo, of course, but it’s not like it’s totally completely unheard of. Thank God they went with the turbo though, for historical reasons, and also, the V8 they were considering was a piece of junk.

  14. It depends on the V8. A thoughtless no brain power and fuel hungry monster is not what I want to see.

    A small V8 with a turbo, a high output and some intelligent design features is the way to go.

    That said, can anyone give me hard figures of the extra sales and more importantly the profits a V8 would generate?

  15. Sure they do, and that here in Europe. As has been mentioned many times already though it should be a turbo’d, E85 capable, comparatively efficient V8.

    I have a Hirsched 9-5 Aero SportCombi here in Germany and feel confident that with xwd and a modern and efficient BioPower V8 Saab would have great potential in the market here.

  16. I think SAAB should not waste any effort in developing a 9-5 V8 and put their effort instead in developing a car that matches or betters the quality feel and look of AUDI, BMW, MB, etc.
    I ‘d say take the 3.6 l V6 from the Cadillac CTS (yes!!), stick a turbo on top and if you don’t have at least 300 kW, you’re incompetent.
    Make it well balanced and hardly anybody will care that there is not a V8.

  17. Talk about 9-5, there was a serious accidnt during the Saab Performance show/ test drive event in China in March this year.

    http://bbs.auto.sohu.com/r-autopic-788279-0-66-0.html (accident photos on page 2).


    From the text description it looks like the car was at an S curve and didn’t even brake before leaving the track. The speed was around 160kph according to witness.

    From the look of the car it’s likely a test driver rather than a Performance team member. The driver was taken way by an ambulance. No death reported and not sure about the seriousness of injuries.

    The car rolled 3 times, and resting 50 meters fromteh track.

    Safety is a relative term, there is no absolute safety, what Saab affords us a slightly higher margin in an accident. It’s still down to the driver to have situation awareness. This one obviously pushed beyond his limit.

    I wish everyone safe driving during winter months.

  18. About the V8, can they do something like intelligent control that shut down half bank of cylinders *like other GM engine) and give you teh full V8 treatment whenyou push for it?

    remember the Jaguar XJ220 only had a V6 twin turbo and it runs to 213Mph…

  19. “I ‘d say take the 3.6 l V6 from the Cadillac CTS (yes!!), stick a turbo on top and if you don’t have at least 300 kW, you’re incompetent.” -albert

    Funny, since that’s exactly what you have in the 9-3 right now. The 2.8L turbo 6 in the 9-3 is the same 60-degree High-Feature V6 motor that the 3.6 is built from.
    HOWEVER, Saab is still not using a lot of technology that other GM brands are using on the same motors. For instance, the cobalt SS is not pushing the same power from Saab’s ecotec motor that Saab has available from the V6! The biggest difference between the two? The Cobalt has VVT and direct injection. The technology has been with GM for a while now, why has Saab never taken advantage of it? Also, the 2.8 V6 *could* be using VVT and direct injection, as it is being used in the 3.6L…

    IMHO, run the 2.8L V6 with VVT, direct injection, and twin turbocharge it. That should put it somewhere between 350 and 400HP.
    That would position it right there with the BMW 750s… with a nicer price tag and better fuel efficiency.

    Saab HAS to know that they have a lot of room to grow with the HFV6 2.8L. Look at the difference between the 2.8 in FWD 9-3s and in the Turbo-X. The ONLY difference (per rumor) is more boost. If you can gain 50HP just by upping the boost on a stock motor, what would happen if you actually included VVT, DI, another turbocharger, and some higher-quality components in troublesome areas?

    Saab can still produce V-8 power from a smaller motor… If they start using a V-8, they’ll have to put down OVER 450-500HP to not look like they were beaten up and locked in the closet by their weird uncle. A Saab V-8 with 300HP just won’t cut it when BMW has an I6 3.0L with the same power. The one thing that Saab could do which would be unforgivable is producing a car that is less efficient than BMW.

  20. I think a small turbo V6 is the most Saab should EVER have. V8+ engines are environmentally irresponsible, against Saab philosophy, and frankly, unnecessary.

    “[Lets do it just because everyone else is],” is the most un-Saab thing I’ve ever heard.

    The reason I love Saabs so much is because they’re NOT just like BMW or Audi. There is no other car company like Saab. Lets keep it that way.

  21. ““[Lets do it just because everyone else is],” is the most un-Saab thing I’ve ever heard.”

    Saab can’t continue to do exactly what they’ve been doing for the past 30 years and expect sales to grow. Saab needs to be profitable, or GM might eventually kill it. As long as they continue to offer their little practical turbo-4 executive cars alongside any other “unSaablike” offerings, they’ll still be Saab. They’ll just be a more profitable Saab. They have to do things a little differently if they’re to survive.

    I’d gladly take a Saab that offers a V8 as an option over a Saab that’s just folded.

  22. Because Saab has begun to walk the enviromental line, promoting the BioPower vehicles in such a lagre degree, I don’t think the 9-5 should be fitted with a V8. Engines get even more efficient every year, and VW’s Golf GT can produce 170hp from a 1.4l 4-cylinder. Imagine how much you could get from a 2.8 V6?
    However, if they could make the V8 as enviromentally friendly as a 4-cylinder, why not?

  23. Modern V8s are reasonably efficient. An efficient V8 would get as good or better gas mileage than the turbo V6 every here is assuming should be the epitomé of the Saab line.

    The are other advantages here. A naturally aspirated V8 would be a less complicated, more reliable, less expensive way to get to 350-400 hp in a “high-feature” 9-5. GM has some exceptional V8 engines in the parts bin right now.

    A high-spec, V8 9-5 for less than $40,000 MSRP would sell very well here in the US.

    Plus I’d bet that Saab will still offer the turbo V-6 everyone is clamoring for. Here’s the line-up:

    I-4 turbo, 200-230 hp (perhaps Europe only)
    V-6 turbo diesel, (Europe only)
    V-6 turbo, 280-300 hp (US base model)
    V-8, 350-400 hp (US)

    Add a low volume, Turbo-X, turbo V-8 as the M-5 killer, and I really like that line-up.

  24. I should add that the 5.3 liter V8 in the 9-7x gets just a touch better gas mileage than the 4.3 liter I-6 in the base 9-7x.


  25. Don’t know if it will, but I’ll say it shouldn’t. A (twin-)turbo V6 does the job better.

    And: ALL Saab engines MUST be turbocharged. Period.

  26. V8 ain´t no Saab for god´s sakes! That´s it. If it will be offered, that´s ONLY because american GM ownership wants to have it. D***

    We all know, that Saab engineers would´ve not installed such petrol sucker after they developed Turbo. Ever.

    Even 2.8V6 is on the limit. To be correct, in my opinion it´s way too ineffective! It´s now saddening that, when CO2 emission play bigger role in europe everyday, Saab is on the looser side with 2.8V6T. Look at BMW and their x35i, three liter twinturbo. More power, smaller emissions 🙁

    Aww, man I get really upset with this topic. Why don´t you people buy a Cadillac or something and leave Saab with their OWN ideas.

    And I still do not mean to offend any of you people wanting V8, that´s okay with me. But please not to Saab, no!! phuuuuhhhhlease!

    What about 2.5liter straight six evolved from existing 2 liter engine? Twin scroll charger, or charger with adjustable rotorblades (like Porsche)? Even two liter unit has potential of 250hp easily. 1.9Diesel has now 180hp, what about making it 2.4? Come on, 9-5 has 2.3T with more than 300hp if Hirsched.

    Uhh oh.. oh well.

  27. So for Saab to be successful the new 9-5 should be the size of a Buick and use the same V-8 engine? And it will be renamed the Blucerne.

  28. 4 cyl- 6cyl- 8cyl just give us a new 9-5….current one is so long in the tooth…. we need new products…bad or there won’t be anyone left in the US to sell these cars other than Chevy dealers who have all the brands and sell Saabs too if they remember which corner they have them tucked away in in their huge dealerships…”pick a number please…”Now serving number 4678 you want a Saab? Wait please…Now serving number 4679″…..

  29. Saab had a 9-5 test mule running with a small “global” V8 that was being developed, I think somewhere in the 1998-2001 time frame. I have the photos some where, looked cool. Does anyone know the specific reasons why they canceled that project?
    On another note, many seem to think Saab should only get the horsepower of a big engine from a smaller engine via turbocharging. I agree with the turbos, but everyone else seems to be offering them now too, and Saab will not have any competitive advantage if they don’t change, just like FWD is no longer a competitive advantage and they have to offer XWD to compete. They’ll just be seen as having underpowered cars when the competition has turbo V8s. The V8 isn’t for me, but I think Saab has to offer one to stay in the game.

  30. there is a better chance that pigs will fly before saab installs a v8 in the new 9-5. sadly there is nothing in the works for that to happen. first off it would sell in such small numbers that gm would have an extremely difficult time justifing the cost especially on a car that even in its best years hardly set the sales charts on fire. and other than the U.S. market I cant see a huge demand especially when cost is taken into consideration. The fact that Volvos v8 has hardly been the rousing success and fuel costs which who know where those will be in two years and I wouldnt wager too much on a V8 coming. Lets all think along the lines of 250hp 6’s and something along the lines of a 300hp upgrade 6. hhmmm.

  31. I can envision a ~3.5L turbo V-8 with ~350hp working for Saab.
    An alternative that would be notable without a V-8 would be a turbo hybrid that had total hp in that same range. Lexus has been doing similar things and there was talk of the next NSX having this kind of powertrain.

  32. Put the V8 in it. The smallest engine offered should be the V6. Leave the 4cyl. for the 9-3. As it is, many have said that the 9-5 is pretty much a slightly larger 9-3 (I don’t agree). But, more needs to be done to differentiate them. Let those wishing for a 4cyl buy the 9-3 (which I’m sure will also grow in size in the new model). And let the 9-5 compete more with the 5/E/A series offering only different versions of V6 and a small turbo V8 as the new Aero or 9-5 Aero X (meaning cross wheel of course but, the reference couldn’t hurt).

  33. All good comments, sorry to be late to the game on this discussion, for sure.

    Ivan: Here’s the technical reason for a V-8: TORQUE. Low-end, off-the-line, torque. Torque translates directly into better 0-30 and 0-60 times.

    Additionally, one must consider that the addition of cylinders makes the engine smoother and flattens the power band (which is a good thing). That is, for a given displacement, an 8-cylinder engine will run more smoothly and will be better balanced than the equivalent displacement 4-cylinder.

    Greg Abbott (as per normal), has a good point that may have also been made by others here: V-8’s aren’t just hulking brutish firebreathers anymore. The Cadillac-developed Northstar V-8 is quite high-tech; it turns off pairs of cylinders as demand changes. That is, off the line, it’s running on all 8 cylinders, as the car reaches speed, it runs only on 6 cylinders and on the highway it runs on only 4.

    As far as ‘meeting competition’ with a V-8 being a ‘marketing lie’, I disagree. There are plenty of buyers on both sides of the Atlantic that consider only certain types of cars worthy of their consideration. If you want access to those buyers, you must offer their class of vehicle. Period. I do agree that it shouldn’t matter a great deal of the time, because in many cases those very consumers will never fully use the technology that they buy. However, that’s what they buy; everything else is a matter of opinion.

    Finally, last week I had the opportunity to drive two old-fashioned American rear-drivers with large-ish engines (as rental vehicles): The Dodge Charger and Dodge Magnum (with only 3 and 4 miles on them, respectively). I’ll tell you that it’s a real kick in the pants to drive a fast, rear-drive car. It just is.

    Finally, don’t let your parochial interests get in the way of progress. Just because you live in an ancient, densely populated city in Northern Europe, don’t make the mistake of “knowing” what’s right for the rest of the world. You simply don’t. Likewise, just because I live in a medium-sized American city with at least 250 miles (600 km) to the next major city, I can’t possibly know the challenges associated with European living. Americans have a LOT more ground to cover in a given day than do Euros; it’s fact. There is a difference in the “right size” for the two. There is science. It isn’t just “typical American boorish behavior” at work — our whole country has a different set up. SUV’s stretch those differences much too far in my opinion, so I don’t advocate those.

    I guess that’s enough.

  34. I think that V8 turbo will be perfect for the 9-5, but not only for the 9-5, also por a possible Aero-x or Sonett IV. Saab needs to launch a powerful sports car. Take a look at Alfa Romeo and its 8c competizione. If Saab wants to be known as a brand with a sporty, enjoy driving, sports culture thanks to rally heritage and so. Then needs a coupe or a sportscar that reflects that idea.

    When Saab launched the 2.8 V6 turbo in the 9-3x and 9x concept, and then in the 9-3. It admits that engine could arribe to about 400bhp.

    With a V8 turbo, Saab can demonstrate its capability with responsible performance, it can show that this type of engine could be efficient and powerful. Over 400 bhp?? for a sportscar to compete with R8, 911, Aston V8, 8c and so it will be perfect. And for the 9-5 it will be a good top of the range.

    For me to drive a Saab its pure passion, and I love the roaring sound of a V8 like the 6,3 liter of the AMG or the incredible sound of the AM V8 Vantage, for the ideal Saab will be a 9-3 or a 9-5, with a V8turbo and a good roaring sound that I could hear and feel when I drive.


  35. Eggs, a well posted response. Do you think the V8 is critical for Saab survival in the US?

    Leaving aside the emotional pull of a V8 (I love V8s btw) and the environmental issues (which nobody wil agree on) is the expense justified? ie: with fuel costs increasing is the V8 the right engine at the wrong time? Should the budget go on a fuel efficient 4 cylinder running the front wheels and a kick in the pants electric motor driving the rears?

    The challenges of living in Europe? Too many hills. And the French:)

  36. Eggsngrits,
    I can’t really imagine that people who can drive a 2.8V6 XWD will be not satisfied with the torque.
    9-5 is premium limousine and not a street racing sportcar.
    The 0-30 and 0-60 is typically marketing data for sales brochures. Just tell me any situation, when it’s really important… it’s only for those people who wants to make a competition from one green light to the next red light.
    The ability for fast takeover in any speed range is much more practical and useful feature, and Saab was always more strong in it than 0-60.
    That’s what the marketing should emphasize much stronger.
    Ok, V8 is smoother. But I’m not sure that the power band is significantly flatter…
    But don’t compare it to L4, compare it to the current V6.
    Is the advantage is so significant that Saab really need to invest in?

    Actually, it’s my personal opinion, that the manufacturer should not always do what stupid customers want.
    The good manufacturer should try to teach them, try to show them an example what they should follow, and release campaign to convince them about the advantages.
    And it should not be about the more and more horsepower and bigger engines…

  37. Remember the XV8 engine concept, installed in a Saab 9-5 SW. Its a very good base engine to do something competitive.

    4,3l, 300bhp with 400NM of torque, imagine that with a turbo, it could arrive over 400bhp easily, with a shape and wheight similar to a V6

    It was fitted transversally and designed to be fitted in a Epsilon car transversally, thanks to its compact design and wheight.


  38. Ivan – Luxury cars nowadays all tout their smooth power, and the more cylinders you have, the smoother your power is. There’s a reason all the top luxury cars have V8’s and V10’s: It’s just more comfortable. They never struggle, and that’s important to a luxury car buyer. Speaking of buyers, said luxury buyers are paying a lot for these cars, and those extra two cylinders make them think they’re getting something for their money. Remember, not everyone is a car nut. The customers Saab is trying to attract with the 9-5 (besides Saab owners) want a car that is smooth and work-free. That means V8.

    MarkoA – You said it yourself:

    “It´s now saddening that, when CO2 emission play bigger role in europe everyday”

    See, people here in the US don’t care about Europe or its CO2 concerns (unless the people in question are from California). I mean this in the nicest possible way, really I do. Still, your average American car buyer either wants to look green (so they buy a Prius) or they don’t give a rip about the environment (like me).

    I agree with Eggs, V8s are crazy fun. Sure, they guzzle gas and they can hurt the environment, but if anyone can tame the V8 beast and make it work right, Saab can. Sure, for a daily driver, maybe I’d rather have a turbo 4, but maybe I wouldn’t be able to resist the pull of those extra cylinders.

  39. Jeff,
    Saab is not really luxury car. It’s a premium class, but not luxury, as far as I can see.
    I don’t think that Saab should target the market segments of real luxury cars.
    BMW 7, Lexus, Audi A8, etc., they are luxury cars, but they are not the same class like 9-5.

    It’s a very bad habbit that people want always more and more horsepower even they couldn’t use it, moreover, they couldn’t control it!
    As far as I know road accidents are the 3rd most frequent reason of mortality nowdays and rising. Safety should be much more important then more horsepower.

  40. That XV8 engine that Eduard mentioned sounds impressive. Cylinder deactivation, variable cam phasing, direct injection, 10.75:1 compression ration on regular gas, high efficiency, integrated air compressor, fits transversely. Still wonder why it didn’t go anywhere.

  41. Some years ago I read an auto column that summed up nicely the Saab philosophy–that Saabs are more about WHAT they can do, rather than HOW they do it. This seems very true when you look at the turbo-4 philosophy, with its anti-hype marketing style.

    It’s true though, that as the entire auto world becomes more homogenized, that such a philosophy won’t cut it anymore. So that’s why Saab has had to go to V6s, now AWD etc. It wasn’t that long ago that Saab still eschewed swaybars and anything but a solid rear axle with a Panhard rod!

    OTOH, some of their marketing decisions (like the 9-2X and the 9-7) have hardly gotten past the giggle test in the auto enthusiast world. It just tended to reinforce the notion that GM had no clue what to do with Saab.

    Frankly, I don’t know what the answer is regarding the V8 question. It may simply come to whether the new 9-5 will have the engine bay space to accomodate a V8, let alone one with all the turbo gear should it come so equipped.

  42. BRAVO Jeff!!!!
    It’s because of guys like you, who just don’t give a f*** about environement, that the world we are borrowing to our children is going to be full of shit and pollution…. I’m not talking about beeing ecologist (or eco-terrorist, as i call greenpeace&co), it’s just about ethics, about feeling concerned, and thinking we can maybe slow down the pollution and fossile-energy consumption… and that is with small engines, well, let’s say up to V6 engines that CAN be very powerful WITHOUT being such fuel suckers as a V8 or V10 you use to ride at 60mph… you americans just never think of other people on earth, but you should know you’re not alone, and maybe not everyone agrees with your points of view….
    have you ever heard of the Kyoto-protocol? your dumb governement was like the only big one not to sign it……. typically american….

  43. Jeff, I know, I make lot´s of mistakes when I try to write english.

    But I wrote “It´s now saddening that, when CO2 emission play bigger role in europe everyday, Saab is on the looser side with 2.8V6T. ”

    And with that I tried to point out that actually new 2.8V6t is crap compared to other European premium makers. If you consider the performance and consumption/emissions. And THAT is saddening to me. That´s not the way to go. I don´t understand you americans wanting to change Saab something that it isn´t.

    But there is not going to be V8 9-5, and I´m really glad about it.

  44. Ivan – Well, ok. It’s a luxurious premium car.

    As far as too much horsepower to know what to do with…I’d suspect that any V8 that actually ended up in the 9-5 would be tuned for smooth driving and not crazy starts and breakneck speeds. Sure, it would be fast, but it would be fast like a 7-series and not fast like a GT3.

    As far as safety goes, if Saab thought that a V8 would be too unsafe, they wouldn’t sell one. If they thought they could make the car safe enough to handle the extra power, they’ll probably eventually sell one.

    MarkoA – I didn’t know you made a mistake, so I wasn’t really trying to point one out, but ok. Anyway, my point is and was, that Europe just isn’t as important of a market to Saab as America is. America is where the big dollas are, so that’s where the emphasis is going to end up. I was talking strictly from our point of view: You Europeans do what you want and we’ll do what we want with emissions standards. Heck, if Saab did put a V8 in the 9-5, I doubt it would go to Europe anyway. It would probably be just for the North American market, most likely.

    As far as the 2.8T…it’s not exactly a cutting edge engine at this point, I’m sure the V6 in the next 9-5 will be much more advanced.

    Also, I’m not exactly your typical American Saabisti, so you probably shouldn’t generalize my opinions. Still, I don’t want to turn Saab into something it isn’t. I want Saab to sell enough cars, whether they be SUVs or V8-powered 9-5s so they can keep making the 9-3 and eventually the 9-1. Those are going to keep the Saab spirit going. Everything else is just more money for those two models. It’s not like you have to like everything Saab puts out. Under GM, it’s ok to just like some of their products, because the rest of them are there for neccesity and not because they’re Saaby.

    Another thing, personally, I don’t think Saab should restrict itself to small engines just because that’s what it’s always used. Saab has never had AWD (9-7x/9-2x don’t count), right? So that changes the game. Now they can put down more power, and it will be safer. That doesn’t mean they need to put an LS7 in there (though that would be a cool one-off), but they can now safely put down more power, and that’s what Saab is all about: responsible performance. The XWD means the car can perform more and still be responsible. Also, if they want to use some larger engines for some things, that’s fine, as long as they follow the same ethos as the smaller engines: squeeze as much power as safely possible out of each engine.

  45. I think that this is the most comments I’ve ever seen on one of your posts, Swade. My two cents worth: If Saab wants to run with the big boys (BMW, Audi, MB, etc.) then they need to match them in all aspects. I personally think a larger, hotter turbo V6 would would work just as well, but a V8 would be fine too. If Saab plans to stick with inline 4s and small V6’s in the 9/5, then maybe they should drop the pretense of competing with the German sedans.

    Here in the USA, you can buy Accords, Camrys and even Hyundai Sonatas for thousands less that a Saab, but with more horsepower. Chevy can get as much power from a supercharged Ecotec in a Cobalt as Saab does from its turbocharged Ecotec, but it sells for a lot less. Subaru, Mitsubishi, and Mazda sell hot little sedans with performance that embarrasses a stock Saab, again for less money. How much of a premium in dollars are people willing to spend to get the Saab nameplate, and the supposed superiority of Swedish engineering?

    I think that one of Saab’s biggest problems is that there are already too many uptight, repressed, eco-obsessed people in their design department . If you want to sell people cars, then you should produce cars they want at a price they want to pay. Your job is not to tell people what they ought to want, that is for the eco-scolds, and disaster mongers. Maybe a hair-shirt attitude of “you have to get used to less and less” is a winner in Stockholm, but it certainly is not everywhere.

  46. I always ask myself the same question, related to this theme…….

    WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SCC(Saab Combustion Control) TECHNOLOGY!!!!???? Why don’t Saab launched that tech in 2.0T Like V6T of the 9-3x and the 2.0T of the Solstice/Sky?

    50% of reduction in CO and Co2 emissions, and at least 75% of reduction in NO emission(the most dangerous emissions for human healthy).

    That means that for example a 9-3 2.0T(210bhp), has 194 g/km of CO2 emissions, apply those numbers in terms of reduction of emissions………then that engine can comply with those 120 g/km of the EU rules for 2015…… apply now in the V6T.

    If that is really possible and I think that is possible for Saab and demostrated it, then Saab has in its hand an incredible revolution, able to overpass all its competitors and shut up!! the EU governments……..

    and that tech was shown 5 years ago……


  47. Ivan: All of your responses are your opinions. That’s the point.

    I even agree with some of them — 0-30 and 0-60 times are numbers in a book, yes.

    I don’t debate you on the ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’. For the most part, the real world dictates that “enough” performance should be good enough for the vast majority.

    However, it isn’t the best, now, is it?

    You say that you “can’t imagine” that the torque of a V6 isn’t sufficient. Well, I can. You say that performance numbers in the marketing material shouldn’t matter. Well, I say that they do matter. You say that companies shouldn’t make products just because their customers demand them. I say they will if they want to be successful and profitable.

    You see, I think that you are confusing reality with the ideal situation. Ideally, you would be right — people would be discerning about their purchases. However, reality shows that they aren’t. Ideally, people should know that everything above “good enough” is more than they need. Reality shows that they still want the best that they can buy.

    So, that’s the choice: live in the real world with the rest of us or hold out hope that things will change for the ideal.

    Correction to the above: 250 miles = 400 km.

  48. Quote Gigito: “you americans just never think of other people on earth, but you should know you’re not alone, and maybe not everyone agrees with your points of view….
    have you ever heard of the Kyoto-protocol? your dumb governement was like the only big one not to sign it……. typically american…. ”

    Gigito, please refrain from generalizations that are specalutory. As I am unaware of what you do for a living, I’m not going to presume that you are one of the billions of uneducated, new wave environmentally concerned commoners [this is general populous not greenpeace&co] who rely on political information and recent bashing of the auto-industry for information of the current global warming issues. I’m going to treat you as an educated person who has done the research and realized that the auto-industry is only a small contributor to global warming. I will admit that I am not a subject matter-expert on this, as of yet, but I am a meteorology major and have done several reports/researching into this issue. If all the cars suddenly turned electric, it would not make a huge change, I’m sorry.

    But that’s not the reason why I took offense to your post. It is more to the point of Americans not thinking of others. I could be a biased American serving in our military. as a reservist, and a naive college student, but I find your comment to be unfounded and lacking true understanding. I’ll give you that Americans can be a little arrogant and self-centered but that is true of all humans and all countries regardless of age or prosperity. America certainly realizes it is not alone, and has known this for several decades. If it wasn’t for our intervention during WWII, I believe Europe would not be the same as it is now; not even to mention the exhaustive rebuilding program that American undertook in the post-war era. There’s Somalia, the Horn of Africa, Botswana, Argentina, North Korea’s recent natural disaster, and countless other humanitarian efforts that America is involved in. Thanks to the US Navy, and the awesome role of her UN Allies [especially the UK Royal Navy], the seas are free for commerce , shipping and trade. Not to mention that there wouldn’t be a UN, if it wasn’t outlined in suggestion by President Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations after WWI which laid the foundation for the UN.

    So in the future, please use generalizations in a joking manner; not as an unfounded rant. This site, this car company, as with many things in this ever-shrinking world have brought people, from different countries and backgrounds, together and given them a common interest. I’m glad that Swade puts in all the effort he does to make this site as amazing as it is. Enjoy it, agree to disagree, poke fun when you can but keep prejudices and generalities to the dinner table where they won’t be met with side-way glances. Thank you.

    Sorry to rant, Swade.

  49. If America sucks so bad, why is everyone trying to copy us?

    All kidding aside, Saab would go out of business in a week if all it made were cars that people should be buying, as opposed to cars people want to buy.

    Even in Europe (although it might last a little longer there).

  50. My 2 pence:

    No V8.

    If you must perverse Saabs with other GM engines, drop in a Direct Injection High Feature 3.5l (like the 302hp in the STS) but then slap on the turbo! Make it zing with over 330-350hp.

    Nothing more. Accept if you want to drop in a Svenska Flygmotor RM 8 turbofan engine. Google that and see what that is in!

  51. I think Saab should be concentrating more on getting the quality, the ‘look’ and dynamics right before they put a big V8 in the 9-5.

    The big thing Saab needs to concentrate on is quality, particularly interior plastics. If Cadillac can use nice plastics in the CTS why cant Saab have the same high quality plastics PLUS that same rock solid interior feel that Audi/BWM is famous for. Its all about money, stop being so stingy! VW did it so why cant Saab? The interior quality of current Saabs is the ONLY reason why I could be tempted by a BMW – and that purchase decision is going to be made in late summer 2008.

    The 08 9-3 is really turning some heads with its aggressive new look and this is what Saab needs to do – turn a few heads and have people saying “whoa, what was that car!!??”. The AeroX turned a lot of heads (I wasnt overly impressed, however) so Saab has to make a statement with its next car. It has to look very extroverted but friendly at the same time. The spyshots of the 9-5 posted here from CAR magazine were darned near spot on. I have to admit that Saab did the right thing dropping the hatch – please dont flame me 🙁 – as sales have proven that customers spending big bucks on a entry level luxury car want a sedan. Besides, I think the 9-3 SportCombi is a great ‘hatchback’. 🙂

    The last point but certainly the most important is dynamics. I sure wish I could drive an OG900 because that was the ultimate yuppie car of the 80s and it outhandled any other ‘sedan’ on the market at the time. So what happened, did Saab kill off all those responsible for driver dynamics? The XWD with esld has received rave reviews and I seriously think that every Saab should be thus equipped so that we can have the handling of a certain German sports sedan with the front wheel drive security offered in lousy weather that Saab is famous for.

  52. I think we signed Kyoto, we just didn’t ratify it… not just a technicality especially considering the comments that followed in this conversation.

    I also want to agree that among the priorities for the next 9-5 I think engine choices are pretty low. I’d put them more like:
    1. reliability (just had _another_ problem on the Viggen)
    2. interior quality
    3. style
    4. price
    5. dynamics
    6. power

  53. Woah, I didn’t even see Gigito’s comment.

    Look, I was just talking about the typical American point of view. Cars don’t hurt the environment nearly as much as big factories and plants and whatnot do. THAT’S what Kyoto was trying to fix, it wasn’t about the cars nearly as much as it was about the giant filth-spewing smokestacks. I was angry when we didn’t decide to go with Kyoto, because it made us look stupid.

    Trying to fix global warming by driving cars with smaller engine is like trying to stop a waterfall with a bucket. “Every little bit helps” doesn’t help when people are doing their “little bit” and feeling proud of themselves (coughPriuscough) and ignoring the big bits that would actually fix the problem. In the long run, those extra cylinders aren’t going to do jack to the environment, but paper mills and coal-burning electric plants and chemical processing sites certainly are.

    And hey, we saved your ass in World War Two!!! /moe

  54. And we haven’t ratified Kyoto, either.

    A change of government will probably alter that situation, though, and the polls indicate that that change of government is almost a certainty for next weekend’s election.

    Now, enough of this and back to the V8s…….

  55. “With all the fun talk about America not giving a damn, it should be noted that BBC news recently reported Australia to be the world’s worst per capita polluter.”


    …sorry. :p

  56. All of you need to go a and take a cold shower and wash some sand from your collective panties.
    Ans stop harping on about WW2,show some respect for the millions that gave their lives for the freedom of the WHOLE WORLD,not just Europe.

  57. If you really want to know, it is official that the farts amd turds from the arses of cows and pigs in Holland are one of euroeps biggest Co2 contributors- published broadcast fact.

    And people blame aviation, and V8s !

  58. I have to admit I haven’t read the comments yet. I’m purposely doing this because if I do I’ll lose my train of thought.

    I think that a V8 is counter to Saab’s traditional ethos, but is necessary in the market GM is demanding the 9⁵ compete in.

    As you said, GM expects Saab to sell cars in the “premium” segment and to justify the price of Saab cars they’re going to have to start adopting some features that are counter to Saab’s traditional position. It’s unfortunate, but it’s business. They can’t keep marketing solely to the hardcore Saabista and expect to stay in business.

    Would I buy a V8 9⁵ even if I could afford it? No. I’d rather have a 2.4-liter turbocharged direct-injected 16-valve inline-4 outputting around 300 hp through XWD.

    However, I’m not interested in a four-cylinder turbocharged car that sells for over $40K U.S. either. If Saab is going to charge that much for the car they’re going to have to give their customer more “bang for the buck”, considering you can get 9³ V6 Aero for less money.

  59. Greg Abbott: unfortunately I don’t think you’re remembering correctly. The 4.2-liter V6 9⁷X gets 20 mpg highway, the 5.3-liter V8 gets 19 mpg highway, and the new 6-liter V8 in the Aero gets 16 mpg highway (ugh!) according to the U.S. EPA’s official website.

    As you probably know, Saab has to use whatever engine is available from GM and cannot develop their own in-house engine as they did with the SVC design which was released and won all those engineering awards right around the time GM bought the remaining shares it didn’t previously own in Saab. This is an excellent website I found which lists GM’s engines.

    Like albert, I’d like to see Saab get a version of the 3.6-liter 3600 SIDI HF V6 currently found in the Cadillac CTS and STS. Saab could dual-scroll twin-turbocharge it and get a lot more power out of it than Cadillac does. Plus, it’s already got direct-injection but if Saab could adapt it with direct-ignition they could BioPower-ize it for even more extreme amounts of power when run on E85. The 3.9-liter V6 found in the ’08 Chevy Impala LTZ has “cylinder deactivation” functionality for better fuel economy so that would be another nice feature to incorporate in the 3.6-liter unit. Make it into a “mild hybrid” by incorporating start/stop functionality like someone here in comments mentioned and you’d have a winner! V8 power with I4 economy.

    Ubermich: no, the 2.8-liter V6 in the 9³ Aero is not a downscaled version of the 3.6-liter V6 found in the CTS and STS. The Saab V6 is sourced from Holden (Australia) and is port-injected. The Cadillac V6 is direct-injected and is assembled in Flint, Michigan. See the aforementioned link in this comment to the GM engines.

    Jeff: you asked if it’s possible to have a BioPower hybrid. Yes, and it’s already been done in concept form. Early last year at the Stockholm Auto Show Saab debuted the world’s first ethanol-capable (BioPower) Convertible Hybrid Concept. It was also a plug-in hybrid. It wasn’t a V8, but your question was whether it is possible. Yes, it is. 😉

    MarkoA: I understand you and I personally agree with your sentiments. However, the 9⁵ as it currently sits is completely pointless. Why would anyone buy one? Seriously. In order for the 9⁵ to be relevent it needs to get more power and/or more luxury to set it apart from the 9³. You can now get the top-of-the-line 9³ (the Aero with XWD) for less money than the 9⁵. The 9³ is safer, faster, better handling, and more modern. Without increasing power or luxury the 9⁵ should be killed. If they really want to sell it in the price range they’re currently selling it in they need to compete with the A6 and 5-series. With a 4-cylinder engine in the USD40K range it just doesn’t.

    Jon: regarding fuel economy, I’m thinking that a V8 with a lot of the modern fuel-saving features (cylinder deactivation, direct injection, “mild hybrid” features, dual-clutch transmission, et al) wouldn’t be too much harder on the pocketbook than the V6 Saab currently sells. Have you looked at the EPA-rated fuel economy of the port-injected 2.8-liter (which is small for a six-cylinder) V6 in the 9³ Aero and compared it to the fuel economy of the inline-6 3-liter BMWs? It’s worse (19 miles-per-U.S.-gallon combined in the manual transmission sedan guise)! Saab lost its way in the efficiency category somewhere recently and they need to reclaim that title, IMHO.

    Some of you have mentioned the V8 they tried-out in a 9⁵ mule, but also remember that Saab trialled the SVC engine (5-cylinder supercharged) in the 9⁵ as well. I read somewhere that the first prototype of the SVC engine was a six-cylinder, 2.5-liter (I believe) and the problem they ran into was that it output so much power that they couldn’t control it and had to scale it down!

    On the unrelated subject of the Kyoto Protocol, the only other nation to not ratify it was… Swade’s own Australia! 😮 But from what I’ve read many, if not most, of the nations who did ratify it are not even close to the benchmark levels they’d committed to. So just because your country ratified the agreement doesn’t mean they’re abiding by it. Talk is cheap. China surpassed the U.S. as the world’s worst polluter years ahead of when they were expected. From what I’m reading now the point of no return has been passed in regards to greenhouse gas emissions. The experts are now telling us we need to just resign ourselves to global warming and adapt to it as it’s too late to reverse it. Sad, but true.

    Watch this Prius commercial which was recently pulled off the air due to a controversy involving the California agricultural down of Fresno. This commercial aired on the East Coast, where apparently Toyota figured nobody from Fresno could ever take offense. Well, it found its way into Digg.com and Toyota was forced to pull the commercial and apologize to the city of Fresno. I’ve been to Fresno on business many times, unfortunately. But check out the solution in the commercial for the cow flatulence problem. 🙂

  60. For the record, the reason that the US didn’t ratify Kyoto was that the penalties on the US were much too harsh because of the way that the emissions limits were calculated. They used population to compute the limits, and ignored the fact that the US, Australia, Canada and a handful of other industrialized nations have emissions out of proportion to the rest of the world because we are the factories for the world.

    So, if all of the Kyoto signers would like to build a few power plants, a few oil refineries, a few paper mills and a few steel mills in their backyards, that would be welcome. Then we will talk about equality and mean the same thing.

    And, with the number of scandals within the Chinese manufacturing sector of late, we can assume that they were going to lie about compliance if they signed on (I can’t remember if they did).

  61. V8 with turbo is OK. Make it E85 or even E100. Displacement? Perhaps only 3.2 liter, at least below 4 (the current Northstar). that will give you good milage, enough power and more torgue.

  62. Ohhhhh, see, I always wondered what the difference between the two BioPower concepts was, other than one is a 9-5 wagon and the other is a 9-3 vert. One’s a hybrid. Everything makes sense now.

    Wow, that Prius commercial was pompous. Like Prius owners! 😀

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