During the first couple of months, I was convinced this car was everything I would want from a high performance car with safety, space and comfort to match.
But by the time the car was 15 months old, I'd made approximately 40 visits to my dealer with problems including:
1. A faulty gearbox (replaced with a new one)
2. A faulty second gearbox (dismantled and repaired)
3. Faulty clutch bearing.
4. Park assist failure.
5. Defective wishbone bushes.
6. Shattered top strut mountings with bearings missing.
7. Leaking bonnet struts.
8. Noisy power steering.
9. Whining air-con pump.
10. Hot air from the rear vents when air-con set to cold.
11. Thumping from the gas tank when 2/3 full (due to no baffles in tank - all 9-5s are the same)
12. Vibrating door speaker.
13. Failed headlamp wipers.
14. The vehicle inexplicably adopting limp home mode and requiring a dealer reset, following which no cause was ever found.
15. Knocking/rattles from the front suspension when cornering. This remained unresolved after 5 attempts by the dealer to fix it.
Although initially impressed with this vehicle, I soon found out I'd got two lemons - both the vehicle and my local dealership.
Steering and suspension appear to be a weakness on the 9-5 (see 1999 reviews on this site and note the recent recall on 2002 models regarding sudden steering failure due to component fracture). So the points it gets for being the safest car in the world don't count for much in practice.
Saab acknowledged the front suspension problems with my car, but were unable to provide a resolution. I threatened litigation for compensation which resulted in Saab offering me either:
1. Unlimited attention by the dealership to attempt to get to the bottom of the problem (unlikely as they'd already had 5 attempts and still had no idea where the cause lay) ; OR.
2. An incentive towards a 2002 model, thus giving me a 'way out' of the faulty vehicle.
I took the latter option in favour of a lengthy litigation process, but there were even problems with the replacement vehicle. For a start the dealer couldn't find it when I arrived to collect it, and when they did it hadn't even been prepared and I had to return later in the day and so on...
From my experience I'd say that Saab has a potentially sound design philosophy, BUT that the quality of its parts, workmanship and dealer backup are unacceptable.
My experience was nothing short of a nightmare with the vehicle spending more time in the workshops than on the road. The heartache caused for me and my family was unbearable and I would not wish such an experience on anybody.
After such an experience, I'd consider myself a complete idiot to even think about buying another Saab.