Saab 9-5 Aero - already disappointing, right?

It's about time I got the Saab 9-5 Aero out of the hangar. After two long days, the time has finally come. After work, I swap the 9000 for the 9-5. A generation change, the timing for this is extremely poorly chosen. Because thunderstorms and heavy rain spread across southern Hesse.

Saab 9 5 Aero 2000
Saab 9 5 Aero 2000

Disappointing, isn't it?

It's been ages since I rode a Generation 9 5-1 Aero. In between there were so many other Saab that the memory is no longer present. That’s never a good sign for me. The first few meters with the new, old Saab will be accordingly. It drives, well, like a modern car. Disappointing, isn't it?

At this point you have to go back a bit. There are three variants of the first Saab 9-5 series. With each variant, and sometimes in between, Saab had turned the tuning of the chassis. The 9-5 was the first Saab with a split rear axle, and the chassis was a big hit in Sweden. There were auto magazines that wrote of a miracle running gear.

The first 9-5 variant is very comfortable and very safe. It is the chassis that the makers in Trollhättan wanted for this series and that best does justice to the 9-5. With the facelift in 2001 everything became sportier, with the revision of chrome glasses it was sharpened again. But that's another, longer story.

In any case, the 20-year-old Saab drives like a new car. Very quiet and well insulated. The operating forces are low, the cockpit is self-explanatory anyway. The 17 ″ tires are proving to be the gold standard, the question of larger rims is off the table. The chassis set-up was really successful, my company car, which is 18 years younger, can only do a comparable thing with the use of electronics.

I fight my way through thunderstorms and heavy rain, the freeway entrance is shortened, the right lane in the hand of heavy trucks. I squeeze the 9-5 into a small gap in the middle of heavy rain and spray. For a split second, I think about the fact that this car doesn't have ESP or other assistants. Doesn't need it either.

The Saab is just well made!

As the first ride was, so it goes on. Summer heat, constant traffic jams on the motorway. The Saab does everything without complaining. The Aero is fast, it's handy. Its comfort is high, even at higher speeds. The workmanship is surprisingly good. Nothing rattles anywhere. And that after 20 years. The desire for anything new and modern never arises.

In between I go to Frankfurt, to introduce the new acquisition. Gerard Ratzmann from Saab Service Frankfurt takes the time for a more extensive test drive. A new car, or close to it. We quickly come to an agreement. In the workshop, on the lifting platform, the Spaniard shows his qualities. Two little things should still be done, soon, when there is time. Otherwise it is in very good condition, technically and optically.

The paintwork, partly remade in Barcelona, ​​is first class. I had certain worries, but they were unfounded. We need some time before we can even discover traces of the work. And also work at berma were executed with meticulousness.

All good? Somehow yes, the Saab keeps what it promises. But does it get into my heart too? A comparison of Saab 9-5 Aero and Saab 9000 is pending.

28 thoughts on "Saab 9-5 Aero - already disappointing, right?"

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    The really very last 😉 on the rim topic -

    yes, Volvaab is right, the “shoes” must match the “body” above, absolutely!

    And Saab has often taken up, changed and reinterpreted “classic” designs, such as the double bridge, spokes or the angular 3-spoke, so that it was then (mostly) somehow something completely different and very excellent to each fit new model.

    Very nice to compare e.g. with some photos from our all favorite archive 🙂:

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    @ Ebasil,

    A last spoonful of mustard from me on the subject of the rim.

    Saab has created a number of extravagant "shoes". All children of their time and always for certain divas. And only on these models do the shoes fit 100% - as with Cinderella. It would be a shame if the cars that can carry them didn't show us these creations too.

    For example, the Alu 28 doesn't look good on chrome glasses. The dimensions are identical. Blood is not in the shoe of the wearer, but of the viewer whose toenails roll up. I think rims cannot and should not be viewed in isolation.

    Many designs only work in a brand, model and sometimes even only model variant-specific.

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    agrees with the 32025559 .. ..thanks for the correction (and the other remarks on the rims)!

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    But now the last addendum on the rim topic!

    Aaaahhh, those who can read have a clear advantage: The gentleman's original Alu28 should be back on, Tom just had them reworked. So it is right! The more I look at the pictures of the gentleman with the Alu28, the hotter I find them…. 🙂

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    PS: Again to the Alu28 rims

    I looked again at the pictures from Spain when the gentleman was still wearing the Alu28. JanV is right: They look very good on the Saab and are very, very special. Possibly. I would have even left it on, although I like the Double Bridge better on its own. Difficult question, Tom will have had reasons for the move.

    Happy weekend for all Saab fans! 🙂

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    JanV, yes, that's right, the archive used to have great pictures “on the living Saab” for every rim. That was not that long ago, in 2019 I was looking for the right rims for my SC. But there are still the photos for the color register - also extremely interesting with many great inspiring pictures! It's great that you donated to it!

    It's also good that tastes are so different and you can't argue about it: That's right, the Alu28s are very unusual, somehow angular architecturally, something very special, therefore also great, maybe really avant-garde rims, which I look at with interest when I do she see. But I don't think this angular design is “beautiful” in the classic sense. I like the harmoniously symmetrical, “round” models on the round (sic!) Bike a lot better, especially in motion a “round” thing. 🙂 But I agree with you: The Double Bridge is a rather classic rim that Saab offered in many variations. I like the classic, the simple so much.

    But I have to contradict one point: The rims on the Gentleman are not Alu87 (= 16 inches), they look somehow different, but 17 inches, OE 32025559, right? 🙂

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    Ebasli, thank you for pointing out!

    (Until 2-3 years ago, this website was much better: there were pictures with different Saab for almost every rim; probably some copyright warnings led to the omission of this feature, at that time I only had 4 sets of rims based on pictures Bought across Europe, at least optically great every time; I contacted the host and donated money)

    But I would like to contradict: the ALU87 are "nicely conservative", the ALU28 more avant-garde in their round angular peculiarity, just Saab, bygone times, 3-spoke rims ...

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    Volvaab - rim issues

    Yes, absolutely, it's all about diversity! I also think that practically all original Saab rims were special in terms of design and were and are justified. Even if not all of them meet my taste, they are always really well made, remarkable in the literal sense and look valuable - which cannot be said of many rims from other car brands. These often look ostentatious and bulky or just cheap and stupid. I always like to look at the variety of Saab rims. Only spoke rims and a maximum of 17 inches come to my Saabs! 🙂

    The fact that some others see it that way is shown by the fact that I had to look for my “dream rims” for the convertible, ALU66 with 15 fantastic filigree 🙂 spokes, because these are no longer available and are only rarely offered second-hand. I then paid a high price to a friend for a new set that had been put away somewhere. And later on I also bought a used set in excellent condition with excellent winter tires on it ... although I practically don't drive the convertible in winter ... ahem 🙂

    Practically all rims (and paintwork) from Saab can be found here look at! 🙂 Even if the site (from a private fan) is a bit clumsy, this is a really great archive that is really fun to sift through. The fact remains: the 5-spoke double bridge looks great on the gentleman!

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    @ Ken-Daniel S

    Door lock cover, which door lock cover or in which picture can you see it?
    I just looked around at Skandix and looked through all the gentleman pictures ..

    Thanks in advance! (I stand on the hose)

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    @ Ebasil (spokes & foils)

    well observed. The slides were clearly only found in D in the Gentleman. This is proven by the photo on the trailer.
    I'm also curious what this is all about ...

    With the rims, the tradition of the spoke is such a thing. The first wheels of mankind were definitely disc wheels. In automotive engineering, engineers and designers revived the principle very, very early on for various reasons.

    Sometimes you wanted to stand out visually from steam locomotives and carriage wheels. Sometimes it was about weight, aerodynamics or manufacturing costs. The early spoke wheels were often made of cast iron and accordingly, heavy, expensive and also fragile (because they were brittle). A stone or pothole led to one or the other break. It was then irreparable. With the high weight and the rotational energy or inertia, brakes and motors had unnecessary effort.

    Some of the most beautiful, fastest, and most luxurious cars of the 1920s and 1930s had disc wheels (such as the Bugatti). At the same time, the first cheap mini cars (mostly open two-seater), because the sheet metal wheel (forerunner of today's perforated steel rims) was simply cheaper in every respect.

    Could that roll out in detail and forever, but the point is ultimately that I think the Saab designers' avant-garde interpretation of this topic with new shapes and materials is pretty cool. The aluminum is striking, with only three wide spokes close to the disc wheel.

    In the monotony of other Alus I don't want to miss them. The now traditional to classic Alus from Alfa are also cool and unique, with their “curved” spokes and the distinctive circular theme around the hub.

    You don't have to like either. One can dogmatize the spoke (as many and as filigree as possible). But then you should still be happy about any alternative out of conviction and selfishness. How else and what could one stand out from without them?

    Many third-party manufacturers also use the topic of spokes. An Aluette from ATU can look terrifyingly similar to the original. I don't want to miss extravagant and unmistakable originals from Saab, Alfa and others in the streetscape.

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    Comparisons, puzzles, etc.

    It's great that we are on the trail of a riddle with the black foil! That promises another interesting story.

    The 9-5 is a real beauty with very elegant lines! And the interplay of midnight blue paint on the outside and light leather on the inside is one of the most beautiful features of all for me. I hope there are more photos of the interior to admire? !!

    The rims are perfect and also beauties. According to my (purely personal) taste, it ends at 17 inches anyway and I have such an old-fashioned quirk that rims somehow always remind me of classic spokes and have to be filigree. With this "double spoke" Saab had something very extravagant, but at the same time simple on offer - wonderful!

    And that it drives like a new car is a single compliment to Saab and its engineers! What other 20 year old car can you say that about?

    So from a technical and optical point of view (and because of the ignition lock, huh ;-)) I would clearly prefer the 9-5 - which is certainly also due to the fact that I have unfortunately never sat in a 9000, so I can't talk at all . 🙁 A serious oversight that urgently needs to be remedied! In any case, the ingenious hatchback speaks for the 9000 - sports car, sedan and practical station wagon in one, not “just” sports car and sedan!

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    These are really nice pictures of this lovely timeless car. I also like the not so SAAB-typical rims very much. This makes the car look much more modern to me than with the sometimes idiosyncratic SAAB rims. The "untrained eye" must look twice to identify the gentleman.

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    @ EF-Elch, totally agree with you. When it comes to the special brand from Bavaria, I mainly think of the 3 and 5 fractions with 10 or more years under their belts, so dark rear windows are a must.

    When purchasing a new car, it looks exactly as you have described. The succinct information from the seller; the market demands that !! But I refuse to see myself as a market. (I succeed more or less, mostly less ...) 😉

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    @ Ken-Daniel S
    So my 9-5 Aero from 2002 had this plastic cap in the glove compartment, my SE from 1998 had none. I think it was only settled for a while. But you can still order it.

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    Black foil - no doubt!

    Because in the pictures of the gentleman when he was still in Spain, he did not yet have this - terrible - foil. And you can also see it from the fact that in my (highly unimportant personal) opinion such a “Mafia” darkening does not at all fit a Saab!

    Saab could of course do that better, much better than others. When I was looking for a 9-3 SportCombi last year, I looked at a black one that also had foils affixed to it afterwards. The poor looked terrible, the Saab looked like a hearse!

    That's why it was clear to me that darkening from the B-pillar is a no-go for me. Fortunately, the limited second-hand market (of really good SportCombis) cut the bill: My current nocturnal blue piece of jewelery has the tint from the factory - extremely elegant in a darker, but at the same time very transparent green tone. And (like all 9-3 SC, apart from the 9-3X) the very filigree silver strip above the window line only if tinted darker from the B-pillar. If I had never ordered like this, I will definitely not give it back now. A wonderful interplay between the tint and the skirting board.

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      @Ebasli black foil, let's see how that clears up. 😉

      The solution comes in the next but one. Before Saab 9-5 vs. 9000!

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    @ JanV,

    is it foil? That could be changed.

    Approval for the “Spanish” rims. They are special and especially authentic about this Saab.

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    @ EF moose,

    Congratulations on the 9K Aero. I drove it to the test back then. When I was in my early twenties, I thought I was in the heaven of motorists. That never lets you go ...

    @ Hans S.,

    can you still ascribe individual brands to dark panes from the B-pillar? I hardly ever see cars with upscale equipment or engines without them. Also applies to younger Swedes & Italians. Unfortunately …
    I like it better without. If only because the line is interrupted - more or less brutal depending on the shape and color of the car.
    But what should buyers do today? That also falls into the forced category that we had here the other day.
    Depending on the engine or equipment line / package of a new car, the dark windows are unavoidable.

    Incidentally, it took me 2 full days to thermally, chemically and mechanically remove the adhesive residues and foils that the former owner had stuck in my classic car. In a 50 year old car. A sacrilege.

    A good Saab, with such a zeitgeist, unfortunately colored but also true to the original flaw, I could not resist.

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    In my opinion, the gentleman is only missing the first-class, because angularly dynamic, and never imitated rims from Daniel (the ones with the quirks before the preparation).

    The Aero would look completely different (I just looked at the pictures from Spain with the two 9-5s) ...

    Maybe it's just me: There are still early 9-5s with these rims in my city, I'm fascinated every time. Unfortunately, in my eyes, this rim does not like to connect with the “round” Saab 902/931 in comparison, otherwise I would have heaps of them in the back yard.

    I look forward to the comparison with the 9k: Space, attention to detail and processing quality against a (even in today's) comparison, simple, pleasing appearance.

    PS and I join Hans S. unreservedly: an early 9-5 does not drive window film for a walk.

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    Hello me again - because of the “comparison” 9-5 VS. 9000 - I think a lot of people can have a say in this blog!? Myself and my wife have each driven a 9000 CS with 170 hp for many years - always been a dream car for me.
    After that we are both on 9-5 - I station wagon 185 HP and my wife AERO station wagon - both really great cars - but one little BUT always stayed!?

    Well - my wife has been driving a 9-3 II SAABrio since last spring and what about me !?
    Two weeks ago I also fulfilled my automotive Saab dream - our new SAAB family member is now a 9000 AERO ..

    So 2020 wasn't just a “bad” year !!!

    PS: Info to Tom - our “donation” is on its way since today

    Lg. Thomas

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    Hands down a great car! I think many are discovering the first generation 9-5 sedan for themselves. I can confirm everything that Tom and others have written in the reader's contributions. My dream 9-5 is built in 1999 and the V6 is working under the hood. A great vehicle. Quiet, powerful, comfortable.

    I now lean a little out of the window (and risk a lot of down votes), but I don't like the darkened windows at all. I think that just doesn't fit a Saab. There is a car brand, the rear windows MUST be dark to black and mostly there are guys in there, well, let's leave that. And I'm just happy if there is no commonality between a Saab and said product from Bavaria . As I said, this is my very personal opinion and I don't want to offend anyone's taste sensation with it.

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    I switched from the 9,5 chrome glasses, built in 2007, to the 9000 CSE, built in 1996. No comparison!

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    with the rims very elegant and fresh. I feel like driving a 9-5I from the first series again, but the offer is very thin.
    Was the door lock cover on the driver's door actually an accessory option or was it a series at the very beginning and was then lost on most? I didn't know before that it existed either, it was only a bodybuilder who made me aware of it.

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    I'm looking forward to the comparison of 9000 and 9-5.
    I have already done it for myself and have come to a clear result ...

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    The 9-5 is a beauty! Thanks for the atmospheric pictures, they bring out the aero well!

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    Just timeless sporty elegance - more words are not needed ...

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    Finally the 1st trip

    I am pleased that the long-distance purchase risk and the long wait were worth it, and that the trust in third-party workshops and freight forwarders was not disappointed.

    The question is off the table, but here's an anecdote about rim size. I drove several variants of bikes on Saab 9-3 & 9-5. Rim sizes of 15, 16 & 17 ″ and also different widths.
    The tire height depending on the rim 65, 55 or 45 (17 ″). The bigger the rim, the less rubber.

    And the more often I also check the air pressure. Of course it's nonsense. And it's always free. But the visual impression leads me to it.
    18 ″ + 35 mm tire height and I would be completely paranoid on this point.

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    I'm looking forward to the comparison! For me it ran out against the 1998-9 in 5, ok the 9-5 test car had bad cards, 2.0 soft turbo limosine against 9k cs with 195PS which was always available from dealers as a first car. The purchase option was then an aero9k which I then also bought. The decisive factor was not even the PS but the space available.
    Later I made my peace with the 9-5, .... a 9-5aero station wagon was involved ;-).

    Nice article, thank you!


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