Mike Stevens | Apr 8, 2011

2011 SAAB 9-5

After more than two years with an uncertain future following its separation from GM, Saab is alive again in Australia with the launch this week of the all-new 2011 9-5 Sedan.

The arrival of the new 9-5 follows the announcement last year that Saab and Holden's GM Premium Brands division had parted ways, leading to the creation of a new wholly-owned Saab Cars Australia.

TMR's Tim O'Brien is attending the launch of the 9-5 Sedan. Watch for his 'first drive' review.


The 9-5 In Australia

Three are three grades in the Australian 9-5 range: two petrol models and one diesel, each fitted with a six-speed automatic transmission only.

Starting at $71,900, the 9-5 range is spearheaded by the turbodiesel Vector TiD4.

Power for the 9-5 Vector TiD4 is provided by a 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that produces 118kW and 350Nm of torque.

Next up is the turbocharged 9-5 Vector Turbo4, producing 162kW and 350Nm of torque. The Aero name is still alive at the top end of the range, with the $94,900 9-5 Aero Turbo6 powered by a 2.8 litre turbocharged V6 that produces 221kW and 400Nm of torque.

The Aero is also equipped with Saab's on-demand XWD all-wheel-drive system as standard, supplied by Haldex and developed further by Saab.

Working in sync with the 9-5's ESC system, the system features an electronically-controlled LSD and uses a Haldex multi-plate clutch to vary torque between the front and rear axles.

The new 9-5 is offered with Saab's DriveSense control system, giving the driver a choice between the default 'Intelligent' mode, along with 'Sport' and 'Comfort' settings - each selectable via a rotary knob next to the gearshift.

In Intelligent mode, the 9-5 adjusts suspension settings to suit the driving style, stiffening dampers, quickening throttle response and reducing steering assistance when needed.

Other driving aids include Variable Effort Steering (VES) which increases or decreases the level of power assistance to the steering: increased when parking or driving at low speeds, decreased when driving at higher speeds.

The 2011 9-5 also offers Advanced Park Assist, using sensors in the front, rear and side and the main instrument display to help the driver determine how to turn the steering during parallel parking.

2010 saab 9 5 04.jpg

In the cabin, the 9-5 features an 8-inch touchscreen navigation and entertainment system, combind with a Harmon/Kardon 5.1 surround sound speaker arrangement.

The system offers AM/FM and CD playback, along with MP3, USB and Bluetooth connectivity - the latter providing hands-free phone functions with voice command and wheel-mounted controls.

On the safety front, the 9-5 carries a 5-Star ANCAP crash safety rating and features active head restraints for the front seats, along with rear side airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners.

Active safety features include Bi-Xenon Smart Beam headlights, a 'Pilot' head-up display, electronic stability control and rear LED brake lights that flash under heavy braking.

For more details and driving impressions, watch for Tim O'Brien's road test review this week.

Note: Photos are of European model. Australian photos to come.

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