A normal Sunday evening, shortly after half past eight, temperatures just above zero. For most it is time to devote themselves to the "crime scene", or perhaps Pilcher.
In Völklingen I get into my SAAB 9-5 (II). The suitcase for the week is packed, sports bag, briefcase, a few small things in the rear stowed. The flight will take me past Saarbrücken, Pirmasens, Landau, Karlsruhe and Pforzheim to Stuttgart, as every Sunday. Time to switch to the southwest radio in the car radio. As always, attention is split while driving, half is devoted to driving the vehicle, the other looks at issues to be resolved in the coming week, private matters, things to organize.
Tonight I will reflect on my SAAB. For almost half a year, I am now the owner of the new 9-5. Just a few days ago I was on a day trip to Bamberg, winterizing the car. New winter tires, customer service, new rear brake discs. Time to review the experiences made.
Where to take, if not steal?
No, we leave the second option here. "Car Napping - Ordered, Stolen, Delivered" was an amusing movie, but it should stay that way.
9-5 (II) are rare. Very rare. According to Kraftfahr-Bundesamt, only a very homoeopathic amount was delivered by you to Germany in the years 2010 and 2011. A quick search at the online retailer will provide a handful of copies that are currently available, a few more if you include neighboring European countries.
However, this offer is only the tip of the iceberg. It pays to address the lighthouses here - committed SAAB dealers with corresponding contacts. They often know in advance where a vehicle is being returned and can make some things possible, or they can start organizing from either Europe or abroad.
For my part, at that time, in March, after my accident, at the Car dealership Muckelbauer called in Bamberg. The cornerstones for my wish-9-5er were clear: Subtle color, technically perfect condition, if possible diesel engine (because the 2.8-l-V6 certainly fun, but not necessarily for long-haul and frequent travelers). In the interior, at least partial leather would be desirable. In fact, such an 9-5er was available three weeks after the call, so I bought it for Exposé, then picked it up in late April.
The bottom line is that this type of procurement requires trust and good contact with a dedicated SAAB dealer, who can also set some leverage to eliminate all the small imponderables. In addition, it should be clear which features would just have to be nice, and which are considered essential.
For the non-essential things is true: can be retrofitted much - I have a color display installed in the instrument panel, others can be at considerably higher cost to retrofit the DriveSense system, and the retrofit of rear-view camera and HUD was indeed already topic here.
Now the SAAB is there ... And? How is he?
I've already read a lot about him and seen pictures. I became really infected when, two years ago, I had a ride with a very good friend as a passenger. If he then stands in front of you and you sit in it, and exudes despite its previous possession of this clean aroma, then that's another very different thing.
The first thing that strikes you is that the exact five meters of length above everything from the near-view look very little. Standing next to the flank, the 9-5 (II) looks downright compact, which probably comes from the fact that the front has strong and the rear slightly rounded edges, by which the length is laminated. Really powerful, the car looks only from a bird's eye view.
What also stands out is how well thought-out the design is. Celebrating no pleat orgies, the accents on the taillights flow into the chrome trim on the tailgate, and into subtle shoulders on the flanks. The A-pillar is slightly angled at the level of the edge of the hood, so picks up on this line again. From the outside, the SAAB looks like a one-stop shop, harmonious, solid and reassuring.
Of other finishes, especially bright, yes is also known that the lower hinges of the rearview mirrors are painted in body color and the mirror caps always in black - both together reinforces this impression of uniformity, but is no longer so in an already dark paint effect ,
Negative only one thing stands out: in front of the driver and front passenger doors there is a small ventilation grille at the lower end of the mudguard, which is also framed in chrome. It really does not have to be that way - it's the only detail outside that does not fit in and does not seem overly thought out.
After the tour around the car we get in.
My last SAAB was a 9-5 of the first series, a product of the late 90er, in the style of interiors somewhere between the angular-Spartan as in the 80ers and the lush comfort of the 2000er, but without being able to decide. Comfortable it was anyway - four to five hours of driving could be easily endure, parcel bags fell asleep in a few minutes in the comfortable seats, a popular description was that of the "Swedish state car". Incidentally, I found the last storage compartment (the small nets at the bottom of the B-pillar) only after almost a year. For the new 9-5 the bar is therefore quite high. Will she be torn?
Yes and no. After boarding, it can be said that the new 9-5 has definitely arrived in the luxury class that it should be competing in, even in the middle "Vector" lineup. The seats are comfortable as usual, partly electrically adjustable and a good middle ground between comfort and support.
The driver centering of the cockpit is not as pronounced as before, but all elements are easily accessible from the driver's seat. Fumbling after the switches, there is something in the beginning, as in any acclimatization phase, then can be used to the heater everything "blind". On a few keys pelts the label, especially the "A" s have suffered. Unfortunately, the switch for the Night Panel is completely hidden from the steering wheel and out of sight. Nevertheless remains - even in the middle trim line - in the surfaces, the tidiness and the discreet restraint of the dark plastic, a solidity and a sense of luxury, the old 9-5 could communicate only conditionally.
Where are deductions? The one is purely subjective - I find a really comfortable arm posture with the new sliding armrest on the center console, which is adjusted by folding forward, only hard - either the right arm hangs in the hole, or is too high, but that's fine also partly anatomically conditioned and does not have to be with everyone like that. The pedal levers are now no longer made of metal, but of plastic, and tend to creak, especially in the early stages I noticed that. The touch screen needs a firmer contact, but that can also be an advantage if you do not pay close attention when touching. All in all, these are not really dramatic shortcomings, but slight deductions.
I was almost disappointed with the trunk. The old 9-5 had a cavernous trunk, which could hold a lot, several bags of mulch or cement and whole Christmas trees or the luggage of four people on a week's conference tour found here. The new trunk is definitely smaller, the space limited by small storage compartments left and right. Two suitcases, one of which should not be too wide anymore, and maybe a travel bag are included in the new one. Also not necessarily dramatic - if you have a lot of luggage, should basically think about a station wagon - but conspicuous in comparison to its predecessor.
The bottom line, however, remains a rich plus stand. Apart from the trunk, I found no real shortage. In addition, one has to take into account that any criticism of the 9-5 (II) is a bit unfair in terms of the quoted little things. The vehicle came 2010 with pressure on the market, the 2010er models are generally a little more flawed than the 2011er. Much of what I noticed can be ticked off under the heading "Teething", in the course of further model years, these points would undoubtedly have been eliminated, new suppliers for the interior were already announced for 2012.
The true greatness ... how does the Great behave?
The old 9-5 was despite its not insignificant size - after all, just over 4,80 m - pretty athletic on the road, without exaggerated always his sportiness hang out. In an earlier article, I talked about the athlete in a business suit, and I like to stick to this picture, or even "Power when you need it". The 2,3-l engine with its 170 horsepower and 280 Nm had enough power in every situation, it was cultivated and the fuel consumption for a vehicle of this size in order, even if the missing sixth gear was negative in highway driving.
The new 9-5 is heavier and longer. He has a diesel engine - as TiD the 160-PS variant, which was driven by a deer upgrade to 180 PS. Instead of 350 Nm, 400 Nm are now bracing themselves onto the shaft, switching as usual by hand, now with six gears instead of the previous five gears. Nominal is thus a rich performance and torque increase. With just over 6 liters of diesel, which costs the ambitious, but not exaggerated driving per 100 km, the consumption is appropriate. In other articles, this motorization was suggested and their advantages compared to the TTiD version with 190 PS set out in the factory.
To cut a long story short: The engine is the most sensible and, in my view, a very comfortable one. It does not make the big SAAB a super sports car, and I also had to train the speed bands on the first few hundred kilometers, but since then the SAAB has been running swiftly in all positions without being strained. A diesel is a diesel and may sound like one of mine, a murmur on tractor sound and the like may like to be attached, but is overheard by me.
Be it in crowded Swabian villages at peak time, relaxed cruising on empty Palatine country roads or in dogfight with the Jagdgeschwader Ingolstadt between Pforzheim and Karlsruhe, the engine never seems overwhelmed, kicks on the accelerator the engine acknowledges immediately and without hesitation, even at high speeds, where the old 9-5 already struggled. The old slogan "At home on the long haul" could not be better.
The tires are a matter of their own. For those who have a copy of DriveSense, everything from 17 to 19 inches is included. Certainly, the latter are the only correct choice from the optical point of view, but it must be said that the hardness of the suspension, which is often noted in early tests, is no exaggeration. Without DriveSense, 18-inch tires are the highest of emotions, and they are also available for these visually appealing rims. My personal recommendation: 18 inches with rims "Carve" in the summer, 17 "with rims" Blade "in the winter.
From the engine, therefore, everything is fitting. From the steering too. After a few weeks, I have to drive to Saarbrücken and park in the car park near Karstadt, which landed a few years ago on the back ranks in a nationwide test. But you do not want a complacency test for a SAAB, so - let's go. Despite tight corners, the SAAB can be steered around the corners without excessive cranking, up the spiral ramp, over narrow ramps, to the stand. Thanks to distance sensors - not a luxury, but a necessity! - Parking is easy even in a tight space.
The higher weight and the grown wheelbase are positively noticeable on other points. Where the old 9-5 reacted nervously, especially at high speeds, and gave SAAB atypical no sense of security anymore, the new 9-5 still glides relaxed at speeds beyond the 150 km / h and lies quietly on the road. On one of my first rides, the speed was suddenly at 180 km / h - a value at which the old 9-5 had long ago begun to reinterpret the aircraft manufacturing heritage.
The overall conclusion is that you can summarize the driving behavior as follows: The ideal touring limousine, which can be parked even when it gets tighter.
Are there any weak points? Again, as with the design: no objective. The casual-sovereign in driving behavior has irritated me at the beginning often irritated, from the old 9-5 I was a nimble response, especially in the engine used. But the difference lies in the nature of a 2,3-l petrol engine, which is not an 2-l diesel engine. The motorization is interesting for frequent drivers, and if you know what's going on in the car and what's not, the driving pleasure comes back. The consumption is appropriate.
A weak point struck but then suddenly. One morning the message "low beam fault left" flashed in the display. When folding up the hood, there was a jaw dropping down. Although the closures and plugs are probably similar to before, but the dipped beam comes only, whoever clears wash water tank and fuse box (left) or charge air hose (right) - or loosens and dismantles the headlight. The exchange costs me 15 Euro in the nearest workshop, not a big deal, but annoying for someone who was always proud of his crafting skills.
By the way, from the customary habit of going into reverse after parking, one can say goodbye (but I do not). There is neither a mechanical ignition lock, nor a mechanical lock of the same. The ignition works purely electronically and on a wireless basis, despite the typical SAAB trough for the key that can actually remain in his pocket.
And one more note: America has moved in. If the clutch has not been engaged, the ignition will not be released, and without the brake actuated, the handbrake will remain locked, even when the engine is switched off. If you make one of both errors, there is a message by gong and a recorded signal on the display.
Finally ... a conclusion.
Almost exactly 250 km I have covered at the end of my flight and it took just over two and a half hours. Nevertheless, I arrive relaxed and not tired, although it is now at half past ten at night. I roll into the parking lot, press the electronic handbrake and turn off the engine. Suitcases and bags are balanced from the trunk.
At the end of the report, there is really only one question: Do you drive a museum piece to be preserved, or do you have a full-fledged everyday vehicle? Given the rarity of the model and its special status - the last upper-class SAAB, the defining face of the brand's most ductile era, the bearer of hope, the 9-5 (II) stands for many. So it's too good to expose it to everyday traffic.
On the other hand: I use the SAAB in daily use. As a collector's item with rarity value, he would probably have earned better, but until early retirement, this must slumber for a while. He does that too, without any problems. The Ersatzteillage is, with exceptions, good. Just because it is rare, it still has too much to be in the garage just for the sake of a collector's item, and it still has some practical qualities apart from the gig (officially the largest car on the company car park).
Well, just because he stands for so much, my conclusion is: Out with it, on the road, on the highway - there fits the big SAAB best, and there he is also fully in his habitat. He is not a museum piece, but a genuine original, despite all the prophecies of doom, he is an original SAAB, with the excellent flag show.
The proof? When I am standing at the filling station Wattenheim, an old 9-5 rolls to the gas pump opposite. The driver looks at me briefly, I watch him briefly. He raises his hand to the victory sign, I answer accordingly.
Thanks to Philipp for his Saab Story! Do you also have something to tell about Saab?