When Buick first unveiled the Avenir sedan concept at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, it’s slick styling and elegant appointments previewed the idea of a full size Buick flagship sedan. However if recent comments are proven to be true, it will not be produced with Cadillac and it’s growing sales strength serving as a key reason.
In a recent interview with AutomobileMagazine Buick GMC chief Duncan Aldred revealed that the Avenir will not be produced claiming that the sedan market is shrinking, and that General Motors already has “an emerging and strengthening Cadillac line.”
This latter comment has us intrigued, and would appear to indicate that GM execs saw the Avenir as a potential threat to the sales of the recently unveiled Cadillac CT6 flagship sedan. This would’ve been due to its shared platform, as well as the lower pricing ladder it would’ve had when compared to the big Caddy. Aldred wouldn’t elaborate on whether that was the sole reason, but he did say that the Avenir “would have been a viable buisness case” despite the overall slump in large sedan sales. All is not lost however, since the Avenir still has a strong legacy, and was a key influence on the 2017 Buick Lacrosse.
The same fate could be in store for the Avista coupe, though we suspect that it could still get the green light for production to allow the brand to have a true halo model versus the awkwardly styled and priced Cascada convertible. It would also help cement the brand’s newfound love for turbocharging and give younger buyers a more compelling performance choice. Aldred also revealed that while the “capabilities are there to build it” the Avista in its current form was designed solely as a concept.
While this is unfortunate news for hardcore Buick fans (myself included), Aldred said that these same fans shouldn’t give up hope, since he would also like to see Buick gain a halo model in the near future, which could perhaps be a veiled hint that something is in the works.
Following a rumor that recently appeared on the internet, Buick has unveiled the Avista sport coupe concept ahead of its formal debut at the 2016 North American International Auto Show.
The Avista was designed to rekindle the performance spirit that the brand embraced during the 1960s, and again in the 1980s with the Buick Grand National. The exterior styling follows the path set by last years Avenir concept with its use of futuristic cues as well as more curves and swooping proportions than before, while also showcasing the company’s newly resurrected colored tri-shield emblem which is set against an elegant mesh grille.
The lack of formal B-pillars enhances the side profile’s flowing effect, and allows for a seamless shape, though we suspect that the production version will add them back on due to safety and production concessions. The Avista also heralds an evolution in the brand’s lighting design with the front and rear fascias featuring a tweaked version of Buick’s signature winged lighting. The units now incorporate “soft curtain” elements that create “illuminated halos” around the edges of the lamps. This is a neat styling trick, and certainly makes the car stand out especially when viewed from a glance.
The interior of the Avista also embraces this theme with Buick designers going for simplified elegance, while also adding copious amounts of attitude and function at the same time. The car features an advanced version of Buick’s IntelliLink infotainment system which features slick touchscreen controls and a big instrument panel mounted display screen. The center console also adds more touchscreen controls, and even extends to the rear seats which should please rear seat occupants looking to be pampered during spirited driving. In addition exposed aluminum and carbon fiber trim highlight its fun side, and look sharp when viewed from certain angles.
Performance for the Avista concept builds upon the recent resurgence of turbocharged fun that first made its appearance on the Regal GS and later with the Verano Turbo (this author owns a 2013 model.) In the case of the Avista, power comes from a twin-turbocharged version of the 3.0 liter V6 that arrived in the 2017 Lacrosse. Buick did not release any official horsepower numbers, but we suspect that it makes at least 400 horsepower, which would add fuel to the rumors of a reborn Grand National model.
The engine is hooked up to an eight speed automatic transmission which promises to deliver accurate shifts while GM’s iconic Magnetic Ride Control system allows the Avista to not only tackle corners with minimal body roll, but also retain the high levels of comfort that they have come to expect from a Buick product. A 110.7 inch long wheelbase also belies its sporting intentions and makes us think of the Chevrolet Camaro especially when one considers the Avista’s nearly equal front and rear track measurements (63 and 62.9 inches respectively.
Look for our detailed thoughts about the Avista when we see it in person at the 2016 North American International Auto Show and we look forward to finding out whether the Avista is a thinly veiled preview of the return of one of the greatest performance icons to ever be unleashed on the road.
The Buick LaCrosse has done an excellent job reinventing the Buick driving experience, but competition in the mid size luxury car segment is fierce and the sleek Buick is starting to lose ground in some categories. Thankfully the brand has released the first glimpse of the 2017 LaCrosse ahead of its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The lone image showcases the cars new grille, and it is apparent that the Avenir concept played a huge role in the car’s styling. The concept (which made its debut at NAIAS) previewed a new direction for Buick styling, and was also a glimpse into the LaCrosse’s future. This is evident in the chrome wing that spreads out from the trademark tri-shield logo. The wing also helps bring the styling together thanks to the way it connects to the crease above the headlight assemblies.
When the Avenir debuted, it showcased sculpted styling cues that shared a spiritual link to the 1954 Wildcat II Concept while also embracing futuristic cues at the same time. It’s currently unknown how closely the production version of the LaCrosse will follow the concept or if it will adopt the long hood and tapered rear end that also made their respective appearances on the Avenir.
“The Avenir concept shattered expectations of what a Buick could be and the 2017 LaCrosse promises to do the same” stated Buick VP Duncan Aldred. “Its expressive design represents a break from convention, and highlights the progressiveness in all new Buick models.”
The LaCrosse will also be built on an all new platform that promises to be stronger and lighter than before which should translate into a much more responsive and dynamically engaging driving experience thanks in part to a revamped rear suspension that now features a five link setup to help increase responsiveness even further. However, despite the improved ride and handling characteristics, GM claims that the car will take “Buick’s signature quietness to a new threshold.” In short, this means that the new LaCrosse will put a strong emphasis on smooth quiet luxury and will not be mistaken as a BMW anytime soon especially when pushed in spirited driving.
Look for additional details to be announced closer to the LaCrosse’s debut in November, with pricing information and fuel economy figures being revealed closer to its official launch.
With Buick a strong powerhouse in terms of sales for GM’s China operations, it is no secret that the company aims to maintain its strong grip on the Chinese market by unveiling an updated version of its Verano sedan (known in China as the “Wei Lang.”)
Regardless of what you like to call this latest iteration of Buick’s entry level sedan, the exterior styling promises to channel influence from the Riviera and Avenir concept cars though the lone teaser image that Buick released does make finding the resemblance somewhat difficult. It does reveal however that the upcoming Verano will receive slightly tweaked tail lights as well as new body creases that mirror those seen on the bigger Regal sedan. While this is certainly a change from the current Verano (this author owns a 2013 Verano Turbo) it appears that GM engineers still did not equip the trunk with a lid mounted release button which will force owners to continue either using the keyfob or the trunk release button in the cabin to get it open an odd omission especially in a car that can surpass $30,000 fully equipped.
Buick did not release any interior images with today’s release, but look for a significant improvement in overall ergonomics especially with the center stack where less buttons as well as a reworked touchscreen based infotainment system aim to make the cabin look more upscale while also reducing driver frustration at the same time. In addition revised interior materials, as well as a fresh design theme should allow the car to stand out better against rivals such as the Audi A3, Mercedes CLA, as well as the BMW 2-Series.
Buick was also mum on what performance hardware will motivate the car only promising that the new model meets benchmarks for “performance, safety, and comfort.” However, as is the case with the current Verano/Excelle, look for the final engine offering to change depending on what market it is being sold in with U.S. versions most likely being equipped with engines borrowed from the next generation Cruze. It is unclear if the Verano Turbo would still be offered with this update, but we hope it will feature bolder styling as well as a more performance oriented interior to make it stand out from mainstream Verano variants.
Buick will be unveiling the full details of the Wei Lang at a special media event on April 19th with more information expected to slowly trickle out over the next few days. Stay tuned to Autoinfoquest for the latest developments on the upcoming Verano/Wei Lang as the become available.
In a surprise announcement earlier today, Buick provided the world a teasing glimpse into its long term future with the Buick Avenir Concept. The Avenir provides a glimpse into a new design language that favors futuristic exterior styling as well as revamped interior design that could hint at a production Buick flagship model.
The Avenir (French for future) stands out from past Buick concepts by its unique take on futuristic exterior design. This is evident in its sculptural surfacing, the boldly expressive cab rearward proportions as well as the brand’s trademark sweep-spear bodylines. The front fascia embodies the subtle elegance of the car, and features full LED exterior lighting to help brighten up the road during night driving. The use of LED’s is becoming more prevalent in recent years especially in the luxury segment thanks to their futuristic appearance as well as their increased brightness.
“Avenir embodies Buick design, which centers on effortless beauty and presence without pretense,” said Ed Welburn, vice president of General Motors Global Design. “It demonstrates the growing international reach of Buick and offers an exciting vision of where it can go.”
Welburn also shared his thoughts on the Avenir’s slick interior claiming The interior is designed with the driver and passengers’ comfort and well-being in mind,” said Welburn. “Technology is seamlessly integrated and builds on the features that have become hallmarks for today’s production models – helping drive a new generation of customers to Buick.”
This is obvious in the basic design of the cabin that embodies the futuristic overtones of the exterior with its opulent materials, strategically placed wood elements, and digital instrumentation. The concept has seating for four, and while the rear does look a tad cramped, it makes up for it by featuring slick rear monitors which are built directly into the seat backs a nice touch. Buick designers claim that the interior design was based off of nature and waves receding from a beach with the theme found in the seats as well as other trim elements. In fact, the interior carpet displays this motif discreetly with an insert made out of silk and bamboo.
Performance for the Avenir comes from a direct injection V6 engine which is hooked up to a nine speed automatic with paddle shifters with all of this power being funneled to all four wheels through a twin clutch all-wheel drive system. The system allows the Avenir to not only have excellent acceleration behavior, but also allow the concept to navigate a wide variety of weather conditions which is especially important for owners in snow belt states like my home state of Michigan.
Stay tuned to Autoinfoquest for live images of the Avenir as well as our live coverage of the 2015 North American International Auto Show. In the meantime Buick has released high resolution images of the Avenir which can be seen below.