2011 Saab 9-5 gets the Top Safety Pick Award from IIHS

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 17, 2011

The Saab 9-5 Sedan was named by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) as one of its latest group of vehicles that got the Top Safety Pick Award this year. In fact, this model also took the highest rating, five stars, in the crash tests done by the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP).

What the IIHS determined was that the 9-5 Sedan meets its strict safety requirements. It earned the highest rating in all four test categories and it features ESP.

Tests for front impact (offset) and side impact crashes are included in the categories it was tested for. To evaluate protection against whiplash injuries and to test the roof structure in the event that it rolls over, IIHS checked the seat/head restraints by simulating rear impact.

Per Lenhoff, Head of Safety Development at Saab Automobile, said that he is “pleased” with how the 9-5 performed in the independent tests conducted by the IIHS.

Per Lenhoff added that it doesn’t only want to do well in crash tests. He said that Saab’s main priority is to “protect real people in real accidents” – the company’s “Real-Life Safety philosophy."

For Saab Automobile, its new 9-5 Sedan will play an important role as it will usher in a new era for the brand. Sophisticated and sleek, there is no question that the 9-5 Sedan is indeed a Saab. With the use of innovative technology, the confident and advanced style, this four-door is slated to be the new flagship of the brand and is expected to be an alternative option for the premium saloon class, especially when it goes on sale officially by 2010. Saab Managing Director Jan- Åke Jonsson shares that for the brand, the 9-5 Sedan signals the start of a new chapter.

With the new 9-5 Sedan, he adds, the brand has managed to create not just an advanced vehicle but a unique one as well. The reason is that it was able to fully utilize the power offered by its heritage in different areas. This includes being able to deliver a reliable performance, Director Jonsson continues. Not only is the 9-5 Sedan able to convey all these qualities, he further continues, but this will also be present in all upcoming products from the brand.

One of the changes in the new model is the use of a Scandinavian design. According to Saab Brand Design Chief Simon Padian, the overall graphical appeal of the new 9-5 is that it sports a design that is forward-looking but does not forget its heritage. The brand is giving a more contemporary interpretation to some of its traditional design cues, he continues.

In the 9-5 Sedan, he adds, it is easy to see that it has the aircraft heritage of the brand and the visual themes that are clearly inspired by Scandinavian design and seen in a number of its concept cars like the Aero X. Characterizing the front of this new model is the deep grille with the ice-block and curved headlamps on both sides. Meanwhile, the whole glasshouse makes use of the wraparound mono graphic. As such, the masked windshield and its side pillar are able to offer an interior that has the brand’s trademark cockpit appearance.

Because of the interaction of its proportion, the roof and windshield remind one of the classic Saab 900. No matter where you look at it, the new 9-5 exhibits a powerful and strong attitude. The middle of its grille for instance, has been decorated with the large Saab logo which highlights the self-confident and assertive design language. It is also easy to see the different design cues of the brand especially in the bodywork’s fuselage-smooth surfacing, strong rear c-pillars, and the hockey stick belt-line. The roofline has a falling appearance which then caps to the sweeping rear pillar that supports a depressed screen in the rear.

This design helps underscore the dynamic character of the 9-5. With its front wings being slightly widened in order to be able to merge with the wheels, it helps express that underlying energy. On its rear, the flat and smooth deck has under it the ice-block and full-width and ice rear light bar that covers the trademark lighting. The use of Scandinavian design is evident in how clean and sculpted the shape is.

Meanwhile the wraparound window graphic reflects the brand’s history in aviation. Now add in the fact that the new 9-5 has a low yet muscular bearing with a style obviously inspired by its respected concept car that is the Aero X. The overall result is that the 9-5 Sedan marks the launching of a significant and daring design language from the brand. Although the overall dimensions extend the profile of a standard three-box saloon, it manages to avoid the fastback formula typically associated with a four-door coupe.

In terms of powertrains, its all-turbo line-up is considered as one of the widest to come from the brand. The strategy implemented by Saab has been on rightsizing the engine in order to put attention towards responsible performance. This was made possible by developing four-cylinder highly-efficient turbo engines. It allows for the selection of three kinds of fuel which are diesel, petrol, and the E85 bioethanol.

Under the diesel unit, the 9-5 can have CO2 emissions going as low as 139 grams for every kilometer. Since it makes use of its experience in aviation, the cabin is more driver-focused. While it is indeed reminiscent of the conventional Saab, the way it was implemented is one-of-a-kind. Its center console is deeper but stretches at a narrow angle going to the display of the main instrument and going around the driver. At the top of this is the clean ventilation zone. The main dials are deeply recessed, another nod to its Aero X concept, with one of them being the readout for the rolling altimeter speed.

Its driver display has a sharp look and has been illuminated with the brand’s trademarked Saab green. This is the same treatment given to the windscreen’s optional HUD or head-up display. Instead of an ignition, the 9-5 has a start/stop button. However, it is still located in the middle of its front seats and just beside the gear shift. In terms of the overall design, the interior offers a large space and utilizes simple forms which reflect the design of its exterior and characterize its architecture. Unlike the previous model though, the shoulder width and the legroom, for both the front and the rear, have been increased.

This results in the new 9-5 having the best rear legroom in its segment. Indeed, the materials chosen, the controls’ tactile quality, and the fit and finish give the new 9-5 its premium quality. For those who want entertainment while on a drive, there is the color 8-inch touch screen with navigation system that offers hard disk storage for map data plus an addition 10 GB for music files in MP3 format. Enhancing the experience is the 5.1 channel Harman Kardon surround sound audio system. It is also possible to play portable devices since the center console allows for connection to different portable devices using AUX ports or USB. Beside these ports is a 12-volt power outlet. The center console though also offers storage space for these same portable devices.

Press Release

2011 Saab 9-5 and 2011-12 Volkswagen CC earn TOP SAFETY PICK

The Saab 9-5, a large luxury car, and the Volkswagen CC, a midsize luxury car, are TOP SAFETY PICK award winners after earning good ratings for performance in the Institute's roof strength test for rollover protection. These cars earlier earned good ratings for front, side, and rear crash protection, and they have standard electronic stability control. TOP SAFETY PICK only applies to the front-wheel drive CC because the heavier all-wheel drive version is rated acceptable in the roof strength test.

Altogether, the Institute recently completed roof strength tests for eight midsize to large family and luxury cars. Also earning a good rating for rollover protection is the 2011 Lexus ES 350, which is not a TOP SAFETY PICK winner because it's rated marginal for rear crash protection. The BMW 3 series, Chevrolet Impala (models built after July 2010), Infiniti G, Lexus IS 250/350, and Saab 9-3 earn acceptable ratings for rollover protection.

To measure roof strength, a metal plate is pushed against one corner of a vehicle's roof at a constant speed. The maximum force sustained by the roof before 5 inches of crush is compared to the vehicle's weight to find the strength-to-weight ratio. This is a good assessment of vehicle structural protection in rollover crashes.

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