I’ve just spent the last three days pottering around in the new Saab 9-5. This is one big machine, just nudging over five metres from nose to tail. It’s very wide, too.

The six months I spent in the related Vauxhall Insignia were marked by the difficultly of squeezing into a typical parking space and then trying to get out when the door could only be opened by a few inches.

The 9-5 is based on the long-wheelbase version of GM’s Global Epsilon platform (aimed mainly at the legroom-obsessed Chinese market), which makes it hard to fit into the parking spaces lengthways as well as widthways.

Turning into side roads also takes a bit of extra care because the 9-5 is front-drive. Rear-wheel drive makes it easier to shuffle a long car around the city.

There’s no doubt that the sense of space in the 9-5 cockpit is life-enhancing, but this new Saab must also mark the high point for the ever-expanding girth of mainstream cars.