First pictures of new Saab 9-5

* Pictures leaked * All-new saloon * On sale in spring 2010...

First pictures of new Saab 9-5

These are the first official pictures of the all-new Saab 9-5.

The shots have been leaked over the internet, ahead of the car's official unveiling next month. Saab will also display the car at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

As you can see from the pictures, the new 9-5 has classic Saab cues, including the blacked-out front windscreen pillars and the distinctive curve of the rear pillars.

Underneath, the 9-5 uses a version of the same platform as the Vauxhall Insignia. It's also expected to use the same engines, so expect 2.0-litre diesels and 1.8-, 2.0- and 2.8-litre turbocharged petrol engines. Front and four-wheel-drive models are expected to be offered and an estate will follow a few months after the saloon.

Saab has confirmed that the 9-5 saloon will go on sale in the UK next year, with a likely on-sale date of April. Prices haven't been announced, but we expect it to undercut key rivals such as the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series, so expect a starting price of around 23,500.

Crucial to Saab's future
The new 9-5 is crucial to Saab's future. The company is in the process of being sold by current owners GM and a deal has been agreed with Swedish supercar manufacturer Koenigsegg.

As part of the proposed deal, GM will continue to provide Saab with technology for a defined period. As well as the new 9-5, products in the pipeline include a crossover SUV called the 9-4X and the next 9-3 compact executive. These are expected to use GM components, because the programmes were started several years ago.

Collaboration with GM will continue into the future, too, but a Saab insider also told us: 'We can also go outside GM if we find something that is more suitable.'

Saab has been part of the GM empire for the past 20 years, but it's now being sold as GM slims down and emerges from bankruptcy protection.