A few weeks ago, I publicised the very well-priced Saab XWD Days that were being run by Saab Austria and Saab Germany.
Martin D was one of the quick people who jumped on board and booked a place. He’s provided the following report about his adventures.
Lots of photos below…… and my thanks to Martin for the report!
It all began with what my mother told me not to do: get into the car of a stranger. This stranger was a guy I only met virtually in the German SAAB enthusiast’s forum www.saab-cars.de. We decided to drive to Mayrhofen together as it is more fun than driving alone – and cheaper, for we are both Swabians… 🙂
He picked me up at home, we shook hands and the first thing he told me was: “I got a problem. My SAAB, to be exact. A marden damage to a cable of the diesel particulate filter.”
He started calling all the Saab dealers along our route, but no one had the spare part available…
So what to do now?
Hope that the Saab will not initiate the cleaning cycle of the particulate filter on our 800 km tour to Mayrhofen and back? Take the risk to drive in “limp home” mode (80 km/h max.) if the cleaning cycle should be started and would definitely fail?
Finally, we drove to a local SAAB dealer to find a solution. And there we found the real SAAB spirit! Not only was a beautiful old 95 sitting on a lifting platform, but the senior owner himself (70 years old!) proposed to fix the broken cable.
And so he did. Himself. With a soldering iron of almost his own age…
Many, many thanks to SAAB-Roth, Stuttgart. You made our day.
Now that the car was fixed, the SAAB spirit came up again:
My driver said “You know better how to find the Autobahn from here. Here are the keys, you drive!” Remember: this was about one hour after we met for the first time in our lives!
As said before, driving with company is much more fun and so we reached Mayrhofen after a nice 4 hours drive. Talking SAAB all way long 😉 Needless to mention that we left the SAAB 9.3 SC as fresh and relaxed as after a 10 minutes drive 😉
The Mayrhofen “Europa house” was the meeting point, decorated with beautiful 9.5 SAABs all the way. I instantly fell in love with the java body paint of the 9.5 in the entrance hall. We received our hotel vouchers (4 star hotel with pool, sauna and all that stuff) and a SAAB welcome package with SAAB lanyard, XWD cap and brochures. As my mother-in-law says “Life is a present, make the best of it…”
After checking in at the hotel, the dinner took place in the Europahaus. A short welcome talk, snacks, champagne and “PFIFF” (Austrian for a 0,2 liters glass of beer) opened the evening.
The head of SAAB Austria and the head of Mayrhofen tourism came to sit at our table and we had a great evening with meat fondue, local wines and lots of SAAB talking stuff 🙂
After breakfast, meeting point was once again the Europa house. We were transferred to the snow driving area with several 9.3 XWDs (no 9.5s) at our disposal.
Wow, this 4 wheel drive is great! We ploughed through the snow, zigzagged on a handling track and tried to make the cars leave the circular course. Without success…
In high-spirits, we wanted to know: Can we do better without ESP? No we can’t. Or, at least I can’t…. With ESP off, the 9.3X left the circular track and I had to do an emergency brake not to hit another car. And we were stuck. Totally stuck.
The car sat on a snow plate with it’s full underside, so we needed the snow-cat to get us back on the track.
My fault. Lesson learned… 😉
After that, we had the chance to drive skidoos which is much fun – and really wearisome for your arms.
The “big boys’ playground” visit ended with a 30 year old (micro-)snow-cat we were allowed to drive. A lot of fun too, and a hell of a lot of noise.
Then came up the next highlight of the day: Driving the 9.5 XWD! In all engine setups. Not on snow, but on small mountain roads.
As one guy brought it to the point: “300 horsepower, six cylinders, fourwheel drive, and I GOT THE KEYS!!!”
Now this is a great car!
Not only does it look much better in the metal than on any photo… It literally flies up the small and steep roads as if it was in it’s natural habitat. Not for a second that you would feel the 5 meters or the almost 2 tons of this car.
Even the “smallest” engine, the 190 hp Diesel, never makes the car feel under-powered. It needs a bit of revs (2000 and up), okay, but then it really bolts up the hilly roads and out of the sharpest bend. And the XWD keeps it on track so that you never ever feel unsafe.
Changing cars to a 9.3X brought up the fear in me that it might look old-fashioned in direct comparison. But no, it doesn’t. It is still a damned good looking car with a damned good looking interior. And it gives the 9.3 owner a warm feeling of “coming home” after driving the 9.5!
“I must not drink as I still have to drive” is a common German saying. The end of the test driving brought up a modifed version of it: “I have to drink as I am no longer allowed to drive” 😉
Back in the hotel, we enjoyed the swimming pool and the sauna.
In the evening, a typical Tyrolian “Hüttenabend” (mountain hut evening) was the perfect end of a perfect day. Biathlon shooting, typical food, great wines and traditional music in a breathtaking mountain scenery. By the way, we were taken to the hut on steep, icy roads in 9.5 XWDs, showing once more how incredibly good these cars are.
We had a relaxed skiing day in the great skiing area of Mayrhofen, which is definitely worth another visit. For ski experts, it offers the steepest skirun in Europe! (a horrifying 78% gradient) And no, we didn’t try it…