Friday, September 7, 2018

2011 Saab 9-5 - The Last Model From A Once Great Brand

I still find it hard to believe Saab is gone. For so many years they were commonplace here in New England. They were front wheel drive and had heated seats before those were common. Perfect for New England winters. They were technologically advanced, but relatively simple to work on. They were safe. With routine maintenance, they were reliable. Best of all, they had personality and a unique style. You would never mistake a Saab for anything else.

I could go on forever about Saab's demise and why they shouldn't have died, but I won't. (For now.) Saab is gone. They are not coming back. The once commonplace cars are now few and far between.

General Motors - which bought 50% of Saab in 1989 and the rest in 2000 - made mistakes. The NG900, which replaced the original 900 and was the first Saab developed by GM / Saab, was underdeveloped, though it wasn't a horrible car. The 9-3 SS which replaced it in 2003 was much better. It looked like GM was starting to figure out what Saabs were all about.

Nothing points that out more than this car, the 9-5 NG. Introduced in 2010, it replaced the original 9-5, which had been around since 1998. It was all new. It was beautiful. It was fun to drive. It could be had with AWD (although, at least in the US, that meant having an automatic transmission). It is everything Saab's top of the line sedan should be.

Ironically, despite developing it and basically getting it right, GM never got to sell this car. By the time it hit the showrooms, GM had sold Saab to Spyker. Spyker, which built some very cool high performance cars, didn't have the cash to keep Saab afloat and after just two years, Saab was for all intents and purposes, done.

Just over 11,000 9-5s were built between 2010 and 2011. Around 2300 made their way to the US.

This one is a relatively rare manual transmission car. It has 104K on it. The owner, who has also posted this car on a Facebook group, seems to have taken very good care of it.

Taking care of a Saab is not as difficult as you may think. No, you can't bring it to a Saab dealer, but there are plenty of indie shops (some are former dealers) who can service it. If you're a DIY type of person, Saab is still selling new parts and there are many aftermarket suppliers. There are a few good, active, Saab forums online and the members are usually willing to help you out with any problems you may encounter.

The asking price for this car is $10,000. Yes, there are a lot of cars out there in that price range. But for that price you'll be hard pressed to find a car that combines the looks, performance and uniqueness of the Saab 9-5.

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