You could forgive anyone searching for an executive express if they forgot to check out Saab’s offerings. The Swedish brand dropped off the radar in recent times, as the previous 9-5 was 13 years old when its successor arrived in 2010. However, the potent new Aero flagship aims to reignite enthusiasm for the quirky brand.
It’s not short on firepower, with a 296bhp 2.8-litre V6 turbo. And a combination of distinctive styling and impressive cabin space means it is sure to improve on its predecessor. State-of-the-art technologies such as a head-up display and electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system also consolidate the maker’s claim that this is the most advanced car it has built.
The Saab has picked one hell of a fight, though, as the Mercedes E350 Sport has a proven pedigree. The German brand has been making top-notch executive models for decades, and the rear-wheel-
drive chassis, seven-speed auto and adaptive damping make the E-Class an intimidating foe.
So, will the Saab back up its bluster, or will the Aero be grounded by the three-pointed star?
Pitching any newcomer against a car with the heritage of the E-Class is a tough ask – but if you thought the result of this test would be a forgone conclusion, you’d be wrong.
Saab’s new 9-5 flagship provides incredible value for money, with an advanced four-wheel-drive system, more power and torque than the Mercedes, plus a distinctive and roomy cabin. The bad news for the firm’s bosses is that it narrowly fails to make the grade against its illustrious rival – and its poor resale values and thirsty engine are the main culprits.
The current E-Class is a polished executive saloon which comes with unrivalled prestige. And its 3.5-litre engine, rear-wheel-drive chassis and smooth seven-speed gearbox provide the basis for a winning package here. The Mercedes is the safe option, and executive car buyers aren’t renowned for taking risks...