2011 Saab 9-5 Turbo4 new car reviews

Saab's latest full-size car is the new-for-2011 9-5.
The interior is built for giants.
Push-button starters might be all the rage, but some traditions do remain.
That big, black thing behind the rear-view mirror bugged us, though.

Better than: Chevrolet Malibu
But not as good as: Saab 900 SPG
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 60.45

The new-for-2011 Saab 9-5 can be called the spiritual successor of the 9000, as the original 9-5 replaced the 900's big brother more than a decade ago. This new one, however, isn't totally unique. Even though GM sold Saab to Spyker in 2010, the new 9-5 is still built on GM's Global Epsilon II platform—just like the Buick LaCrosse and forthcoming 2013 Chevy Malibu.

9-5 buyers have a choice between a turbo 2.0-liter inline four or a turbo V6. Our test car had the four—it’s basically GM's latest Ecotec.

The big news surrounding Saab involves the brand, not necessarily the cars. This was released on September 21, 2011:

Trollhättan, Sweden: Swedish Automobile N.V. (Swan) announces that Saab Automobile AB and its subsidiaries Saab Automobile Powertrain AB and Saab Automobile Tools AB (collectively Saab Automobile) received approval for their proposal for voluntary reorganization from the Court of Appeal in Gothenburg, Sweden today. The purpose of the voluntary reorganization process is to secure short-term stability while simultaneously attracting additional funding, pending the inflow of the equity contributions by Pang Da and Youngman.

The Swedish Company Reorganization Act says that an application shall not be approved unless there is reasonable cause to assume that the purpose of the reorganization will be achieved. In today’s decision, the Court of Appeal has found that such conditions exist, thereby overturning an earlier ruling by the District Court in Vänersborg, Sweden.

As a consequence of the Court of Appeal ruling, Saab Automobile will request for the bankruptcy filings by unions IF Metall, Unionen and Ledarna to be cancelled.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

I honestly don't know if I could spend 40-large on a car from a company that may or may not be around tomorrow. That fact bums me out on a few levels.

However, I'm not sure if Saab's latest is for me. Its good power was mated to a so-so transmission, while the steering felt heavy and exhibited too much torquesteer.

The interior is giant--that's a plus--but some details bugged me. The biggie had to be that black box found behind the rear-view mirror. I'm sure it does something important, but it gave the 9-5 a very claustrophobic feel. I just never got comfortable. Some of the interior bits also felt a bit like Volvo's hand-me-downs.

Final thoughts: What's the depreciation on this thing going to look like? I didn't think it was a stellar car, so I don't see it being in high demand for all but the staunchest Saab fans.

Sorry, Saab. It's been an awesome ride. I really hope this isn't your final act.

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