Who owns Saab this week? First it was flogged to American-owned GM, partially and then completely, and then to a Dutch outfit, Spyker Cars.

What does any of that have to do with the new Saab 9-5 Aero 2.8T XWD? Well, apparently the 9-5 came close to being ditched when Saab was almost wound up last year. But now business executives can breathe a huge sigh of relief. Not because Saab survived in a bravura piece of industrial resuscitation, but because those very business executives now have another smooth and weighty saloon to ferry their well-cushioned behinds from airport to corporate gathering.

It is certainly intriguing to consider how cars continue to be designed and built even as the companies that design and build them are accelerating towards the cliff top of commercial oblivion.

Following Volvo’s targeting of the lucrative German-dominated exec saloon market, their fellow Swedes at Saab have also got in on the act, with the help, naturally, of the Germans – where much of the new 9-5’s engineering work was conceived. The result is a kind of Swedish Vauxhall. To be more precise, a Swedish Vauxhall Insignia. As the Insignia is a first-rate car, that’s no faint praise.

The 9-5 is longer than the Insignia, and the extra length is best appreciated in the back. Often when manufacturers refer to leg room, they don’t appear to include the feet in their calculations, as though you could remove them along with your shoes. But in the 9-5 there’s not only leg room but foot room, too.

As a result of this, and its splendid bulk, the 9-5 feels substantial in the Swedish tradition. In other words, heavy. There’s a firmness about the interior, as well as a pronounced comfort, that given the troubled background to its inception is a little surprising. Presumably the added pounds of weight account for the pounds sterling that nudge its price towards the 40 grand mark.

Yet if it’s heavy, it’s not in the least sluggish. There is, it’s true, a slight delay in the response of the automatic gears, but that’s sort of fun. For a semi-second after compressing the accelerator you get to enjoy a moment of calm and reflection, perhaps savouring the scenery or your recent, quick-witted undermining of a colleague, before the turbo kicks in and you’re propelled leglong into the future.

The 9-5 has plenty of notable qualities. All it really lacks is a distinctive style. It wears the insignia of Saab well enough to suggest that it could establish itself alongside the BMWs and Audis. But what it hasn’t quite shaken off is the Insignia of Vauxhall.

Saab 9-5 Aero 2.8T WXD

Price £37,795
Top speed 155mph
Acceleration 0-60mph in 6.6 seconds
Average consumption 26.6mpg
CO2 emissions 244g/km
Eco rating 2.5/10
Bound for The outside lane of the M4 eastbound from Heathrow
In a word Footloose

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