Saab began its comeback tour with the new 9-5 sedan, then introduced the new 9-4X crossover this year. Now, the Swedish automaker has announced its next new model with the 9-5 SportCombi, which will officially debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
We're rather impressed with Saab's new 9-5 sedan, having sampled a number of them in various trim levels and expect similar of the SportCombi. It features the same chassis setup with Saab's DriveSense adaptive chassis control that allows the driver to switch between three chassis settings -- comfort, intelligent, and sport. Intelligent mode is actually intelligent as it learns your driving style and adapts to it. Saab's torque-vectoring, XWD all-wheel-drive system is also available along with adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control, push-button starting, tri-zone climate control, and a heads-up display.
The interior carries over from the 9-5 sedan as well, which means it'll feature the same soft-touch materials and well-appointed seats as the sedan. Overall, we found the interior a very nice place to sit, if a bit dreary in all black -- lighter parchment and gray leather colors are available as well to lighten the mood.
Powertrains are another carry over from the 9-5 sedan, with a choice of a 2.0-liter, turbocharged I-4 or a turbo, 2.8-liter V-6. Both engines are more than adequate for the sedan, but we actually found the I-4 more to our liking because of the availability of a precise six-speed manual transmission and the absence of some 800 extra pounds on the V-6 models. Front-wheel-drive is standard -- along with the manual -- with the I-4 with all-wheel-drive available as an option. Saab's excellent, XWD all-wheel-drive is standard on V-6 models as is a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
As you've probably noticed, the only real difference then between the sedan and SportCobmi is bodystyle. The SportCombi features the same Aero X-inspired front-end styling as the sedan, just with a wagon-profile, complete with Saab's signature wraparound rear windshield, for added versatility. Replacing the trunk with a true wagon-style rear hatch means that total cargo capacity is around 56 cubic feet with the seats down and 19 cubic feet with the seats up. The sedan's trunk will swallow roughly 18 cubic feet worth of gear. Additionally, Saab has installed what it calls a smart tailgate, which allows owners' to select how far the tailgate will open, saving the hatch from opening too far when inside a parking garage.
Unlike a number of other automakers -- BMW and Volvo notably -- that have pulled out of the U.S. wagon market, Saab is bringing the 9-5 SportCombi to the U.S. It will launch this August, but a spokesperson said in reduced trim levels and likely only the top-of-the-line Aero version. If this holds true, it will only be offered with the 2.8-liter, turbocharged V-6 and six-speed automatic transmission -- unfortunate as we'd love to be able to row our own gears in a 9-5 wagon. Look for pricing and full model selection to be announced closer to the car's on sale date.