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 Automobile Magazine 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.