When a company that traditionally builds fighter jets decides to make a car, you expect people to sit up and pay attention -- and that's exactly what we did when Saab invited us to go for a ride in its new Saab 9-5.
The fact we were in a new 9-5 at all is somewhat fortuitous, given how close the company came to biting the automotive bullet during the recession. Luckily, Dutch Supercar company Spyker threw Saab a lifeline (and several million pounds) and it's wasted no time in creating the car you see before you.
On the outside, Saab's played it safe with the 9-5's design. It has attractive elements, certainly -- we love the front grill and the rear light clusters -- but the overall design looks somehow unbalanced, mostly because of that odd downwards sloping roof. The firm has the creative talent to create something beautiful -- it made the Saab Gripen Fighter, for goodness sake -- so this new 9-5 is a wasted opportunity.
Luckily, Saab's tapped into its aerospace heritage and fitted the 9-5's interior with a wealth of next-gen cabin tech. The most impressive on the list is the head-up display, which projects the car's speed, engine revs and basic navigation data directly into your line of sight on the windscreen.
The new also 9-5's audio entertainment system is fairly futuristic too. It has a built-in 40GB hard drive, 10GB of which is dedicated to music storage. Hit the 'rec' button on the centre console and it'll knock out MP3 copies of your discs, so you don't have to search haphazardly through your glovebox for the right tunes. USB, auxiliary and iPod connectivity is also available.
There's plenty of entertainment to be had round the back. Saab's optional rear-seat entertainment system comprises two screens -- one on the back of each front seat -- a DVD player, plus a couple of wireless headsets so rear seat occupants can enjoy the movie soundtrack while mummy and daddy listen to Kanye practice autotune.
In all, it's a well-equipped car which, considering it's a mere £26,000, deserves to do well. Have a look through our photo gallery above and then head over to our new car reviews section to read more impressions in our Saab 9-5 preview.