I received my 2011 9-5 Laser Red Aero today. It is visually different from anything on the road and IMHO signals the beginning of a new era for Saab. I have been fortunate to own several high end Audi, BMW, and Mercedes automobiles. When shopping for a car this time I wanted something different from those (excellent) German vehicles. The 2011 9-5 is beautifully made and a very tasteful exercise in restraint. Having recently traded in my A8L it is nice to have a break from chrome and wood. The 9-5 feels very secure on the road and the 2.8L provides more than adequate performance. The pot holed B roads in New England do not break the cars composure even with the optional 19" wheels.
First, I must admit that I'm a Saabophile who is now on his eighth Saab. I've owned a Saab since 1988. By far this is the best Saab since my 1984 900 Turbo. The car is very quiet and comfortable. Plus, the amenities abound and make this a good bargain for the price. I love the exterior looks of the vehicle and I've gotten a number of compliments from complete strangers.
I have had this car now for 3 weeks and so far it has been a pleasure to drive. I haven't see any others on the road, so it's nice to drive something unique. Handling is responsive, power is adequate and the interior is both comfortable and stylish. Gas mileage is better than rated as well. I'm averaging about 21 in town and have gotten 31 on a recent highway trip of about 100 miles.
Bought my 2011 9-5 Aero over 4 years ago and have enjoyed it very much. This is not my daily driver, that is a 2010 Saab 9-3 sport-combi manual (yes manual) wagon. Both of these have been flawless. I bought the 9-5 Aero new for $33,000 with an extended warranty that was never used. The only expense was a $65 sensor, which was readily available from GM. I use this car primarily for road trips and do enjoy driving it. I like the aggressive stance, and enjoy the comfort of the car. I figure if I sold it now for even 15k it would still have cost me less than many other cars in terms of depreciation. Not for everyone, but I like that I don't have to turn a knob or click an icon to change a radio station. My wife's Audi is a pain to operate. The Saab is simple to operate, maybe primitive in today's world, but perfectly fine for me.
My black 9-5 with the Turbo4 premium 18" wheels is just beautiful. Much better looking than the A6 or the new 5 series. And, unlike the A6, 9-5 can be had with a 6 speed manual. It's a big, rock-solid car with lots of sport: firm suspension, good steering. It drives much smaller than it is. On the highway the car is buttoned down and whisper quiet. Saab offers a factory authorized power upgrade that brings torque to 300 ft/lbs. Also, car has tons of tech in cabin and engine has the fancy upgrades: direct injection and twin scroll turbo, so 33 mpg HWY so far. Needless to say I am extremely happy!
Navigation Radio With 8-Inch Color Screen ($2,395); Technology Package ($1,695 -- includes adaptive bi-xenon headlights, parking sensors, head-up display and lane-departure warning system); 19-Inch Wheels and Summer Tires ($750).
Turbocharged, port-injected V6
2,792cc (170 cu-in)
DOHC, four valves per cylinder, variable intake-valve timing
Compression ration (x:1)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
300 @ 5,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
295 @ 2,000
Six-speed automatic with console shifter and steering-mounted paddles with sport/competition modes
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
Highly responsive to pedal overlap at the start. Remarkably linear power delivery and smooth upshifts. Manual shifts are too delayed to be of use here. Obviously with AWD, there was no chance of wheelspin.
Excellent consistency and despite 58 percent front weight bias, remarkable flat cornering attitude. Medium/firm pedal and no fade whatsoever.
Skid pad: Excellent balance with very mild understeer -- I assume there's some power being shifted around, but I couldn't sense it at all. It just goes where it's pointed without drama. Also, couldn't detect any interference from ESC-on laps. Slalom: Trustworthy, crisp turn-in, takes a set quickly and transitions as well. Again, very neutral behavior but for the last two cones where it began to understeer mildly so I stood on the gas, which helped the front tires pull the car past the timing lights. This is a well-sorted chassis and all-wheel-drive system.