2011 Saab 9-5 Aero: Driven

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Very quietly, a new, completely redesigned 9-5 sedan arrived last year. As Saab was changing hands and repositioning itself as an automaker, much of the car-shopping public didn't even know.

In recent months, as we've followed the nail-biter of whether or not Saab as we know it will survive, there was a time when it looked like the 9-5 might end up being a collectible oddity, and gems like the upcoming 2012 Saab 9-5 SportCombi might not make it at all.

We're glad we finally got the chance to get a first drive and spend some quality time with the 2011 Saab 9-5 sedan, as it's quite possibly one of the best new efforts of the model year, with a cohesive design that takes a different direction than the main luxury sport-sedan current; an excellent, spacious interior; and a great mix of supreme isolation, driver involvement, and uniquely Saab character throughout.

Sleek, sophisticated, smart design

In pictures, the 2011 Saab 9-5 might look a little long, perhaps a little too rounded in back, a little too uninteresting with its smooth, uninterrupted sheetmetal; but it all makes sense in person. This is a very sleek, sophisticated design that looks great from all angles and has great proportions; its lack of creases and cutlines, the somewhat lower beltline and relatively level tail, and lack of creased sheetmetal all add up to something profoundly different than what the rest of the market is offering up—and that's a good thing.

Inside, the 9-5 isn't quite as much of a breath of fresh air, but it's a good-looking cabin. Saab design heritage is here in full force, with the swoopy instrument-panel design, canted toward the driver, and a wide center console—plus of course details like the joystick air vents, ignition button located on the center console, and the turbo boost gauge up top, retro all-lower-case lettering and all.

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Comments (5)
  1. Great review. Wish you had more pics of that sweet interior you mentioned.

  2. That really was a great review. I can especially appreciate when interior space, legroom & headroom (front & rear) are noted in your article, as I am 6'3" and that is always something that I am interested in when considering a new car. I am very adamant that my passengers and myself can all ride in comfort.
    I wish Saab the best in making it out of this rut and becoming a profitable car company once again.

  3. Another great review. I am the owner of a 2010 Saab 9-5 and love it - except for the fuel economy. However, Saab is so huring for cash that I believe bankruptcy is right around the corner. They are currently not producing cars due to the cash crunch. This will leave me, and any prospective buyers, without a warranty, free service or parts. Think long and hard when considering buying a new Saab. You don't want an albatross sitting in your garage.

  4. First, Saab is producing the 9-4X and will start production in 2 weeks. They already paid their taxes on time. Bankruptcy is not next door. GM dealers will provide service, Saab is required to provide warranty service, and the parts division at Saab has always made overwhelming profits compared to the rest of the company. If, god forbid, something did happen to Saab, parts will remain. For a long time, too. Saab isn't healthy, but they're certainly not in the ICU.

  5. Saab has not announced when production will begin again. The 9-4X is being built in Mexico by GM. Over 44 companies/individuals have taken Saab to a debt repayment enforcement agency to force Saab to pay over $3 million dollars in unpaid bills. The deal between Saab, Pang Da and Youngman is not expected to gain the approval by the Chinese government. Foreign (non-Swedish) suppliers are balking at sending more parts until they are properly paid. Saab has no cash and sales are tanking. Vladimir Antonov decided to withdraw his offer to buy the Saab plant and surrounding properties. If this is not an “ICU” situation, I don’t know what is. Trust me, I want Saab to succeed. I own two Saabs and have owned a Saab since 1988. I love their c

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