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Roadfly Magazine
Issue Five
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
Issue Five
Feb. 24, 2003
Detroit Auto Show
Detroit Auto Show Photo Gallery
Daytona 24 Hour
Chevy Tahoe
Saab 9-5
Contest Winners
Coming Next Issue
Bentley Arnage R
Cayenne School
Daytona 500
Bose Headphones

Road Test: 2003 Saab 9-5, continued.

Saab 95

Saab 9-5

Saab 9 5

Our test model, an Arc sedan, revealed only the slightest tendancy to wander under hard acceleration. Much of this has to do with the marriage of the turbo to the torque converter - information is shared between the two systems to deliver smooth and steady power.

Manual transmission models may induce a greater sense of torque steer, but our research has revealed very few complaints from 9-5 owners. To further mitigate the dreaded torque steer phenomena, Saab has developed their 2.3L and 3.0L engines to produce an almost flat torque curve from as low as 1800rpm, which eliminates any feeling of turbo lag while jabbing at the gas pedal. This flat torque curve also provides plenty of passing power without the need for a downshift. Torque is good - torque is your friend, and Saab seems to have embraced this sentiment fully.

The first time you sit behind the wheel of the 9-5 you will immediately notice the cockpit inspired dashboard layout and other small aircraft design touches. Saab Automobiles grew out of the Swedish Aircraft Company Ltd (Saab is a Swedish acronym) and they are proud of their link to aircraft design and its influence. Controls are wrapped around the driver and the dash has a sweeping arc - creating the impression that you are behind the controls of an airplane. Looking overhead, you'll notice a map light and "Fasten Belts" indicator, which look like they were once part of an airliner (and probably were).

The center stack houses the "System Info Display", stereo controls, and HVAC dual-zone climate controls. The location of the HVAC controls make them a bit difficult to adjust and to further complicate matters are flanked by small rheostats for optional seat heaters and seat ventilation system.

The ventilated seats are a rare option, but are absolutely wonderful on a hot summer's day. Speaking of the seats, they are some of the best our highly calibrated tushes have ever experienced. Our only complaint is that they lack some side bolstering, which would be nice during spirited driving; the Aero offers sport seats that are slightly more "controlling". With great thigh and back support, 8 way power adjust, and 3 memory settings, the Sweedish seats will let anyone get comfy for the morning commute or a road trip. The driver's seat ergonomics are excellent and there is plenty of leg, knee, hip, and shoulder room for folks over 6 feet tall.

Saab puts great emphasis on safety (but we all knew that) and has pioneered an anti-whiplash headrest called Saab Active Head Restraints (SAHR), which reduce whiplash-related injuries greatly.

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