2012 Saab 9-5 SportCombi: The Wagon Is Back (In Sweden)

February 25, 2011

Celebrating its first year of independence, Saab (purchased by Spyker Cars NV from General Motors a year ago February) will debut a concept and a couple of new models – including the 2012 9-5 SportCombi at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show this week. Of note to Family Car Guide is that the automaker says the new 9-5 SportCombi signals its return to the premium large wagon segment where enjoyed a strong presence in key markets with a previous offering.  

The last Saab 9-5 SportCombi was sold in the U.S. in 2009, a decade after it was first introduced. At the end, reviewers said it was outclassed by newer competitors and featured an aging design, although it was still a roomy, solid vehicle with good handling and impressive fuel economy (28 mpg highway, at the time) with the turbocharged in-line four-cylinder engine.

Saab hopes to change all that with the 2012 9-5 SportCombi. Customer orders will start in March in the U.S. for the 2012 9-5 SportCombi, with deliveries this September.

Judging from the photos released in advance of the show, the new iteration of the 9-5 SportCombi certainly looks like a Saab – specifically the 9-5 sedan from which it takes a number of styling cues, as well as the same powertrain lineup. For 2011, that means 220-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged in-line four-cylinder and 300-horsepower turbocharged V-6 engines.

But where does the 2012 Saab 9-5 SportCombi fit with other luxury wagons? And, just to clarify, the federal government classifies the Saab 9-5 as a mid-size, along with its key competitors.

There’s the Audi A6 Avant powered by a 333-horsepower 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 engine mated with six-speed automatic transmission and featuring Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive standard. The A6 Avant does 0 to 60 in 6.1 seconds while still achieving an EPA-estimated 18 mpg city /26 mpg highway. Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the five-passenger 2011 Audi A6 Avant is $53,310.

The Mercedes-Benz E350 4MATIC Wagon (newly styled for 2011), seats five adults and two children, features a 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission, and 4MATIC all-wheel drive. It has 20.5 cubic feet trunk capacity, and gets an EPA-estimated 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway. MSRP starts at $56,200.

Cadillac offers two luxury wagons: the 2011 CTS Sport Wagon (which debuted as a new model in 2010) and the CTS-V Wagon, new this year. The CTS Sport Wagon, available in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, seats five and is powered by a 270-horsepower 3.0-liter V-6 engine or 304-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 engine. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway (3.0-liter RWD, 3.6-liter RWD and AWD), and 18/26 mpg for 3.0-liter AWD. Starting MSRP for the 2011 CTS Sports Wagon is $38,265.

The CTS-V Wagon, which starts at $63,465 MSRP, boasts a 556-horsepower supercharged V-8 engine, Tremec six-speed automatic transmission, Brembo brakes, Magnetic Ride Control, and a slew of other goodies. Although it seats only four, it does so in luxury, and also provides 58 cubic feet of storage space.

That’s quite a hefty group of competitor wagons, and each offers unique and compelling attributes.

(Note: the BMW 5-Series, which had offered a wagon model, dropped it for the 2011 redesign. BMW still offers the 328i Sports Wagon and xDrive Sports Wagon.)

Check out the 2012 Saab 9-5 SportCombi preview in Motor Authority now as well as further details on the new model from the 2011 Geneva Motor Show next week.

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