Business Car Manager Editor’s Blog: former Saab MD blogs
BRYAN Hatter, a former managing director of Saab with whom I keep in touch, has recently taken delivery of a new Saab 9-5. Bryan has kindly blogged for us before about his cars. He has submitted this report on his latest, the all-new Saab 9-5, the 2.8T XWD Aero (pictured left with car).
Bryan Hatter blogs: “We have done about 500 miles and I can understand some of the What Car? and Autocar criticisms about the ride and amount of wind noise for example, but I feel they were a bit ‘hard’.
“So let’s start there. Our model has 19 inch wheels with 40 profile tyres. It’s perfectly fine on M and A roads and makes it quite responsive, although it is not very forgiving on poor side roads. Actually, my friend’s BMW 520 on run-flats is not much better. Perhaps the moral here is to keep to the standard 45 tyres and/or specify the ‘DriveSense’ option for those who are ride sensitive. I think a bit of UK suspension profiling by Saab would work wonders. Nevertheless, the XWD option gives a great feeling of security and more than offsets the ‘nobbly’ ride around town.
“We don’t have any of the reported wind noise problem and even at motorway speeds the interior is quite serene.
“The fully adjustable seats are more sporty in profile than our old 9-5 Aero and thus the seat cushions are not so wide. My wife is critical about noise and comfort but finds the new seats quite acceptable.
“Take-up by the V6 is very smooth – not as instant as our old Aero and it reminds me of E-Class Mercedes I have driven. Maybe Saab will ‘remap’ the turbos to overcome this.
“The space in the back is amazing – anyone who has a family with adult teenagers could take them across to France with absolutely no problems.
“My wife and I soon got used to the size – the styling, especially the rear, is excellent and it does look very impressive. On our first day out, a Saab owner came up to us and said he was waiting for the new estate to be released!
“What else? I do like the 10gb Hard Drive. So I have downloaded our iPod (but please note that you must first download your music onto a memory stick and then transfer from the stick to the HDD).
“We both rate the Head Up Display (HUD) – contrary to my original concerns, it’s great to have the speed reminder in front of you. It shows which gear is engaged in manual mode and gives an instant audio-visual reminder when parking.
“The steering wheel gear shifters are more natural to use now they have lower paddles as well as under the centre spoke.
“For those who park on a slope, the electronic parking brake is a cinch to release on a hill – just engage D and drive away – no rollback!
“Anyway, it’s certainly enough to keep us going until new owner Spyker updates the whole of the range – it’s great to have a real ‘product’ man in the driving seat!”