10 years Saab XWD

Before 10 years, in the spring 2008, Saab introduced the Turbo X of the press on the racetrack Paul Ricard. The start in four-wheel drive Age at the small, Swedish brand! And Saab was late. But actually everything had started much earlier.

Saab Turbo X. First four-wheel Saab in series
Saab Turbo X. First four-wheel Saab in series. Image: Saab Automobile AB / Archive saabblog.net

Saab and four-wheel, that could have been a symbiosis like Audi and Quattro. There was Saab-Sigge. Bourgeois Sigvard Johansson, who worked at Stallbacka to give rally cars more traction. Johansson, his father-in-law Days Flodén As a toolmaker in the 92 era, the brand remained loyal to 1984. Then he founded the IPU AB, which is the root of the all-wheel specialist Haldex.

Four-wheel as a family thing

Regardless, Saab continued to work on four-wheel drive, based on the ideas of Saab-Sigge. 1987 was at least a prototype based on the Saab 9000 CC and an all-wheel system based on Torsen differentials. 1992 became another Prototyp on the wheels, now based on the 9000 CS. He is still in the magazine of the Saab Museum in Trollhattan.

Haldex IV differential
Haldex IV differential. Image: Saab Automobile AB / Archive saabblog.net

Also in the following years, GM had entered and eventually took over Saab completely, the work on four-wheel drive vehicles continued. The projects always failed due to the opposition of the Americans. Until sometime, probably around 2005, GM directors visited the Norrland proving ground and drove an all-wheel drive Saab. The direct comparison between front and 4 wheel drive must have been so emphatic that Saab got the complete four-wheel drive development for the group.

Lead developer: Peter Johansson, son of Saab-Sigge and grandson of Days Flodén, Like so much at Saab, the four-wheel drive family matter was just as much. Due to the traditional relationships Trollhättan got exclusive access to the brand new Haldex IV system.

Dry roads, 90% drive on the front axle
Dry roads, 90% drive on the front axle. Image: Saab Automobile AB / Archive saabblog.net

Together with the optional, electronic limited slip differential eLSD, Saab put the best four-wheel drive system on the market at the time. 20 sensors provide the system 100 parameters per second, which is normally designed as a good-natured front-wheel drive. Only 5 - 10% of the drive power flows to the rear axle. With heavy acceleration and dry road conditions, the brave front-wheel drive Saab becomes a dynamic rear-wheel drive. Up to 100% can be applied to the rear axle, the vehicle changes its character fundamentally for a short moment.

Snow, ice, wet. Variable distribution of driving forces
Snow, ice, wet. Variable distribution of driving forces. Image: Saab Automobile AB / Archive saabblog.net

Dynamics and traction are the strengths of the Saab XWD system. From the Turbo X, which always has eLSD on board, it makes a Kurvenräuber that finds traction even in the most unfavorable conditions. A single wheel with a little grip is enough to move the Saab.

Saab XWD. Indispensable for the premium league.

The Saab XWD, which was introduced to 10 years ago, fitted well into the strategy of Carl Peter Forster, who wanted to place Saab in the premium league. Powerful front-wheel drive vehicles had their limits, but he wanted more performance for Saab. The 280 PS strong Turbo X was 2008 the strongest series Saab of all time, followed by the 9-5 II, which provided 2010 300 PS and all-wheel drive. And surely there would have been more.

XWD powertrain in Saab 9-3
XWD powertrain in Saab 9-3. Image: Saab Automobile AB / Archive saabblog.net

The innovative Haldex IV system had its weaknesses at its premiere and the following early years. Among other things, there were problems with the seals, the aging and the mixing of the oils in the system. This led, in the worst case, to failure and destruction. After some time, the causes had been identified and the problems had been eliminated. Saab XWD riders should nevertheless be on a regular maintenance, the oils used are subject to aging.

Huge fun makes the system today. Especially if the electronic limited slip differential is on board. On dry, winding roads it makes the Saab a dynamic. And an 9-3 or 9-5 XWD is hard to beat on snow and ice. You drive away, sure with a big smile on your face, all the SUVs that pretend that they have four-wheel drive, but are in reality high-backed blenders. The story, which started many years ago with Saab-Sigge, finally came to an all-wheel-driven end.

27 thoughts on "10 years Saab XWD"

  • That would have been my dream car then. But unfortunately he was not available as a diesel ... (4W gabs only for gasoline)

  • Complete approx. 450 euros (including labor costs). Greetings from the Northern Lights

  • great, thank you very much for the tip, the rumble also (at 135T km) wanted to have the Haldex replaced - try the oil change now and get back in touch !!!

    André HIschi, Davos

  • "9-3X is always front-wheel drive diesel."

    Again something learned. Thank you! It is now common practice, even "off-road vehicles" depending on the engine only with FWD offer. Even Range Rover does that. Since 9-3X diesel with FWD is okay?
    I would have expected differently from SAAB anyway. You were different. And usually it was said that you were better ...

    "With the 9-5 NG you're right."
    After all, 50 percent. If there was a SAAB-Abi, I would have passed. With 4,0 ...
    The 9-5 TTid with XWD was a promising car. I have no idea how SAAB would have emerged from the diesel scandal, but as SC that would have been very good and like to be my first diesel ...

  • 9-3X is always front-wheel drive diesel. The 9-5 NG you are right. Were alleged technical reasons that made XWD at the 9-3 in combination with diesel not possible. Which is not known to me. But it can also be that in Trollhättan once again only had a bad day.

  • To my knowledge, there are diesel (9-3X and 9-5 NG) with XWD.

    When convertible, I can only speculate that he (as a lover object or her as a fair weather queen) in the introduction of XWD was probably no priority. Unfortunately, XWD-SAABs were produced only a few years and in a time of falling sales and economic difficulties ...

    You probably had other and bigger worries, than to put an XWD convertible on its feet? I can clearly understand the XABD priorities set by SAAB (9-3 lifestyle estate cars and saloons, and then the attempt to launch 9-4X and 9-5 II SC).

  • I have been wondering for some time why it never 9 3 convertibles or diesel with XWD has ever given? Vlt. does anyone know the reason ...?

  • May one ask, what does not mean cheap in numbers?

  • Only in winter?

    With my SAAB FWD and a vintage car with rear-wheel drive, I can and must determine all year round that both drive concepts are severely limited in their ability to bring their existing power to the road ...

    I think AWD is an advantage year round. In case of doubt already alone, because one grinning with AWD any discussion about the pros and cons of the other two drive concepts in the bud or retreat nobly from this.

  • how do I actually notice that the electronic limited slip differential is included?
    Like our 9-3 four-wheeler, you just notice that the four-wheel drive weighs a lot, but otherwise you enjoy the great traction in winter.

  • Drive a SAAB 93X 2,0 AWD (BJ 2010). So far a dream. But respect the AWD system needs its regular maintenance and then it runs probably many years. All 30 Tkm oil / filters all 60 Tkm.
    Have just completely changed everything (60 Tkm). not cheap, but once again calm and you drive like on rails. Great!! 220 PS also needs a bit more super, but everything in the frame. Ahoy and greetings from the north.

  • Good to know and fits like a fist on the eye that the next post is about a stalked FWD switch. So it works!

    Hirsch should go through his own database. The MT6 was listed but explicitly as "Not available in your market". And next to the available AT6. That's not good if they want to sell their software ...

  • It is not like this. If a version is not displayed usually helps a call from the Saab workshop at Hirsch. Usually there is very friendly helped.

  • Great article. But he also makes me a bit sad ...

    10 years XWD would be a nicer fete, if now the showrooms of SAAB dealers would be full of new XWD models. MY 2019. Or if I myself had at least a stolen 9-5 SC XWD 2.0 switch in the yard ...

    Speaking of stalking NG,
    Due to the lack of alternatives, I always look for the limousine and recently found a (almost) suitable offer. Except for Hirsch and XWD, the switch (apart from the hatchback) had everything my heart desires. Combi tail and XWD can not be realized so easily. Already knew that …

    My disappointment set in when the deer page for the upgrade was called "Not available in your market".

    Is it really true that there is no upgrade for FWD switches (2.0 Petrol)? Does anyone know more here?

  • I remember a drive home on the B303 of Marktredwitz the Fichtelgebirgsauffahrt, 5 cm snow on the road: down an 3er BMW overtook me with already faggling tail, later he has hardly advanced and I was allowed to pass him in peace.

  • Yes, the XWD Days in Mayerhofen were already great.
    I have now switched to a 9-3x with automatic, XWD and eLSD. Despite oil change (about all 50tkm) and the seal was broken at 130tkm the hydraulic pump.
    However, one notices in direct comparison (with my old 9-3 SC FWD) in a spin course of a car club the difference very well. The grip with XWD is really great.
    When I had to drive on a steep snow-covered mountain road, my old 9-3 SC without XWD had no chance, with XWD no problem. With a grin up the mountain.
    Every day I enjoy riding one of the few 9-3x.

  • My 9-3 X is - after about 1,2 millionkm Saab driving - the best Saab I've ever had.
    He has now 206 tkm (of which 132 tkm driven by me) and still new car quality.
    The XWD lets him drive like on rails, especially in winter.
    The Haldex made occasionally problems with plucking, three oil changes in a short distance solved the problem, it was not a costly replacement necessary.

  • I appreciate XWD very much (9-5NG, 2.8 deer), namely winter and summer, but unfortunately the Haldex differential was damaged at 110.000 km. Has manifested itself by loud knocking and scraping and loss of traction in the rear. Repair was pretty expensive. Mileage today 170.000, without any problems (knocked 3 times on Hoz).

  • I was thrilled in the first corner of my then new 9-3 X with AWD (it must have been one of the last). The previously driven 9-3 TTDI had often "scratched with the front hoofs". Unfortunately, the Haldex unit got out after half of the three-year leasing period - apparently the prescribed maintenance work was not sufficient. The subsequent dispute between the leasing company and the dealership over the question of whether the dealership had to bear the repair costs - at least around € 6.000 - as part of the warranty had not yet been resolved when the contract expired, and the manufacturer's guarantee was now with the company Saab sank. After all, the Saab continued to run reliably as an FWD, albeit with less enthusiasm. And with the company cars driven since then, there is no real talk of real enthusiasm. After all, the current Golf Alltrack is modeled on the 9-3 X.

  • Great article.
    I had the 9-3 with 280PS without all-wheel drive and now a 9-5II with 300PS and XWD. So know the direct comparison. Where the front-wheel drive reached its limits at times and was overwhelmed with the performance, there is still no sign of the XWD. Even if you don't need it every day, I don't want to do without the XWD system anymore. And the advantages in winter are obvious. In terms of maintenance, change the Haldex oil every 30000km and the filter every 60000km. The 800ml bottle costs about 115 € at Saab and is enough for 2 changes, because you only get about 350ml out of the system.

  • Thanks Tom, for the great "family history" from Trollhättan! 🙂
    Once again a facet smarter ..., and as always so exciting ...
    This dynamic has to feel insane, I have not had any XWD in my ass yet. Too bad, because I do not know any XWD owner in my region. 🙁

  • Thank you for the interesting article! What would you pay attention to if you are interested in an 9-3x? Are there any other issues besides regular maintenance of the gearbox? An exchanged seal in the context of a service action carried out could still be clarified. But the aging that is being talked about can mean everything. Is there empirical values ​​here regarding longevity?

  • Moin Tom.

    Ah, thanks for the information!
    He had a TT - hihi!

  • Audi builds Haldex in the small, golf-compatible models. So A3, Q3 TT etc ... Otherwise, Audi relies on another system, which is based on a center and longitudinal differential and has the origin of the original Quattro models.

  • Great look back at the SAAB story! More please!

  • Interesting story!
    Thanks for that - learned something again! 🙂

    I've recently read somewhere by the way, that Haldex synonymous with various other brands is used.
    (also partly at Audi;…. and a friend always tells me something about the “superiority and uniqueness” of the Audi all-wheel drive) 😉

    I notice of my "all-wheel" somehow "nothing".

    I drive my "Drömbil" just like all Saabs before; But so far never had the feeling of uncertainty or "borderline" with it.
    (Curves / driveways takes the ship tight, in winter there are no problems, acceleration is ok and in everyday life, the four-wheeler also seems somehow completely "unnoticed")

    But I don't think I would like to do without all-wheel drive in the future. 😉

  • So I have to think back to the XWD Days in Mayerhofen, that was great as well.

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