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First Drive: 2010 Saab 9-5 proves being born from chaos builds character

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Filed under: Sedan, Saab, First Drive, Luxury

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2010 Saab 9-5 - Click above for high-res image gallery

A funny thing happened on the way to bankruptcy court for General Motors. As part of a bid to have its red-stained slate wiped clean, it moved to divest itself of a number of brands in its bloated portfolio, with Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab all earmarked for sale or closure. However, only one brand inspired sufficient passion among both owners and those with the financial wherewithal to rescue it from GM's 'wind-down' apple polishers. Oddly enough, it was the tiny Swede that successfully swam out to the life raft. Saab, the marque with the smallest and oldest product lineup, lowest volume, and the poorest brand recognition among American consumers somehow found a way to survive.

How, exactly, did this come to pass? For starters, unlike any other of GM's death-row divisions, owners and fans rallied in dozens of countries, urging anyone who listened to "Save Saab." Now, we're not naïve enough to think that a band of loyalists were all it took to change the course of automotive history, but it's telling that there were no pitchforks and torches - or even a handful of picket signs - produced over the axing of the other brands.

Saab remains a seldom understood, much loved brand. We know that the displays of unity from Saab's scorned faithful stoked the fire of unlikely suitor Victor Muller, CEO and owner of Spyker Cars, as his team waded through a stomach-churning series of negotiations with GM. After watching from the sidelines while bids by other small automakers and investment groups fizzled, the Dutch businessman and his team eventually pried the battered brand away from GM - but not before Saab had been partially liquidated.

While Muller clearly has an affinity for the Swedish marque, he insists it wasn't boyhood sentiment that drove the purchase - it was the company's robust Trollhatten operations and a raft of promising, almost-here product that pushed his team to persevere. That stream of shiny new tin begins with the car you see here: The 2010 9-5. Click through to the jump to see if Muller and Company have good reason to be optimistic.



Photos by Chris Paukert / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

Continue reading First Drive: 2010 Saab 9-5 proves being born from chaos builds character

First Drive: 2010 Saab 9-5 proves being born from chaos builds character originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 08 Jun 2010 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Here's the snippet that SMK will ignore:

As a bonus, the four-equipped 9-5 figures to be much less expensive.
Saab has already stated that the 9-5 Aero will retail for $49,995, and at first glance, the Aero seems to be priced uncomfortably close to that of its more prestigious European rivals – the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E Class
all start in the same neighborhood.
But it's important to note that at that price the 9-5 comes loaded to the headliner with features like sat-nav, moonroof, lane-departure warning, active bi-xenon headlamps, park assist, heated and cooled leather seats, iPod integration, 18-inch wheels and a heads-up display – all items that can easily add another 10 grand to its competitors' bottom lines.
If you want to go for the full Saab smörgåsbord, there's the aforementioned tri-zone HVAC and rear-seat entertainment packages, Harman/Kardon audio, along with some rather nice (if unnecessary) Brembo brakes that we sampled on a test track (what's a Swedish car launch without the obligatory 'moose test'?). Oddly, the bigger binders actually require downsizing to a unique 18-inch alloy, as they don't fit under the turbine 19s. Alternatively, we understand that the base 9-5 2.0T will retail for somewhere in the neighborhood of $38-39k, and even with a few options, this package strikes us as a much more compelling buy, pricing out against much smaller cars like the A4 and C Class.

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It is a fantastic vehicle from SAAB in Eons.

GM threw money in this brand to create a future only for Muller to reap on it while blaming GM.

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Here's the snippet that SMK will ignore:

As a bonus, the four-equipped 9-5 figures to be much less expensive.
Saab has already stated that the 9-5 Aero will retail for $49,995, and at first glance, the Aero seems to be priced uncomfortably close to that of its more prestigious European rivals – the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E Class
all start in the same neighborhood.
But it's important to note that at that price the 9-5 comes loaded to the headliner with features like sat-nav, moonroof, lane-departure warning, active bi-xenon headlamps, park assist, heated and cooled leather seats, iPod integration, 18-inch wheels and a heads-up display – all items that can easily add another 10 grand to its competitors' bottom lines.
If you want to go for the full Saab smörgåsbord, there's the aforementioned tri-zone HVAC and rear-seat entertainment packages, Harman/Kardon audio, along with some rather nice (if unnecessary) Brembo brakes that we sampled on a test track (what's a Swedish car launch without the obligatory 'moose test'?). Oddly, the bigger binders actually require downsizing to a unique 18-inch alloy, as they don't fit under the turbine 19s. Alternatively, we understand that the base 9-5 2.0T will retail for somewhere in the neighborhood of $38-39k, and even with a few options, this package strikes us as a much more compelling buy, pricing out against much smaller cars like the A4 and C Class.

The Taurus SHO has most of that equipment and 365 hp for $40k. The Acura TL has the same equipment minus lane departure, better resale, better reliability, and 305 hp, AWD for $43k. The 9-5 Aero should be more like $44k, base model closer to $35k. I just don't see what makes the 9-5 worth more than a CTS, or TL or ES350, etc. Yes, you could spend $40k on a Saab and get more space or equipment than a C-class, but you'd be driving a Saab, not a Mercedes. Just like you could get a SHO, but you'd be driving a Ford rather than a Mercedes.

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Actually, after looking more closely at the interior, it should be more like $30-40k, I over priced it. The MKZ interior is better than the 9-5's, the 9-5 is closer to a Sonata than it is to any mid-size German car. Then there is the weight problem, the Aero is 4,400 lbs and does 0-60 in 6.9 seconds. My mom's 9-5 Aero was about 3,500 lbs and did 0-60 in 6.7 seconds. Heavier, slower, thirstier, more expensive. The new 9-5 may not be a bad car, it is just $8,000 over priced. Just like the XLR was a great looking car, but it was about $20,000 overpriced.

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Actually, after looking more closely at the interior, it should be more like $30-40k, I over priced it. The MKZ interior is better than the 9-5's, the 9-5 is closer to a Sonata than it is to any mid-size German car. Then there is the weight problem, the Aero is 4,400 lbs and does 0-60 in 6.9 seconds. My mom's 9-5 Aero was about 3,500 lbs and did 0-60 in 6.7 seconds. Heavier, slower, thirstier, more expensive. The new 9-5 may not be a bad car, it is just $8,000 over priced. Just like the XLR was a great looking car, but it was about $20,000 overpriced.

It is not a luxury generica car or a glorified fullsize sedan. The intended customers are of two types:

  1. Ones who want exclusivity
  2. Diehard SAAB fans

The rest may not look at the car.

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Fail on Saab's part for providing a press car that is to be highly photographed inside and out with the wrong dash materials.

I was wondering why it looked so much worse than how I thought I had seen it before...

ive already emailed autoblog about this' date=' that DASH IS WRONG. there is a supplier issue, the originial center console has an blue greenish acrylic covering on it. saabsunited.com asked saab themselves, about why the flat black one has been in all the test cars. the supplier is having problems on getting the correct quality for saabs purposes. all the cars at the auto shows had the correct dash.

http://autoworld.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/saab-9-5-2010-official-interior-img_8.jpg

this is supposed to be the one.[/quote']

Edited by Nick

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Where did you look at the interior? The pictures? Everyone who has seen this car in person will tell you that the pictures to the car zero justice. I've sat in both the 9-5 and the MKZ nearly back to back. The MKZ interior is in no way better than the 9-5. I like the MKZ interior, but the 9-5 is easily better in quality and design.

The best way I can think of to describe the 9-5 interior is "If Audi designed the A6 in Sweden."

Your mom's 9-5 Aero was .2 seconds faster but also didn't have AWD.

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Fail on Saab's part for providing a press car that is to be highly photographed inside and out with the wrong dash materials.

I was wondering why it looked so much worse than how I thought I had seen it before...

That does look much more interesting and better.

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Here's the snippet that SMK will ignore:

As a bonus, the four-equipped 9-5 figures to be much less expensive.
Saab has already stated that the 9-5 Aero will retail for $49,995, and at first glance, the Aero seems to be priced uncomfortably close to that of its more prestigious European rivals – the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E Class
all start in the same neighborhood.
But it's important to note that at that price the 9-5 comes loaded to the headliner with features like sat-nav, moonroof, lane-departure warning, active bi-xenon headlamps, park assist, heated and cooled leather seats, iPod integration, 18-inch wheels and a heads-up display – all items that can easily add another 10 grand to its competitors' bottom lines.
If you want to go for the full Saab smörgåsbord, there's the aforementioned tri-zone HVAC and rear-seat entertainment packages, Harman/Kardon audio, along with some rather nice (if unnecessary) Brembo brakes that we sampled on a test track (what's a Swedish car launch without the obligatory 'moose test'?). Oddly, the bigger binders actually require downsizing to a unique 18-inch alloy, as they don't fit under the turbine 19s. Alternatively, we understand that the base 9-5 2.0T will retail for somewhere in the neighborhood of $38-39k, and even with a few options, this package strikes us as a much more compelling buy, pricing out against much smaller cars like the A4 and C Class.

dang, that 365hp SHO seems like an even bigger bargain now....

The Taurus SHO has most of that equipment and 365 hp for $40k. The Acura TL has the same equipment minus lane departure, better resale, better reliability, and 305 hp, AWD for $43k. The 9-5 Aero should be more like $44k, base model closer to $35k. I just don't see what makes the 9-5 worth more than a CTS, or TL or ES350, etc. Yes, you could spend $40k on a Saab and get more space or equipment than a C-class, but you'd be driving a Saab, not a Mercedes. Just like you could get a SHO, but you'd be driving a Ford rather than a Mercedes.

whoa, i posted before i read your post....LOL

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The Taurus SHO has most of that equipment and 365 hp for $40k. The Acura TL has the same equipment minus lane departure, better resale, better reliability, and 305 hp, AWD for $43k. The 9-5 Aero should be more like $44k, base model closer to $35k. I just don't see what makes the 9-5 worth more than a CTS, or TL or ES350, etc. Yes, you could spend $40k on a Saab and get more space or equipment than a C-class, but you'd be driving a Saab, not a Mercedes. Just like you could get a SHO, but you'd be driving a Ford rather than a Mercedes.

I ride in an 8 month old C-class once a week or so heading into downtown for work. The C-class is my favorite of all the Benzes, but If I had $40k to spend an my choices where the C-class or 9-5, that would be an easy choice.... especially after listening to the C-class owner bitching about how expensive his service visits are and how he's going right back to BMW as soon as his Benz lease is up.

I don't need to carve hairpin turns. I just need to go with authority and style.

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This vehicle looks arguably better than any of its competition from Germany, and the Ford SHO looks like a big, fat pig in comparison to this. And honestly, who'd really cross-shop the 9-5 with a Taurus?

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Your mom's 9-5 Aero was .2 seconds faster but also didn't have AWD.

But not everyone needs AWD. She went through 5 Pittsburgh winters with snow tires and had no problems. Sure AWD would be better, but if you aren't in the snow belt, the old FWD Aero that was lighter, faster, and more fuel efficient and $8,000 less seems like a better deal. She actually really liked her 9-5, but it broke down like crazy (and the parade of 9-3 loaners seemed even more poorly made). She spent over $5,000 in maintenance during the 80-100,000 mile period. She likes Saabs, but would never again by one due to maintenance fears. After seeing what she went through, I wouldn't buy a Saab at any price.

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This vehicle looks arguably better than any of its competition from Germany, and the Ford SHO looks like a big, fat pig in comparison to this. And honestly, who'd really cross-shop the 9-5 with a Taurus?

Nobody. But why would someone cross-shop it with anything. You either love this car and won't consider anything else, or you aren't going to look at it. It offers not much more than a SHO, TL, or MKZ, and it offers less than a Genesis, yet it costs $10,000 more than those cars. This car is more expensive than a well equipped CTS 3.6, that makes no sense to me.

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Prophetic photo background ? saab = deadwood ? ;)

Styling sure gives the impression the 95 is a hardtop (isn't, or course).

Hockeystick dash is straight out of the 1980s- there's more venting & faux-venting than a late model GP.

  • Downvote 1

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Where did you look at the interior? The pictures? Everyone who has seen this car in person will tell you that the pictures to the car zero justice. I've sat in both the 9-5 and the MKZ nearly back to back. The MKZ interior is in no way better than the 9-5. I like the MKZ interior, but the 9-5 is easily better in quality and design.

The best way I can think of to describe the 9-5 interior is "If Audi designed the A6 in Sweden."

Your mom's 9-5 Aero was .2 seconds faster but also didn't have AWD.

Look at the interior photos on Autoblog and tell me the finish on the dash looks anything near what the production car's finish (as supposedly shown in that link) has been depicted as.

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