If you ask, the SAAB 9-5NG SportCombi is one of the most beautiful cars ever made, and I was able to buy mine in December 2012, a dream really came true. While chief designer Simon Padian and the team at Trollhättan did an amazing job already, my aim is to make it amazing. The latest additions: the factory-original navigation system and a back camera!
When I bought the car in 2012 in the auction commissioned by the SAAB Automobile AB bankruptcy estate, it needed quite some love… It had been standing still for quite some months and wasn't in great condition. A new LED-bar, a thorough anti-rust treatment and paint conservation were the first steps, but the next big change was the Aero upgrade.
9-5NG expertise and above all SAAB passion, so I headed to Kiel in Germany to get the work done by the team at Car dealership Lafrentz, Front and rear bumper upgrades, new seats, mesh metallic dashboard panels, Aero steering wheel and 19 "Silver edge rims and Aero door inlays were among the items on the list at the time. An amazing result, but could it get any better? Yes!
The next transformation was the Hirsch body upgrade. Again, performed in Kiel ... Hirsch front spoiler, side skirts, new exhaust, Aero pedals and spacers in a forceful piece of art.
So I was done? Nope! As I wrote in an earlier article on the website dedicated to this unique model, http://9-5sc2012.com/, there were still more items on the wish list. Markus Lafrentz called me earlier this year to tell me that "there might have been a chance to upgrade my knowledge", i obviously got very interested. MY10 or MY11 9-5NG SportSedan the conversion from a green screen to the original touch screen navigation system is a viable option. It's not easy to get it, but it's a supported option from a software configuration perspective. For my car, this type of modification is much harder.
No Orio support
The MY12 software is currently available in the 9-5NG SportCombi however, currently available from Orio. The required so-called MY12 cars which are not only upgrade scenarios to be performed, but it is very difficult. Something I hope (on behalf of the other 26 9-5NG SportCombi and some 50 MY12 9-5NG SportSedan owners) wants to be solved in the foreseeable future.
Car dealership Lafrentz does magic
"But of course!" ("But of course!"), So magic happened to get the factory-original navigation system fitted in my car ...
I had arrived in Kiel the evening before and parked the car in front of the workshop so that the technicians could start early in the morning. Dashboard and door panels removed, loose cables and GPS diagrams over the place. Michael Schultz, the chief technician who told me everything was going according to plan! So with my nerves calmed down I could witness the whole process being completed within just a few hours. Green screen replaced with the color touchscreen and to the top off the excitation, the added back camera. This feature can be found on any of the MY12 9-5NG's and on any of the MY12 cars as a factory-fitted option. 9-5NG's with a navigation system is already built-in.
I could start 1000km drive home again. The new touchscreen-based system is a true pleasure to operate, if anything given the entertainment features. 20GB drive that can store thousands of songs and the touchscreen interface makes it much more intuitive to operate than the green screen radio that had come with the car originally. The navigation system thus worked flawlessly, including getting the navigation instructions onto my Heads Up Display (HUD). As the VCI programming could not be completed in full (again ... Orio, I am hoping this can be fixed soon ...), the instructions on the central dashboard display are not working (yet ...).
Orio not HERE?
And speaking about Orio, some more help is needed on another front as well. Interestingly enough, the 2009-9NG map upgrades XENX-5NG owners are directed to a company called HERE (previously Navteq, later acquired by Nokia and how possibly sold to a consortium of German automakers). Technically HERE does not provide any support for SAAB at all, yet as the Denso-based system in the 9-5NG and 9-4X is (nearly) identical to the Opel Ampera generation SAAB's as well (I just wrote a "How-to" user guide about this some time ago). The problem is -apart from the hefty € 249 price tag- the latest update is from 2013 (with actual map data from 2012) and HERE is stating that they are not releasing further updates for this model. Rather interesting if you know that there were more than 10,000 9-5NG's produced and that combined with another 93,000 Ampera's / Volt's logically would have to be the continuation of at least a few years to come. Apparently the individual requests from 9-5NG owners have not had the required effect yet so I am hoping that Orio in this context wants to be on the road for as long as possible.
I do not have any plans for the tailgate motorized, Bluetooth handsfree and getting lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and side collision warning working as well. For now I'm just happy with this even more perfect and unique car!