Saab 9-5 succeeds in fuel economy challenge (again)

Back in July, I shared a story from Spain about one of our Saab Spain employees participating in – and dominating – a fuel economy challenge with the Saab 9-5.

Ramon Cano and his co-driver, a local journalist from magazine Autofacil, employed some efficient driving techniques and guided their Saab 9-5 to a 17% improvement over the official fuel economy figures for the car.

That was in a Saab 9-5 TiD with an automatic gearbox. Ramon really wanted a petrol/manual version of the car to show the percentage reductions that were really possible, but it wasn’t to be. A similar challenge has just taken place in the UK and this time, the drivers got the car they wanted.

Once again the 9-5 has impressed with a huge 27% improvement over published fuel economy figures. The release from Saab Great Britain:


Saab’s commitment to delivering a more fuel efficient drive for its customers was demonstrated amply, when it entered a 2.0-litre petrol turbo 9-5 Saloon Aero in the 2011 ALD Automotive /Shell Fuel Save MPG Marathon; an annual fuel economy driving challenge held over two days and covering a challenging 370-miles designed to replicate a typical motorist’s driving route.

Saab’s 9-5 2.0-litre petrol turbo, driven by motoring journalist Iain Robertson, one of the UK’s top eco drivers, accompanied by his experienced navigator, Robert Marshall, returned an impressive 43.81 mpg, a 27.35% improvement over its official combined fuel figure of 34.4 mpg and a victorious place on the podium.

Iain Robertson commented, “We employed neither ‘tricks’ nor ‘cheats’ to prove the immense potential of the car’s engine. In other words, we relied on the Saab’s engine technology to cut fuel usage and its superior amount of torque, at remarkably low engine speeds, to achieve the improved figure.

“It is only by adopting a series of carefully applied driving techniques that we know the savings were possible. Yet, they are techniques that can be applied by any careful driver.”

It has long been expected that drivers seeking greater fuel economy would creep along main roads and cause other road-users some inconvenience. The Saab entry in the MPG Marathon has disproved that contention.

“The key to obtaining a good fuel return,” continued Iain, “lies in reaching a sensible and legal cruising speed and maintaining it with little more than a whisker of throttle depression. Planning as far ahead as possible, to avoid unnecessary fuel-sapping stops, and accelerating progressively, to pass slower vehicles, are by far the most effective means to driving economically.”

With a company history based on producing vehicles possessing an engineering conscience, Saab endeavours to ensure that even its highly-powered petrol turbo models can return extraordinarily good fuel figures.

Charles Toosey, Managing Director of Saab GB, said, “Excellent on-road performance can still work hand-in-hand with respectable fuel consumption. Even though Saab produces a number of high-performance petrol cars, developing well in excess of 220 hp, allied to exceptional pulling potency of 350 Nm, high fuel costs need not be a consideration, as long as the car is driven in a judicious manner.”

Avoiding harsh acceleration is key but, reaching the required cruising speed, without indulging in the car’s cruise control technology, is also crucial. In fact, maintaining momentum is every bit as important and this is where the ability to plan and look beyond the normal driver’s range of sight is imperative. Block gear shifting (such as going directly from second to fifth gears) and avoiding harsh braking are additional techniques that can be applied.

Naturally, traffic snarl-ups that occur for commuters on today’s roads are known to increase fuel consumption. Yet, Iain Robertson offers an antidote to that situation.

“If a driver is caught up in traffic,” he proposed, “losing one’s cool is an unfortunate by-product. By concentrating, avoiding stop-start scenarios and even seeking alternative routes or departure times, to miss out the traffic build-up, a car’s fuel economy will benefit to new and measurable peaks.”

The Saab 9-5 all turbo powertrain line-up starts at 1.6-litres and carries forward Saab’s rightsizing engine strategy, which focuses on responsible performance through the development of highly efficient and smaller capacity four cylinder turbo engines. Both petrol and diesel engines are offered, with diesel CO2 emissions as low as 125g/km. Prices start from £26,995. For more details on the Saab 9-5 range, visit

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1 Comment

  1. Here are two 2011 9-5 models and their fuel economy information.

    One is used mostly for highway driving using premium fuel, the other runs on E85 with a large percentage of city driving.  As you can see, the numbers are very impressive.  Figures are in US gallons.