The 2.3T is the sole incarnation of the Saab 9-5 SportCombi, whereas the smaller 9-3 SportCombi comes in a base 2.0T and more powerful Aero trim. The 9-5 SportCombi is just slightly larger than the 9-3 SportCombi, with an edge of about 7 inches and 60 pounds.
Although there isn't that separate Aero trim as on the other Saabs, the 2.3T does have an Aero Package of options that will upgrade its equipment. It does not modify the engine in any way, however. That package includes a lowered (by 10mm), sport-tuned chassis for increased handling and stability, and firmer shocks and springs to improve cornering, braking, and accelerating. Inside the seating is notched up to sport leather, and there's tinted chrome trim on the inside door panels that also appears outside on the fascia. Best of all, all buyers and lessees of Aero-upgraded 9-5s are welcomed to the Saab Aero Academy, a two-day, hands-on class in performance driving that is held in Atlanta.
As it is, the standard equipment on this car is impressive, as there is a power moonroof, leather seating surfaces with heaters for both rows, dual-zone auto climate control, a cabin air filter, and a Harman-Kardon audio system with 8 speakers and 200 watts of power, plus a 6-CD in-dash changer and XM Satellite Radio. The jet-inspired cockpit surrounds the driver and puts the controls in intelligent places; there's even a Night Panel feature that will dim all instrumentation except for the speedometer as a way of minimizing distraction.
The 4-cylinder, 2.3-liter turbocharged inline four produces 260 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. Its EPA-rated fuel economy of up to 20 city and 30 highway is acceptable, especially since it does it with regular-octane gas. The motor features Saab's Trionic Engine Management controls fuel injection, ignition timing, boost pressure control, and electronic throttle control. A 5-speed manual gearbox is the default, and there's an optional 5-speed automatic transmission, too.
Safety got huge priority in the design of this automobile, and it comes with features that help to maintain the driver's control (ABS, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, traction control, Electronic Stability Control) and features that help the car to see and be seen (side-mounted directional lights, halogen headlights, front and rear fog lamps, daytime running lights, headlamp washers).
One great behind-the-scenes feature of the Saab is its Pendulum B-Pillar, which is constructed of high-tensile steel that works with the sills and crossbars to absorb impact energy before it reaches the occupants. Active head restraints (a Saab innovation) and all types of air bags are in place, as is a load-shift barrier that keeps trunk cargo from entering the passenger cabin if there is a frontal impact. All models of the 9-5 have done very well in government crash-testing.
Besides the Aero Package, you may add the 60th Anniversary Package, which celebrates Saabâ??s milestone with exclusive 17-inch alloy wheels, metallic paint (including Ice Blue not otherwise available), special leather seats with logo as well as contrasting inserts and stitching, and the Visibility Package (xenon headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, Saab Park Assist, auto-dimming outside mirrors), which can also be added separately.
The 9-5 SportCombi comes in 12 exterior colors, including the Ice Blue Metallic that is only available with the 60th Anniversary options package. As far as stand-alone options, there is a navigation system offered, as well as OnStar technology.