I’ll get the important bit of news in this article out of the way first:
Edmunds have indicated in this writeup that the price premium for the XWD version in the US market will be $2,000.
Now, on to the review….
Just about every motoring media outlet has had a representative in Sweden in the last month. And they’ve all been there to drive the new 2008 Saab 9-3. This latest First Drive report comes from one of the most important motoring outlets in Saab’s biggest market – Edmunds.com. And they loved it.
But then, why not? Just have a look at it.
This is the Aero SportCombi, but Edmunds’ main concern is with the big news – XWD. Every review I’ve read so far has been uniformly positive, and there’s no exception here. Given that this is such a key model in Saab’s key market, the importance of these consistently good reviews can’t be underestimated.
Here’s a few snippets:
This loop isn’t a WRC-caliber rally stage, but our manual-shift 9-3 Aero XWD SportCombi sucked us into the experience, permitting early and sustained doses of throttle. In a front-drive 9-3, such behavior would assure spectacular understeer and perhaps a trip into the brush. Therein lies the fun of XWD: If your eyes are up and the steering wheel is pointed in the right direction, you can get away with almost anything….
…..There’s a lot of potential for performance here, and we think Saab should take advantage of it….
…..The 2008 Saab 9-3 Aero XWD engages your emotions when you’re at the wheel. It makes you care that it’s a Saab, something not just uniquely different but also uniquely good.
That’s a pretty hearty recommendation, and consistent with what other media outlets have been saying.
They do complain a bit about the interior materials. A complaint which is justified in the class that the XWD Aero will most likely find itself in. If there’s any one model where they should consider the carbon leather interior as standard, it’s this top-level XWD. Just my opinion, but it’d be such a shame to let a brilliant drivetrain down with a disappointing cabin.
Enough of that, though. Saab really are on a winner here. It’s a brilliant car and shows GM what Saab can do with some resources and the freedom to work.
More of it, I say.
My thanks to James C for the tip!