The Truth about the Saab 9-3, XWD and diesel

Ever since Saab introduced their XWD system, people have been dreaming of a Saab 9-3 SportCombi with XWD and a diesel engine. OK, maybe it’s not everyone who’s been dreaming of this, but many in Europe have.
The first explanation I received about combining XWD and diesel when I enquired some time ago was that the diesel engines used in the Saab 9-3, both the TiD and the TTiD, did not allow enough room for the XWD system.
“The XWD system will not fit” they said.
It seems that they didn’t finish the sentence. It should have been “The XWD system will not fit within the amount people will pay.”
We’ve been talking about this again because of the impending arrival of the Saab 9-3x. It was thought that with a bit of extra clearance, there might finally be room for both diesel and XWD now.
Sadly, it seems this will not be the case, though not because of a lack of accommodation. The Saab 9-3x will be available with the body modifications and a diesel engine, however the diesel version(s) will be front-wheel-drive only.
Our Saab insider has been in touch in order to clarify the situation with regards to diesel and XWD. Some say that he’s actually part herring and if you cut him, he’ll freeze. All we know is….. he’s called Djup Strupe:

It is true that the diesel is only available on FWD versions, the reason is not technical, but is about the cost of the changes necessary to combine the two. There is a new clutch housing required, which is very costly, some new engine brackets and a modified air intake. There is a particle filter available from the upcoming Saab 9-5 that would work, so that would not need to be new even though the FWD particle filter doesn’t fit in together with the propshaft..

So bottom line: the Saab 9-3 is already a vehicle that some class as being overpriced. The combination of XWD and diesel is a very attractive one, but it would have been too expensive to produce and therefore, too expensive to sell.
Remember that the 9-3’s underpinnings were not designed with all-wheel-drive in mind, so the fact that the XWD system was suitable to adapt to the 9-3 is a bonus in itself. It’s just a shame that the diesel version would not be economically viable as I’m sure there’d be a good market for it.
I’m sure future Saab vehicles will be designed in a way that overcomes problems like this one.