Auto Tech

2011 Saab 9-5: The last hurrah?

Saab shows off the new 9-5 sedan at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show.

2011 Saab 9-5
Saab's new model doesn't look very happy at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Josh Miller/CNET

A week before the Los Angeles Auto Show, GM's deal to sell Saab to Koenigsegg fell through, making the Swedish carmaker's future uncertain. But the company's plans for a future that might never come are evident in the 2011 9-5 sedan. This car incorporates much of the jet fighter design Saab used in its Aero-X concept from a few years ago. The pillars and roof of the 9-5 have a more angular design than previous Saabs, yet still maintain the Saab identity.

Saab also modernized the technology in the 9-5, going to a hard-drive-based navigation system and a USB port for audio sources. The driver will see information projected on the windshield through the car's Pilot HUD feature.

Motivating the 9-5 is a turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6 making 300 horsepower, putting power to all wheels through Saab's XWD system. An electronic limited slip differential helps keep power going to the right wheels when cornering. Saab also incorporated an adaptive suspension in the car to minimize body roll.

The company says it will start selling the 9-5 in late 2010, but Saab's currently tenuous situation might mean the 9-5 never sees production.