Tony O'Kane | Aug 4, 2010

SAAB 9-5

Unveiled at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show, the upcoming Saab 9-5 is back in the press this week thanks to a new video that sees Saab design boss Jason Castriota detailing the jet fighter-inspired design aspects of the new 9-5.

While Castriota is only a recent addition to the Saab team and was not around for the design of the new 9-5, his knowledge of the large sedan's design language is clear - if perhaps reinterpreted into his vision of future Saab models.

Coming from previous postings at Bertone and Pinfinfarina, the Italian-American Castriota's first project at Saab will be the new 9-3 small sedan, expected to debut in 2012.

The video follows details that surfaced early last month, outlining the technical specifications of the reborn sedan.

Saab's first all-new large sedan in 13 years has been a long-time coming, mired for some time by an uncertain future. That changed with the announcement that the niche carmaker Spyker had closed the deal to purchase the ailing carmaker from owner General Motors.

In March, Saab restarted production at its Trollhattan plant. Spyker and Saab CEO Victor Muller has acknowledged in the past that in order to break even on the 9-5, the company will need to sell approximately 50,000 cars globally.

Speaking with Reuters recently, Saab's global sales boss Adrian Hallmark said that Saab and Spyker are together in the process of buying out or taking over distribution around the world, including that currently held in Australia by Holden under the GM Premium Brands banner.

While the 9-5 is likely to make its way to local showrooms at some point, there is currently no word on precisely what the future holds for the brand's Australian presence.

While Saab had released limited details on the new 9-5's specifications earlier this year, this week's information leak - uncovered by website gminsidenews (a website devoted to Saab's previous owner) - offers the greatest insight yet into the first model from the 'new Saab'.

According to the documents, which come directly from GM, show that four variants of the new 9-5 will be offered in the US, named Turbo4, Turbo4 Premium, Turbo6 and Aero XWD.

A 164kW 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol four kicks things off in the petrol range, and a 2.8 litre V6 will be the range-topper, delivering 224kW and 400Nm of torque thanks to a pair of turbochargers.

In Europe, the 9-5 range will begin with a 119kW 2.0 litre turbo-diesel four, although a 1.6 litre petrol turbo engine will become the new base powertrain when it arrives sometime after the model's launch.

Further down the track, an E85-compatible BioPower variant of the 2.0 litre petrol motor will be added to the range.

Depending on the region, All 9-5 models will come with a six-speed automatic transmission; although the documents show that the US range will see the Turbo4 will feature a manual transmission as standard.

The 2.0 litre and 2.8 litre petrol engines will be available with Saab's XWD all-wheel-drive drivetrain, with the V6 featuring XWD as standard.

On the suspension front, the six-cylinder Turbo6 and Aero XWD models will be offered with a HiPer Strut arrangement, with the Aero XWD being offered with a special suspension package dubbed 'F45', which sees continuously-variable, real-time damping suspension added.

The four-cylinder models are fitted with standard MacPherson type struts. The entry-level Turbo4 gets 17-inch alloy wheels as standard, while the Turbo4 Premium and Turbo6 are both fitted with 18x8-inch wheels featuring a 14-spoke 'turbine' design.

The Aero XWD also gets 18x8-inch wheels, albeit with a split five-spoke design.

Options include a heads-up display for the driver, an eight-inch touchscreen sat-nav unit incorporating a 10GB harddrive for music storage, a premium Harman Kardon sound system and seatback-mounted DVD screens for the rear passengers.

[video via]

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