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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dame Edna on bio steroids: how is she ?

After several small stones attacks on my bonnet I've decided to let my convertible in the service to repaint it. It's not easy to find a skilled service for this, but I've found one. And I had the luck to get a 2007 9-5 SportCombi 2.0t BioPower for the time. The Dame Edna wasn't for free but not expensive. This was my first BioPower car and I could do about 500 km on it (will do another 220).

So how is she ?

I'm not a fan of this 9-5 exterior look, mainly of the front part. But I love the dashboard. It's robust, the relaxing saabish green lights on the dashboard indicators are there. Used from my 9-3 I knew where most of the things are from the first moment. It looks clean and untouched, you would never say, this 9-5 has 236.000 km driven. I love the "3D" look of the rpm, kmh and fuel indicators, this is something I'd like to have in the 9-3. It's hard to photograph, at least for my skills, so at least an overall view :

After getting the car, I was driving behind someone, leading me to the nearest E85 fuel station, about 50 km away. The driver wasn't lazy at all and was pretty dynamic, so I had to catch up quickly - fast overtakes and fast drives in curves with a car I didn't knew at all. And I was very positively surprised. Not a single "edge situation", it was fast and stable. At country roads between towns, at speeds 80-120kmh. Nice !

Some things I was missing. Firstly, as I am 191 cm tall, the seats could be a bit lower. This is something which the taller driver have to use to. And secondly, on the cruise controll I was missing "cruise minus". You can increase the speed, but not decrease. On the highway this is useful. Was that it ? Yes. Nothing else.

The Saab has 150 bhp and 240 Nm on petrol and 180 bhp and 280 Nm on the biofuel / E85. The 20% performance increasy is to feel. It follows the gas pedal very prompt and cheerful. That was a nice surprise for a pretty heavy looking combi. But not a surprise for Saab in general. Official numbers are saying 8.5 seconds for 0-120kmh and it easily could be.

It has an automatic transmission, the short delays against manual transmission are there, but no drama. I am a fan of manual transmission, so in case of choice, the decision would be clear. But after this I understood everybody who tunes this car, because to have this chassis on 250+ hp should be really fun.

The fuel consumption on the highway was 10.4 l/100 km on the highway (23.3 mpg) of E85, which would indicate about 8 litres on normal petrol (29.4 mpg), which is ok. After coming to the city and driving it around in a normal traffic another 200 km, the fuel meter shows 12.2 l/100 km (19.3 mpg), which indicates about 9.4 l/100 km (25 mpg) on petrol. For a year 2007 and 230.000 km two-liter an absolutely acceptable number. I could live with that.

The price difference between E85 and a say 96 Natural petrol is of course a critical factor here. This Saab won a couple of prices for eco-development, driving on ethanol, which is important for the eco minded drivers.

In general a very good feeling. It drives well, it is not too thirsty. I forgot to mention the boot, which is huge, for a family absolutely ok and also a good sound. I will give it back on Friday with a bit sadness in the heart. I used to it and like it. There were several of  positive "Saab kicks" through these couple of days.

Also the sad thing is : we don't have E85 in Slovakia. Fuel lobby has lobbed. This car is borrowed from the Czech Republic, where they're used to it. So no use of the BioPower feature here.

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