The Swedes are often considered to be a quiet and subtle nation, although anyone who’s spent an evening at the Cafe Opera in Stockholm might disagree. Nevertheless Saab has caught us a little by surprise with their new 9-5, sneaking up quietly prior to its first showing at next month’s Frankfurt Show.

Saab describe their new 9-5 as representing the dawn of a new era for the brand – well let’s hope so, Saab has been sitting in the shadow of other brands for far too long, with the 9-5 feeling far more like a rehashed version of its GM stablemate rather than the individual and quirky car that it used to be.

“Sleek, sophisticated and unmistakably Saab”, is how it is described in Saab’s press release, “bringing a fresh, alternative choice to the premium saloon segment when it goes on sale in 2010”.

It’s certainly packed with features from its head-up information display (HUD); adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control; Saab’s DriveSense adaptive chassis with real-time damping control; keyless entry and starting; dual-zone climate control; dynamic parking assistance, and the option of Saab’s four-wheel drive system together with ESP.

The all-turbo powertrain line-up is the broadest ever offered by Saab, comprising four and six cylinder engines. There is a choice of three fuels – petrol, diesel and E85 bioethanol – and with diesel power, the new 9-5 offers CO2 emissions as low as 139 g/km.

On the road

An array of chassis technology is focused on delivering a sporty driving experience and Saab’s XWD all-wheel-drive system that is already available on the Saab 9-3, is offered at launch with the 2.0-litre turbo and 2.8V6 turbo engines. Available throughout the range are: adaptive chassis control, with driver settings selected through Saab DriveSense; Bi-Xenon Smart Beam adaptive headlights and adaptive cruise control. Three different suspension layouts are fitted according to engine power and all are available with a sport chassis setting.

At launch, the four-cylinder diesel comprises a 160 hp, 2.0-litre turbo engine with CO2 emissions of just 139g/km and the 2.0-litre petrol turbo engine develops 220bhp. A top-of-the-range 2.8 V6 turbo, generating 300hp and 400Nm of torque, is offered exclusively with Saab XWD.

Shortly after launch, a 1.6-litre petrol turbo with 180hp will be introduced, together with a 2.0-litre BioPower E85 engine. All transmissions will be six-speed.

Engineered and built at Saab’s home plant in Trollhättan, Saab will be hoping that the new 9-5 represents not just a new era for their brand, but also a lifeline that will allow the Swedish car maker to start capturing the interest of a new generation of car buyer.

Saab 9-5 Saab 9-5

Saab 9-5 Saab 9-5

Saab 9-5 Saab 9-5