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New SAAB 9-5 details released

In the last few days, details and more importantly, photographs of the long-awaited 9-5 replacement have been released. Entirely new SAAB models are a rare event: the 9000 range lasted a decade and the current 9-5 albeit in three distinct forms, has surpassed even that with an innings of 11 years. According to SAAB, the new range is likely to make its official debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show, this September, with the expectation of cars being available to buy at dealerships during 2010.

Without wanting to steal their own thunder, SAAB have been understandably reticent about disclosing full details of the new range but the motoring press know that the new 9-5 will have different dimensions making it taller and longer than the current model and is based in part upon a much modified version of the GM Epsilon platform, as used by the Vauxhall Insignia. Major differences include entirely reworked suspension and a different steering rack arrangement.

As with the 9-5, no conventionally aspirated engines will be available - all versions will be turbo-charged. Information that we have at present suggests that the 2.3 engine option will disappear, being supplanted with smaller engines that develop more power. It is thought that the 210 bhp 2 litre petrol and 160 bhp diesel variants will be most popular. In addition, there will be a 2.8 litre V6 petrol engine option developing 300bhp that will be fed to the wheels by all wheel drive and limited slip differentials.. All transmissions offered will have six rather than the current 5 speeds. A bio-ethanol engine option will follow later, as will a 1.6 litre petrol engine offering 180bhp.

Saab Automobile's managing director Jan Åke Jonsson had this to say: "This car is the start of a new era for our brand. We have created an advanced and very distinctive product by leveraging the power of our roots in key areas, such as progressive Scandinavian design, sporty driving and responsible performance."

First impressions: the editor's reaction

The author is impressed with the saloon with fastback styling look of the finished product -even if detailed photographs of areas like the engine bay and luggage boot are not yet available. Few pictures give any clue what the cabin will be like, although the Vince Burlapp Car Page appears to be the exception. There is -if you look closely- a tantalising glimpse of the head up display on the windshield. This all appears to be a step in very much the right direction, for the interior of the out-going 9-5 was starting to become all too familiar, despite a thorough makeover in 2006.

Of course, 'spy shots' of the (disguised) prototype cars have been surfacing for some months now, so the general outline and proportion of the car does not come as a complete surprise. Some commentators have voiced the view that some elements -particularly the wheels- remind them of products from Audi but surely, this is a good thing and nobody has suggested that car 'looks just like an Insignia'.

In conclusion, the new car LOOKS right, with just the right balance of innovation, technology and style to succeed in a competitive market. Let's just hope that the new 9-5 ushers in an altogether more prosperous era than the one that is presently drawing to a close. It is very nice to end on an upbeat note.

R.Whiteman, editor.

Please note: SAAB requested that we did not reproduce photographs from elsewhere on this site lest we dilute the impact of the official launch. We are happy to comply and as TRUE fans of the SAAB brand, wish the new company every success. (If one of my premium bonds comes up, I will be first in the queue for a new 9-5).









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