Saab 9-5 Estate (2011): new spy photos

Published: 18 January 2010

Saab might be winding down, as GM goes through the motions of closing its Swedish outpost. But its engineers are clearly still clinging on to hope that one of the last-minute rescue deals from Spyker Cars or investment bank Genii Capital will come good – they're still testing new product, including this 9-5 estate.

The new 9-5 saloon was shown off in summer 2009, and the 9-5 wagon was due to be shown later in 2010. But despite the industrial gloom and doom in Gothenburg, product development types are still pounding the winter test circuits in Scandinavia as part of the shakedown tests for this second member of the 9-5 family.

Such a shame if the new 2010 Saab 9-5 ends up a stillborn!

Yes, we couldn't agree more. This bigger, more practical 9-5 is based on the Vauxhall Insignia estate, so promises to be a competitively roomy, comfy load lugger. And with a dash of the Saab style we've seen on the 9-5 saloon, it could have been a decent alternative to the Audi A6 Avant, BMW 5-series Touring and Mercedes E-class wagon default choices in the exec sector.

Word is, Saab has built around 35 examples of the new 9-5 saloon. It would be a disaster if they ended up in the crusher, once GM goes official and fully closes Saab. Let's hope someone is able to get behind the wheel to tell us what could have been before it's too late.

What's the latest on the Saab sell-off?

Sadly, after last week's Detroit auto show it seems that GM is going ahead with the closure of Saab. The few remaining bids on the table from the likes of Spyker and Genii aren't up to scratch, according to GM high-ups, but there is hope. We know GM are experts at brinkmanship. Remember the GM Europe sale to Magna? Let's hope they're playing poker faces and drumming up the price rather than seriously preparing to close Saab (although that is looking more likely with every passing day).

One of the struggling blocks in negotiations is over the rights to the Saab brand, according to our sources in Sweden. The Saab name and logo have a confusing provenance, with General Motors and Scania claiming joint rights to the Griffin logo and name.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet