First Look: 2011 Saab 9-5

After showing countless teaser photos, Saab finally revealed the long-awaited 2011 9-5 ahead of its public debut at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show.

While the current model has been largely unchanged for almost a decade, the new 9-5 is a giant leap forward in styling and technology. Designers took Saab's typical three-box sedan look and gave it a more modern shape. Styling cues from Saab's wild Aero X concept can clearly be seen in the new 9-5, especially in its rounded front end and the seemingly wraparound windshield.

"We are giving a fresh, very modern expression to some of our classic brand design cues," says Simon Padian, Saab's design chief. "We have visual themes found in our recent concept cars, such as the Aero X, which are inspired by Scandinavian design and our brand's aircraft heritage."

Inside, designers crafted an equally modern cabin to accompany the curvaceous exterior. The interior features a flowing console and dash, which forms a dual-cockpit appearance. The gauge cluster features an altimeter-like speedometer, a nod to Saab's aircraft heritage. Saab enthusiasts will be happy to know that while the ignition is a keyless affair now, the start/stop button remains between the seats next to the shifter.

True to Saab tradition, the 9-5 is powered by a choice of turbocharged engines. In the European market, the base engine is a 180-hp, 1.6-liter turbocharged I-4, while a 220-hp, 2.0-liter flex-fuel turbocharged-four is optional. If that's not enough power, Saab's turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6, which produces 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, serves as the range-topping engine choice. Buyers have their choice of a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, as well as front-wheel-drive or Saab's impressive XWD all-wheel-drive system.

The 2011 Saab 9-5 makes its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show on September 15, and will reach showrooms in early 2010. Stay with Automobile Magazine for all the latest surrounding both the new 9-5 and all the happenings at the Frankfurt show.

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