It's August 1996. The development of the 9-5 is nearing its end. Somewhere in Sweden a member of the performance team is on his way to the secret base in his Saab 96. The last tests are pending. So begins a film that Saab launched as a teaser for the new 9-5. It's typical of the 90s. And it reveals what we have missed.
The 90s. The iron curtain is gone, the Soviet Union history. A man who plays the saxophone and likes jazz rules the White House. The world seems to be on the way to becoming a better place. Donald Trump is grappling with debt, and the option of becoming the 45th President of the United States seems grotesque. Likewise, the Chinese fantasies of omnipotence, which become reality just 3 decades later.
And in Sweden they are building a wild car
The new 9-5 is considered a wild design by Saab. Brave and sporty. He should lead the brand into a new age. What they put on the wheels in Trollhättan is indeed remarkable. You can still feel the desire for the 9-5 and the ambition to build an excellent car when you talk to the now very old team members from back then.
Accordingly, they are making a film that now looks like something out of the clothes box. 007 and Golden Eye inspire, many computers stand for innovation, the Saab Performance Team for sportiness. The team puts mysterious, matt gray painted vehicles through their paces. The video highlights the outstanding chassis, which the Swedish trade press praises as a miracle chassis, and the sporty demands.
The Saab 9-5 and really sporty
Take off your branded glasses! At the premiere there was the 9-5 with 150, 170 and 200 hp. Sporty? The old Saab 9000 delivered more. The 9-5 Aero was added with a slight delay. Finally 230 HP, but only 5 more to the 9000 Aero. But more weight. Was that all you could do in Trollhättan back then?
For one, the first 9-5 Aero (Series 1) shouldn't be a sports model. Saab saw in it a comfort-emphasized addition to the offer, with a slightly sporty attitude. The alternative to the V6, addressed to the traditional Saab audience, for whom the 6 cylinder might have been too bourgeois.
The Saab was sporty and never existed
A quick look over his shoulder. At the time, the Volvo V70 R was rolling out of the halls in Gothenburg. 250 hp, all-wheel drive. In the wake of the eternal rivalry between Saab and Volvo, the Stallbacka was looking for a suitable answer. The super sporty Saab 9-5, which would be offered as the top model after the Aero.
It was clear that you had to deliver more than your colleagues at Volvo. All-wheel drive was considered set and at least 280 hp. Other sources tell of 300 that one wanted to get out of the charged 2.3 liter engine. After the Saab 9-3 Viggen it was planned to push the 9-5 Viggen onto the runway. To make it clear how the trolls build their cars.
The only thing was that they hadn't done the math with GM
It was the first time the liaison with GM took revenge. The modified GM9 platform was used for the 5-2902. In principle, she could do anything. Front and rear wheel drive, and of course 4 driven wheels. In order to realize the Saab 9-5 Viggen, you needed the consent of the Americans. They refused to agree. They generally closed the 2900 family to four-wheel drive fantasies of any kind. The Viggen story ended up in the container.
From the dream - that should take revenge
The super-sporty Saab 9-5 never took off. From then on, the sporting Swedish crown stayed in Gothenburg forever. Even if they always built the more active cars in Trollhättan - the image suffered tremendously. In Gothenburg, however, they sparked the next stage of expansion with the following generation. 300 hp and four-wheel drive, there was no antidote. Even the strong Hirsch versions did not stand out, the lack of 4 driven wheels remained an eternal drawback.
That took revenge. The sporty image faded, a few years later, Saab was considered a leisurely brand for the older audience in Swedish surveys.
Everything could have been so much nicer and sportier.