The magazine for spanner-wielding socialites, Popular Mechanics, have spent a little time with the rest of the press corps driving the new 9-3 and in particular, the new Saab XWD system. Click here to read their short review.
Chalk up another conversion from the short US test drive available for XWD!
XWD uses computer-controlled center and rear differentials to apply power to the opposite corner of the car from the wheel that loses traction. The genius is that the system does all this in 80 milliseconds, long before the rear wheel on the low-grip side even hits the icy patch. It sounds impressive on paper, but even the brief demo we experienced on a grassy field in suburban D.C. was compelling. Grip was immediate and highly controllable, as well as completely transparent and absent of any buzzing, abrupt changes in attitude or intrusive braking from the stability control system. Nice.
PM seem to be impressed with the 2008 model over all, noting the groovy directional headlamps, the boosted V6 for the XWD model and the zippiness of the 2.0T – yet another note for that great engine.
I can’t wait to drive it again myself, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to do so before the end of the year.