Vehicle Overview

Saab redesigned its flagship 9-5 sedan for 2010, but only about 600 were available in the U.S. near the end of the model year, all of which were Aero XWD (all-wheel drive) models with a turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic transmission. Saab is now owned by Spyker Cars, a Dutch carmaker that acquired the Swedish brand from General Motors, but the 9-5 was developed under GM's ownership, so it uses GM engines and other major components. A 9-5 SportCombi wagon is due in fall 2011.

New for 2011
Saab has added three trim levels to the 9-5 lineup. The front-drive Turbo4 and Turbo4 Premium come with a 220-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with direct injection, and the Turbo6 XWD uses the 300-hp, turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6 found in the Aero XWD.

Exterior
There's a clear connection between the new 9-5's face and its predecessor's, with its trapezoidal grille flanked by angular headlights, but the implementation on the redesigned model results in a cleaner look. Smoother sheet metal overall contributes to this impression.

One of the 9-5's interesting design cues is its blacked-out windshield pillars, which do a lot to alter the sedan's appearance. The sloping rear window and trunklid also help define it. Exterior features include:

  • Standard 17-inch wheels
  • Optional 18-inch wheels
  • Optional panoramic moonroof with power tilt/slide
  • Optional bi-xenon adaptive headlights

Interior
The 9-5's cabin is also something of an evolution of the previous model, as it still features a driver-oriented dashboard. There's wider use of premium materials now, befitting the class in which it competes.

A unique design cue is the plastic trim in the middle of the dash that features a mesh-like pattern. The driver faces a three-pod instrument panel with a central speedometer; an available head-up display projects vehicle information on the windshield.

Additional available features include a Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system, a navigation system with an 8-inch touch-screen and a backseat entertainment system. Other interior features include:

  • Keyless ignition with available remote starter and passive entry
  • Bluetooth hands-free phone system
  • USB connector
  • OnStar communications system
  • Optional alloy pedals

Under the Hood
The 9-5 is powered by a 300-hp, turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6 or a 220-hp, turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder. An adaptive suspension with driver-selectable settings and an electronic limited-slip rear differential is standard on the Aero XWD. Mechanical features include:

  • 220-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (front-wheel drive)
  • 300-hp, turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6 (all-wheel drive)
  • Six-speed manual transmission (Turbo4 only)
  • Six-speed automatic transmission

Safety
Standard safety equipment includes:

  • Electronic stability system
  • Traction control
  • Side curtain airbags for both rows of seats
  • Side thorax airbags for both rows
  • Four-wheel antilock disc brakes