By James Bergeron

Photo Gallery:
2008 Saab 9-3

Day 1:

2008 Saab 9-3 Aero X
Click Image to Enlarge

This week I am behind the wheel of the new 2008 Saab 9-3, but not just any 9-3. I actually tested a more basic model in the winter: you can read about it here. This time I am testing the new Aero version, fitted with Saab’s newly introduced all-wheel drive system for its 9-3 sedan. It would have been nice to have this all-wheel drive variant during the winter months of record snowfall, though.

The new AWD system is a Haldex-based system called cross-wheel-drive (XWD). According to Saab, this system is more than your typical slip-and-grip type all-wheel drive system. It is dubbed as a pre-emptive system that is constantly engaged and monitored by the electronics on board. This allows Saab to use the system for not only grip on acceleration but for stability control as well, with the ability to move power (up to 40 per cent) between the front and rear axles.

2008 Saab 9-3 Aero X
Click Image to Enlarge

Available only with the 2.8-litre turbocharged V6 engine, this means you will be paying a hefty premium to get yourself into an all-wheel drive Saab. At the time of this writing, the GM Canada website does not allow you to build the particular car I am driving; only the Jet Black edition is available at a hefty $58,795. The version I am testing comes priced slightly lower, at $54,225.

Out of curiosity, I was able to price out my test model on the GM USA website, and the total came out to $42,000 — but of course in Canada we get a $6,000 rebate if purchasing with cash, while the other $6,000 goes to help GM keep the workers on the assembly line.

So what do you get for your $54,000? Well, the Saab 9-3 Aero automatic is listed at $45,490, the XWD system adds another $2,340 and my tester also adds: DVD-based navigation system for $1,995; the Aero touring package for $1,050, and finally, premium leather trim for $1,850.

Essentially, my tester is fully loaded. This certainly is a car that is dressed to impress; even from the outside, the striking Laser Red paint and aluminum trim accents shout “look at me!” to everyone on the road. Let’s give it a good going over this week and see if I still want to be in it after 7 days.

2008 Saab 9-3 Aero X
MSRP as tested (including destination): $54,225

For more information on Saab and the 9-3 visit GM Canada

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