Click above for high-res image gallery of the 2010 Buick LaCrosse

If the car you see here looks somewhat familiar, it should. It appeared in concept form at last spring's Beijing Motor Show as the Buick Invicta concept. At the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, the Invicta becomes the 2010 Buick LaCrosse. Like many recent examples, the Invicta was a less a concept than a very mildly disguised version of the upcoming production car. Just before the Christmas break, General Motors gave the media a preview of the new production LaCrosse in the design dome at the company's tech center in Warren, MI.

GM North America VP for Buick-Pontiac-GMC Susan Docherty, global mid-size car vehicle line executive Jim Federico, and Buick brand character chief designer Dave Lyon provided a run-down for us on the new LaCrosse. The mid-size Buick is the first North American market application of the revised Epsilon II architecture that debuted last summer as the basis of the Euro-only Opel Insignia. Follow the jump and we'll tell you all about it.

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Photos Copyright ©2008 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.


For 2010, the LaCrosse has departed from the rather uninspired car that's worn the badge for the last several years. The more upright, traditional sedan profile of the existing car has been abandoned in favor of the increasingly fashionable fastback look of other competing premium sedans like the Acura TL and Lexus GS. The profile and other design details draw heavily on recent concepts like the Velite and Riviera.



A combined team of designers from North America and China were responsible for shaping the LaCrosse. At the front, the waterfall grille is pure Buick with the hood cut-line following the top edge of the headlamp clusters. A pair of ridges flanking a slightly concave hood extend back from the corners of the grille and then flow up the A-pillars, over the roof and finally blend into the trunk-lid cut-line. The LaCrosse, of course, has the required Buick portholes even if they are fake. Interestingly, the design team opted to put them on top of the hood just inboard of the ridge rather than on the fenders as traditionally done. While this certainly makes them more discreet, one has to wonder why bother at all?



The contours along the flanks that were most clearly distilled in the 2007 Riviera concept are carried over fully formed on the sedan. A convex crease flows back and down from the trailing corner of the headlamp with a echoing concave crease coming up from the bottom corner of the wheel arch. The upper crease then cuts upward and over the rear wheel to create the signature Buick "sweep-spear." The spear then flows into the LED tail-lamp clusters that help to tie everything together at the rear.

One of the design elements that Lyon highlighted is the chrome trim pieces around the windows, lights and interior. The trim varies in width over its length, which Lyon described as giving an impression meant to evoke Chinese calligraphy. It's a subtle touch that helps provide visual interest without being too over the top.



Inside the LaCrosse gets a multi-layered look with trim that flows from the doors into the dashboard. Unlike many previous attempts by GM to get this appearance, the pre-production car we saw at least had the door panes and IP properly aligned. Hopefully production samples will exhibit similar attention to detail. A floating pod containing various accessory controls sits above the center console that sweeps downward and back between the front seats.

The instrument panel of the LaCrosse (and other Epsilon II variants) has been pushed up and away from the front row occupants, an approach meant to enhance the feeling of roominess. In lower light conditions, the various cavities in the interior are bathed in a soft blue-green ambient lighting similar in style although not as abundant as the Riviera concept. The LaCrosse is also available with a heads-up display system for the first time.



When equipped with the optional rear seat entertainment system, a pair of LCD screens are actually integrated into the front seat backs. The screens flip upward to a position behind the head rests. This provides a better viewing angle for rear seat passengers while leaving the roof free for a larger moonroof.

Under the hood, the LaCrosse gets a choice of two direct-injected V6 engines. The CX and CXL models get the new 3.0L (below, left) that debuts this year putting out 255 hp and 211 lb-ft of torque. The top CXS model gets the existing 3.6L (below, right) with 280 hp and 261 lb-ft of twist.



The platform that underpins all of this is the new global mid-size architecture, also known as Epsilon II. The hardware is an evolution of the greasy bits under the existing Chevy Malibu and Saturn Aura and was first seen under the new Opel/Vauxhall Insignia. Like the 2010 Cadillac SRX, which shares some of this hardware, the LaCrosse defaults to front-wheel drive, but a Haldex all-wheel-drive system is optional. The AWD system can send up to 85% of the drive torque to the rear axle.



The Epsilon II platform team is lead by Federico and based out of GM's European engineering headquarters in Russelsheim, Germany. Reducing noise, vibration and harshness was one of the big motivations in the new architecture, and a 20% stiffer body structure was a big part of that. So was acoustic laminated glass all around and triple seal doors to keep out ambient noise. The powertrain is now mounted on a six-point cradle compared to the four-point unit on the old car.



The LaCrosse also now gets electronic stability control as standard equipment, which includes trailer stabilization functionality. This is the first GM car to get trailer stabilization in the U.S. market and is among the first, if not the first, passenger car with this feature. The system works by detecting when a trailer is starting to sway back and forth and applying the brakes to one side of the car and then the other to balance it out and bring things back under control. Similar systems are now available on the 2009 Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram.

Visually the LaCrosse looks smaller than its predecessor, an illusion caused by the fastback roofline. However, it's actually almost the same size, with a wheelbase 1.2 inches longer and body that's one inch shorter. It also sits 1.4 inches taller. Unfortunately, where the LaCrosse really differs dimensionally is bulk. All that new equipment, stiffer structure and glass adds mass, about 500 lbs worth in this case.



The 2010 Buick LaCrosse is scheduled to start production in summer 2009 at GM's Fairfax KA assembly plant alongside the Chevy Malibu and Saturn Aura. We'll hopefully be spending some time behind the wheel of one, so keep your eyes on Autoblog for driving impressions of Buick's newest player in the luxury sedan segment.

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Photos Copyright ©2008 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.


BUICK TRANSFORMATION CONTINUES WITH THE 2010 LACROSSE LUXURY SEDAN

* Sculpted styling defines Buick's modern global design
* Luxurious interior crafted of premium materials with cool blue ambient lighting
* Intelligent personal technologies enhance the driving experience
* Responsive performance via efficient. direct injection dual overhead cam engines paired with six-speed automatic transmissions

DETROIT – Redesigned from the ground up, the 2010 Buick LaCrosse luxury sedan makes its world debut at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 12. The LaCrosse offers all wheel drive, a suite of advanced intelligent personal technologies and safety features, and a choice of two fuel-saving V-6 engines.

"The new LaCrosse was created with great attention to detail, craftsmanship and advanced technology," said Susan Docherty, Buick-Pontiac-GMC vice president. "It builds on the success of Enclave as the next step in Buick's revitalization. And, as with Enclave, our goal is to attract a whole new buyer to our dealerships for LaCrosse."

Sculpted design

Buick's long heritage of leading designs, such as the Y-Job Concept, the Roadmaster and the Riviera, helped define American automobile design through the years, according to Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design. Today, Buick design is a product of a global team and resources. Creative collaboration between designers in the United States and China, in partnership with the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) as well as chassis and body engineers in Europe, resulted in the first General Motors vehicle to be created on three continents.

"The new LaCrosse is intended to represent modern elegance," said Welburn. "Throughout the design, you experience a balance of contrasts. Both the interior and exterior have been designed with harmony in mind. The exterior balances taut, sculpted lines with sensuous accents and surfaces. Inside, smoked chrome accents, warm wood, first-class leather and materials combine with cool blue ambient lighting to create an inviting environment."

The exterior design is faithful to the Buick Invicta show car introduced at the 2008 Beijing Auto Show.

"It is instantly recognizable as a Buick, with its signature 'sweep spear' body-side styling, portholes inside the character line on the hood, and waterfall grille," added Welburn.

Luxurious interior experience

Inside, the two-tone interior is defined by a flowing, uninterrupted design theme that wraps around the instrument and door panels. Attention to detail is evident throughout the interior, including the analog instrument cluster, chrome offset by dark wood accents, and the contrasting thread and French stitching on the instrument panel.

Buick's signature QuietTuning – an engineering process to reduce, block and absorb interior noise – provides a distraction-free passenger environment.

An unexpected, inviting touch is the cool blue ambient lighting throughout the cabin from the center console, instrument panel and door panels.

Intelligent personal technologies

The contemporary atmosphere of the cabin includes the digital connectivity and personal technology offered in the new LaCrosse. That includes features such as in-dash navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, an auxiliary audio input and a USB port. For rear-seat passengers, a power rear-window sunshade and a DVD entertainment system, with two display screens integrated into the seatbacks, is available.

LaCrosse's intelligent technologies also work to deliver a 360-degree field of vision behind the steering wheel, for a greater feeling of comfort, security and safety. It starts with the available head-up display in the windshield, allowing the driver to monitor speed while keeping his or her eyes on the road. At night, the available adaptive lighting package can direct the high-intensity discharge headlight beams up to 15 degrees for enhanced illumination of the road and its curves.

LaCrosse offers Side Blind Zone alert that notifies the driver if a vehicle in adjacent lanes is traveling in the driver's blind spot. The LaCrosse is also available with a rear view camera, with the display integrated into the navigation system screen.

The technology available on LaCrosse enhances a suite of standard safety features that is designed to meet the criteria for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 20 Star Safety Rating. Highlights include front-, side- and roof-mounted head-curtain air bags, StabiliTrak stability- and traction-control system. The safety and security of OnStar is also included for the first year of ownership.

Responsive performance

LaCrosse's stiff body structure serves as the foundation for precise suspension tuning, safety and a quiet ride. Buyers can choose from a family of efficient, direct-injection six-cylinder engines and a fuel-conserving six-speed automatic transmission with tap-up/tap-down control.

The direct injection engines in the LaCrosse create more power with less fuel and reduce vehicle emissions through greater combustion control – particularly cold-start emissions that are reduced by up to 25 percent.

The 2010 LaCrosse will be offered in three models - CX, CXL and CXS:

* CX – equipped with a new 3.0L direct injection V-6, premium cloth seats and 17-inch wheels. The 3.0L engine generates an estimated 255 horsepower (190 kW) and 211 lb.-ft. of torque (286 Nm) and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
* CXL – also equipped with the new 3.0L direct injection V-6, adds leather-appointed heated seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, fog lamps, outside rearview mirror with LED turn indicators and puddle lamps, and 18-inch wheels. Intelligent AWD is available.
* CXS – equipped with a 3.6L direct injection V-6; real-time active-dampening suspension; perforated, leather-appointed, heated and cooled seats, and chrome-plated 18-inch wheels (19-inch optional). The 3.6L engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, generates an estimated 280 horsepower (209 kW) and 261 lb.-ft. of torque (354 Nm).

LaCrosse production will begin this summer at the Fairfax Assembly facility in Kansas City, Kan.


2010 BUICK LaCROSSE PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS

Overview

Model:

2010 LaCrosse CX, CXL and CXS

Body style / driveline:

front-drive/all-wheel-drive, front-engine, four-door, five- passenger sedan

Construction:

integral

EPA vehicle class:

midsize sedan

Powertrains

Engines

3.0L V-6 VVT DI

3.6L V-6 VVT DI

Displacement (cu in / cc):

182.7 / 2994

217 / 3564

Bore & stroke (in / mm):

89.0 x 80.2

3.7 x 3.37 / 94 x 85.6

Cylinder head material:

cast aluminum

cast aluminum

Valvetrain:

DOHC with four valves per cylinder; continuously variable valve timing

DOHC with four valves per cylinder; continuously variable valve timing

Horsepower (hp / kW @ rpm):

255 / 190 @ 6950 (est)

280 / 209 @ 6400 (est)

Torque (lb.-ft. / Nm @ rpm):

211 / 286 @ 5600 (est)

261 / 354 @ 5200 (est)

Estimated fuel economy (city / hwy):

18 / 27

17 / 26

Transmission:

Hydra-Matic 6T70 six-speed

Final drive ratio:

2.77:1 (w/ 3.0L)
3.66:1 (w/ 3.6L)

Chassis/Suspension

Suspension (front):

MacPherson strut coil-over-spring; twin-tube dampers with gas-charged valving; hollow direct-acting stabilizer bar

Suspension (rear):

four-link (CX); "H"-arm (CXL, CXS); real-time damping available

Steering type:

power; variable-effort rack-and-pinion

Brakes:

split, dual-circuit four-wheel-disc with power assist

Wheel/tire sizes:

17-inch, 18-inch and 19-inch

Dimensions

Wheelbase (in / mm):

111.7 / 2837

Overall length (in / mm):

197 / 5003

Overall width (in / mm):

73.1 / 1858

Overall height (in / mm):

58.9 / 1497

Track (in / mm):

front: 61.5 / 1565
rear: 61.6 / 1587

Curb weight (lb / kg):

CX: 3948 / 1791 (est)
CXL FWD: 4018 / 1822 (est)
CXL AWD: 4199 / 1904 (est)
CXS: 4065 / 1844 (est)

Fuel capacity (gal / L):

CX, CXL FWD, CXS: 18.4 / 69.6
CXL AWD: 19.5 / 73.8