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by Tim Beissmann

Saab has released a preview image of the all-new 2011 Saab 9-5 SportCombi ahead of its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

Based on the new 9-5 sedan – the first vehicle to emerge from the restructured Saab under new owner Spyker Cars N.V. – the SportCombi will add versatility to the premium range.

The restructuring of the Swedish brand in October last year included the launch of Saab Australia – a new, wholly owned subsidiary company separate from GM Holden Ltd., Saab’s previous distributor in Australia.

The new subsidiary is responsible for supplying and maintaining the national dealer network, including existing Saab dealerships and new outlets.

Around a dozen Saab dealers are expected to be maintained in Australia, and at its launch last year, Saab Australia announced the 9-5 sedan, 9-4X and 9-5 SportCombi would be among the first new vehicles to arrive.

The 9-5 sedan will hit local showrooms in March/April this year and will be followed by the all-new 9-4X SUV either later this year or early 2012.

European deliveries of the SportCombi will commence in September, with Australian vehicles most likely to arrive in 2012.

The 9-5 SportCombi will feature Saab’s XWD all-wheel drive system, adaptive chassis control, adaptive cruise control (late 2012), bi-Xenon adaptive headlights, keyless entry and start, tri-zone air-conditioning and head-up display – drawing on the marque’s aircraft pedigree.

Designed for practicality, the cargo area features an adaptable multi-fold floor, under-floor stowage area with wet storage compartment, and offers 1600 litres of space with the 60/40 split-fold rear seats folded down.

The SportCombi will be powered by the same engines as the 9-5 sedan, which is offered with three turbocharged petrol engines (134kW/230Nm 1.6-litre, 164kW/350Nm 2.0-litre, 224kW/400Nm 2.8-litre) and two 2.0-litre diesels (119kW/350Nm and 142kW/400Nm). A BioPower variant of the 2.0-litre petrol engine is also available.

The 2011 Saab 9-5 SportCombi will debut at Geneva on March 1.

Just 14 Saabs were sold in Australia last year as the brand underwent its restructuring, down from 663 in 2009 and 1158 in 2008.

The new vehicles, along with fresh stock of the smaller 9-3 arriving early this year, should see the niche Swedish brand begin to resurrect itself in Australia.




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