Car reviews - Saab - 9-5 - sedan range
Saab's make or break 9-5 is comfortable, stylish, well-equipped and well priced.
11 Apr 2011
By MIKE COSTELLO
IF ever a new model was more critical to the survival of a car brand, then we don’t know of it.
Saab’s all-new flagship 9-5 range arrives in Australia carrying the hopes of the Swedish company in this country, where Saab has been all but non-existent since General Motors held a fire sale of its unwanted subsidiaries at the height of the global financial crisis.
Now, under the control of Spyker Cars, a still-fragile Saab returns to Australia for another crack with the bigger, more serious 9-5 as its key new model to be sold through a cut-down dealership network against other mid-range European luxury cars.
Available in front-drive Vector and range-topping all-wheel-drive Aero XWD specifications, the range is powered by a broader span of turbocharged engines that incorporates petrol and – for the first time in 9-5 – diesel 2.0-litre four-cylinders, as well as the stonking Holden-made 221kW turbo petrol V6 for the top-of-the-range Aero Turbo6 XWD.
Priced just under most of its logical European rivals, the Saab 9-5 needs to hit the spot in markets all around the globe if Saab is to achieve its potential.
Model release date: 1 April 2011 to 1 January 2012
September 2009Family Tree: 9-5
THE Saab 9-5 was introduced in 1997, making it one of the oldest cars in a new-car showroom when it fizzled and died on the Australian market in September 2009 as a bankrupt Saab Automobile battled for its very existence after being cut loose by General Motors.
However, like grandad’s axe, the Swedish brand’s flagship sedan and wagon range had many new bits during the journey, with one of the most significant facelifts coming in 2006, by which time Holden had assumed control of importing Saab products under its GM Premium Brands unit.
Visually, the facelift borrowed heavily from Saab’s 9X show car, for a more contemporary appearance, but more significant changes were made under the skin, where the front sub-frame was extended and strengthened and the suspension heavily revised for better ride, handling and control.
A new dashboard and fresh interior trims were included in the makeover for the revised range, which had three sedan and two wagon variants, all powered by turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engines in low, medium and high-output tunes, with power ranging from 136kW in Linear trim to 191kW for the sporty Aero.
Like the company itself, the Saab 9-5 just ran out of steam, and in its final nine months of existence in Australia it managed just 50 sales.
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