This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Tue, Aug 17, 2010
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
LA CAR & WIRE REPORT — Those of you who wondered what life after General Motors would look like for Saab, take a good look at the 2011 Saab 9-5 sedan. Yes, this is a working 9-5, not a clay rendition. New parent company Spyker is proud to take the wraps off the new 9-5. With frontal styling inspired by the award-winning Aero X concept car and a muscular, low-slung stance, the new 9-5 heralds the introduction of a bold, more expressive design language. The array of high-tech features on offer includes: an aircraft-like head-up information display (Pilot HUD); adaptive lighting (Bi-Xenon Smart Beam); adaptive cruise control; Saab DriveSense adaptive chassis with real-time damping control; keyless entry and starting; tri-zone air conditioning; dynamic parking assistance and Saab XWD with a rear eLSD, the industry-leading all-wheel-drive system.
The all-turbo powertrain line-up starts at 1.6 liters and carries forward Saab’s rightsizing engine strategy, which focuses on responsible performance through the development of highly efficient and relatively small four cylinder turbo engines. There is a choice of three fuels – gasoline, diesel and E85 bioethanol – and with diesel power, the new 9-5 offers CO2 emissions as low as 139 g/km. “This car is the start of a new era for our brand,” says Jan Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile’s Managing Director. “We have created an advanced and very distinctive product by leveraging the power of our roots in key areas, such as progressive Scandinavian design, sporty driving and responsible performance. The new 9-5 delivers in all these respects, as will every future product from Saab.”
Scandinavian Design “We are giving a fresh, very modern expression to some of our classic brand design cues,” says Simon Padian, Saab Brand Design Chief. “We have taken visual themes in our recent concept cars, such as the Aero X, which are inspired by Scandinavian design and our brand’s aircraft heritage.” The face of the new 9-5 is defined by a deep grille flanked with curving, ice-block headlamp units. The entire glasshouse is presented as a ‘wraparound’ mono graphic, the disguised windshield and side pillars giving the cabin Saab’s signature cockpit look. Squint slightly, and the proportions of the windshield and roof become reminiscent of the classic 900 model. The car’s dynamic character is emphasized by a falling roof-line that culminates in sweeping rear pillars which buttress a slightly recessed rear screen. Latent energy is conveyed by fenders that are subtly pulled out to melt into the wheels. Below that smooth, flat rear deck, a full-width, ice-block rear light bar wraps into signature lighting.
Driver-Focused Cabin Inside the cabin, simple forms define its architecture and echo the design purity of the exterior. Compared to its predecessor, legroom and shoulder width are increased both front and rear. The choice of materials, the fit and finish and the tactile quality of the controls all reflect the new 9-5’s premium appeal. The driver-focused cockpit is traditional Saab, while its execution is all new. The deep center console sweeps up at a shallow angle around the driver into the main instrument display, which is topped by a neat ventilation zone. Deeply recessed main dials include a rolling ‘altimeter’ speed read-out, a reference to Saab’s aviation heritage from the Aero X concept. Driver displays, including the optional head-up display (Pilot HUD) in the windshield, are predominantly illuminated in signature Saab green and have a crisp, floating appearance. The car’s ignition, now a start/stop button, remains between the front seats, next to the gear shift. Rear passengers can access their own audio or watch a DVD. The rear seat entertainment unit in the back of the center console accommodates audio controls and fold-out viewing screens are installed in the front seat-backs. Wired and wireless headphones are provided for listening and viewing. The rear seat entertainment unit also includes twin air vents and an independent temperature control for the rear cabin, in addition to the dual zone air conditioning up front.
On the Road An array of chassis technologies is focused on delivering a sporty, rewarding driving experience that belies the 9-5’s size. Saab XWD, the industry-leading all-wheel-drive system already available on the Saab 9-3, is offered with the 2.0-liter gasoline, BioPower and 2.8 V6 turbo engines. Available throughout the range is adaptive chassis control with driver settings selection through Saab DriveSense, Bi-Xenon Smart Beam adaptive lighting and intelligent cruise control. Two different suspension layouts are factory-fitted according to engine power and both are available with a sport chassis setting. Saab has some 30 years experience in turbocharging engines and the all-turbo powertrain line-up in the new 9-5 further develops its engine strategy. At launch, the four cylinder choice comprises a 160 hp, 2.0-liter turbo diesel with CO2 emissions of just 139 gm/km and a 2.0-liter gasoline turbo developing 220 hp. A top-of-the-line 2.8 V6 turbo, generating 300 hp and 400 Nm of torque, is offered exclusively with Saab XWD. Shortly after launch, a small, 1.6-liter gasoline turbo with 180 hp will be introduced, together with a 2.0-liter BioPower E85-capable engine. All transmissions are six-speed.