March 3, 2011
Saab has been rescued from the brink of bankruptcy, and the next step on the road to profitability has been revealed. Dubbed the 9-5 SportCombi, Saab’s newest model – essentially a station wagon version of its recently-released 9-5 sedan – was released at this week’s Geneva Auto Show.
Picking up right where the prior 9-5 SportCombi left off following its 2009 cancellation, the new 9-5 SportCombi boasts many of the sedan’s standard and optional features. As in the sedan, all-wheel drive is available, along with either a 220-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder or a 300-horsepower 2.8-liter turbocharged V6 powerplant.
According to Saab, the 9-5 SportCombi will go on sale later this year as a 2012 model, significantly broadening the 9-5’s appeal. While many manufacturers have been doing away with station wagon bodystyles due to slow sales, Saab – known for its quirky, loyal buyers – traditionally bucks the trend, selling wagons in high numbers.
“The launch of the 9-5 SportCombi is a much-awaited next step in the roll-out of our new product offensive,” said Jan Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile’s chief executive. “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.”
The 9-5 SportCombi will feature 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, which Saab says fold down almost completely flat without having to remove the headrests. With seats down, the 9-5 SportCombi offers nearly 60 cubic feet of cargo space, thanks to flat, upright cargo area side walls free of intrusions from the wagon’s wheel arches.
Also available on the 9-5 SportCombi is a fully-automatic tailgate, which can be fully opened or closed via a button on the driver’s door, the car’s remote keyless entry fob, or a touch pad on the tailgate. The automatic tailgate can even be programmed to only open a certain distance in areas with restricted overhead clearance.
JEFFREY ARCHER is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.