The Upcoming Buick LaCrosse Super Sport
Buick is poised to build a roadster based on its concept Velite cabriolet. If all goes as planned, the new model will transform Buick’s image almost overnight. Have you driven a Buick lately?
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Edmunds and several leading automotive blogs are theorizing that Buick will finally go ahead and build a sport version of its popular LaCrosse midsize sedan. Unlike the original model, the proposed car will be a true roadster as Buick seeks to inject some youthfulness into its aging model line. This is big news for Buick, which hasn’t built a true youth oriented car since stopping production of the hot-rod Regal Grand National during the 1980s. Will the Super Sport be enough to help Buick recapture a lost segment of the marketplace? That remains open to debate, so let’s see what Buick is planning with the Super Sport and then you can decide for yourself.
For the past several years, Buick has been near the top in most customer satisfaction and quality surveys. After years of languishing much further down the list, Buick decided to truly emphasize quality and that move has paid off. However, quality cars are one thing while exciting cars are another. Quite simply, Buick hasn’t been building cars that are high on the “wow” factor list. Sales have remained flat as the age level of its buyers continued to rise. Anyone who understands the business of cars will tell you that you must continually appeal to a younger audience in order to grow and prosper. Let’s just say that even younger AARP drivers haven’t been heavily drawn to the current Buick model line up.
As far as the Super Sport goes, the car is based on the concept Velite a car that has been appearing at auto shows over the past few years. Much like the Lexus SC430, the Super Sport will be targeting upscale buyers attracted to a combination of luxury, performance, and premium styling. While drive train information hasn’t been finalized, reports of a 300 hp V8 being offered has been circulating. Likely, this engine will be mated to a six speed automatic. A 3.6L twin turbo producing more than 400 hp has also been rumored for the Super Sport, but that engine choice might be scratched if gas prices remain historically high.
Information about specific Super Sport features is rather limited, but if the car holds true to the Velite concept, buyers can expect the following with the Super Sport:
— Heritage styling based on a late 1930s Buick boat tail design. Buick’s recognizable waterfall grille design coupled with decorative side portholes are also expected to appear on the Super Sport.
— 20 inch front wheels and 21 inch rear wheels; rear wheel drive.
— Leather 2 plus 2 seating.
— A retractable hood that will fit snugly into the trunk.
— Full cabin amenities including OnStar and XM satellite radio switches integrated into the dashboard.
Beyond what has been listed, the rest is speculation including possible build and release dates for the Super Sport. GM’s current financial woes will impact the final decision on whether to build this car, but if approval is given a 2008 or 2009 release is possible.
Yes, Buick needs a car of this caliper to breathe new life into a rather uninspiring line up. Prices for the Super Sport will likely exceed $40,000 limiting the car’s appeal to those with significant means. Still, if Buick is able to pull it off the Super Sport it may pave the way for additional model changes, perhaps even opening the door for a Regal-inspired car to rejoin the line up. Now that would be great news for a brand that sorely needs a fresh youth injection.