With new ownership in the form of Dutch supercar brand Spyker and new partnerships in China, Saab is on a curious and precarious path at the moment. Nonetheless, it has slowly moved forward with the launch of the 9-5, the brand's all-new flagship sedan. With a fresh new look, quality materials, and reasonably strong sporting cred, MotorAuthority rates the 2011 9-5 at 7 out of 10.
The exterior of the 2011 9-5 is truly eye-catching. It's a sophisticated, sleek, yet elementally Saab look that most will find attractive and few will find objectionable. Inside, the design is equally flowing and fundamentally sound, with the dash melding fluidly with the doors and instruments and controls that are easy to read and easy to use.
Power comes in two forms in the 9-5, a 220-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo or a 300-horsepower, 2.8-liter V-6 turbo. The four-cylinder (Turbo4) models offer front-wheel drive only and a choice between manual or automatic six-speeds. The Turbo6 V-6s are automatic only and come with XWD all-wheel drive. While handling isn't its strong suit, the steering is well-weighted, if light on feedback.
Inside the cabin, there's a lot of room, particularly in the back seat. The front seats shouldn't be overlooked, however: they're some of the best on the market. Ride quality is comfort-oriented, though the Aero model rides the balance between comfort and firm responsiveness.
If you're the kind that likes to load up a car with options, the 9-5 is a good car for you, though not the best in class. Pick the Aero trim, an add on all the extras and you'll have a rear-seat DVD system, surround-sound audio, park assist, lane departure warning, and a heads-up display, among others. Perhaps most important is what you don't get: a headache-inducing all-encompassing branded interface to the control scheme like Audi's MMI, BMW's iDrive, or Mercedes-Benz's COMAND.
Pricing is perhaps the only stumbling block for the potential 2011 Saab 9-5 convert. To find out why, read the full review at TheCarConnection.