• 1999 Saab 9-5 Sedan

Long celebrated as the car company that enjoyed breaking the mold - two-stroke engines and front-wheel drive, not to mention ignition switches on the floor - Saab now has cars that may seem mainstream. That is, until you look below the surface.

  • 1999 Saab 9-5 Sedan
  • Year:
    1999-
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    250@5300
  • Displacement:
    2290 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6.9 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • body style:

The new Saab 9-5 bridges the gap between innovation and mainstream goodness. Entirely new for 1999, the 9-5 is also a showcase for three world-first technologies: the Saab Active Head Restraint system, ventilated seats, and an innovative, asymmetrically turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine.

Production of the V-6 engine began this fall. This unique design uses an integrated low-pressure turbocharger on the front cylinder bank, one that feeds compressed air to the entire transverse-mounted V-6 engine. The engine’s usable power band is both broad and low. And when matched to an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission with economy, sport, and winter driving modes, it’s a pleasure to drive.

Four cylinders standard

However, the base 9-5 doesn’t come with that engine. A four-cylinder turbo is the base powerplant, with 170 horsepower and a quick-footed feel, especially with the five-speed manual transmission. You may not even miss the six-cylinder for all the base 9-5’s features: it includes an air-conditioned glove box, six powerful windshield wiper nozzles, an in-dash CD player and cassette audio system, dual-zone automatic climate control, four cup holders, double divided sun visors, and much more.

If you’d like, you can add a four-speed automatic transmission ($1,110), a power glass sunroof ($1,110), an integrated rear child seat ($270, and a front and rear heated seat package ($500), a leather interior package ($1,315), or the industry’s first ventilated front seats, packaged with the leather option and adding driver-side memory ($1,800).

Of course, if you won’t settle for less than the V-6, Saab can put you in the top-of-the-line Saab 9-5 SE, with the 225-hp high-output V-6 and automatic transmission, plus a leather interior, a premium Harman Kardon nine-speaker audio system, a Saab Car Computer that performs multiple trip calculations, a power glass sunroof, and memory/power front seats. The price for the Saab 9-5 SE is $36,800.

Standard on both four- and six-cylinder models is Saab’s excellent safety equipment package. Saab uses frontal and two-stage side airbags, as well as a new force-reducing front seat belt and pretensioners. Anti-lock brakes are standard as well The newest safety innovation is the Saab Active Head Restraint system, which uses the force of the upper body in a collision to brace the seat headrest, reducing whiplash injuries.

Alina Moore
Alina Moore
Alina Joined the Topspeed.com team in the early 2000s as one of the outlets very first experts, and she’s been with Topspeed.com ever since. Over the years, she’s served various roles, but today she’s is relied on heavily to verify automotive facts, assist with formatting, and discover new and engaging topics.  Read full bio
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