IMPORTANT NEWS: National Electric Vehicle Sweden has agreed to buy the assets of Saab Automobile and the sale is expected to be finalized during the summer.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Test driving the new MY2011 engines for the Saab 9-5

This afternoon the Saab caravan stopped by the local dealer. Every now and then the Saab importer (which is actually a Norwegian branch of Saab Automobile AB) loads their Saab test vehicles on a lorry and visits the dealers around the country. This is called the Saab caravan, and this time the menu consisted of the following cars:

  • Saab 9-5 1.6T Vector 
  • Saab 9-5 2.0T Aero XWD
  • Saab 9-5 2.0TiD Vector
  • Saab 9-5 2.0TTiD Aero
In other words, an excellent opportunity to test drive the 9-5 offerings for 2011.

For a report on the Saab 9-5 160HP diesel, please check my previous blog entry

Saab 9-5 2.0TTiD Aero
For appetizer we started with the new two litre two stage turbo diesel putting out 190HP. The car was equipped with a manual transmission (there is no automatic gearbox available for this engine), sport suspension and front wheel drive. The car looked stunning in Arctic white paint with the Aero's chrome details around the fog lights and the twin exhaust pipes. For a moment I regretted not getting a white car, but I guess a white car would not match the parchment interior I love so much.

Picture loaned from 

Anyways, we got the key and off we drove. The engine seemed more refined than the two litre single turbo diesel engine (160HP). It felt like it was less noisy and ran smoother. The performance was good, but the difference from the 160HP diesel wasn't shocking. The car was a nice acquaintance, but I'm still happy with my own single turbo diesel Saab 9-5.

Saab 9-5 1.6T Vector
Secondly we went for a drive in the new small-displacement petrol engine. It is only 1.6 litre and putting out a good 180HP. The car had a manual transmission and front wheel drive. I can't say I'm 100 percent sure, but I think it had a standard suspension. I was really looking forward to testing this car since this will be the entry level 9-5 here in Norway.

It felt nice to be in a petrol powered 9-5. The noise was low and the engine ran smooth and quietly. When flooring the accelerator the car was responding like... well, an entry level Saab I guess. The engine felt adequate, but not much more. I would never exchange my entry level diesel 9-5 for this petrol engine. And I also have my doubts that Hirsch can do much with this engine. Maybe it's already pushed to its limits? It wasn't bad in any way, but it wasn't much exciting either.

Saab 9-5 2.0T Aero XWD
Finally, the higlight of the afternoon! This was a two litre petrol engine putting out a hefty 220HP through Saab's cross-wheel drive system (XWD). It was equipped with an automatic gearbox, DriveSense and HiPer strut and H-arm suspension. I fell instantly in love when I pushed the throttle to the floor. The car was very responsive and accelerated quickly in a very controlled fashion. And I really enjoyed the DriveSense suspension. In sport setting it felt firm and the steering was very precise. When changing from sport mode to comfort mode, the suspension changed character and became more soft and pleasant. I'm sure this car will be great both as a cruiser on the freeway and a sporty sedan on twisty roads. This combination of engine and suspension was really worthy the rest of the great chassis and modern structure of the new 9-5.

I need to save some money so I can afford that 2.0T XWD!! But apart from that, I feel that I have chosen the most affordable 9-5. The two litre diesel single turbo engine is really a great combination of good performance and low consumption.

That's just one man's opinion about the different engines. Now go out and test drive and make up your own mind! :) 

I want to end this entry with a few words about the seats in the 9-5. My 9-5 has the comfort seat in part leather and part textile, and the seats are good. The two Aeros I test drove this afternoon had the sport seats in full leather. Wow! Those seats were great!

Thanks to both Saab and the local dealer for a nice afternoon.