Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • Midsize Sedan Buyer's Guide
  • 10 Best Sedans Under $25,000
  • Compact Car Buyer's Guide
  • 10 Best Luxury Cars Under $35,000
Go

2011 Saab 9-5

Overview
Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2011 Saab 9-5 Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 6.2

When General Motors faced bankruptcy in 2009 and was forced to shed half its eight U.S. brands, Sweden-based Saab – acquired by GM years ago – was one that had to go. When early efforts to sell the company failed, it entered the Swedish version of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, suspended operations and went into liquidation. But then tiny Dutch exotic sports-car maker Spyker stepped in and bought the proud "Born from Jets" brand and all its assets, with financing from the Swedish government and European investment banks. Saab then resumed operations as an independent automaker with its own design, engineering and state-of-the-art manufacturing, and is again building mid-size 9-3 models while ramping up production of this larger all-new 9-5 luxury sedan.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you have owned and enjoyed Saab cars in the past, you should love this new and best-ever 2011 Saab 9-5. It's distinctive outside, quiet, luxurious and roomy inside, and strikes an excellent balance of performance and fuel efficiency for its size.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Saab is hardly a mainstream brand...you might have to explain why you chose it. Instead, you might prefer a similar-size Audi A6, Lincoln MKS, Volvo S80, or maybe the more affordable Buick LaCrosse - with which the Saab 9-5 shares its underpinnings.

What's Significant About This Car?

Although Saab's first post-GM product was actually designed and engineered under GM ownership, is based on GM's Epsilon II global architecture and is powered by GM-developed turbocharged V6 and four-cylinder engines, it's nevertheless strong on distinctive Swedish design and driving character.

Driving the 9-5

Driving Impressions Saabs are typically fun-handling cars, and the 9-5 turbo-four models are dynamically the best-ever. Steering is crisp and responsive and braking is reliably strong. The suspension takes a set and...

holds on through tight and faster curves, while XWD – Saab's advanced, corner-to-corner all-wheel-drive system, standard with the turbo V6 – eliminates annoying front-wheel-drive torque steer. Each engine comes with its own specific suspension and calibration and an available sport chassis setting. Saab "DriveSense" (standard on the Aero XWD) adaptive chassis control varies shock rates, steering feel, shift points, throttle response and front-to-rear torque distribution with a choice of Comfort, Sport and Intelligent settings. We sampled all three powertrains on a test track and on public roads and found the turbo V6 strong but the turbo four with the manual transmission more fun to drive.

XWD
Saab's advanced, highly effective corner-to-corner all-wheel-drive system helps the 9-5 better convert power into momentum.

DriveSense
The 2011 Saab 9-5 Aero XWD's adaptive chassis system varies shock rates, steering, shift points, throttle response and front-to-rear torque distribution with Comfort, Sport and Intelligent settings.

2011 Saab 9-5 Details
2011 Saab 9-5 photo Interior

Inside its quiet, spacious, tastefully-crafted cabin are more traditional Saab shapes echoing the exterior design. Legroom is increased front and rear vs. the previous 9-5, and the interior materials, fit and finish, and tactile quality of the controls all have a premium feel. The large center console sweeps up into a display of deeply-recessed dials, where the crisp, floating displays are illuminated in signature Saab green and a rolling altimeter-like speed meter alludes to Saab's aviation heritage. Between the front seats, where Saab ignition switches have traditionally lived, is a start/stop button.

Exterior
2011 Saab 9-5 photo

This new 2011 9-5 brings traditional Saab styling cues thoroughly up to date. Its face is defined by a forward-looking take on the traditional Saab grille, and its upper proportions are reminiscent of the iconic Saab 900 of the 1980s. Its entire "greenhouse," with its pillars subtly blacked out, looks almost like a single wraparound piece of glass. Its falling roofline blends into its rear pillars, and below its smooth rear deck is a full-width light-bar with LED signature lighting. Additional Saab cues are its "hockey-stick" beltline and the smooth surfacing of its body sides. Its aerodynamic drag coefficient is a very slick 0.28.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base 2011 Saab 9-5 Turbo4 comes with a full complement of features, including a leather-trimmed interior, power front seats with driver-side memory, keyless ignition, dual-zone climate control, nine-speaker audio system, USB and aux inputs, Bluetooth, XM Satellite Radio, power heated outside mirror, and fog lamps front and rear. Standard safety features include Electronic Stability Program (ESP), traction control, OnStar Safety and Security, active head restraints, six airbags, and breakaway pedals.

Optional Equipment

The Saab 9-5 Turbo4 Premium, Turbo6 XWD and top-of-the-line Aero XWD models add progressively more features including 18-inch wheels, Bi-Xenon headlamps, panoramic power moonroof, power-folding and auto-dimming outside mirror, keyless entry, remote start, and front/rear park assist. Most options are grouped into packages, including a Technology Package (head-up display, lane departure warning, advanced park assist) and a Rear-Passenger Package (tri-zone climate control, rear-seat audio and DVD video). Stand-alone options are a navigation radio with hard-disk drive and premium 11-speaker Harman/kardon audio, plus (for the Aero only) summer performance tires on 19-inch alloy wheels and ventilated front seats.

Under the Hood

Saab has been turbocharging engines for more than 30 years, so the new 2011 9-5's all-turbo line-up comes as no surprise. Top-of-the-line Aero models are powered by the 300-horsepower 2.8-liter twin-scroll turbocharged VVT (variable valve timing) DOHC 24-valve aluminum V6 mated to a six-speed automatic (with manual shift capability) and XWD. Lower-priced two-wheel drive models get a flex-fuel (gasoline or E85) 220-hp 2.0-liter direct-injected VVT DOHC 16-valve aluminum turbo four with the of a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transaxle.

2.0-liter Turbocharged four
220 horsepower @ 5300 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A

2.8-liter Turbocharged V6
300 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
295 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/27

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2011 Saab 9-5 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 49 Ratings for the 2010 - 2011 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

Fun comfortable head turner

By on Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "fun to drive and spacious"

Cons: "backseat passengers hit their head on the way in."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Very hot ride that is a joy every morning on the way to work. Over 50% of mileage on long trips. Very comfy. Twice the officers that pulled me over said 'Have a nice day and Love your car'"

7 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Best car Saab ever made. Power, smooth, luxurious

By on Friday, July 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great value/price, powerful and responsive"

Cons: "none"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is the best car Saab ever made (and I should know, I have had 12). It drives beautifully, has loads of tech and comfort details. The Turbo-V6 is wonderfully powerful. I haven't found one thing to complain about. I traded a 2006 BMW M5 for this car and am very glad I did."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Love this car

By on Thursday, March 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive and comfortable for long road trips"

Cons: "Wish it had heated steering wheel"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Great car - wish they could have stuck around to make more. Car is excellent on acceleration and handling. Very comfortable even on long drive. Great styling and a very functional interior package."

1 person out of 4 found this review helpful

Best Car I have ever owned 2010 Saab Aero

By on Sunday, March 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Beautiful, handles great, lux performer"

Cons: "transmission doesnt downshift quick enough"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have owned Mercedes, BMW, Infiniti, and several Saabs. This blows them all away. The styling is just perfect. Tested in intelligent mode, the car mags got this 4500 lb car to pull the same g's on the skidpad as the BMW 3 series. It handles like a dream. Rides awesome in intelligent, but I like comfort for interstate trips. Only knock is the transmission doesnt remember your favorite settings( I like sport shift with regular suspension and steering), so reverts back to intelligent each time. I have the Aero, without sunroof(due to it being 2010 model) and wouldnt change it. Have had some minor issues, but very reliable, great amount of power, and just gorgeous."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Fun to drive

By on Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,200

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Have owned for 2.5 years and have really enjoyed driving it on all kinds of highways from interstate to mountainous winding roads. The turbo charged engine makes all the difference. Even get decent mileage from 18 to 20 around town to about 25 on the road."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Fun to drive and comfortable too

By on Tuesday, January 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Style and performance"

Cons: "A few minor creature comforts missing compared to"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Overall has been a great value. Only minor problems since purchased. Too bad Saab went belly up before this car was given its due reviews."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?