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SAAB-Spyker news: Easter 2010

Over the last few weeks, readers could be forgiven for thinking that things had gone suspiciously quiet apropos of SAAB-Spyker.  That things are quiet is true but to assume that nothing is happening could not be further from the truth. Last week, saw something of a milestone reached as SAAB production was resumed officially in Trollhattan for the first time since January.

In this age of photo opportunities, the moment was captured on film with Victor Muller and the SAAB chief Jan Åke Jonsson snapped shaking hands from either side of a bare new shape 9-5 bodyshell adorned with the number '001'.

Publicity aside, this is good news for SAAB, with all the production line staff now back to work. Prospective buyers keen to get their hands on a new 9-5 can now proceed to their nearest dealers and place an order right now. Orders placed now should be delivered during the summer. Historically, every new SAAB model announcement has been followed by long delays due to demand outstripping supply, so if you want one, get weaving!

Information available to SeriousSAAB at present suggests that there will be x3 petrol engines available, ranging from 1.6 through a 217 bhp 2.0 litre to the range topping 296 bhp turbo-charged, variable valve timing 2.8 V6 reinforced with haldex all wheel drive and a limited slip differential. It is unknown at this stage when a version capable of running on Bio fuel will be announced.

The 2.8T V6 unit is to be the only option for initial US sales but but the most popular option for Europe will surely be the 2.0 Twin Turbo diesel (2.0TTiD). These engines are all logical developments of existing units, albeit equipped with more advanced management systems. The old B205 & 235 engines have now been retired, thus ending the reign of a dynasty of engines whose roots reach back beyond the 1980s.

The prices advised to us are as follows but we are told that the 1.6 petrol (175 bhp) and 2.0 TTiD (187 bhp) will be available later in the year for the UK market. From the list below, readers can see that the old Arc and Linear designations are gone - the Vector SE and Aero are to be the only trim levels available, although a bi-turbo Viggen V6 is to be released later. Transmission options and prices are unconfirmed at the time of writing six speed manual and automatic options are most likley. On previous form , it is likely that the 2.8T V6 will come with automatic as standard but a future Viggen, we hope, will have a manual 'box.

2010 SAAB 9-5 model options
Fuel Model BHP RRP
Petrol Vector SE 1.6T 175 £26,695
  Vector SE 2.0T 217 £28,195
  Aero 2.0T 217 £31,195
  Aero 2.8T XWD 296 £37,995
Diesel Vector SE 2.0TiD 158 £26,495
  Vector SE 2.0TTiD 187 £28,495
  Aero 2.0TTiD 187 £31,495

 

Presently, we do not have a projected release date for the 5 door estate (wagon) which should be a class leader on the grounds that interior space of the saloon (sedan) is greater than that of the out going model. Other information is sketchy too - it isn't immediately apparent what buyers willing to stump up the hefty £3k premium for the 2.0 Aero petrol model will get for their cash over a Vector SE. We do know that the standard specification of the Vector SE includes part leather, heated front seats plus SAAB Park Assist. This is hardly the specification of a poverty model! We also learn that the Aero will have 19" alloy wheels, so figure hugging heated memory full leather possibly even ventilated trim would be a good guess. The author is unlikely to be the only SAAB enthusiast who misses the wonderful seats of the old 9000 Aero. Of course, traditional performance-orientated features such as stiffer damping and sharper looking body kit are all features likely to be present. The technology under the skin will be largely accountable for the premium facing buyers of the 2.8 V6 but if the asking price seems steep, 300bhp is firmly Audi/BMW territory and that all wheel drive will eliminate one criticism that has always bedevilled 'traditional' fwd turbo-charged SAABs in that pundits thought the system incapable of handling much over 200bhp.

Early indication are that sales will quickly gain momentum because all who have seen the new car have been impressed. Partly this is because everyone so wants the new model to be a success but partly because wholly new SAABs arrive about as regularly as a blue moon and make no mistake, this is a ground breaking new model that has been anticipated eagerly.


 


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