I wrote a piece earlier today about how an extra 20hp would have been very handy for the Saab Turbo-X. These extra 20 horses would have put it at 300hp and muffled some of the needless criticism that’s already started to come.
This article will hopefully give you a better insight as to why those 20 extra horses shouldn’t really matter. As Saab themselves said, power is nothing without control. The XWD system is that method of control and what it does is let you put more power to the ground in a controlled manner.
This screenshot is from the video I shot at the launch of the Saab 9-3. Understandably, not many people watched it as the sound quality was so poor. But this section of the video highlights the handling capabilities of the full XWD system as I understand it will be packaged in the Saab Turbo-X.
The test was quite simple, but in it’s simplicity it leaves little room to hide.
The test course was 120 meters in length and the cars tested entered the course at 40 km/h. They then had to accelerate at full throttle and pass through a simple slalom test. The test measured their speed through the course as well as their speed at exit. Each car was tested over 20 times.
In two cases, the makes and models of the cars weren’t revealed, but as you can see from the flags they used comparative vehicles from Germany and Japan. The make they did name, as you can see, was a 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo with AWD.
The results are below. Click to enlarge.
The lines you can see measured their track through the course on their best run. The green line shows the path taken by the Japanese car. You can’t see the times due to the table in the foreground but it completed the course in just over 8 seconds and with an exit speed of 92 kph.
The German car is represented by the blue line and you can see its times on the right. Similarly with the Porsche, shown by the red line. The Saab fitted with the full XWD system is shown by the black line. It recorded a slower exit speed than the Porsche (though higher than the other two) but a quicker time through the actual course.
The XWD system in the Saab allows for greater traction, reduced G force and a greater ability to drive through a corner smoothly.
This is the key illustration in showing why the Turbo-X will be a much better performance car than the 280hp figure suggests. As well as the safety benefits that the XWD system will deliver, it will also allow for more stable performance.