The year was 1999, and, while you might've been worrying about whether Y2K would mean the end of the world, only a few of you were thinking it would be the last time in 11 years that Saab would introduce a new 9-5. For Saab enthusiasts like you, it's been a long, cold lonely decade.
And after surviving GM's tango with financial uncertainty, the 9-5 is back from the barely living with a fleet of redesigned and reinvigorated cars that will put an "ah" into any Saab-driver's vocabulary. "It's everything any Saab lover – or any car lover – would expect from a Saab," says Jim Jackson, a sales associate at Danbury Automotive. "The 9-5's got beautiful lines on the outside and it's got it all happening under the hood, too. Remember it's got jet engine roots," he says. The roots to which he refers are not just the stuff of "Top Gun"-esque television commercials. The first Saab factory, built in Sweden in 1938, manufactured bombers and fighters for the Royal Swedish Air Force, ahead of World War II.
And while the new 9-5 is firmly attached to terra firma, driving one can down the highway can still feel like flying. The console evokes an airplane cockpit, as the speedometer is designed like an altimeter. And the wraparound lines that begin at the windshield flow uninterrupted into the car's body, another nod to Saab's aeronautical heritage.
But the Saab, long known for its early innovations in car safety -- many of which are standard in modern vehicles -- stays true to its commitment to safe driving. The 9-5 comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock brakes, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints.
And all Saabs, as if empathizing with New Englanders this past winter, have standard all-wheel drive. "A Saab definitely holds its own in the snow," says Jackson.
But Jim Jackson – pressed as to his favorite new 9-5 attribute – admits to a guilty pleasure. "There are so many cool things about this car," he says. "But I really love the radio. It's easy to use and the speakers are fantastic," he says.
What better accompaniment to a flight down the road in a 2011 Saab 9-5?
My favorite Saab feature is the center console ignition – a trademark Saab touch. What's yours? Let me know here, or email me, at .