What the Swedish police really thought of the Saab 9-5

There were several articles online a few weeks ago about the Swedish police placing an order for 50 Volkswagens to be used as police cars. Several of them emphasised the fact that the police had not bought Saabs and used this as a judgement against Saab, as if the police didn’t find a current Saab suitable.

That’s some considerable distance from being accurate. The sad fact is that we weren’t able to fill an order for the Swedish police due to our production halt. We could not assure them of delivery by their required date and sadly, they had to shop elsewhere. It had nothing to do with any opinion they held about the car. In fact, they were very keen on the Saab 9-5, as you can see below.

The Swedish police evaluated the Saab 9-5 V6 for operational purposes in September 2010 and I’ve received the OK to share their findings here on Inside Saab. This is a public document and as such, can’t be altered from the original Swedish, but I have been allowed to provide a translation in text.

This is somewhat different to a regular road test. There’s no comments on who the car’s vehicular relatives might be, no whipcrack remarks about re-sale, interior materials or competitive placement. It’s all purely and simply about how the vehicle performs relative to the needs of the police force. The police have to be able to drive the pants off this car if necessary, and still feel confident that the car will be stable and dependable.


Page 1 provides some details as to the test itself: location, who was present and the type of vehicle tested.

The car is a Saab 9-5 V6 and is noted as being a prototype (i.e. pre-production) vehicle with a chassis setup specifically for the police. The weather was 11 degrees C, with dry and sunny conditions. It also states in summary the tests performed and a pass or fail grade: Brakes, Konbana (slalom), Evasive Actions, Brakes with Evasive Actions, Emergency Driving on Public Roads.

At the bottom, you can see some green text with a check mark, stating that the vehicle is considered suitable as a police car.

Page 2 is concerned with the braking test, checking brake temperatures and braking distances over a session of 10 braking runs.

The tester notes the following:

The vehicle in question had an incorrect type of vacuum pump which affected the braking distance slightly. Overall, there was nothing to complain about, with no fading at all.

Page 3 – ‘Konbana’ is a slalom course (the fun stuff!). Note that the test course was driven without stability control up to 75km/h without incident or difficulty.

The drivers remarks translate as follows:

Fantastic handling, excellent response throughout the manoeuvre. The chassis is impressive. Even without the electronic stability control system there is no problem to run the course.

Page 4

Minimal notes on page 4.

Page 5 – This test was concerned with braking and evasive manoeuvres, conducted at increasing speeds.

The drivers notes from this test:

An extremely stable and flexible chassis. The car does exactly as the driver wants (with) a huge steering response. A really great car, very easy to drive with either under- or oversteer. It lets nothing on the outer wheel, the fact that you can travel at nearly 2.5 tonnes will not even notice. Power steering is very precise and easy to handle.

The chassis is so well prepared and adapted to the weight, to manoeuvre clear without a hitch. Even without a ESP system switched on, no problem taking the car through the course at 105 km/h – which must be considered a new record!

And the final page:

Final remarks:

There is nothing negative to say at all, a fantastic chassis.

Lateral movements at high speeds (~ 220 km / h) are very stable and safe.

Altogether it is estimated that this chassis is the best thing that has ever been tested and therefore awarded the highest rating class: full marks


So there you see the results for yourself.

These vehicles would have been supplied in the Swedish market and I spoke briefly with Saab’s Director for the Nordic region, Magnus Hansson.

We received great feedback from the Swedish Police, who are as heartbroken as we are that we weren’t able to deliver cars to them this year. Based on their tests, the looks of the car, and word of mouth amongst the Swedish police etc, they would really love to get into our new 9-5s. We can’t wait to renew our relationship with them in the near future.

It’s to our detriment that we weren’t able to fill the order, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be doing our utmost to do so in the future. We’re very proud of our history in terms of supplying quality vehicles for emergency services in Sweden.

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  1. Would be interresting to read the equivalent test protocol on the VW Passat. Guess these kind of protocols are open to the public?

    1. Stefan, VW is their second option. So the results must be word in every test. But what happened to Volvo?
      I thought the Police would choose either Saab or Volvo.

      1. Either their comments on the Passat are as overwhelming as for the 9-5SC, or the comments are more neutral yet approving. Interesting read anyway.

        Can it be that the police force must allocate their graces to at a minimum two brands. Suitable that there are two brands in Sweden. 🙂
        So Saab and Volvo are rated no1. …..and Passat no2……;)

      2. Hi RedJ! My belief is that the police normally opt for two brands. Historically it has often been Volvo and Saab. This time it´s Volvo and VW. (Please correct me, anyone, if I´m wrong.)

  2.  Once production resumes and Saab can perhaps once again supply the Swedish police….this sounds like it might make for a good advertising campaign!  (Unless that is not allowed to use the comments from these public documents.)

  3. it seems to me that it should have been made a HUGE (!!!!!!!) priority to find enough cars for the Swedish Police, for the pr points alone that such a delivery should have generated, atleast here in Sweden… maybe pulled some away from showrooms or something… Oh well, water under the bridge, and more fuel on the fire for all the “nay-sayers” against SAAB…