Weren’t it the geese in George Orwell’s Animal Farm that declared, “two feet good, four feet bad”?
Maybe it’s the other way around – I forget.
But the fact that there’s roasted goose on the menu suggests that the fowls didn’t win.
Anyway, Saab seems just as undecided about which is the ideal way to go turning its back on its tradition of making front-drivers.
The 9-3 Aero V6 XWD reviewed in February was the first time Saab offered a Haldex-developed all-wheel drive system for its cars.
Here is the 2-litre version of the 9-3 that’s offered alongside the 210bhp front-wheel-drive Aero.
Saab will tell you that opting to have an extra pair of shafts in the rear axle will give you plenty more assurance on the road, thereby justifying the $10,000 premium over the front-drive model.
They aren’t telling the whole truth.
Sure XWD, which has a strong front-wheel bias, offers the additional safety net of sharing power with the rear to keep the car pointing in the right direction even when the going gets tough.
But the combination of savvy chassis tuning and the battery of electronic aids meant that the front-wheel drive 210bhp 9-3 was never a handful to begin with.
The full story lies in the final version of the 2-litre XWD that will reach customers.
Playing on Saab’s longstanding reputation for engines that can put out big power, Saab is offering the car with a Hirsch Performance upgrade, upping the oomph to an attractive 240bhp and 350Nm of torque.
Things get decidedly more interesting with the boosted horses as the century sprint timing dips by 1.9 seconds from the 210bhp version’s 9.4 seconds.
The additional traction of XWD on the car allows for still more scope in terms of carving out power and speed.
While the 7.5 seconds sprint time will see off most others in the traffic light grand prix, it’s only the starting point.
Hirsch Performance has a host of other upgrades that offer more power, brakes, handling, the works.
Owners willing to forfeit the benefit of factory-backed warranty that comes with the Hirsch upgrade can always look for non-sanctioned tuners to max out the fun with going on all fours.
2009 Saab 9-3 Aero XWD 2.8 (A)
ENGINE 1988cc, 16-valves, inline-4, turbocharged
MAX POWER 240bhp at 5500rpm
MAX TORQUE 350Nm at 2500-4000rpm
GEARBOX 6-speed automatic with manual select
0-100KM/H 7.5 seconds
TOP SPEED 240km/h
CONSUMPTION 12.2km/L (combined)
PRICE INCL. COE $158,888