Avg. Price Paid:$10,053 - $10,362
Original MSRP: $37,685 - $38,705
MPG: 17 City / 26 Hwy
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2008 Saab 9-5 Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Saab 9-5 was new.

The 2008 Saab 9-5's turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder, which is as powerful as many competitors' V6 engines, gets some positive reviews. However, a sometimes-bumpy ride results in the 9-5's performance being ranked near the bottom of the class.

Edmunds finds the ride quality "choppy" and the wind noise "excessive for a premium-brand car."

"We judge ride firmer than necessary; sharp freeway expansion joints register with a jolt," says Consumer Guide, adding that on smooth roads the 9-5 is "secure and sporty."

Acceleration and Power

The Saab 9-5 is equipped with a 2.3-Liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine with 260 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. "The 2.3 liter engine can be ordered with either a five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed Geartronic automatic with paddle shifters on the steering wheel," says the National Motorists Association. "The automatic actually works quite well with the turbo engine -- the opposite of what you'd expect with a small-displacement turbo'd four." Other reviewers agree. "The 2.3-liter delivers plenty of power for this class, though not in as refined a manner as we'd like," says Edmunds. "2007 Saab 9-5 is preferable with the automatic transmission, as its shorter gearing is better suited to the turbo engine's unusual power band." Acceleration is good; most reviewers have no complaints. "The 9-5 "cruises easily on the freeway, accelerating quickly and smoothly at higher speeds and over steep terrain," says CNET.

The EPA estimates that 2008 Saab 9-5 models with manual transmission earn 18 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway. Models with automatic transmission average 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. "Gas mileage is decent for a midsize car, despite our test model not meeting the documented EPA ratings," says CNET.

Handling and Braking

Reviewers mostly praise the 9-5's handling. "The 9-5 provides genuine sports sedan handling," says MSN. However, several reviewers note small, but present imperfections in the ride. "The Saab 9-5 is responsive, nimble and downright quick," says Kelley Blue Book. "Only when you get that rare opportunity to really push the 9-5 through a few good twists and turns does the nose-heavy, front-wheel-drive 9-5 reveal its limitations."

The suspension also received mixed reviews. "Ride and handling are agreeable, if you don't mind the hobby-horsing caused by the stiff suspension and the short wheelbase," says Autoweb. Other reviewers like the MacPherson-strut front suspension and independent, multilink rear suspension. "Handling and suspension felt solid, and we were able to smoothly swerve away from road debris, albeit with some noticeable body roll," says CNET.

Reviewers also can't agree on braking quality. Consumer Guide says "Braking is swift, powerful, consistent." Other critics had the opposite experience. The 9-5 has "mushy" brakes," says CNET. "The four-wheel disc brakes with power assist and ABS felt a bit weak, and we had to apply hard, deliberate pressure to stop satisfactorily."

Review Last Updated: 7/11/08

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