Long-awaited replacement due to be unveiled at Frankfurt show in September
23 January 2009

This is the all-new Saab 9-5, the long-awaited replacement for the company’s 12-year-old flagship, spied here in testing.

Although there had been rumours that the final development of the car had been put on hold as a result of the global recession, sources say that it is due to be unveiled at the Frankfurt show in September.

Prices for the new 9-5 should kick off at £22,000. There’s no news yet on whether Saab will build a conventional estate version of the new 9-5, though studio sketches of a dramatic fastback version (similar to the Audi A7) have been leaked.

Like the current Saab 9-5, the new car is front-wheel drive, but will have the option of four-wheel drive.

The engine range will be similar to that in the Vauxhall Insignia, though Saab may concentrate more on a range of downsized turbocharged petrol engines, including a frugal 1.6-litre unit.

Few people have seen the 9-5 in its final form, but the first model will be a substantial four-door notchback saloon.

Inside, Saab has reportedly pulled out the styling stops with a dramatic wrap-around interior of far higher quality than anything currently produced by the company.

The 9-5 was originally scheduled to be built at the Opel factory in Russelsheim, Germany, but GM’s plans to give Saab greater independence ahead of a possible sell-off, means production may be moved to Saab’s Trollhattan HQ in Sweden.

Because the 9-5 is based on the same Epsilon 2 chassis that underpins the new Vauxhall Insignia (and many other future GM cars) Saab has invested extra money on the interior and exterior of the 9-5, rather than on bespoke engineering changes.

Previously, Saab substantially modified its base GM-supplied platforms (the current 9-5 shares only 35 per cent of parts with the 1997 Vectra and the current 9-3 was heavily modified from the 2002 Vectra). This added engineering costs and reduced the budget available for the parts of the car the customer could see.

Hilton Holloway

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