Review. Saab 9 5 NG BioPower.

The garage door opens and a Saab 9-5 NG Bio Power in Arctic White slowly pushes into the open with a sporty exhaust sound. Sporty sound in the four-cylinder? Yes sure ! Responsible is the Hirsch Performance sports exhaust system, which sends a pleasant shiver down our spine.

SAAB 9-5 NG BioPower
SAAB 9-5 NG BioPower

After writing about electric cars again and again in the last week, the petrolheads will be up for grabs in the next few days. Maybe not so hip, not so politically correct, but more fun. And in this article we burn a lot of Super Plus and E85.

Achim and I are in guest in Saab center Kiel, and in front of us are 619 kilometers to the south. It is freezing in northern Germany on this day, the thermometer showed in the early morning on our arrival in Hamburg minus 12 degrees.

But the freeways are snow-free and weakly frequented this Saturday, promising to be a swift and relaxed ride. Let's see what the Saab can do. It's my second encounter with a linear, which at first sounds unspectacular after abandonment. Linear Number One had been a very early, very poorly equipped, 9-5 TID model from the Saab Frankfurt inventory. With friend Marco and me he left an ambiguous impression. The processing showed room for improvement, the chassis without Drive Sense was insecure on bad roads. Now we are back in front of a Linear, one of the last to come off the line in Trollhättan in spring 2011.

[sam id = "8" codes = "true"]

So far, the vehicle has been operating close to Gothenburg and is well equipped above average. Navigation, Harman Kardon sound system, color info display in the speedometer, the cargo system in the trunk and much more are on board. In Sweden, the low base price for business cars is taxed, and so linear models are often very well equipped with everything that made the price list possible. He has features on board, which would have had a German linear not as an order option, but again no Drive Sense, but only the normal sports suspension. Can he still like it? We will see !

In Kiel, the Saab was upgraded with the Hirsch sports exhaust and the Hirsch performance increase on 260 PS. The 9-5 is now doing with the soundscape in the warm-up on Turbo X. For the regularly reading visitors from Ingolstadt, Wolfsburg and Munich must be noted that it works without a sound generator.

With the additional 40 horses and the gain of 50 Nm, the performance of the 9-5 roughly corresponds to the 2014 model year, 250 HP and 400 Nm would then have been standard in the series. So nothing stands in the way of driving pleasure. We leave Kiel with a tank full of ethanol and head for Hamburg. The Saab depends well on the gas, reacts more directly and sportily than its big brother with the V6. The agility is amazing, the 4-cylinder is inherently lighter and the lack of all-wheel drive also saves weight. The first impression on board is positive. The workmanship is perfect, nothing rattles or creaks, everything fits as it should. No comparison with the first contact in 2010. The sports seats are as they should be on a Saab, you can immediately find the right seating position.

It goes through the Elbtunnel and further in the direction of Hannover. The highways are still limited in speed, which changes soon. The 9-5 is a tremendously casual vehicle, especially with this engine. You glide comfortably, enjoy the relaxed seats and the Dolby Digital Sound; If you then step on the gas and demand performance, the Swede is immediately wide awake. And now he is allowed to perform, because the further south we go, the more free sections you will find.

We run the Saab with 210, the winter tires do not allow more. He could be faster, the deer variant catches the 2 liter of Bio Power only at Tempo 250. The speed you take was not right, so quiet is the car. Only the Hirsch exhaust now announces presence and reminds us that we are traveling in a sporty vehicle. How well a suspension is tuned, you realize at the latest in the Kassel mountains. Fast, tight curves, nasty climbs. The Saab is like the proverbial board on the street. Long wheelbase, wide track and a low center of gravity result in unexpectedly good handling.

The chassis of the 9-5 without Drive Sense was in the premiere 2010 in the criticism. Which was certainly justified, and the Swedes hurriedly and successfully repaired. In England, the motor press was invited to present the new vote and received much praise for it. Unfortunately, this action came too late. Also, the first press vehicles had an unfortunate setup and the call was, again, struck. It did not matter anymore that 2011 got better with model year, and soon Saab produced other, more tragic-spectacular headlines.

We have to refuel shortly before Kassel. Our ambitious pace cost 17 liters of E85 per 100 kilometers, now we're filling up with Super Plus. Since the autobahn is almost deserted in the evening, we let the 9-5 fly further in the direction of Frankfurt. We will then stick to less than 14 liters, and I am sure: with a more economical driving style we would have ended up with a consumption of less than 10 liters. But do we want that when the autobahn gives us the rare opportunity to drive freely?

And by the way: with refueling and lunch break we need 5 hours for 619 kilometers this Saturday with empty highways, are always relaxed and under the legality on the way. So much for the consumption values.

[sam id = "15" codes = "true"]

From Kassel, friend Achim takes over the wheel. His first ride with a 9-5 NG. A few months ago he bought a 9-3 TTID. A great car that he doesn't want to trade. Until this weekend and until this trip in the 9-5! In the meantime we are on the Fulda motorway in the direction of Hanau. Time to think about the Saab ... Would Saab have had a chance with the 9-5? In December Mark and I were on the road in Germany with rental cars from Ingolstadt and Stuttgart. If we take off our Saab glasses, the judgment is clear.

The Swedes would have been on a par with what is being built in Ingolstadt. Not really better, except maybe in long-distance suitability. Because the 9-5 is hard to beat. And the chassis suits me better than anything I've experienced at Audi, even without Drive Sense. Because while the brand with the four rings relies on driving that is largely decoupled from the environment, Saab pursues a different, long-standing philosophy and gives clear feedback on the road surface and condition, without appearing annoying or inharmonious. I like that, purely subjectively, better. There is also a little story on the subject of chassis tuning and sporty handling.

Shortly before production maturity, the 9-5 Aero XWD competed on the Opel test field in the Rodgau, near our Saab hangar, for a comparison test with the international premium competition and drove it to the ground. Driving dynamics, the 9-5 is at the front, what you would have expected of the 5 meter sedan really.

Only Saab never published that, why should it? In Sweden, great vehicles were almost always built that offered better detailed solutions than other makes. But by tradition it was not talked about. Additional public interest and more enthusiastic buyers ... what a disturbing idea ...

In the Bavarian-Hessian border area, Achim leaves me and I drive the last few kilometers on winding third-order country roads towards Spessart. The Saab is good, the 9-5 is the most agile big Saab ever. It's really fun and the cornering speeds on my home track are higher than normal. The well-coordinated automatic system contributes to sporty driving. For the first time in a Saab, it deserves the name adaptive 100% and supports the driving pleasure with a sporty note by skilfully shifting down.

The high cornering speeds are an experience that I had with the 9-5 NG sports suit on the same road. At that time I believed that the reason for the maneuverability of the 5-meter vehicle was Drive Sense, all-wheel drive and eLSD. The BioPower doesn't have any of that. It's just a well-tuned, conventional chassis that lets the 9-5 fly around corners. Saab had done his homework. Unfortunately only too late!





18 thoughts on "Review. Saab 9 5 NG BioPower."

  • Ich kann den Fahrbericht nur bestätigen, seit 3 Wochen habe ich endlich auch einen 9-5 Aero BP XWD. Es ist ein Genuss dieses Auto zu fahren. Selbst meine Frau, die sonst immer über meine „Saabomanie“ den Kopf schüttelt, will nun immer mit dem 9-5 fahren! Hoffentlich gibt es irgendwann einen Nachfolger der genauso viel Spass macht …..

  • Call for help! I gave my XWD 6 a deer tuning and freshened up inside with the beautiful center console in carbon leather. Unfortunately, unfortunately I did not buy an exhaust system from Hirsch and now it has no more! Is there still a dealer out there who has an exhaust system for my Saab NG 9-5 XWD 6?

    • The way is far and leads to northern Germany. Saab Kiel adapts the 4-cylinder Hirsch system to the V6.

      • Uii, that would be really perverted! 15 km away from the Hirsch Garage take the way to Kiel to have a deer facility adapted there. I think I will ask directly in St. Gallen if they do that too! Thanks for the indirect tip.

        • That would be really tough ... I'll keep my fingers crossed!

  • I'm glad to be able to drive such a splendid specimen and as Aero with the wonder button. Tomorrow is with maximum 240 despite winter tires from Dusseldorf back home. And there are also brawnless throttles at 250 Km / h. Nice evening Cosi

    • Yes, there are V6 XWD deer that are allowed to run free. So you can annoy then the toys from the southwest. Have fun with it!

  • It's a pleasure to read ...
    I'm afraid we stay fully electric

  • This is an article to my taste. Nice car and good route. Quiet sometimes unreasonable and chasing a few liters more through the engine.

  • The fact that SAAB has never made these advantages public - just like the comparison test by the Swedish police with VW vehicles - can really only be described as a PR disaster. In general, SAAB was never particularly present in vehicle advertising - at least as long as I follow it at least reasonably. A mistake ... building excellent cars alone is never enough, after all, automotive history is full of small but fine brands, which then disappeared from the market due to a lack of sales.

    The question remains, of course, to what extent GM had "reserved" the European market for Opel in-house.

    • I think that's the cautious Swedish way. The 9-3 didn't mention the lightweight aluminum tailgate. If it were an Audi, it would have been thick and fat in every brochure, every single piece of aluminum ...

      • I can still very well remember the advertisement for the Audi A8 from 1996, when a man walked through the museum, and with the tricks many comments such as "Egypt, early modern times, glass" (exemplary), and in the end he came into one Garage with the new A8: “Germany, late 20th century. Aluminum. ”It's probably still lying around on YouTube somewhere.

        Background was probably the body made entirely of aluminum.

        And where we are already in advertising, the Quattro spot from 1986, the 2005 or 2006 has probably been reissued, is also legendary. In my imagination, he would be overtaken by a SAAB, but I think for 2 cars the ski jump width is not enough.

        I think our Swedish friends will have to think about whether they are doing their favor with their restraint. Clattering is now part of the craft, phrases pig or not.

      • Addendum: The body was named "Audi Space Frame" and was self-supporting. I've just forgotten anyone who has been building something like this since 1947 😉

        • Pioneer of aluminum construction was the French company Panhard, which made the bodywork of the Dyna X and the successor model Dyna Z completely made of aluminum. Basis was, however, each a steel tube or subframe.

          For cost reasons, however, the aluminum content of the Dyna Z was always lower, but nothing changed the progressiveness of the car.
          Unfortunately, the fate of Panhard was similar to Saab (with GM): Gradual takeover by Citroen and then 1967 the final out.


  • One can only hope that Kai Johan will also read it - so in the further development (in addition to the electric car technology) the "normal" PHOENIX technology will by no means be neglected and then again a splendid specimen similar to the tested 9-5 saw the light of day. Also with an additional hybrid version!

  • Finally a driving report! Although the 9-5 II will probably be on the wish list and not in front of the house forever, it's a great SAAB

  • Dear Tom,

    Since I occasionally travel to Göttingen for work, I know the “test area” of the Kassel Mountains pretty well. With a moderately ambitious driving style (130 - 140 km / h) the 8 on the consumption display had no chance, and the 7 almost fell too - after 400 km the consumption display was 7,1 l. The 10 l / 100 km should certainly be realistic with your engine.

    • The “reference route” will soon be heading back north. With a more civilian driving style, the route should be feasible with a tank. I'm curious 😉

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