Saab’s bioethanol-powered 9-5 concept slashes CO2 emissions while raising power output
3 January 2006

The 9-5 Aero is not hardly slow (0-62mph in 6.9secs), but Saab's new 9-5 Aero BioPower concept car cuts that figure down to under 6secs while reducing CO2 emissions by up to 70%.

Due to be unveiled at the Detroit motor show, the new concept car is powered by bioethanol fuel, which is produced from crops or forest residue and is CO2 neutral (it emits the same amount of CO2 that was removed via photosynthesis as the crops grew).

The handy feature of bioethanol is a higher octane rating, allowing higher states of tune from engines such as the potent turbocharged 2.0-litre lump in Saab’s 9-5 - which means a power boost from 260bhp to 310bhp. The Trionic engine management system of the 9-5 allows it to run on petrol only and adjusts engine running after filling up to suit whatever fuel mix is in the tank.

Saab is hoping that an increased emphasis on biofuels will help it in the US market, where bioethanol is more readily available than in Europe and where a million vehicles already use it. Unfortunately bioethanol doesn't help the 9-5’s hefty fuel consumption, or alter the fact that bioethanol remains rare in the UK - it was only introduced a year ago.

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