I spotted this newcomer to our town the other morning while dropping something off at the USPS’s outpost at my local market and decided to lean in for a little closer look…This very pale-skinned Scandinavian has apparently recently relocated to our overheated climate, judging by our state’s newer alpha-numeric layout on its license plates. For the last several years a silvery version of its brethren has graced our roads but I haven’t spotted that one in some time, come to think of it.
Of course, spotting any of these isn’t an everyday occurrence, with only 3,419 sold in the U.S. of a total of 11,280 produced during the 2010-2011 model years before Saab met its demise. While we usually really only consider cars over 20 years or so eligible as true Curbside Classics, perhaps we can issue a minor decree that would include those vehicles from defunct automakers, no matter how recent? After all, they aren’t making any more, never will, and there obviously isn’t/won’t be a replacement model either.
Update – According to a commenter below this is a 2010 as it does not feature a sunroof. Apparently there was a certification issue regarding it at the time and Saab decided to press ahead without the sunroof for 2010. This is said to have affected 600 vehicles, making this one a member of an even more select subset and thus indicating that there were 600 sold for 2010. The Arctic White color is also a very unusual choice, especially on an Aero version such as this sample.
Oh, honey, how are you so pale after living in Florida before coming here? Yes, you were probably indoors a lot due to all the hurricanes and alligators roaming around down there. None of that here, but we have been having 100 degree days just like back home a lot lately but without the afternoon monsoons. Naturally you’re a fancy sort, sporting the top of the line Aero badge too. Don’t stay out here too long though, you’ll burn quick with that fair, flawless skin or get scarred by a stray shopping cart or two.
Ooh, Turbo6 as well as XWD, Saab’s version of AWD and required on the Turbo6 model. This was the top of the line for the new 9-5, and will come in handy this winter if this car heads up into the mountains to play on a snow day. The 2.8l turbo V6 produced 296hp and 295lb-ft of torque, which should be sufficient.
While completely recognizable as a Saab, especially from this angle, the shape of this last 9-5 really nailed it for me, still somewhat traditional, albeit as a sedan, but firmly in the 21st century with very modern looks that for me touch on slinky as well as somewhat sinister at the same time, especially when viewed from the rear three quarters. At least the front end had returned to its senses with an understated little hint of satin-finish eyeliner instead of the full-on chrome Tammy Faye Bakker makeup job that adorned the last few years of this one’s older sister.
While the platform and some mechanicals are shared with a Buick of all things, the only thing Buick-like out here are perhaps the wheels, something a little more striking would have been welcomed, especially from a maker that had a bit of a reputation for some unconventional wheel designs. I didn’t crowd in close enough for interior shots, the deep tint would have precluded anything decent anyway, although that aspect (the interior) is often considered the weakest part of this car, featuring fairly large expanses of somewhat drab plastic on the dashboard.
I won’t go into the whole history of this model here, for that see Brendan Saur’s excellent treatise on this generation of the 9-5 and its lineage here.
Something though has always struck me as a little different about these and on this white example it’s even more evident – the A-pillars. While many cars (and SUV’s) have the rear-most pillar blacked out, this is different in that the front pillar is the one that is black. Was it to imbue more of a wraparound front windshield image as on older Saabs or just Saab being different in order to be different?
I know I’ll enjoy more sightings of this Scandinavian seductress around town, even though it is the result of a failed (arranged) marriage that in the end resulted in an unforgivable murder. Still, one can’t hold the offspring accountable for such acts and as such I welcome this Curbside Classic to the area.