Saab Austria to run ‘XWD Days’ in February

UPDATE: Extra dates and online registration now available.

Saab Austria have added another weekend to this event, such is its popularity. The original dates were (and remain) Feb 18-20. I’ve been advised that another event has now been added for the weekend before – February 11-13.

Also, the XWD Days website now has a separate page for online registration.



This sounds like a rather special Saab event.

Interested parties in Austria are able to book themselves in to “XWD Days”, which will be run between the 18th and 20th February 2011 at Mayrhofen – Tyrol.

SaabAndee tells me that people interested in going along can book through their local Saab dealer. The XWD Days program will see a number of side activities such as skidoo and sledding, as well as a night in a mountain cottage (other accomm is in a 4-star hotel).

The focus of the event, of course, is the opportunity to test vehicles equipped with Saab’s XWD system in some of the conditions they were built to handle.

The best part is the price, at just 249Euro per person.

The information page is here.

Owner review – Saab 9-5 TTiD XWD

UPDATE – Pictures added

When XWD was first released, one of the most desired vehicle combinations was TTiD with XWD. The drive system gives you the traction and the diesel gives you the low-end grunt.

That combination is now available in the new Saab 9-5, and a guy who signs in here with the name TTAero recently picked one up. He’s sent in the following for your consideration.


Today, this afternoon, we have had our TTiD XWD for 8 days. And this is my third new SAAB.

The dealer gave us an hour to walk us through the most important features in the car and check all the chosen options.

This happened just before closing time so we took the first trip in on cold, dark and icy roads. We took her for 190 km straight away. The car felt comfortably and stable. This night wasn’t the real testing night, but the impression was very good.

The lighting is phenomenal, and it’s a feature I need where I live because moose, reindeers and deers comes running up the roads. Probably the best safety feature there is and a feature many car makers just don’t care about. All the electronic assistants in the world can’t help you if you don’t see the road or the surrounding areas.

We now have 1100 km on the meter and have done some more testing. The car feels even better now than the first 600-700 km. The fuel consumptions is down and the car makes “less resistance” when changing gears and accelerations. It’s getting smoother. I knew this was going to happen because the same thing happened in my former 9-3 TTiD SC. I guess the car will be broken in after 6-7000 km.

Some thing I did notice and frankly got a bit worried about was the engine sound. At first, it sounded like a pimped bimmer M3 with an exhaust pipe the size of a waste bin when doing 80-110 km/h uphill or accelerating. But after some driving during cold climate I realized that the sound was only apparent until the engine got up to working temperature. And if the outside temp is under 30 degrees C then it takes a bit longer. The temperature inside the car is not a problem since it is equipped with an electric extra heater. I didn’t realize at first that my car was “actually freezing” one bit when I had a warm and comfortably ride. The first 7 days we had no higher temperatures than -20 C. And the record was 32 degrees below zero.

This morning, when driving to work I tried hard to hear that sound. It’s gone! No matter how hard I accelerated, the smoothness, comfort and stability was great.

Now, lets go to the road handling… it is so good. It’s feels surreal and it’s difficult to find the words. I have stopped a couple of times just to “manually” check if the road is slippery. The grip just don’t let go if I’m not provoking it. And if you put your foot down in corners, there is nothing dramatic about it, just a nice flow thru and a constant acceleration.

WARNING: This is addictive.

We have now tried the entire configuration range (Drivesense) and my choice of chassis settings during the cold, dark and icy part of the year is “comfort”. It smoothens out the small but hard ice vibration we have gotten used to and the direct contact with the roads are seldom possible since there is a layer of packed snow or ice in the roads.

This is by far the best winter vehicle I’ve ever driven. Overtaking with 15 cm of snow between the lanes is not a problem. Just turn, accelerate, turn back and you are done!
I do many rentals in my work and compared to those the XWD 9-5 is nothing but wonderful. The A6 (the old), VW Passat, Volvo V70, Skoda Octavia, Toyotas, Ford Mondeos and so on just don’t measure up to this. I’ve tried the Volvo, Audi and Passat as a 4×4, but still there isn’t the same stability, grip and comfort as in my new 9-5. Astonishing is the only word that I can find to describe what I feel.

Video: Owner review of Saab 9-3 XWD

We’re moving offices today, hence computer access is scant.

I’ve checked in to see J-Fan and Eggs have left tips about this series of videos where a new buyer reviews his Saab 9-3 Aero XWD Sport Sedan.

Handles great, very quick, and he’s finding excuses to get out and drive it. Sounds good to me….

On the down side – interior issues.

These are good for those who might be considering a purchase. This guy does his homework pretty well and lays out his reasons for choosing the 9-3 against competitors from Volvo, Audi and Infiniti. He has a few gripes, too, but that’s OK. We all do.



Video: Saab 9-5 XWD and DriveSense (test track mayhem!)

Last time I attended an event like this, I did a video in the first Saab 9-3 with XWD, with Kenneth Backlund from the Saab Performance Team. Kenneth was there again today, but frankly, after this drive with Stefan Rundquist from Saab, I was too queasy/shaky/stunned to even think about a lap with Kenneth.

Don’t take that in a bad way. What Stefan did in this car was demonstrate something approaching the extraordinary capabilities of the Saab XWD system.

You’ll hear the rain and see the wipers. This track was incredibly wet today. We were in a 2.8T V6 Saab 9-5 and on some of these long sweeping corners were doing up to 150km/h and the car was totally rock solid – totally.

You’ll see in some sections that Stefan is actually steering quite sharply and trying to induce some forced oversteer (at over 100 km/h on a bend) and the tyres just dig in, shift the power around and keep the car stable.

It really was an incredible eye-opener as to what this car can do. I’ve mentioned already that to me, the V6 version of the 9-5 seems more like a smooth cruiser, that it doesn’t invite you to really test its limits. I think this video shows that despite its long touring credentials, this car is capable of handling whatever tests you might throw its way.

The video is from a handheld camera so it does move around a little with the frequent changes in momentum and motion, but hopefully you’ll still get a good sense of what’s going on.


My sincere thanks to Stefan for the ride – now I know how Saab felt back in 2009!

Saab 9-5 TTiD XWD preliminary pricing

Some of you may (or may not) have seen a little teaser of a comment a few days ago, by a guy know on site as TTAero.
He’d been to a customer presentation of the new Saab 9-5 in Sweden during the week and dropped a hint in comments about the fact that they mentioned TTiD/XWD pricing there.
The TTiD and XWD combination is one that many have been asking for since the TTiD first became available in the 2008 model year for the Saab 9-3. It wasn’t possible to get that combination in the 9-3 however, a fact that left many people disappointed.
So when the 9-5 came along, we all hoped that the holy grail of grip and frugality would be available and the good news seems to be that whilst it won’t be available overnight – it will happen. Call it the Pantene model.
So what of pricing, then?
TTAero has provided the following information, as gathered at the customer viewing in Sweden through the week….

  • 9-5 TTiD: 329.500 SEK
  • Add for a Vector: 22.000 SEK
  • Add for XWD: 24.000 SEK

Now all we need is an official date for the release of this model. Hopefully that will come soon.

Videos – Saab ads we haven’t seen

There’s a reasonable chance that these shouldn’t be posted online. Yet. I guess there’s also a reasonable chance that they’re from the cutting room floor and won’t ever be used, but time will tell.
Watch them now whilst we have the opportunity and enjoy. They were originally posted at Vimeo and I’ve reproduced some stills from them below (just in case they’re removed from Vimeo).

Saab/McCann/RTT – “Snow” from Madsound on Vimeo.

Saab/McCann/RTT – “XWD” from Madsound on Vimeo.

Saab/McCann/RTT – “Intro” from Madsound on Vimeo.

Saab/McCann/RTT – “Moose” from Madsound on Vimeo.

Still shots from the series:
First, from the intro video…..
Next, the XWD video…..
Next, the Snow video…..
And finally, the moose video….

Friday Night Snippets – my own bed edition

Northern Tasmania was absolutely stunning, but geez it’s good to be home.
I drive through one stretch of around 30km this morning that was totally covered in fog. You couldn’t see more than about 80 meters ahead.
This poor weather might explain yesterday events. In 2008, there were 40 Tasmanians who died on the state’s roads.
Yesterday, Thursday July 9, there were nine people killed in one day in car accidents.
You can rest easy, your Saab is safe.
These sort of things, like celebrity deaths, tend to happen in threes. First there was Kaylan’s 9000 on fire, then the Saab 900 convertible fire, and for those who haven’t seen it yet, there’s now been a 9-3 SportCombi lost to a fire.
The prime suspect in the cause of the fire is an iPod Nano, possibly planted by a recovering Steve Jobs to stop all this “Saab being the Apple of the car industry” talk.
As pointed out in comments to the article, and by Dave R in an email, it’s a little surprising that the materials inside the car weren’t a little more fire resistant to what may have been a slow starting fire.
Saab have a long history of accident investigation in order to make benefit glorious state of Saab safety, so here’s hoping they take some material samples out of this car for the future.
The Washington Times has a good review of the 2009 Saab 9-3 with XWD.

I want to be in a car that is capable of avoiding a crash, and that gives the edge to the 2009 9-3 sedan with the Cross-Wheel Drive, which also features ABS and ESP. Based on that system alone, the $41,885 is a worthwhile investment, as the 9-3 is offering today what’s likely to be the wave of the future.

I know the Jaguar XF has been lauded since it’s release, but except for the rear view, I’ve got to say I’m not a big fan.
But today, images of the new Jaguar XJ have come out and finally, after years and years, we seem to have a Jaguar sedan that doesn’t look like a Ford.
Is this proof positive that what used to be considered unconventional ownership of a car company, can work?
I’m an old Jag fan, ever since my Dad gave me a book on the back in the early 1980s. I used to sit in class and draw the classic XJ front. I even agreed to purchase an old XJ bac in late 1994, though I backed out of the deal (which was a good move).
Tomorrow I’ll be photographing car parts.
At last, I get a real chance to get enthused abou the Monte. Depending on my mechanic’s schedule, I should hopefully have a very different Monte this time next week!

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