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Saab's aged 9-5 gets a heavy makeover and the changes go well below its new surfaces

2 May 2006

SAABs over the years have had that intrinsic, hard-to-quantify quality about them that automatically set them apart from rivals. They were slightly quirky, exceptionally well-built vehicles bought by people who appreciated the long-haul. As a result Saabs habitually do many kilometres and are often handed down in the family. Handling, dynamics and safety are an accepted part of Saab's underlying strengths. With that in mind, the canny Swedes have massaged the 9-5 into the 21st century with a styling makeover that points to the future. The car's inherent strengths remain, but detailed attention has been paid to the steering, dynamics and interior. For a car that's been around for more than eight years the latest improvements are welcome, but is it enough?
Model release date: 1 May 2006 to 1 March 2011

Previous model

Saab 9-5

Released: November 1997
Ended: April 2006
Family Tree: 9-5

The Saab 9-5 sedan made its debut here late in 1997. It was the first large car Saab had launched since the 9000 hatchback in 1986 and it was a sedan, not a hatchback. The 9-5 underscored Saab’s commitment to the mid-luxury market segment, offering a unique turbo alternative to premium rivals, with the priorities being performance and safety. A wagon, or "Estate" as the Swedes like to call them, arrived in May, 1999. Both "S" models were powered by a 125kW/280Nm 2.3-litre four-cylinder and a 110kW/240Nm 2.0-litre sedan and wagon were added to the line-up in July, 1999. There was also a 147kW/310Nm V6 Griffin performance model from 1999 to 2001, which essentially pre-empted but crossed over the high-performance 2.3-litre 169kW/350Nm Aero in 2000. Since then the Aero has entrenched itself as the performance name.

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