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2017 Buick LaCrosse an evolution of sharp Avenir concept

After years as a bloated, uninspiring, but comfortable near-premium sedan, Buick has taken the wraps off a leaner, lither, far more stylish LaCrosse. The third-generation model has just made its debut at the 2015 Los Angeles Motor Show.

While there's a lot to talk about, let's first address the new, Avenir-inspired sheetmetal. The fascia is basically the concept car smoothed over into production form, featuring the same winged trishield. In place of the chrome-trimmed waterfall, the LaCrosse gets a blacked-out, recessed grille with a chrome surround. It looks good in photos but it's better in person, adding a real sense of complexity and depth to the front end. The headlights and lower fascia, meanwhile, adhere closely to the concept.

The same cannot be said of the LaCrosse's tail. While the taillight lighting pattern is similar, the overall shape of the lighting element is radically different, refining the design featured on the back of the Regal. Also gone, sadly, is the Avenir's boattail rear deck. Instead, the LaCrosse gets a small rear deck that curves up into a pleasant duckbill spoiler. The rest of the tail is pleasantly restrained.

Perhaps the weakest point is the profile, where Buick has instituted a "split-spear" design, featuring a strong shoulder line above the rear wheel well, which sits below an even stronger character line that curves down and towards the front of the car. It strikes us as just a little too much, like the Impala.

Underneath that sheetmetal, Buick has managed to trim nearly 300 pounds of body fat, nearly half of which came from the vehicle's actual structure. That 300 lbs, according to Buick's engineers, is equivalent to a Kenmore side-by-side refrigerator, in case you needed a helpful comparison. Despite the weight savings, Buick has upped the torsional rigidity for this new model by 15 percent.

Buick LaCrosse

The LaCrosse's cabin features a strong, cockpit-like design, with a high, floating-bridge center console. This is possible due to Buick's adaption of the Electronic Precision Shift system, introduced earlier this month on the new Cadillac XT5. Despite the new-fangled console design, Buick's retained the wraparound cabin style introduced on the second-gen model. Based on a quick crawl around the interior, space is great in front, although ingress in back is somewhat difficult due to the roofline.

You're probably wondering why we haven't said anything about the mechanicals just yet. There's not much new to tell: Buick has adopted the same powertrain as the aforementioned XT5, with a standard 3.6-liter V6. Like the Caddy, it gets active cylinder management and a stop-start system that Buick engineers wouldn't stop crowing about. There's also an eight-speed automatic, while the standard front-wheel-drive layout can be swapped for an optional twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system. Other optional items include Continuous Damping Control, which is paired with a HiPer strut front suspension and 20-inch alloys. Pass on CDC, and you'll still get a standard five-link rear suspension, but the front will be underpinned by MacPherson struts and you'll be rolling on 19s.

Have a look at our exclusive gallery of live images, taken ahead of the LA Auto Show debut, at one of GM's Detroit studios. We've also included the official shots, direct from Buick.

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Buick Introduces All-New 2017 LaCrosse
Leaner and sleeker with effortless technology

LOS ANGELES – Beautifully crafted and thoughtfully innovative, the 2017 Buick LaCrosse offers full-size sedan customers a striking, all-new design, sophisticated technologies and more-responsive performance.

The next-generation LaCrosse also introduces the new face of Buick, which is influenced by the dramatic cues of the award-winning Avenir concept. Notably, it features a new grille design with a large opening distinguished by the return of a three-color – red, silver and blue – Buick tri-shield insignia, accented by wing- shaped elements set against darkened waterfall grille bars.

Buick revealed the 2017 LaCrosse today at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It goes on sale early next summer.

"The new LaCrosse signals the next phase of Buick's international momentum," said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick Sales and Marketing. "Its quietness, comfort and connectivity were developed to set new standards in the segment, supported by technologies not offered on competitors such as the Lexus ES. It is also drop- dead gorgeous."

Longer, lower and wider than the current model, the 2017 LaCrosse is built on a stronger yet lighter structure. In fact, it is about 300 pounds lighter than the current LaCrosse – thanks largely to the use of press-hardened, high-strength steels – which contributes to greater efficiency and more responsive handling.

The new LaCrosse's lower weight is also due in part to new, dissipative sound- absorbing materials that are lower in mass, but provide more effective sound attenuation, resulting in a new threshold for Buick's signature QuietTuning and forming a pillar of the car's enhanced comfort.

The balance of the efficiency equation comes from a technologically advanced, second-generation 3.6L V-6 paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Standard Stop/Start technology improves efficiency in stop-and-go driving.

Additional new and enhanced features include:

 New five-link rear suspension and available HiPer Strut front suspension
 Available electronically controlled Continuous Damping Control active suspension with selectable Touring and Sport modes
 Driver-selectable Electronic Precision Shift
 Advanced, all-new dual-clutch AWD system (available)
 Efficiency-enhancing low-drag disc brakes with Duralife rotors
 Electric power steering system with Lead/Pull Compensation
 Easier rear-seat entry/egress and more usable storage space
 Technologies including available wireless charging, available Teen Driver and configurable, LED driver information center with 8-inch-diagonal color display
 Perforated leather-appointed front seats with new lumbar massaging feature
 IntelliLink with frameless 8-inch-diagonal color touchscreen featuring Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot integration.

The 2017 LaCrosse also features extensive active and passive safety features that offer driver awareness and protection surrounding the vehicle, including:

 Ten standard air bags – including two knee air bags for front passengers
 Front Pedestrian Braking, which alerts drivers to and can automatically apply the brakes for pedestrians detected directly ahead in some driving conditions
 Lane Keep Assist, which provides gentle steering wheel turns – and Lane Departure Warning alerts, if necessary – to help drivers avoid crashes due to unintentionally drifting out of their lane
 Automatic Park Assist, which helps the driver parallel park/perpendicular park by automatically steering the vehicle into a detected parking space while the driver applies the brakes
 Adaptive Cruise Control
 Forward Automatic Braking
 Forward Collision Alert
 Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert
 Rear Vision Camera
 Safety Alert Seat.

"The blend of sophisticated technologies and advanced safety systems offer a more enjoyable and engaging driving experience," said Aldred. "It's a rewarding sedan for those who seek luxurious appointments, style and quality."

New face of Buick

The new LaCrosse's expressive exterior design creates a new proportion, rendering a more dramatic road presence. The front wheels have been pulled forward and the wheelbase stretched 2.7 inches (65 mm), while the overall length is only 0.6-inch longer (15 mm). The dynamic proportion is further enhanced by a roofline that's 1.6 inches (40 mm) lower than the current model.

The longer wheelbase is matched by wheels pushed outward 1.3 inches (33 mm) in the front and 1.1 inches (28 mm) in the rear, while the car's width has grown only 0.4-inch (10 mm), creating a wheels-at-corners stance that conveys road confidence.

"It's a sleeker design that looks confident and purposeful," said Holt Ware, exterior design director. "Stretching the wheelbase, lowering the roofline and making it slightly wider creates a dramatic effect that is enhanced by the design's supporting elements such as the swept headlamps."

LaCrosse's new proportion is further complemented by an all-new grille that signals the next chapter in Buick's design anthology. Inspired by the Avenir concept, it's distinguished by a new, three-color tri-shield insignia set on a wing-shaped element. Contrasting with darkened waterfall grille bars and spanning the width of the opening, it connects the grille and headlamps, and emphasizes LaCrosse's new sculptural surfacing. The design was introduced on the Avenir concept and was inspired by the 1954 Wildcat II concept.

"It's the new face of Buick – one that reflects the sophistication, modernity and international reach of this evolving brand," said Ware. "The new, winged motif also emphasizes the wider, lower proportion of the LaCrosse."

The signature sweepspear body-side design element has been reinterpreted in a modern fashion, enhancing the car's sculptural identity. It has a split design that gives the body side a greater perception of depth, while picking up additional body lines, for an elegant, uninterrupted flow from the front fenders to the rear.

The 2017 LaCrosse's body lines are reinforced by a longer, uninterrupted "daylight opening" – the portion of the upper body between the A- and C-pillars. They're ringed with chrome, which adds a tastefully restrained premium accent to the body side.

Other details blend form and function such as outside mirrors mounted on pedestals on the doors rather than the corners of the front side windows. The design offers a greater field of view, while the mirror housings were shaped in the wind tunnel to help reduce wind noise.

Aerodynamic considerations also drove the dynamic sweep of the decklid, which acts as a spoiler to optimize airflow over the LaCrosse, and the front of the car features deflectors in front of the tires to reduce drag.

Additional exterior elements include:

 High-intensity discharge headlamps and LED signature lighting are standard
 LED taillamps are standard
 Eighteen-inch wheels are standard and 20-inch wheels are available
 Active grille shutters
 Capless fuel filler on all models.

Seamless ambience, authentic craftsmanship

The new LaCrosse's interior is designed to offer an open and inviting space for passengers – one that is relaxing, luxurious and well-connected. Sculpturally beautiful form and premium materials complement technologies developed for effortless interfacing.

It is the first Buick with a new single cockpit design aesthetic, characterized by a horizontal form that sweeps across the instrument panel and into the doors. It also incorporates a "floating" center console that positions the controller for the new Electronic Precision Shift high and close to the driver, while creating storage space below the console for items such as a handbag or tablet.

"There is fluidity in the interior forms – a seamless ambience that flows throughout the cabin," said Liz Wetzel, interior design director. "Like the exterior, there is sculptural beauty in the interior's functionality, complemented with high-quality, authentic materials and exceptional attention to detail."

That attention to detail includes soft materials for virtually every touchpoint; real French stitching on the seats, instrument panel and more; and genuine aluminum sill plates and wood décor trim, depending on the model.

"There is a handcrafted essence that is inviting and rewarding," said Wetzel. "It is clean environment that is designed to refresh and inspire."
A number of new and enhanced available luxury features amplify the LaCrosse's comfort quotient:

 Three fashion-inspired interior trim choices: Jet Black, Dark Atmosphere and Shale, and Jet Black and Brandy
 Contemporary Moon White ambient lighting
 Eight-way-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats with new massage feature – with improved heating for quicker warm-up on cold mornings
 Perforated leather-appointed seats
 Heated steering wheel with power tilting/telescoping steering column
 Dual-zone automatic climate control
 Power rear sunshade
 Premium Bose® audio system.

It also offers greater, more practical storage space and easier access. The rear doors, for example, open wider and offer easier entry/egress, and the trunk not only offers approximately 7 percent more storage space than the current model, but was configured to accommodate four golf bags.

Sophisticated, intuitive technologies – including phone integration

As one of the segment's most technologically advanced vehicles, the new LaCrosse offers a host of communication and convenience features designed for effortless connectivity.

The central technology is the latest edition of Buick IntelliLink, which is controlled by a new, frameless 8-inch-diagonal color touchscreen located at the center of an ergonomically optimized instrument panel. Along with the climate system and other features on the "center stack," it was designed with fewer buttons and controls for more intuitive use.

Phone integration technology is paired with IntelliLink and is designed to take phone features users would want to access while driving and put them on the 8- inch display via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The features allow customers to use select smartphone apps through the touchscreen interface. Many features can be controlled via voice commands through a button on the steering wheel, helping drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

Additional LaCrosse technology highlights include:

 All-new Electronic Precision Shift – Rather than a traditional shifter, gears are chosen and engaged via a simple toggle pull. It provides smooth, precise and responsive shifting while enabling added storage in the center console.
 Configurable, high-definition driver information center – Located in the center of the gauge cluster and flanked by round instrument binnacles, it has a large, 8-inch-diagonal full-color display.
 Head-up display – This available feature offers four page views: speed, audio, navigation and performance. It also offers alerts for certain active safety features such as Lane Keep Assist and Forward Collision Alert.
 Available Teen Driver Technology – It encourages safe driving habits for new drivers by muting the audio or any device paired with the vehicle when front-seat occupants aren't wearing their safety belts. It also provides audible and visual warnings when the vehicle is traveling over predetermined speeds – and offers a "report card" for parents.
 Wireless charging – When equipped with this available feature, the phone storage slot in the center console enables inductive charging without the need for plug-ins or cables.

Buick QuietTuning process

The new LaCrosse builds on the exemplary reputation of the current model – already a benchmark in the segment – to offer an even quieter driving experience that contributes to the car's comfort and enjoyment.

Significantly, the Buick QuietTuning team employed a dissipative approach to sound attenuation rather than the current model's barrier system. That means the sound is absorbed primarily with a specialized, lightweight dissipative dash mat rather than heavier noise-blocking pads.

Additional quieting features include:

 New five-link rear suspension provides greater isolation from road noise than the current four-link design
 Active noise cancellation is standard on all models
 Acoustic wheelhouse liners
 Acoustic-laminated windshield and front side windows
 Triple-sealed doors
 Improved body noise-path sealing
 The windshield wipers "park" below the hood line to reduce wind noise.

Next-generation powertrain

LaCrosse's all-new 3.6L V-6 engine with direct injection and dual overhead cams represents the second generation of GM's acclaimed DOHC V-6 engine family and incorporates new features such as Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and Stop/Start technology.

Active Fuel Management system temporarily deactivates two the 3.6L's cylinders in light-load driving conditions to enhance fuel efficiency and seamlessly reactivates them when the driver demands full power.

With the efficiency-enhancing Stop/Start system, the engine is shut down in certain driving conditions such as stop-and-go city driving to reduce fuel consumption, automatically restarting when the driver takes his or her foot off the brake pedal.

Additionally, noise-reducing features including an all-new cam drive system contribute to the vehicle's benchmark quietness.

The 3.6L is estimated at 305 horsepower (227 kW) and 268 lb-ft of torque (363 Nm); and it's matched with a new eight-speed automatic transmission.

Balanced, efficient driving experience

Thanks to its new, lighter and stiffer architecture – and a number of new and enhanced complementing technologies – the 2017 LaCrosse offers a driving experience that is as responsive and direct as it is quiet and comfortable. It also offers enhanced capability with Buick's first twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system.

A new five-link rear suspension is the central component of the improved ride and handling characteristics. It helps reduces roll center motion, enables positive lateral control and promotes excellent dynamic stability. In short, it helps keep the tires planted on all surfaces – and contributes to a quieter ride through greater isolation from road noise.

At the front, a MacPherson-strut suspension is standard and Buick's HiPer Strut suspension is used on front-wheel-drive models with 20-inch wheels. It helps reduce torque steer and maintain negative camber during cornering, improving maximum grip in all road conditions. It also improves the direct feel of the vehicle, while isolating undesirable feedback.

Available, electronically controlled Continuous Damping Control further optimizes ride comfort and handling capabilities over varying road surfaces and profiles. It's an active suspension system that can adjust damping every two milliseconds, with Touring and Sport damping modes selected by the driver through the Electronic Precision Shift.

Also contributing to LaCrosse's more-direct driving experience is an enhanced, rack-mounted electronic power steering system, which incorporates Lead-Pull Compensation. It automatically adjusts the steering angle to account for factors like crowned roads or high crosswinds.

LaCrosse's new twin-clutch AWD system offers the ultimate in grip in and control, with better performance during acceleration and cornering. It allows torque to be split between the rear wheels for optimal performance and the twin-clutch design uses independent clutch actuation to determine and control the amount of torque sent to each rear wheel.

Additional chassis and driver control features on the 2017 LaCrosse include:

 Low-drag four-wheel disc brakes with Duralife rotors, which offer up to double the service life of conventional rotors
 Hill Start Assist with Automatic Vehicle Hold, which can hold the brakes up to five minutes, depending on conditions
 Electronic park brake
 Shear-type suspension mounts that offer greater ride, handling and noise isolation attributes.

FAST FACT: Sales of the Buick LaCrosse have exceeded 900,000 globally since it went on sale in 2009.

Buick is an international modern luxury brand offering vehicles with sculpted designs, luxurious interiors and thoughtful personal technologies, along with responsive-yet-efficient performance. Buick is attracting new customers with its portfolio of award-winning luxury models in North America and China. Learn more about Buick cars and crossovers at www.buick.com, on Twitter @buick, on Instagram, or at www.facebook.com/buick

Buick LaCrosse Information

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