RE: Saab 9-5 | Shed Buying Guide

RE: Saab 9-5 | Shed Buying Guide

Tuesday 8th October 2019

Saab 9-5 | Shed Buying Guide

Saab sold the first generation Saab 9-5 for over a decade. Ten years later, it's Shed gold

Shame about Saab. Let's blame the Americans.

Those two sentiments can often be found hand in hand, with many Saab fans blaming the sad demise of this great name on General Motors. It's certainly true that GM's involvement in Saab - a 50 per cent shareholding taken up in 1989 and increased to 100 per cent in 2000, when GM also signed a big joint venture deal with Fiat - didn't turn out the way either side might have hoped. A recession allied to expensive GM employee welfare problems in the first half of the 2000s kiboshed the Fiat partnership and a lot of exciting-sounding Saab projects, and GM's attempts to make money out of Saab-badged rehashes of the Subaru Impreza and a Chevrolet SUV flopped horribly.

If some of those binned Saab projects had been allowed to go ahead (including an all-new 9-5 based on the Alfa 159 'Premium' platform, scheduled for 2005), maybe the Trollhattaners would be on a par with their Swedish rivals Volvo today. We'll never know. What we do know is that Saab went bust at the end of 2011, a year after the final YS3G model 9-5 was released. Styled on the Aero X concept and built on GM's Epsilon II platform, the YS3G apparently achieved the highest pre-sale customer clinic scores of any GM car ever, with folk seeing it as a 'highly appealing' and 'innovative' alternative to the Audi A6.

Unfortunately the new 9-5 never managed to establish itself, dying prematurely in 2012 after GM blocked a proposed deal between Saab's new owners Spyker and a Chinese consortium.

Today you can pick up a 2010 YS3G 9-5 for under Β£5k, and there was a 300hp 4WD version too, both of which are interesting thoughts, but even Β£5k is somewhat beyond our Shedly purse. No matter, though, because the previous model, the first-gen YS3E that ran from 1998 to July 2009 in saloon and estate forms, has always been a brilliant Shed choice. Roomy, comfy, and well protected against rust, the front-wheel drive 9-5 combines strong performance (either standard or tuned) with great safety and more than acceptable fuel economy. The Estate in particular is a dream for many a practicality-minded skinflint PH barger.

The gen-one 9-5 (bundling up the 1997-2001 car with the lightly facelifted 2001/2-2005 model) came with a choice of petrol and diesel engines, all of them turbocharged, and all of them - bar the auto-only 3.0 V6 petrol and the manual-only 3.0 TiD diesel - available with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes.

That big Isuzu-engined diesel didn't arrive in the UK until 2002 and was never a huge hit here. It only came with a manual box because the existing auto box didn't fit: a properly developed auto was meant to come with the gen-two that was supposed to arrive in 2005 (but didn't, see above). As such, the 3.0 TiD's traction control warning light spent most of its life illuminated.

The 2.0- and 2.3-litre petrol fours - based on an old Triumph motor, incidentally - produced 150 and 185hp respectively. The first entry-level diesel was an Alfa-derived 1.9. In 2002 this became an Opel Ecotec 2.2 and then in 2006 a Fiat 1.9 JTD. In 2004 the B308 low-pressure turbo 3.0 V6 that powered Griffin models gave way to a turbo four producing 220hp, which - given that the big turbo V6 only produced 200hp - was not a bad move. Especially as the V6s had a tendency to munch their head gaskets.

A second facelift for 2005/6 cars was less subtle than the first. Lots of GM bits started to appear in the cabin. By this time the 1.9 turbodiesels and the 2.0 petrols were producing 150hp, while the 2.3 petrols offered a wide range of power outputs from 185hp in the 2.3t to a thrungetastic 260hp in the Aero, with the mid-table Turbo spec offering 220hp.

The 9-5 is a smashing car, but it wasn't perfect when new and the passage of time won't have improved matters on many cars. Let Shed walk you gently through the sunlit uplands and the darker, midge-infested fjords of Saab life.

Search for a Saab 9-5 here

Bodywork & Interior

Rust-wise, the 9-5s fare very well. The undersides were really well protected by the factory. The area where the rear subframe bolts onto the body can suffer, but generally corrosion problems will only arise from unrepaired stone chips or the failure to replace plastic shielding after work has been carried out.

The one common place for earlier cars to go is the lower section of the rear wheel arch above the so-called 'dogleg', the rearmost section of the outer sill, where mud can collect inside the arch liner. Some cars may also show bubbling on the bottom edge of the tailgate on the Estate or on the fuel cap cover.

What about on the inside? Well, 9-5s were luxury cars so the general specification level was always high. Check that all the many buttons actually do something, though. One of the best Saab features was the Night Panel which gives the driver the option of extinguishing most of the instrument panel lighting, leaving just the speedo lit up. It's a surprisingly effective feature that cuts down tiring eye strain and glare at night.

That said, the SID (Saab Information Display) LCD screens did become notorious for dropping pixels. The good news is that this fault can often be easily repaired for ten quid or less by replacing the ribbon cable. In this regard, eBay is your friend.

If there's no heat coming out of one side of your HVAC dual-zone automatic climate control system, that almost certainly means the blend door arm has broken. These blend doors, or flaps - or rather, the arms that control them - are stupidly fragile. Aftermarket suppliers can fix you up with billet jobs that should never break.

To determine whether you have this problem, press and hold the AUTO and OFF buttons on the ACC system to begin the self-test procedure. The ideal result is a 0-0 indication. A '0' on the left means you have no codes. The right-hand figure tells you the error codes. A readout of 1-08 means one problem with 08, which is the left side blend door, and usually suggests a broken actuator shaft. The replacement parts are cheap. Fitting them - in time terms anyway - is not.

Window regulators regularly stop regulating thanks to the use of plastic rollers that lose their shape over time and eventually break, allowing the window glass to drop down inside the door. The fix is a new set of window rollers, which are both gratifyingly cheap and relatively easy to install.

Interestingly, the signal for the 9-5's radio comes in via the rear window defroster lines. If these get broken, you will no longer hear the not at all annoying sounds of Stuart Maconie, Zoe Ball or Steve Wright-In-The-Afternoon. You can fix this (if you want to) by applying some conductive epoxy to the affected lines.

Engine & Transmission

The biggest problem for the B205 and B235 four-pot petrol engines, particularly for the early ones up to 2003, was oil sludging. To get around this, 2004-on models were given better positive crankcase ventilation and instructions were given out for fully synthetic oil only to be used. Owners of the early cars were able to retrofit a factory update kit to improve their lot. It's a fair assumption that any early four-pot 9-5s that are still running will have had this kit fitted, or will have had an engine failure. Dropping the sump and checking the strainer will establish whether the oil pickup is being suffocated.

The B235 2.3 turbo engine generates nearly 260lb ft of torque and this can stress out the drivetrain mounts. Symptoms are jerkiness or knocking on cutting the throttle, or more than a little movement of the gearshifter on manual cars. 2.2 diesels gained a rep for blowing, either because of turbocharger issues (white smoke from the exhaust) or ECU problems. Oil leaks near the timing chain can require a full engine-out repair.

Saab's Trionic engine management system (brought in on the 9-5's predecessor, the 9000) uses a single ECU to control timing, fuel injection and boost control. Feeding data back to the ECU is a coil-on-plug coil pack called a DIC (Direct Ignition Cassette) that gives the spark plugs an additional sensory role.

Ask Shed what he thinks about sensors and you will get a curt reply, or more likely a grunt. He hates them. Sure enough, Saab's aptly named DIC is famously unreliable. When it conks out (after 40-60k miles if you're lucky), it will start throwing out all manner of misfire codes and an unpleasant smell of burning electrics. Your car's performance will go down the toilet, and sometimes right round the U-bend. The only good thing about the DIC is that it is modular so can be easily replaced with the spare that most forward-thinking 9-5 owners carry in the boot. You should think about replacing the spark plugs first, though.

Throttle bodies on early (1999-2003) four-cylinder 9-5s fail, giving rise to throttle surge at idle or, more worryingly, when you're in cruise control. Sometimes you can sort this by cleaning out the oil that's being thrown into the body by the PCV system, but if it's down to shorted-out wires on the circuit board the only realistic solution is a new TB.

We mentioned Shed's hatred of sensors a minute ago. Here's another one for 9-5 owners to fret over - the crankshaft position sensor, or CPS. When parts get known by their acronym you know that they're being talked about a lot more than the manufacturer intended. In the case of the 9-5's CPS, the topic is why Saab bolted it directly to the engine block, where it gets lovely and hot, confusing its poor wee brain. When this happens the engine management system doesn't know when to fire the fuel injectors and/or spark plugs. Letting the engine cool down should get you back on the road, but unless you find it amusing to be three hours late for appointments you might want to consider buying a new CPS. They're less than Β£20 online.

The valve body on the automatic gearbox can go bad when metal debris causes scoring on the fluid passages, affecting shift quality. That same debris can degrade O-rings too, leading to a trans fluid leak. Changing the fluid every 15-20,000 miles will head off the thinning effects of fluid wear.

Three other 9-5 bits that are practically guaranteed to fail at some point are the exhaust backbox, the fuel pump and the coolant bypass valve. Exhaust backboxes get eaten away by mud and water. Fuel pump replacement is pretty easy and the units are about Β£100 a pop. The bypass valve that diverts coolant through the heater core to produce cabin heat is about Β£20. If it's failed without you realising it, however, the entire coolant supply could end up making a break for freedom, with rather more expensive results. Preventative replacement before an item has actually failed might go against all your Shedly instincts but in this case it's really worth it.

Suspension & Steering

GM dictated the use of Opel suspension hardware in the 9-5 but tests revealed it had an 'unacceptable chassis pivot point' so the mountings and bushings were redesigned to get the car driving 'more like a Saab'.

Aero spec cars have quite harsh suspension. If you find it unbearable then Hirsch is an excellent name to look into, as is Eibach (Pro dampers and springs) or Abbott Racing (Bilstein dampers and Abbott-spec springs). All of these have the potential to change your 9-5 life for the better.

If you hear a rattling in the vicinity of your glovebox it could be that the strut top mount is on the way out, or the bottom 4-5 inches of your spring has snapped off due to corrosion, or you need new drop links. Of course it could also mean that you've finally found your long-lost false teeth. Similarly, crunching noises might mean that you've just run over a badger, but in a 9-5 it's more likely that your anti-roll bar bushes need silicon spray or grease putting on them.

Power steering fluid leaks out. A clunk when steering sharply at low speed may point to a worn ball joint on the lower control arm. Creaking or grinding at very low speeds is likely to be the top mount bearings.

Wheels, Tyres & Brakes

Flaky paint on the alloys is normal. So is the difficulty you may have in getting them off to mend punctures, but this is by no means a Saab-exclusive problem. Shed had a terrible experience with his old Volvo V70 once. It's to do with the unhappy metallurgy of an alloy wheel coming together with a cast iron hub.

You can have similar grief trying to get the brake rotors off, but in that case a massive whack with the heaviest thing in your garage will do the trick as you are probably only taking them off to replace them so it's not as if you'll need them anymore.

Remembering that 9-5s are front-wheel drive cars, rear tyres can wear at an unusual rate. This is sometimes down to rear suspension arm bushes which Saab dealers used to replace on an annoyingly (to them) frequent basis. It could also be wheel misalignment. Rear toe is adjustable on 9-5s.


The easy accessibility of PCP deals means that four in every five people now 'buy' new cars on easy payments. They hardly ever actually own them. Shed has no idea why people do this when there are excellent vehicles like the 9-5 around that have depreciated to practically zero and yet are just begging to be given the chance to deliver more fine service to discerning owners.

Which is the type of owner that 9-5s attract. They tend to be run by knowledgeable enthusiasts who tolerate the car's shortcomings and who are prepared to put in the effort to minimise their effects. Remapping is one of the most satisfying things you can do to a 9-5, turning an already brisk car into a genuinely rapid one. Add in supreme comfort, big carrying capacity and family practicality - especially in the Estate with the sliding load floor - and you'll wonder why you ever considered that Kia C'eed.

Search for a Saab 9-5 here



Original Poster:

1,815 posts

80 months

Tuesday 8th October 2019
quotequote all
Really enjoyed mine. Lots of upgrade potential, and options to do so, and readily available remedies for the various niggles. You really could do as much, or as little, as you wanted with one of these. A good car for those who like to tinker or those who just need a bit of cheap bargyness alike.


2,453 posts

101 months

Tuesday 8th October 2019
quotequote all
A decent article on a decent car. I was at the big unveil of the 9-5 at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1996, and thought it was stunning. I've owned 3 9-5's (1997 2.0 LPT, 2005 2.2 TiD, and the best of the bunch, a 2004-model Aero). The first one was a 4 speed Aisin auto box, the other 2 manuals. All 3 were saloons.
The one sterling bit of advice is that if you ever see a 3.0TiD for sale, don't buy it. They had cooling issues, overheated, and dropped a liner causing catastrophic engine failure. Saab could have gone bankrupt in 2002/3 just replacing those engines. On the off chance many have survived, don't be tempted into buying one.
Abbott Racing are mentioned extensively when it comes to tuning. They're good, but expensive. Google NoobTune for bargain (but quality) remaps.
My last 9-5, the Aero, ran a Noobtune map, so 280bhp, a Quaife LSD, polybushed subframe and an Abbott stainless exhaust amongst some other mods. The car I shouldn't have sold, but I did with 150,000 miles & no issues for £1600. Cue sad emoji.
I ran winter tyres on all my 9-5's in winter (funnily enough) and they were amazing in the snow & ice. Whilst the rest of the country ground to a halt, the Saab literally ploughed on. Heated velour upholstery in my first one too, bizarrely.
I still do some work on a friend's 9-5; his is an Edna Aero wagon with the auto box, and despite the huge steering wheel, it still feels nice to drive - and although it's 11 years old there isn't any rust on it. You do see some rusty 9-5's though, particularly wagons around the rear arches (my observations only). The newer you buy, the less chance of rust.
My personal opinion - if I were looking for a 9-5 again, I'd aim for a 2007 Anniversary edition Aero OR a Turbo edition (2009ish). Or buy a bargain NG9-5 - I think they're stunning.


Original Poster:

1,815 posts

80 months

Tuesday 8th October 2019
quotequote all
BFleming said:
Google NoobTune for bargain (but quality) remaps.
My last 9-5, the Aero, ran a Noobtune map, so 280bhp, a
Also called Saabnoob maybe and in the Nottingham area of UK? If so it is where I took mine and even with taking the cost of travelling into account was worth every penny. It was actually the jump in torque that was more notable.

Edited by gigglebug on Tuesday 8th October 18:35


11,814 posts

161 months

Tuesday 8th October 2019
quotequote all
I love mine. So much so I’ve now booked it in for some fresh paint for the parking scrapes it’s picked up over the years. These are the sort of cars that get under your skin, so comfortable in a no frills, old school way.

A simple remap of my 150hp Vector gave it 225hp and 260lbs of torque so it goes pretty well given they are about the same weight as a modern Golf. Great for scalping diesels.

I think they look good too!


Original Poster:

1,815 posts

80 months

Tuesday 8th October 2019
quotequote all
BFleming said:
Or buy a bargain NG9-5 - I think they're stunning.
Especially in Hirsch guise!


402 posts

94 months

Tuesday 8th October 2019
quotequote all
gigglebug said:
Also called Saabnoob maybe and in the Nottingham area of UK? If so it is where I took mine and even with taking the cost of travelling into account was worth every penny. It was actually the jump in torque that was more notable.

Edited by gigglebug on Tuesday 8th October 18:35
I'd also recommend Saabnoob for a remap, especially on a 150bhp 2.0l that takes it to 220bhp. It's well worth doing on an Aero as well as despite being just 25bhp it adds loads more torque everywhere.

As for the cars rust is a real problem now on a lot of pre 2006 cars but they feel much more solid in their build quality even if superficially they look worse inside.

Reciprocating mass

5,830 posts

199 months

Tuesday 8th October 2019
quotequote all
My late turbo edition manual 2.3t on one of its fishing trips,
I’ve had a problem with finding a decent outer cv joint that lasts longer than 5 thousand miles, it’s on it’s 3rd and last one, if it goes again soon so will the car it’s becoming a pain
Took me 2 lots of wheel bearings before I got one that lasted longer than 2000 miles and all the bits have come from saab specialists,
It is a comfy car but the driving position is like sitting on the roof and the steering wheel is at an odd angle, maybe I should replace the 18 inch wheels with 17’s perhaps that’s the problem

Mike 83

50 posts

18 months

Tuesday 8th October 2019
quotequote all
I had a 2003 aero Hot from 2007 to 2013 I only paid 4200 for it then and it had every option ticked included heated back seats and heated and cooled front seats I wish I kept it the jaguar xj that followed was ruinous.


1,177 posts

76 months

Tuesday 8th October 2019
quotequote all
Are you even a true pistonhead if you haven't owned a Saab 9-5 or Volvo V70?

Used my 9-5 Aero daily for 3 years and sold it for almost the same price as I bought it for. It munched up the miles when I drove it from the South of England and up to Scotland to do the NC500. It was the best dog taxi I've ever had and it would occasionally tow a stock trailer a little too fast.

Servicing wise, I changed the fully sync oil every 6-months and had to buy a new DIC pack. Make sure you get a genuine one. Other than that, nothing went wrong. Mine was a rare spec as it had an electric sunroof, manual gearbox and a Harmen Karden soundsystem, plus of course all the Aero options that came as standard.

I actually miss it because it did everything so well. The only reason we sold is because I started to daily an Impreza and my wife used the Saab. The Saab was just too big for her to use in town for her short trips and the tax was expensive.

Edited by Prohibiting on Tuesday 8th October 20:35


39 posts

148 months

Tuesday 8th October 2019
quotequote all
Had a W-reg 2.3t manual estate (170 bhp before they went up to 185 bhp) and then a 2004 auto Aero estate. Really regret selling the latter. I should have spent a few quid sorting out some minor niggles rather than moving it on 4 years ago. Looking at MOT history the guy that bought it has put another 60k on it - good work. The Aero was effortlessly quick and very comfortable; rather sketchy around corners but that was part of the entertainment.


22 posts

82 months

Tuesday 8th October 2019
quotequote all
I had a 2003 9-5 aero estate automatic.

I covered about 45,000 miles in 3 years.

These are my thoughts:

Negative points:

Poor door mirrors with restricted field of view.

Poor automatic gearbox. Too eager to change down in general driving making it very difficult to drive smoothly in normal mode. Sports mode even worse.

I had DI cassette problems. Only buy the original Saab unit (available from saab specialists for about £250. I found all aftermarket items to be waste of time. Worth spending the £250 upfront and keep one with you.

Engine makes a non-appealing noise.

First thing you do when you buy one is get it serviced. Especially change all the little hoses (about 5 in total) on the top of the engine to do with the turbo.

Later model type (from 2005) does not look good.

Positive points:

Go to Saabnoob in Nottingham. He knows what he is doing. The difference is really big.

Fantastic brakes.

Very confidence inspiring and stable in harsh weather conditions.

Great seats, driving position, headlights and instruments.

Good visability with the exception of the door mirrors as mentioned above.

Decent fuel consumption. I always seemed to get about 27mpg on a mixture of open roads and town driving.

Good looking car (with exception of later model types from after about 2005).

Nice to drive something different to other people.


669 posts

63 months

Tuesday 8th October 2019
quotequote all
I loved my 2.3 LPT 185bhp auto saloon

But boy did it have more than it's fair share of electrical gremlins - very frustrating, but a lovely car to drive - gorgeous creamy torque matched really well with the auto gearbox - such a great place to travel in.

I had a 9000 2.3 Anniversary before that with the 225bhp engine - that was a real rocket-ship. I took mine all over Europe and wound it up to an indicated 145mph in Germany once - solid as a rock.

SWMBO had a 900 2.0 as well which she loved.

The 2005/6 facelift was christened the 'Dame Edna' on account of the silver rims round the headlights.

Great cars, lots of character, lovely to drive, so comfortable, not one of the usual big 3 German choices - wish they still made 'em.


1,117 posts

116 months

Tuesday 8th October 2019
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Had my Aero Hot 95 Estate manual for near on 8 years. Becoming rare sight. Brilliant car.

Values slowly climbing...


1,277 posts

102 months

Tuesday 8th October 2019
quotequote all
I've had 3 Aeros. The last one I bought was an Abbott "Stage 3 Dame Edna" with 200k on the clock for £700.

Had literally thousands spent on it, felt so tight with brand new dampers (amongst other things) and the mid range was absurd. Surely still one of the quickest cars from motorway speeds, that I've ever driven.

Unfortunately, all of this meant I got carried away and failed to notice the knackered head gasket/cracked head. I did all of 35 miles home in it and realised what I'd done after it dumped all of it's coolant. Lesson learned.

Sold it within the next few days for £600 to a chap who breaks Saabs. Decent money in it for him due to the Abbott hardware.

Great cars. Flawed, but great.


1,271 posts

136 months

Tuesday 8th October 2019
quotequote all
'You can have similar grief trying to get the brake rotors off,'

Didn't realise I was living in the USA now :-0


24,993 posts

209 months

Tuesday 8th October 2019
quotequote all
Drove a few and they felt very solid and Saab-y. Still fancy an early 2000s manual Aero Estate. I had a 9000 2.3T which was great (still got it actually, sans MOT).

Such a shame they never made more than a couple of the new 9-5 Estates. Love my e46 330 Touring but in some ways a big old comfy turbo powered armchair with heated velour would be a lovely way to travel!


307 posts

154 months

Tuesday 8th October 2019
quotequote all
We're on our 7th Saab and currently have an '08 9-5 Aero estate and it's simply fantastic.
It's an auto and has a 3" down pipe and Noobtune map to take it to stage 3 and it's plenty fast enough.
It stops and goes really well, swallows our bikes without taking the wheels off and is a dream to do long distances in.
We live in central London and I don't care (much) if it gets scratched, it still looks great in my eyes for an 11 year old car.
There's no rust or bubbling anywhere.
It's really well equipped and I always struggle to think of anything that could replace it for the same money if it was to ever go bang.
I love the Saab image (well the fact that it doesn't really have one) and that you don't see many of them on the road.

Maybe we've just been lucky but none of our Saabs has ever let us down mechanically including this one.
I try to keep on top of any small jobs and I have the oil and filter changed fairly regularly.
We'll probably put a Pioneer CarPlay head unit in it soon as the original unit is a bit dated now but it sounds amazing, ours has the subwoofer in the boot.
All in all I bloody love this car.


94 posts

14 months

Tuesday 8th October 2019
quotequote all
We had a beautiful deep blue metallic '03 Aero with sand leather - fantastic combo. Was a great barge - we bought it with daughter no2 on the way to replace the Civic Type-R. Will never forget coming back from a wedding late at night on a motorway 'cruising' at a speed well beyind the limit and being caught by plod in his 5 series BM. Pulled alongside, gave me a thumbs up then motioned to slow down. Then catapulted into the distance. Thank f***!

Loved the in gear acceleration. After 3 years began causing issues and going into limp mode randomly. Chopped in for a horrible Mazda5 'Sport' 😑


541 posts

142 months

Tuesday 8th October 2019
quotequote all
I used to have one of these (an 06 Aero HOT) and loved it. It went like stink (once away from torque-steer zone), was very well equipped – mine had dual zone climate, leccy front seats (with driver’s memory), heated seats (front and rear), touch-screen satnav, auto wipers, leather, reverse parking sensors, xenon lights, auto-wipers (no idea how much of that was standard) + probably other stuff I’ve forgotten.

There were a few cons though – awful torque steer (and yes I know there are specialists who can improve it), some of the switchgear was cheap feeling (e.g. the ‘clacky’ indicator stalk and window switches in between the front seats), you had to switch on the auto-wipers function every time you restarted the car, you couldn’t operate the satnav unless you were stationary (understandable if only a driver onboard, but why not if there was a passenger onboard, which would have been detected by the seatbelt warning circuit). Yeah, yeah, 1st world problems, I know…

As I say, I loved it – it was utterly reliable, looked good (even though mine was an estate but lacked the roof bars for some reason), and was a little bit left-field, but it did feel a bit like an old design onto which new stuff had been gradually added, not always successfully. I’m sad that Saab are no more, but I see mine is still on the road at 145k miles so good luck to the current owner.


42,448 posts

162 months

Tuesday 8th October 2019
quotequote all
I was very fond of my Aero estate. Great car. I only switched to a Merc E class estate because I couldn’t find another good one. Really comfortable seats, ride wasn’t that harsh, and plenty of poke. Laggy as hell, but doesn’t matter in a barge.

DIC went, ABS reluctor ring went, I replaced quite a few of the air hoses in the rat’s nest of gubbins (though finding out that your check engine light is just a blown off hose is a nice feeling). Had the sump dropped when I bought it. Bought a set of steels with correct (narrower) winter tyres after a bit of buttock clenching ABS action. Much better on snow and ice but lots of torque steer in the dry. Surprisingly fuel efficient if driven gently and ruinously thirsty if thrashed. Noticeably perkier on super unleaded.