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The all NEW SAAB 9-5 is here!

The new 9-5 poses outside the showroom of Wrestern SAAB, Newcastle

After all the waiting and not a little anxiety amongst those of us who feared that posterity might judge the new 9-5 as 'the best SAAB the company never built', the new 9-5s are here now at a showroom near you. The photograph above shows one of the new models outside our nearest dealership, Western SAAB, Newcastle.

Paul Johnson, General Manager at the dealership said that those attending the launch had been very impressed and enthusiastic with common consensus among customers on test-drives that "the new car is a winner", "awesome" and that "SAAB is now back on the map!".

The official UK launch went very well indeed and many present voiced the opinion that the car has real presence, looking even better than the advance press photographs had suggested. Of course, the bulk of those attending events at dealers across the UK were 'dyed in the wool' SAAB buyers and loyal customers who had perhaps hung onto their cars just a little bit longer than usual, in anticipation of the new cars. All it will take is a few favourable road test reviews and a bit of maths to tempt away would-be buyers of Audi, BMW or Mercedes products. Considerable thought has gone into the price structure and the generous specification of the new 9-5 means anyone hankering after a car from any of the rival makers above will have to dig rather deeper into their pockets to match the equipment level offered by SAAB.

Onwards and upwards

A new car, fresh ideas and above all, a new sense of optimism and direction are the order of the day at SAAB-Spyker. Even hard nosed journalists who were ready to consign the Swedish maker to the history books just months ago now seem to believe that the new company should enjoy a product led recovery. With the new 9-5 here now and more importantly, a new 9-3 due within the next two years, the company finds itself with a range of attractive, sharply styled and above all, competitive cars. A new 9-5 estate (wagon) with superior load capacity to the outgoing 9-5 estate will build on a firm customer base, mounting a strong challenge to traditional Volvo V70 and E Class Mercedes territory. With talk of a forth-coming 9-4 XUV and the promise of a 9-2 the future certainly looks rosy but in all the excitement, the current 9-3X has been overlooked virtually, yet this is a very capable car in a new niche in the market for SAAB and sure to find favour with owners requiring a vehicle with occasional off road or 4WD abilities and a higher ground clearance.

If the new cars look the part, then advances in suspension design first seen in the new 9-5 address former weaknesses in handling and make the cars more exciting to drive. A trend towards the use of smaller engines is one thing but the author hopes further designs will explore the use of aluminium construction. Adoption of aluminium construction has helped transform Jaguar's image of producing cars suffering from 'middle aged spread' into lively and nimble performers with a more convincing power-weight ratio. Of course, changing the medium used for constructing the bodywork will have cost implications in that alloy behaves differently from steel in a number of ways that would affect development: construction (welding, painting and different crash performance), skills (training) and testing. Pursuit of new product strengths in the form of roadholding, economy, ecological friendliness allied to existing qualities of safety, strength and comfort levels will likely lead to the re-emergence of SAAB as a builder of world class cars.

The author would like to thank Western SAAB Newcastle for posing the new 9-5 specially for us.




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