Saab has recently announced that it is introducing its new all-wheel drive system on its current 9-3 models. Drivetrain specialists Haldex co-developed the system directly with Saab. The system is a fully-automatic, on-demand setup.
First introduced on the limited edition 2008 Turbo-X sport sedan and the 9-3 Aero with V6 engines, for 2009 all 9-3 2.0T models except the convertible can be equipped with the company’s "XWD" system. XWD, by the way, stands for cross-wheel drive (not very inventive there Saab). The new all-wheel-drive system can send 100 percent of engine torque to the front or rear wheels whenever necessary.
"Saab XWD provides pre-emptive engagement of the rear wheels for optimal traction on takeoff," Saab says. Combine that with an electronically-controlled rear limited-slip differential, or eLSD, that allows variable torque transfer between the rear wheels, and you’ve got one potent package.
There is another interesting change for 2009. The availability of an "Aero type" appearance and performance package for the 9-3 sport sedan is now offered. It includes a set of new 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, sport seats, dual tailpipes and upgraded brakes, making it a worthwhile upgrade. All 9-3 2.0T Sport Sedan and SportCombi XWD models will have a winter package, a moonroof and an automatic transmission as standard. Don’t worry clutch-pedal fans, a six-speed manual gearbox will also be available.
Saab’s 2009 pricing is up about two percent across the board, with the range extending from the 9-3 2.0T sport sedan priced at $29,610 to the 9-3 Aero V6T convertible at $50,385, including a $775 destination charge.
Saab + Haldex = XWD