Back to the Saab future! Part 2 from Sweden to Germany.

Have you already driven a pre-production car? Henrik Claesson's teachings still ring out in my ears. “Held together with scotch tape, made by hand, priceless”. Class! Well, prepared accordingly, we arrived at the Stallbacka on Sunday morning. A little over a year ago, in the summer of 2010, I was last at the Saab plant, at that time the employee parking spaces were full and one new Saab 9-5 rolled off the ramp after the next.

Saab factory at the Stallbacka, Saab 9-5 sports car and Saab 9-4x are ready
Saab factory at the Stallbacka, Saab 9-5 sports car and Saab 9-4x are ready

Now - an empty parking lot and ghostly silence. And somehow a little sadness and also melancholy. But that quickly vanished after we discovered our two Saab 9-5 sports suits and the Saab 9-4x in the parking lot as promised. As agreed with our German tour advertising.

Get the keys from the security guard and inspect the cars. The Saab 9-5 sports combination looked better straight away than in any picture and I didn't really care about the Saab 9-4x at first. One thing that would change as the tour progressed.

At the start of the tour, the new Saabs were driven to the factory gate, the security guard was recruited as a photographer and then it was off to Vänersee for the photo tour. I am in the middle of the convoy, as an “embedded journalist”.

First kilometers - first problems

After a few kilometers, the tour almost ended prematurely for me, rather for the Saab 9-5 sports suit. Rockfall in the pane! Captured by the Saab 9-4x driving in front of me. The first and the only hit during the tour. For the next few kilometers I'm busy with my little crack in the window. Does it grow or not grow? It didn't grow and the disc held the entire tour.

Tour start, Henrik Claesson, Jan-Philipp Schumacher, Tom Knecht, Mike Helfer
Tour start, Henrik Claesson, Jan-Philipp Schumacher, Tom Knecht, Mike Helfer

What is a pre-series model? Some materials do not match the series, the gaps do not and the car is not made on the production line of the series models. However, no trace of the announced Tesa film. The Saab 9-5 sports suit lies well on the road, nothing crackles, clatters or clatters. An impression that will be confirmed in the next few days.

Before the first photo stop, we go to a small Swedish gas station. Swedish chocolate is stored there. A very good and wise decision. Because one thing will be missing on the tour: time to eat.

The mountains of chocolate will last until Chemnitz and without the emergency ration I would probably have starved to death.

Saab 9-4x and Saab 9-5 sports combination at the photo shoot
Saab 9-4x and Saab 9-5 sports combination at the photo shoot

Saab-style photo session

What makes car managers tick when it comes to a photo session? At Saab it works like this: The lead vehicle sees a great, typically Swedish opportunity. Goes there and asks if we can take pictures on the premises. The dialogue then develops according to the following pattern: “Hello, we are from Saab ..” “From Saab - oh, yes, I also have one. Can I take a photo? ” It always works. That is Saab. In Sweden, the name Saab opens the door.

I doubt that it is similarly spontaneous in other car brands. There you have scouts, contracts, busy lawyers and then you start with a huge team. It's easier with Saab.

Saab 9-4x, Tom Knecht, Jan-Philipp Shoemaker, Saab fan and landowner, Mike Helfer
Saab 9-4x, Tom Knecht, Jan-Philipp Shoemaker, Saab fan and landowner, Mike Helfer

So in Swedish province we take pictures of lakes, farms and private homes. Then the time tweaks and it goes back to the south, because in the evening we want to be in Hamburg.

My Saab 9-5 sports suit is equipped with Drive Sense. In “Comfort Mode” the tuning is extremely soft. In “Sport Mode”, the suspension and response of the accelerator change. Everything becomes more spontaneous, but also hectic. After a few gimmicks I let it go. The “intelligent mode” is balanced and so good that it always fits.

Saab 900 from Holland in the rearview mirror
Saab 900 from Holland in the rearview mirror

Towards Malmö the traffic gets denser and we notice more and more. A Danish Saab 9-3 films us and then comes from behind a Saab 900 with Dutch number. A young couple overtakes, windows down, thumbs up. Griffin up!

During the next few kilometers our convoy will receive the two Dutchmen. Take photos, film, overhaul, let overtake. Join us as far as the Öresund Bridge, where you will turn. Each bet, the two had a different goal and have rearranged out of pure Saab enthusiasm.

Saab 9-5 sports car and Saab 9-4x, in the background the Öresund bridge
Saab 9-5 sports car and Saab 9-4x, in the background the Öresund bridge

No Saab doesn't make you happy

After the Öresund bridge again Denmark. Still as boring as in the previous 24 hours. The usual traffic jam on the ferry to Puttgarden. In front of me a Toyota from Hamburg. Former Saab driver. “The new Saab 9-5?” "Yes you know, I also had one…" Then comes a wistful report and actually - well, the Toyota - no, the man is not happy.

Welcome to Germany ! Saab 9-5 sports car and Saab 9-4x have landed.
Welcome to Germany! Saab 9-5 sports suit and Saab 9-4x have landed.

On the motorway in the direction of Hamburg: four Saab with a Swedish number in formation flight. Four continuous LED light bars, two rows on the Saab 9-5, one on the Saab 9-4x. Attention guaranteed.

Once in Hamburg, the day is not over. It goes with the Saab 9-4x to the port of Hamburg, to eat fish and to meet with the tour team. For the first time I'm sitting in the back of the Saab 9-4x. Endless legroom. An elevated seat. An airy feeling with the panorama roof. Plus a great sound. Man, man, where did I get to?

In a typical Hamburg fish restaurant in the harbor area I get to know the two other tour members in my team. Saab Germany Sales Director Thomas Schweizer and Area Sales Manager Jens Erkhe will be on the road with me and Saab Germany boss Jan-Philipp Schuhmacher.

Saab 9-4x in the Hamburg harbor area
Saab 9-4x in the Hamburg harbor area

I will drive the Saab 9-5 sports suit throughout the tour, at least almost. Because on Monday I will drive the Saab 9-4x. I suspect that this will not remain without consequences. The beginning of a passion.

How are the Saab dealers on the tour and how do the Saab partners react to a blogger? Will worlds collide or will it go well? More in the third part.

5 thoughts on "Back to the Saab future! Part 2 from Sweden to Germany."

  • blank

    Hello Tom,

    you describe the saab-feeling very nice! Anyone who knows the brand or has / wanted to share that with you.

    The 9-4x has also done me a lot, compared to my 9-7x many details are simply better solved. ok, the space for the driver is in 9-7 generous (especially for the right knee) but the 9-7 is so synonymous ne number larger.



  • blank

    Excellent ! So the 9.5 SC LGT271 was your 9.5 SC. I drove this car but just for a few kilometers. It's funny.

  • blank

    Yes exactly …
    What did Saab think about this 9-4x? They can not just do that!

    They confuse my whole “car world”.
    I can no longer maintain my strict rejection of these “completely useless” SUVs !!
    Well, based on Adenauer: “What do I care about my treasure from yesterday !?” ....

    As you already describe it similar ...
    I drove to Bremen almost exclusively because of the 9-5 SC.
    But then I was even more enthusiastic about the 9-4 - and the station wagon is a fantastic car!

    But the 9-4 ....
    - feels like a 100% real Saab (couldn't find anything “American” in the showroom)
    - has a great, large interior (especially for longer people in the rear)
    - is extremely attractive (especially live), but also has a pleasantly unobtrusive appearance
    - is not quite as long as the 9-5
    - has an unbeatable low price

    • blank

      That's exactly what I think!
      In addition, it is good for people who do not want to wait for the next 9-3 station wagon, but an 9-5 station wagon is too big and too expensive. If you equip the configurator with a BMW X3 with similar items, such as an 9-4X Aero, then it's long over the 65.000 € expensive. So Saab must lure the customers, a right way!

  • blank

    Great pictures and great report! My compliment!
    It was almost the same for me. At the dealer first the 9-4x completely ignored and looked at the station wagon, which changed but quickly. The 9-4x immediately appeals, sets itself clearly apart from the competition. So SUV goes in the Saab vocabulary
    In addition I find that it is also a good gap-closer from 9-3 station wagon to the new 9-5 station wagon, since it leaves nothing to be desired from the place and is also priced superior to the competition.
    As 9-3 station wagon driver we had originally looked at the 9-5 station wagon, but are now clearly stuck with the 9-4x and hope that next year will find the way to us. I'm looking forward to the driving impressions and I'm looking forward to the consumption

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