By KBB.com Editors
Those who demand the sensible interior and firm driving feel of a European sport sedan, but also desire a vehicle not shared by every other premium sedan owner, should consider the 2008 Saab 9-5. Roomy, powerful and one of the few sedans in this segment still offering a manual transmission, the Saab 9-5 holds a strong appeal to purists who shun the overly high-tech approach and flashy styling so pervasive in today's luxury sedans. Available as the 9-5 Sedan or 9-5 SportCombi (the wagon), its Swedish heritage serves it well, excelling in the areas of safety, comfort, fuel economy and performancewithout breaking the bank.
If you think the best things about a European sedan are the powerful yet fuel-efficient turbo engines and the relative exclusivity, you can get both for an affordable price in a 2008 Saab 9-5.
Compared with some other premium European sport sedans, the 2008 Saab 9-5 is neither as premium nor as sporty. The absence of a V6 or V8 engine option may turn off some buyers.
New standard features include the OnStar Safety and Security package, rain-sensing wipers, tire pressure monitoring system and leather sport seats.
Driving Impressions Around town, the Saab 9-5 is responsive, nimble and downright quick, benefiting from a turbocharger that delivers its influence politely but firmly. Predictably, the suspension hasn't been tuned so tightly...that highway ride is anything less than pleasant. Only when you get that rare opportunity to really push the 9-5 through a few good twists and turns does the nose-heavy, front-wheel-drive 9-5 reveal its limitations. Still, even the sportiest sport sedans rarely get taken to task in such a manner, and so the 9-5 is sure to prove plenty entertaining for most.
Cool-climate drivers and passengers will appreciate that front and rear heated seats are included as standard equipment. Those further south might be more interested in the optional ventilated front seats.
Dynamic Workload Manager
In driving situations that might demand heightened concentration, the 9-5 will delay dashboard warning messages and intercept incoming telephone calls to prevent distraction.
A black-themed interior matches your choice of Black or Parchment leather seating with black carpet, black door panels and a black instrument panel. Though the 9-5's interior continues to see improvements, traditionalists can rest easy knowing the center console-mounted ignition key tumbler and three-dimensional grid air vents remain. Dark walnut trim gives way to metallic highlights in the Sport Package. A cooled glove box lets you pack lunch and a drink for the road. The 9-5 Sedan features a conspicuously generous trunk, while the SportCombi's cargo floor includes twin recessed aluminum rails that make it easy to secure loads. Most importantly, front and rear passengers are likely to find both the 9-5 Sedan and the SportCombi plenty roomy and comfortable.Exterior
Newly redesigned in 2006, the 9-5 continues for 2008 relatively unchanged. Gone, for the most part, is the automaker's familiar three-port grille in favor of a face that's more aggressive, yet less distinctive. The design changes up front included a new hood, fenders and a lower fascia. Every 9-5 rides on split-spoke 17-inch wheels.
In addition to a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission, a base Saab 9-5 features leather seating, power moonroof, 200-watt AM/FM audio system with XM Satellite Radio and a six-disc CD changer, automatic dual-zone climate control, tire pressure monitoring system, rain-sensing wipers, OnStar, eight-way power front seats with driver's side-memory, power windows/locks/mirrors, high-pressure headlamp washers, heated front and rear seats and a cooled glove box. Standard safety equipment includes front airbags, head and thorax side-impact airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and electronic stability and traction controls.
The Aero Trim includes a more aggressive suspension, sportier seats and metallic interior trim in place of wood. The Visibility Package includes xenon headlamps, auto-dimming power-folding outside mirrors and rear park assist. Additional stand-alone options include a five-speed automatic transmission, ventilated front seats and a DVD-based navigation system that bumps the six-disc CD changer to the trunk.
The 9-5 is powered by a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine of 250 horsepower. Five-speed manual models benefit from a handy turbocharger overboost function that increases torque output to 273 pounds-feet in bursts of up to 20 seconds, and helps accelerate the 9-5 from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 6.9 seconds, according to Saab. With the automatic transmissionwhich features Normal and Sport modesthe same run takes 7.3 seconds.
2.3-liter in-line 4 Turbocharged
260 horsepower @ 5300 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1900-4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/28 (manual), 17/27 (automatic)
By Norman27 on Thursday, March 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Confort, room, feature, power"
Cons: "Quality, Gas MPG"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Got this 2000 9-5 SE wagon, 1 year ago, used with 71000 miles on it. first day, I changed the 4 tires which improve greatly the ride by eliminating some noises and vibrations and had the timing belt done on the V6($550) . I like the confort, room, power and all features it had. However I did have to perform some typical repairs for those Saabs. First I had to replace the engine mounts (Fronts), fix the blower motor (New brushes), fix the relay for the High beams (to solder a connector in it) and repaired the subwoofer in the trunk (new edge repair kit). As of today, I still have a strong noise in the transmission (wheels bearing?!) after a visit a repair shop, they said it might be from the transmission or CV joint. So there's some flaws on the quality. My car had only 71000 miles and luckily the heater core had been change by the previous owner because that's another 9-5's weakness.MPG= avg.20 So be careful on those issues and avoid this car if your not into mechanic."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Fred Frog on Sunday, February 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,100overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great handling, hi quality for low price"
Cons: "May be hard to find dependable garage?"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"If you are looking for a European luxury car, this one brings great value for the money. I bought mine used from Carmax in 2005 with 14k miles. I was a little worried about electrical or turbo problems, but this vehicle has proven to be rugged. Today I have 78K miles; I have only had to replace wear & tear items: one of the two mufflers, brake pads, tires, wipers. The Arc model has V-6 turbo; press the peddle when in Sport mode and it will push you back in your seat as it takes off. Because it is a V-6 I get about 19 MPG in the city, 22-24 on the highway. Because the car is designed with a low center of gravity, it handles and tracks extremely well. Keep your eye on the speedometer; you may be doing 80 when you think you're doing 60 on a straight stretch of road. Some people are worried about buying a used Saab because of the GM spinoff and subsequent bankruptcy of the independent company. The good news is: 1. Saab parts company, (now called Orio?) was always independent of the manufacturing arm. The parts company was always profitable and continues in business today. 2. This model was manufactured for several years. If you are looking at a 9-5 model 2009 or earlier, parts should be in ready supply. If you find a garage that is familiar with European or Swedish iron you should have no trouble keeping this car in good running condition for many years. The only thing i would change about the car: more supportive side bolsters for the front seats as you drive around corners and ramps."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Mebucko on Thursday, January 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "great handling great excelleration comfort"
Cons: "millage is 24-30 oil issue could have junked it"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I have always loved the SAAB cars. However after i purchased this one, I discovered a serious problem with the oil screen. After driving for a year replacing just the fuel pump, I took down the oil pan and discovered what they were talking about. The convert ions to fix this had been done on the car (not recorded) but there was still gunky issues with the oil pan and screen, not too bad but I had no idea what might have been used before me. after cleaning it all up and replacing the upper motor mount, I now use only top grade synthetic and change every 5,000. I love this car it handles great, good exceleration and deluxe comfort. too bad my wife drives it. HA !"
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By WMassAero on Monday, November 18, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 125,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, VERY fun to drive, comfortable"
Cons: "Premium gas, expensive to fix, lack of cupholders"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Great car. Quirky and quick! Gorgeous to look at. Seats are very comfortable. Interior is extremely well laid out. Good MPG. Expensive to maintain."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Scott on Sunday, November 17, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 137,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Drivers car, decent fuel economy,"
Cons: "expensive to maintain, fuel grade requirement"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Its one heck of a solid built car weighing at 3500+ pounds, but its SOLID as can be for a 2004. Though it is a mechanics special, if you do not know much about cars, do NOT get one of these, some have their issues, others are great. From 2003 to 1998, these cars are Unreliable, and can need much work. 04' and on generally are rock solid, minus the turbo that has a life time of about 150K-200K. These cars do need 89AKI(Fuel grade) or higher due to the high compression engine. Parts are easy to come by, but genuine parts are expensive(but also are the most reliable). If you ignore the CEL(Check Engine Light) You are just building up one large bill. Though if you are willing to take care of its issues, it will reward you with a great driving experience, and not all to bad fuel economy(Im averaging about 23MPG combined on 93AKI). Manuals of this year will ALWAYS get better gas mileage. The auto transmission likes to be ran at less than 3K RPM to get the best fuel economy."
5 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Don on Saturday, November 09, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 99,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "many safety features, nice look"
Cons: "unreliable, very expensive to repair"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought this car for my son. He has only put 15,000 miles on it in four years bringing the mileage up to just under 99,000. We have had to replace the belt tensioner, the motor idler, a blown head gasket, the ignition cassette and now, the motor which just locked up despite having the correct amount of oil. We have been using a Saab only mechanic and he informed us that this just happens sometimes with these cars. Never again. We have 3 other American made cars with over 130,000 miles on each and have spent less on all three than we have on this Saab. I would not recommend this car."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful