The future’s orange for new Saab 9-5

9 Aug, 2006 1:00am Sam Hardy

This orange stunner is the Saab that's going to take the executive class by storm - the new 9-5

The exciting machine will replace the ageing current model, and as you can see from these pictures, it looks a lot like the amazing Aero X concept car, which we tried on the road in Issue 903.

As well as head-turning styling, the next-generation 9-5 should be great to drive. It will be underpinned by an all-new platform from parent company GM - and with a fresh range of turbocharged engines, it's likely to give the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class some tough competition.

But it's the looks that will really get Saab fans hot under the collar. With deep-set headlights, a bold grille and large air intakes, both the saloon and estate feature the aggressive front end that made the Aero X such a star at March's Geneva Motor Show.

The sleek lines are continued in profile, where the rising waistline meets Saab's trademark hockey stick-shaped C-pillar. At the rear, the Aero X's narrow tail-lights are blended with its sporty, black, diffuser-style bumper. Production cars also get alloys that mirror jet engine fans - as on the concept.

Based on GM's Epsilon 2 platform, the 9-5 is likely to grow slightly in size - meaning more space for passengers and their luggage. Meanwhile, interior design will again echo the Aero X, with a dashboard featuring digital, three-dimensional displays projected on to layered glass-effect panels. Thanks to the adaptability of the chassis, the 9-5 will be available in both front-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive form and, in line with the dramatic looks, buyers can expect the driving dynamics to be sportier than ever before.

Engines will come from GM's line-up, with options including a normally aspirated 2.2-litre petrol for entry-level models. Further up the range, there will be a 170bhp 2.0-litre unit and a flagship 250bhp 2.8-litre V6 twin-turbo. Diesel choices come in the form of 150bhp 1.9-litre four-cylinder and 3.0-litre V6 CDTI motors.

Gearboxes will also be sourced from GM, with five and six-speed manual transmissions plus an automatic. However, there is the possibility of a sporty VW DSG-style twin-clutch sequential system - as debuted by the Aero X.

The wraps will finally come off the new 9-5 at a major motor show early in 2007, ahead of its on-sale date later in the year. Prices should start at around £22,000.
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