Saab has announced the starting line-up for its next 9-5 range several months in advance of the new model going on sale in the UK.

There will be two trim levels, named Vector SE and Aero, both of which are traditional Saab badges. There are two diesel engines; two-litre units turning out 160 or 190 horsepower, and three petrol-powered options. The most powerful is a 2.8 litre paired with all-wheel drive but the most interesting is a 160 horsepower 1.6 litre which reinforces the trend towards small engines in large cars in the interests of economy. Like the remainder of Saab's engine range, including the third petrol option, a 2.0 litre, the 1.6 relies on turbo-charging, a long-established area of Saab strength.

Prices start at £26,495 and extend to £37,995. Saab calls the entry-level price "highly competitive", an assessment that probably relies on bracketing the new car with medium-large models from the German premium manufacturers – the Mercedes E Class, the BMW 5 Series and the Audi A6. That's pretty ambitious given the work that needs to be done on restoring lustre to the Saab brand as the Swedish manufacturer emerges from a year spent under a cloud of uncertainty, during which GM tried to negotiate its sale or closure before it was rescued by Spyker.

And Saab's pricing doesn't look that keen compared with Volvo's S80 either, not to mention some of the more impressive products of the mainstream manufacturers such as the Vauxhall Insignia – a car with which the 9-5 has more than a little in common given the two models' joint GM heritage. As ever though, final judgements will have to wait until there is a chance to drive the 9-5 on British roads.

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