Saab is a car brand of the past with many quirks. Saabs had the ignition between the seats, they were famously front-wheel drive (mostly), they had unique aesthetics and even the name "Saab" is just a funny word. Among the brand’s many quirks was the abundance of wagons that the Swedish carmaker produced over the years. One such example is the Saab 9-5 wagon. When you think of a Saab 9-5 wagon, you probably think of the first-generation model that ran from the late ’90s through the late 2000s. But did you know that the second and final generation also had a wagon variant?
That’s right, the last Saab 9-5 — the really nice-looking one that was only produced for the 2010 and 2011 model years before the brand was shut down — technically had a SportCombi wagon variant. However, like the Saab brand itself, this car has a weird story. The thing about the final generation of the 9-5 SportCombi is that none of the few that were built ever made it to dealerships. A handful of prototypes and even a few production models of this car exist, but they never entered serial production before Saab’s bankruptcy in late 2011. That makes the 9-5 wagon of this particular generation the ultimate Saab unicorn.
That this car never officially went into production is a shame, because it is gorgeous. The last Saab 9-5 was a great car and an excellent swan song for the brand, but, unfortunately, it was too little too late to save Saab. The look of the final 9-5 lent itself very well to the wagon body style and it nicely blended Saab heritage with a modern luxury car look — not to mention that the SportCombi variant added more cargo space and more practicality to the car.
The second-generation 9-5 always impresses me when I notice one in traffic. It’s a great-looking car that I think is aging very well, but it still has just the right dose of Saab weirdness to make it special. There’s certainly no mistaking this car for being from any other luxury brand. Now that I know what could’ve been with the SportCombi model, it makes the story of the second-gen Saab 9-5 a little sadder.
Speaking of sad: I found the original press release for the 9-5 SportCombi, which was released in January 2010 and announced the car’s debut at the Geneva Motor Show. The press release is so optimistically written, which makes it very sad today knowing the fate that would befall the brand not even two years after this was written. Here’s just one excerpt with a quote from the brand’s CEO at the time:
"The launch of the 9-5 SportCombi is a much-awaited next step in the roll-out of our new product offensive," says Saab Automobile CEO Jan Åke Jonsson. "It will take Saab back into the large wagon segment where we have established a strong presence in many key markets with our previous offering."
Apparently, it wasn’t much-awaited enough, because the whole Saab brand shut down. Even if this lovely wagon did make it to a full production run, I doubt it would’ve changed Saab’s fate. It sure is a nice car to look at, though. Find a Saab 9-5 for sale