Now that the whole drama about whether Saab will go on as a car company has ended since it has been sold to Spyker, it’s time to see its first post-GM car launch, though not necessarily the first post-GM developed car. The new Saab 9-5 has undergone over 500,000km of chassis testing on European roads from the frozen wastelands of northern Sweden to the plains of southern Spain.

The man leading the test team is Peter Johansson, Saab’s chief test drive. He and his small team of chassis experts work on fine-tuning the chassis dynamics of the new 9-5 – there are over 250 measurement criteria to assess the handling, ride and refinement of the car. The test fleet consists of a core fleet of 15 cars including all the major technical variations.

When you get in the car and drive, you feel like you are part of the vehicle. You feel directly connected to the controls and the car really becomes an extension of the driver. This is why the new 9-5 is fun and so rewarding to drive. Throughout the development process, we focused on giving this car all the exciting driving characteristics you would expect from a Saab. The electronic systems such as the stability control, DriveSense adaptive chassis and our XWD system must all work together. The stability control, for example, must not get in the way of enjoying the benefits of the chassis and transmission systems,” said Peter Johansson.

More handling and high speed stability tests were done at closed tracks such as as the Nordschleife and the NARDO high-speed bowl in Italy. For extreme snow and ice testing, the team used a 10km forest track at the Colmis test facility in Northern Sweden, just outside the Arctic Circle. The track has a rollercoaster ride of dips, crests, hills, off-camber bends, all on narrow paths lined with unforgiving boulders and trees, which the 9-5’s Haldex XWD system has to tackle.

Pre-booking of the 9-5 has started in some countries. Not sure about what’s happening in Malaysia as we’ve generally been quite disconnected from the Saab here in Malaysia.

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