Entry-level 9-5 is spacious, sophisticated in looks and has a fine cockpit

What is it?

This car is the UK market entry-level Saab 9-5, the model that needs to crack open the hard-fought corporate market for premium executive cars.

This car is priced to within a few hundred pounds of the entry-level 170bhp diesel Audi A6, but offers a slightly plusher spec (heated seats and front and rear parking sensors are standard) and a bit more space.

After struggling for years with the ancient first-generation 9-5, Saab is looking for conquest sales of all premium brand owners Audi drivers are thought to be the most likely to switch to Saab ownership.

It’s powered by the 2.0-litre, 157bhp, turbodiesel engine familiar from the Vauxhall Insignia, but the motor has undergone extensive changes to improve the below-par refinement.

Saab’s engineers have added extra insulation behind the dashboard and sound deadening in the oil pan as well changing the fuel pump’s mounting bracket.

Changes have also been made to the scissor gears (which work between the two camshafts) and the offset of the piston pins have been tweaked. Finally, the engine’s air intake system has been further isolated from the body structure.

What's it like?

The result is a significant improvement over the installation of the engine in the Vauxhall. Although it doesn’t match the refinement of Volkswagen’s CRD oil-burner, in any situation other than all-out acceleration it is relatively muted.

Saab has also tweaked the mapping of the electronic throttle, which helps deliver a most satisfying swell of engine torque. Combined with the slick gearshift and clutch action, it’s quite rewarding to row the 9-5 around on the mid-range surge.

Although this 9-5 uses the same MacPherson strut and multi-link set-up as the Insignia, Saab engineers have specified their own springs, dampers, bushes and anti-roll bars. One of the biggest improvements are new top mounts for the front struts which greatly reduce the amount of vibration and harshness that is fed through to the steering wheel rim.

Should I buy one?

Perhaps the best way of summing up the car up is this. Imagine it’s the end of a long week, it’s raining hard and you are 150 miles away from home. This 9-5 would be a great way to do the journey.

It’s quiet, has a smooth, loping gait, decent performance and is fine place to sit over long hours.

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hyf 8 June 2010

Re: Saab 9-5 2.0TiD Vector SE

It is good to see a car different to the German masses. It has good looks, pricing and specification. Also as with all SAABs it is very comfortable for long journeys. Let us hope potential customers try it and buy. The estate should be a very interesting proposition.

I have a 93 sw which is superb. The dealer service is most friendly and efficient which should allay any fears about service back up compared to some of the stories I hear about other prestige marques these days!

rwb 7 June 2010

Re: Saab 9-5 2.0TiD Vector SE

You know, I really want this car to succeed, but there is an air of failure about it, rather like theresurgence of MG. You want it to succeed but you know it'll be a really big ask.

It'sa bit like the Citroen C6, or before that, the Pug 607 (now hopelessly out of date), and for that matter high end top end cars from mainstream manufacturers (Honda Legend, Toyota Camry, even VW Phaeton)

They all see like a good idea, are all good cars (Pug excepted) and all look good in the magazines and in the metal, BUT would you part with your own hard earned, and if you do, what'll it be worth in 3 years. Half of diddly-squat is my best guess!

As i say, I hope it succeeds, but in terms of an investment (or at least as much as a car can be), not a chance.

giulivo 7 June 2010

Re: Saab 9-5 2.0TiD Vector SE

geed wrote:
As long as the timing belt doesnt snap, the engine doesn't ingest the inlet manifold butterfly's and the Dual Mass Flywheel stays in one piece. relaxing I don't think so.Have you noticed; most diesel Saab owners bite their fingernails....now you know why....GM rubbish dressed up all pretty by the Swedes.

Which is a Fiat Diesel engine to begin with. I was not aware of them being reported as unreliable in Fiat Group or Opel/Saab cars. With all the horror stories heard about VAG Diesel's (failed injectors, failed turbo's, failed particulate filters, excessive oil consumption etc) what's the source of your claims?