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2011 Saab 9-5 Overview

Reworked and repowered, the 2011 Saab 9-5 is poised to put the Swedish automaker – and jet maker – back in the game. This sprightly, midsize five-passenger luxury sedan offers a choice of turbocharged engines, part-time all-wheel drive (AWD), standard leather upholstery across the lineup, and a respectable 18 cubic feet of trunk space. Upper-level 9-5 trims also offer Saab’s new Drivesense driver-adaptable suspension, which allows the choice of Comfort, Sport, or Intelligent mode. Standard creature comforts are plentiful, as are a boatload of safety features. All this is loaded onto GM’s Epsilon II platform, making this top-shelf sedan a considerably larger automobile than many Saab owners are used to, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The 2011 9-5 will debut in early 2010 with the flagship Aero XWD trim leading the way. Expected to follow shortly are the base Turbo4, lower midlevel Turbo4 Premium, and the higher midlevel Turbo6 XWD. Competition, meanwhile, is fierce and includes the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Acura RL, Audi A6, and Lexus GS 350, among others. The 9-5 obviously has its work cut out for it.

For 2011, the 9-5 offers the choice of either a turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine (I4) or V6 turbo powerplant. The 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 is delivered with the front-wheel-drive-only (FWD) Turbo4 and Turbo4 Premium trims, and puts out 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. These ponies are managed by a standard six-speed manual transmission in the Turbo4 and a six-speed auto-manual in the Turbo4 Premium. Of course, the auto-manual transmission can be selected as an option with the base Turbo4, as well. Mileage figures are unavailable for the I4 as yet, but don’t expect Prius-like fuel efficiency. Moving up to the 9-5 Turbo6 XWD and Aero XWD, expect the standard 2.8-liter turbocharged V6 to deliver 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, again with a six-speed auto-manual transmission in both trims. The 9-5’s XWD system is actually full-time AWD that throws 60% of torque to the rear wheels under normal conditions. When slippage is detected in the either of the rear wheels, XWD transfers added torque to the wheel with the most grip. The XWD configuration is designed to mitigate under-steer and help drivers regain control should the 9-5 go into a skid.

Appearance, comfort, and convenience features abound in the 2011 9-5, with the base Turbo4 offering standard 17-inch alloy wheels, leather-trimmed seats, dual-zone climate control, telescoping tilt-wheel steering with mounted audio and cruise controls, remote keyless entry, power windows, door locks, and heated mirrors, OnStar Directions and Connections, universal remote garage door opener, leather and alloy steering wheel and dashboard accents, cooled glovebox, single-CD player with nine speakers and XM satellite radio, Bluetooth technology, and a USB connection. The Turbo4 Premium, meanwhile, adds 18-inch alloy wheels, remote engine start, power-folding outside mirrors, and a power moonroof, all standard. Moving up to the Turbo6 XWD means standard headlight washers and added satellite radio service, while the Aero XWD throws in standard perforated leather upholstery, unique Aero appliqués and emblems, sport pedals and steering wheel, and upgraded cabin accents.

Options are mainly confined to the Turbo4 Premium and above trims, and include Harman Kardon surround sound audio, DVD navigation, 40GB music storage capacity, rear-seat DVD entertainment, and tri-zone climate control, with the Aero XWD additionally offering available 19-inch, 11-spoke aluminum wheels and a ventilated driver’s seat.

Safety features for the 2011 9-5 include four-wheel ABS, traction control, Saab’s Electronic Stability Program (ESP), dual front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, front and rear parking sensors, turn-signal-integrated mirrors, front fog/driving lights, and remote anti-theft alarm. Optional safety equipment for the Turbo4 Premium and above includes a head-up display, lane departure warning system, and self-leveling headlights.

With the next-generation 2011 9-5, Saab, once a subsidiary of the ailing GM Corporation and now owned by Stryker Motors, hopes to reinvent its ebbing image. Time will tell if this massively updated sedan will do the job.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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Saab 9-5 Questions


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