Saab 9-3 XWD Test Drive, Arlie Air Field

Posted on 01. Sep, 2007 by in 2000-2009, 9-3 SS, Washington, D.C.

Video Credits: Saab History

The final installment on the 2nd day of the Saab 9-3 Drive Program in Washington, D.C. culminated with the test driving of a XWD (Cross-Wheel Drive) equipped 2008 Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan in snow silver imported into the United States, specifically for this program.

It is important to mention that none of the 2008 Saab 9-3 models that were driven during the drive program were equipped with XWD because the media was given an exclusive opportunity test drive this XWD prototype on a vacant airstrip at the end of the day. This test drive on the runway consisted of circumnavigating through a series of cones and other obstacles on and off the runway as you will see in the video I have put together above. This particular closed course test-drive was instructed by Peter Johansson, the lead engineering specialist on the XWD system. It is very interesting to note that Peter Johansson’s Father, Sigmund was one of the engineers that first developed the Swedish XWD Haldex system, and his Grandfather was one of the 16 original aircraft engineers that developed the SAAB 92.

In this video, I have included as an audio narrative overlay, the XWD informational presentation by Andreas Andersson, Saab Sweden product manager of the 9-3 that was captured from the morning introduction back at the hotel. The video footage includes my initial test drive both in car and outside footage as well as additional outside footage of Mike McGill of as well as Steve Shannon, Saab Automobile USA President and finally the expert and lead XWD engineer, Peter Johansson of Saab Automobile Sweden.

In summary of the XWD test drive, the off-road component of it, specifically on the corner returning back to the airfrield, the new Saab 9-3 XWD clearly exhibited the real-life handling characteristics that I came to expect from all that I have read. No matter how much I pulled the wheel and accellerated on that uneven off-road condition coming from that corner, the haldex system kept the vehicle in sync and under control at all times.

“I have previously driven Saabs where they were first imported here in the United States, New England, and in driving during inclimate weather year-round there and I know where that point of no return is when driving, which is to say being in control and within a split second, knowing when your losing that control. While driving the new Saab 9-3 XWD during the off-road part of the test drive, I felt that for the first time, I put myself in a situation where I surpassed that point of no return and to my surprise the haldex system defied the conventional by ultimately keeping me in control.”

The Saab 9-3 Drive Program was an incredible experience and I am extremely thankful that I had the opportunity to participate in this media program once again, especially with it being in my current place of residence this time, Washington, D.C.

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2 Responses to “Saab 9-3 XWD Test Drive, Arlie Air Field”

  1. Ted Y

    03. Sep, 2007

    Thanks for the video. I liked the informative sound overlay.

    Reply to this comment
  2. ryanoe9000

    04. Sep, 2007


    Thanks. I am glad that my attentiveness to information, detail was effectively conveyed here with the video and summary of the experience.

    We have a lot to expect moving forward with Saab Automobile with XWD.

    Reply to this comment

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