Tuesday, June 8, 2010

2010 Saab 9-5 Aero XWD

It's the first new 9-5 since 1997 and a key to Saab's planned resurgence as an independent automaker.

The next-generation Saab 9-5 will compete with a host of midsize luxury sedans, most prominently the Audi A6. Its 111.7-inch wheelbase is nearly identical to the A6's. With a length of 197.2 inches, the 9-5 is longer than just about all its potential competitors, including the A6, the BMW 5-series, the Mercedes-Benz E-class and the Lexus GS.

The 9-5 was ready for launch when a bankrupt General Motors began negotiations to cut loose the Saab brand. The car is based on GM's Epsilon platform, which also provides the foundation for sedans such as the Opel Insignia and the Buick Regal, and its engines and transmissions and are drawn from GM's inventory.

The 9-5 Aero XWD debuts in the United States as a 2010 model, powered by a 2.8-liter VVT V6 with a six-speed automatic and a new all-wheel-drive system developed with Swedish supplier Haldex. The V6 uses a single, dual-scroll turbocharger and generates 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.

In the current fashion, the Aero also features a driver-adjustable electronics package called DriveSense. DriveSense alters steering weight, shock-absorber rates, shift points, throttle map and front-rear power distribution with a single three-option switch. The choices include comfort, sport and intelligent, which automatically adjusts electronic controls according to the driver's inputs.

When it reaches showrooms this July, the 9-5 Aero is expected to retail at a tick less than $50,000. The 2011 9-5 will follow by September, at which point Saab North America will add a four-cylinder, front-drive model starting at less than $40,000.

The base 9-5 gets a 2.0-liter direct-injection turbo four delivering 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, with a standard six-speed manual. All-wheel drive will be optional with the four-cylinder.

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