The 2011 Saab 9-5 might be relatively rare on U.S. highways, as it's been plagued by production issues related to Saab's financial difficulties and change of ownership. But it went on sale months ago—and now it's been thoroughly crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and named a Top Safety Pick.
In new roof-strength test results that were released today, the 9-5 was able to withstand the highest peak force—either absolute or relative to its curb weight—of any large luxury sedan. At the Institute's designated roof-area location, the 9-5 was able to accept 22,434 pounds—5.85 times its curb weight—before deforming five inches. That indicated a much lower than typical chance of severe injury or death in a rollover, compared to many other new vehicles.
The organization considers more than four times curb weight 'good,' and pending federal regulations will phase in the equivalent to three times curb weight in a few years; currently, the 2011 Acura RL remains at the bottom of this class, with a performance of just 2.57 times its curb weight.
The 9-5 had already earned top 'good' scores in frontal offset and side impact testing; it managed top scores in all categories of frontal testing, as well as top marks in nearly all injury measures—driver torso being the only exception.
In addition to this excellent safety performance, the 9-5 has a solid set of safety features, including side-curtain bags, front and rear side bags, and a third-generation active head restraint system. On the latest 9-5, brake lights will even flash brightly and rapidly during quick stops.
For Saab, this is just icing on the cake; the Swedish brand has for years enjoyed a reputation for safety and keeps its own accident-investigation team to help enact safety-design changes faster than crash statistics can prompt.