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 saabbodylikeyou on Thursday, July 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 190,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, nice sound system, turbo!, big trunk"
Cons: "small cupholder. could get better mileage."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Fun to drive. turbo is nice. cupholder is too small. leather is always nice. could get better mileage but for a 2005 with a turbo its not unreasonable. was reliable for me. handles really well. roomy. good car for vacations and road trips. big trunk. great sound system. nice stock bass. horn is pretty feminine sounding. saab could put a little more effort into changing the aesthetics of their models. all the same basically, but hey thats what sets them apart. overall decent car that holds up for a long time. just be wary of mechanics being in your area that know how to work on them."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By RSingh on Monday, July 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The 3.0t is a wonderful car. Fun to drive. Very nimble. Air-cooled seats, handling, drivability, manouveability, utility, roomy wagon, power - can't beat it. Trouble spots - sensors. Mostly was around 60,000 miles."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By SaabJockey55 on Friday, June 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "A True European Luxury Sport Sedan"
Cons: "Never appreciated by General Motor's."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Coming from a family that purchased its 1st Saab in 1979 as a 3-door hatchback 900T, we have had as many as 7-Saab's amongst my parent's & siblings all at one time. My parent's had a Saab 3-dr 900 that was dad's, mom a 900 sedan and we had a volvo 240 DL wagon my senior year in high school. My father gave me the '79 900T as my college completion gesture and replaced it with a 1986 900S sedan, and my brother received our mom's '87 900 as his college completion gesture, and mom got a 1992 9000 CSE 5-door hatch. Fast forward to 2009, I purchased this 9-5 Aero as a dealer demo with 700-mi on it and added a 7/70k extended warr. to protect any harshness damage from demo use by dealer staff, as history taught use Saabs did need to be broken in over their 1st 2000 miles, with minimal high rpm use during this segment of miles/time. I have 2-2009 9-5 Aero sedan's as its the end of their body style life as well as the companies end is months away, 24-mo or less. I have a few special model that I have acquired over the yrs., and this 2009 9-5 Aero has under 15Kmi, while the other '09 Aero was never titled and has just under 300-mi on it. I have 3-900T SPG's years 85,87 & 89, and 2-1989 900T sedan's as it was the final year of the 900T sedan in that body style. We also have 2-1993 900T special edition 3-door hatch backs. I am a Saab enthusiast, and will always enjoy their uniqueness, for people either loved them or hated them. We now drive Volvo's as our primary SUV, a XC90 with the 6-cyl & a XC90 with the 8-cyl that we tow a boat with. Both are awd, one being oyster grey & the other willow green. Still seeking a 2011 Saab 9-4x that was not titled but are having some difficulty finding with under 300mi. **The Saab 9-5 that took the place of the 9000, is a great sedan that was targeted at driver's 50 & up, but with the Aero Trim, a whole different market was attracted. Still will always cherish the original Saab 96 which became the 900 in 1979, and the 1980's 9000 Turbo's, and the 2006-2009 9-5's. If you find or come across a 2009 9-5 with under 60k miles, grab it, its just getting broken in. They run 3-500K miles with regular maintenance. Plus prior to their demise, if your Saab reached 1,000,000 you got a brand new one free of charge along with a great article published about your story. You had to be the original owner and bought it new. There have been 2-3 in the North East who have benefitted from this level of accomplishment."
6 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Dyllon on Thursday, June 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 82,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Way under priced, nice car"
Cons: "SAAB went bankrupt, limited parts for repairs."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I was amazed at how much this car feels like an expensive touring car. It has great pick up when you mash the pedal, more than great, its actually fast for how big it is. Its very comfortable,especially if its fully loaded like mine. Im especially fond of the heated seats in the winter time. The audio system is top notch as well. I could nit pick at several minor things that have torn up with so little mileage but theyve been relatively cheap to fix. The headlights seem to be a problem with this model. Seems like I change em every few months. The very bad side to this vehicle is the fact that SAAB has went bankrupt so parts are limited. On the bright side you can own a $38000.00 dlr car for next to nothing. I love it......."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Kitty on Wednesday, May 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Nice car! Easy to drive! I had to change the alternator, the battery, some filters, the elevator from a window...no problem on finding parts, not expensive. Sits very well on the road. Good mileage on the hwy."
5 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Tinman on Wednesday, May 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 160,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "sport suspension, manual, 250hp equal fun to drive"
Cons: "only 1 real front cup holder"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"-Very good car -Excellent rust protection (except trap between rear wheel and door) -Original paint was excellent and still looks great -Full leather seats comfortable and look great -A lot of minor features are standard- electronic dimming on rear view mirrors, rain sensing wipers, auto shutoff of all lights so you can't run down battery accidently, extra ground lighting when doors are opened, hard/foldable cover for rear cargo area"
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful