- The Washington Times - Friday, February 25, 2000

The all-new Saab 9-5 Aero is a world superpower sedan. It has fantastic control, unbelievable power and stealthy looks.
The 9-5 Aero is the ultimate high-performance sedan from Saab, specifically built with an aggressive high-output turbo engine, a sporty chassis, big brakes and low-profile tires on 17-inch alloy wheels.
Riding along the turnpike, I am falling in love with this Saab's impressive output capabilities. The Aero is a flying machine that captures my heart pulling away from the toll plaza. This is where the car really wants to take off from a standstill with lots of paved concrete in front of it.
My $40,700 tester delivers 258 pounds per foot of torque that kicks in quickly from a wide band of 1,900 to 3,800 rpm. Saab engineers say their priority is with the engine's torque output rather than with its horsepower. Torque is the force that gets mass moving. In other words, the Aero nearly moves at the speed of sound. Breaking away from the toll booth, I mash the throttle and in just seconds I'm at 60 mph and still in second gear.
The 9-5 Aero has a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine with 230 horsepower at 5,500 rpm. That's 100 horsepower per liter, (and horsepower wasn't the priority). Those Saab engineers are so modest.
The 2000 Aero is built to be bulletproof from turbo problems. The engine-management system is designed to withstand the compounded stress and heat that come from such high boost levels. Saab says to handle the heat, the exhaust valves are made of Nimonic alloy. This heat-resistant alloy is used in aircraft components, such as the exhaust nozzles in jet engines, which are subjected to high pressure and temperature. In addition, the 9-5 Aero engine features sturdier connecting rods, strengthened intake valves and reinforced alloy pistons.
With all this power there must be control. The chassis is sport-tuned to harmonize with the high-performance engine characteristics. The Aero's chassis is lower and firmer. To minimize body roll, improve steering precision, chassis response and driver control, the front and rear suspensions are equipped with heavier anti-roll bars, stiffer springs and harder dampers.
The brake system is upgraded to match the engine's powerful abilities. The front disc brakes are larger than on other 9-5 vehicles, and a new friction material improves braking performance from high speeds. Traction control and anti-lock brakes are standard equipment.
Ready for action, the 9-5 Aero has a sporty sloping design with flared rocker panels, a front chin spoiler and a rear valance to complement its performance character. Its sleek design is matched by aerodynamic numbers. The 9-5 has a coefficient of drag of 0.29.
The inside is loaded with luxury, including beautiful leather seats, steering wheel, shifter and wood trim. It's a little short on storage space though, as I struggle to find space for my CDs and large coffee mug.
The occupant cage is an extremely rigid system of steel, with thick steel reinforcements in key tear areas. "Triple Load Paths" are incorporated into the front and rear of the sedan. In a collision, the crash energy is dissipated over the metal paths. In a frontal crash, three areas in the front absorb the energy before it is horseshoed away and back out at the A-pillar, leaving the cabin intact.
The 2000 Aero raises the ceiling on performance and luxury. Flying to new heights is simply second nature for Saab.

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