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Saab 9-5 Estate engines, drive and performance

2005 - 2010 (change model)
Performance rating: 3.5 out of 53.5

Written by David Ross Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

Saab has carried over its range of petrol engines to this new model and as before all the engines are turbocharged for strong performance. The 2.0t is the entry-level model and although its power output of 150bhp may only seem modest, it provides decent performance and a 0-60mph time of 9.6 seconds on manual versions. For more power there is a 2.3-litre engine which is available with 210bhp while this engine is also used for the top of the range Aero models – but with power boosted to 260bhp.

This is enough to allow the manual Aero saloon to reach 60mph from rest in just 6.9 seconds. However, the effect of the pulling power in the mid range is better illustrated by its ability to accelerate from 35mph to 60mph in fourth gear in 6.9 seconds. Considering the power available, it’s not too thirsty with average fuel economy of 32mpg. BioPower versions of the 2.0t and 2.3t engine are also available which can run on petrol and/or bioethanol E85.

They offer more power and better performance than the standard petrol equivalents, however bioethanol fuel is only available at a handful of filling stations in the UK. Surprisingly there’s only one diesel engine available – a 1.9-litre TiD that’s also used in the Saab 9-3 range. It delivers 150bhp and good pulling power from low down. It’s not the most refined of diesels but is economical (42mpg on average) and 0-60mph takes a respectable 10.4 seconds.

All models come with a five-speed manual gearbox while a five-speed automatic is optional.

Extensive improvements and modifications have been made to this 9-5 and the result is a better handling car. Heavier duty parts from the previous 9-5 Aero have been used across the range to reduce body roll in corners and improve steering feel. It’s better than the older version, but while competent and comfortable, it rarely excites. It remains a great long-distance traveller though and offers greater ride comfort than many alternatives from Audi, BMW and Volvo.

A sports chassis upgrade is available on all but the Aero model, which has it as standard.