Driver's seat rake adjuster broke.
Front wheel bearing needed replacing.
Indicators and wipers failed at the same time.
Mystery loss of the aircon on one occasion.
Annoying buzz from interior light fitting.
When I first got it, an annoying hesitation under full acceleration.
Windscreen wipers always wore out very quickly and scraped across the screen.
Front passenger interior door handle wouldn't open the door.
Despite the above, my Saab 9-5 was mechanically reliable and never failed to start nor did it actually let me down.
Where Saab need to improve the next model massively is interior fixtures and fittings. Although mechanically robust, the interior just isn't built well enough, and mine was the facelifted model!
Examples are the electric mirror switch is directly descended from the Cavalier, and looks positively ancient and isn't fitted well. Also several annoying interior buzzes from various fittings, as above a door handle breaking and a seat adjuster breaking, and just a general feeling of plasticky, old school design.
GM need to up their game considerably on this front if they want to stay in the prestige saloon car class.
On the plus side, the big Saab had a fantastic ride quality. Mine only rode on 16" wheels which I'm sure helped. They are very comfy for long trips, cruising at 100mph quietly and confidently. My wife and I sometimes got backaches after very long trips, but that's all.
Handling is reasonable for a big front wheel drive car, although I can see torque steer being a problem for the more powerful models. Mine was only the 150bhp version; I have got to say it always felt like it had more power up front than 150 horses, probably thanks to the turbo.
On the subject of performance; my main criticism is that this car has incredibly long gearing, which meant in 5th at motorway speeds it wasn't sometimes as responsive as I'd have liked. Otherwise it is very smooth and efficient, with mpg of around 32-33 (OK for such a large car).
I would've liked cruise control and a better stereo as standard. I also found the black cloth seats pretty oppressive and showed the dirt too much. I believe they now do a Linear Sport or something as a base model, which addresses these issues.
To sum up, the 9-5 is generally an efficient if slightly boring car in Linear trim, but overall is very dated now compared to the competition and desperately needs a new model bringing out.
Oh, and why are they all gunmetal grey?
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 8th December, 2008