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.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Saab 9-5 set against Audi's brand new A6

Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet has tested the Saab 9-5 against the new Audi A6. The Audi comes out as the winner, but also the Saab gets a very good review. Below is a translation of the test.

The Saab 9-5 takes on the brand new Audi A6
Duel: Audi A6 TDI 2,0 vs. Saab 9-5 TTiD

We set Audi's all-new A6 against the one year old 9-5 and we can conclude that the Saab is doing very well in the comparison. It is even better in several respects.

When Saab talks about competitors, it is primarily the Audi A6 they refer to, and only on the second hand the other competitors. And that's commendable to appoint the best-selling German who is reputed to be comfortable, roomy and have top quality.

When Saab last year launched its new 9-5 it was in the light of what happened with the company no less than a miracle to present a driveable car. That it proved to be a really good car came as a bonus.

Externally, the new Audi A6 looks very much like its predecessor. The major change on the new A6, compared with its predecessor, can be found on the inside where especially the instrument panel has been spruced up.

The advantage of Audi sticking to the fundamentals of its design philosophy is that the passenger compartment, even though a black interior, becomes quite bright and the rear and offset view is good.

The 9-5 is slightly larger than the Audi, at least on the outside. Inside, the difference is not noticeable, both cars are spacious both in the front and back with luggage compartments that is easy to load.

The two-liter diesel in the Saab is stronger, 190 horsepower, than the Audi’s counterpart, which provides 177 horsepower, but the difference is not very noticeable in real life. Both cars have smooth six-speed boxes. The 9-5 we tested was a four-wheel drive while the Audi was front-wheel drive, which may have affected our impression. The reason is that Saab had no front-wheel drive diesel-powered test car available.

It is quite clear that Audi's engineers have made significant improvements in the new A6 compared to the old one. The new one is well-built with a stable chassis but with a slightly light steering. On even asphalt and on the highway the A6 is in its right element; A highway cruiser quite simply.

The Saab 9-5 is quite the opposite. When the road is winding the car shrinks and feels completely neutral and what gives us the feeling of complete control is the phenomenal steering.

When we tested the 9-5 against the old Audi A6 late in the summer, the Saab was named the winner due to the handling.

Now Audi is catching up and passing in several respects, however, not in terms of handling. The new A6 is a solid creation and equipped with the latest technology. The engine in the Audi is perhaps not as refined as the one in the Saab, but on the other hand it runs cheaper and with slightly less emissions.

Engine / gearbox - Audi A6
It is noticeable that there is a diesel under the hood of the car when the test starts. The four-cylinder engine is running a little rough but it is powerful and fits well with the nicely shifting and easy to use gearbox.

Engine / gearbox - Saab 9-5
Saab's big diesel engine of 190 horsepower is slightly diesel noisy, but powerful. As much as 400 Newton meters are pushing on already at 1750 rpm. The gearbox is okay, not more. The interaction between the engine and the gearbox works well.

Economy / Environment - Audi A6
Although the purchase price ends up around SEK 400,000 when the points check off in the accessory list is to be paid, the rating is high. The engine is efficient and classified as environmentally good and that makes the drive a little cheaper for at least five years.

Economy / Environment - Saab 9-5
The Saab is with a price tag of SEK 329,500 SEK 10,000 cheaper than the Audi, but the resale value is uncertain. In addition, the Saab consumes more diesel - 0.6 liters per 10 kilometers compared to 0.49 liters. Saab needs to improve.

Driving characteristics - Audi A6
Audi A6 is a big car, roomy and comfortable for both driver and passengers. In German style it is most comfortable on a smooth road, and the stiff chassis makes the Swedish potholes very apparent.

Driving characteristics - Saab 9-5
This is Saab’s parade category. Direct but not too nervous steering coupled with a stable and well-balanced chassis make the Saab 9-5 to the top of the class. Saab’s engineers have worked a lot with the original Insignia chassis.

Safety - Audi A6
One of the safest cars with top score in the EuroNCAP safety tests. As options are all possible electronic active safety systems, except for automatic braking function. Safe handling characteristics.

Safety – Saab 9-5
Saab received the highest rating in the EuroNCAP crash test and has a modern design. Very good protection against whiplash injuries, seat belt pre-tensioners and integrated standard child seats connectors. In addition, steady driving characteristics.

Overall - Audi A6
The new Audi A6 is clearly a step forward in development for Audi. Although the price has increased somewhat compared to earlier, the improvements are so significant that they justify the price increase.

Overall - 9-5
Saab 9-5 won against the previous generation Audi A6. Now that Saab does not fully measure up, the perceived quality and the feel of the materials are two notch lower than the Audi. But the driving characteristics is still the best in class.