2010 Saab 9-5 at 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show

  • Competes with: Acura TL, Cadillac CTS, Volvo S80
  • Looks like: The 9-3’s wealthier – and more rotund – uncle
  • Drivetrain: 300-hp, turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6 and likely a less powerful turbocharged base engine; front- or all-wheel drive
  • Hits dealerships: Late 2010

Saab finally got around to redesigning its flagship sedan, which now sports a number of cues that highlight Saab’s oft-marketed “Born from Jets” tagline.

The new 9-5 looks more like Saab’s Aero X concept shown in 2006 than anything else in the Swedish automaker’s lineup. Black A-pillars give the sense of continuous glass between the windshield and side windows; it looked cool on the Aero X, but we’re not sure it translates well to a production sedan.

It’s a compelling look, at least up front. We’ll have to wait to see the car in person, but photos of the rear don’t have us springing out of our cubicles. (Not like that email about the box of doughnuts over by Legal, anyway.) The tail sports wide tailpipes that are flush with the bumper. A few cars -- from the Mazda6 to the Buick LaCrosse, with which the 9-5 reportedly shares its platform – are trying that out. Elsewhere, the trunk drops over the tail in an orderly, if unexciting, fashion; a metallic bar joins the two.

The cabin sports plenty of Saab cues, with waffle-iron-shaped air-conditioning vents and a broad cowl spanning the center controls and gauges. Push-button start will be available, though, in the spirit of all things Saab, the button goes in front of the center console. Other available features for the Euro-spec car include an adaptive suspension, tri-zone climate control, a head-up display – Saab calls it “Pilot HUD” – and Saab’s XWD all-wheel-drive system. Most of these features will probably make it stateside.

The Swedish automaker cites all-turbo diesel and gasoline engines, ranging from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder to a 2.8-liter V-6. The latter should be good for 300 hp, and given the car’s market position, it could be the main choice for U.S. shoppers.

Expect the car to hit dealerships sometime late next year.







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