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 and all-wheel drive could have been a symbiosis like Audi and Quattro. There was Saab-Sigge. Bourgeois Sigvard Johansson, who worked in the Stallbacka to give rally vehicles 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.
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.
Together with the optional electronic limited slip differential eLSD, Saab put the best all-wheel drive system on the market back then. 20 sensors supply the system with 100 parameters per second, which is normally designed as a good-natured front-wheel drive. Only 5 - 10% of the driving force flows to the rear axle. With violent acceleration and dry road conditions, the brave front-wheel drive Saab becomes a dynamic rear-wheel drive. Up to 100% can rest on the rear axle, the vehicle changes its character fundamentally for a short moment.
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, introduced 10 years ago, fitted in well with 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 hp Turbo X was the most powerful Saab series of all time in 2008, followed by the 9-5 II, which delivered 2010 hp and all-wheel drive from 300. And certainly more would have been possible.
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.
The system is still a lot of fun today. Especially when the electronic limited slip differential is on board. It makes the Saab dynamic on dry, winding roads. And a 9-3 or 9-5 XWD is hard to beat in snow and ice. With a big smile on your face, you drive away from all SUVs that pretend they have all-wheel drive, but in reality are stupid blenders. The story that started many years ago with Saab-Sigge came to an all-wheel-drive end.