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Buick to launch its next generation BAS hybrid system

It's no doubt impressive when today's compact sedans -- which are loaded down with hundreds of pounds of safety gear and chassis reinforcements not found on vehicles from decades past -- top the 40 mpg mark. However, it's even more impressive when midsize sedans approach that mark as well.

You know about the compact 2011 Chevrolet Cruze and 2011 Hyundai Elantra which can hit 40+ mpg on the highway. Hyundai's 2011 Sonata midsize sedan can achieve 35 mpg on the highway in its base configuration. GM is now flaunting its 2012 LaCrosse which will come standard with eAssist technology (which will provide up to 37 mpg on the highway) and will be priced at roughly $30,000.

“It’s a very integrated powertrain system, with no compromises in driving performance, shift quality or ride and handling,” said Daryl Wilson, LaCrosse lead development engineer. “We believe this combination points to the future of vehicles powered primarily by an internal combustion engine.”

The LaCrosse will be powered by a traditional 2.4-liter direct injection four-cylinder engine which generates 180 hp. The engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. However, GM also includes its next generation "mild hybrid" system which it calls eAssist. On the LaCrosse, the eAssist electric motor provides an additional 15 hp and 79 pound-feet of torque during acceleration. Other features to improve fuel economy include an engine start/stop function and regenerative braking.

A 115V lithium-ion battery mounted in the trunk powers the electric motor, but it encroaches on cargo-hauling capabilities. Maximum cargo capacity drops from an already lackluster 13.3 cu ft to just 10.9 cu ft.

However, the benefits in fuel economy are huge. EPA ratings jump from 19/30 mpg (city/highway) to an impressive 25/37 mpg. The city rating falls short of Lincoln's MKZ Hybrid which pulls in an impressive 41 mpg, but that vehicle is priced higher at $35,180.

“The eAssist system is more than just the next-generation BAS system. The ability to integrate regenerative braking with the latest lithium-ion battery technology creates a system that delivers significant fuel-efficiency gains that customers will enjoy,” said Steve Poulos, global chief engineer of the eAssist system. “Being able to provide electric boost to the powertrain system during heavy acceleration and grade driving enables the LaCrosse transmission to operate more efficiently, while the added functionality of engine start-stop and fuel shut-off during deceleration provides added fuel savings.” 

Official pricing and availability of the Buick LaCrosse with eAssist should be available closer to its launch later next year.



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The LaCrosse is one fine looking car...
By Nfarce on 11/15/2010 1:37:12 PM , Rating: 1
But why has it only been recently that GM (and Ford for that matter) have come out with great looking cars and jumped on the hybrid wagon? They should have started the Euro-Japanese good looks over a decade ago instead of giving us ho-hum front wheel drive sedans fit for nothing more than a vanilla rental fleet.

With that said, Buick is still missing the mark with the normal gas-powered version of both this and the LeSabre. Maximum 255hp from a turbo 4? I don't care how much power you can crank out of a blown 4-banger: it will not come close to the smoothness and refinement of a V6 with equivalent power.

Finally, you start optioning out the LaCrosse with packages and its 280hp V6 (yawn... so mid-late '00s) in CXS trim and it (and the Taurus SHO) will quickly blow through the $40k barrier, solid Infinity G and BMW 3-series territory which I've been buying for the last 10 years running. Gonna have to do better than this.




RE: The LaCrosse is one fine looking car...
By jaydee on 11/15/2010 4:27:44 PM , Rating: 3
What exactly is your point? I can option a BMW 328i with a whopping 230hp past $56,000. To boot, it's a significantly smaller vehicle inside and out (178 inches long compared to 197 inches).

If you're all about a BMW 3-series competitor, you're looking at the wrong GM brand. Try the Cadillac CTS. RWD? Check. 270hp base engine? Check. 550hp V8 option? Check. Coupe, wagon options? Check. What more do you want?

Why would GM make Buick a Cadillac competitor? Buick is more value-oriented brand, but still upscale of Chevy. Hence smaller engines, FWD but loaded with technology, better interior and now pushing higher fuel economy with this eAssist. No, I think Buick with the new LaCrosse in particular is right where it needs to be.


By Spuke on 11/15/2010 4:38:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Try the Cadillac CTS. RWD?
The CTS is really good. Shockingly good. Definitely a competitor. I'd rather have a turbo engine though but that's not a negative against the Caddy. Most people won't care about that.


RE: The LaCrosse is one fine looking car...
By Nfarce on 11/15/2010 5:19:49 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
What exactly is your point?...Buick is more value-oriented"


Uhm, that is precisely my point. A 280hp LaCrosse optioned the same as a 328hp Infinity G is going to be within price striking range (mid to upper $30k). Further, my point is that GM is going to have to do a lot better than this to woo younger drivers like me into the show rooms. But then again, maybe you are right afterall when stating Buick is right where it needs to be with the LaCrosse: for middle aged and old fuddies.


RE: The LaCrosse is one fine looking car...
By Spuke on 11/15/2010 5:41:45 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
But then again, maybe you are right afterall when stating Buick is right where it needs to be with the LaCrosse: for middle aged and old fuddies.
So if we don't agree, we're old? LOL! Like I stated, not everyone wants more sport than luxury. Some like luxury more than sport. BMW and Inifinti are sport then luxury. Buick is the reverse. That's not worse, just different.


RE: The LaCrosse is one fine looking car...
By Nfarce on 11/15/2010 6:54:03 PM , Rating: 2
Point taken. I'll worry about it in 10-15 years when my back gives out and I want a "softer" riding and easier driving car. But who knows - maybe by then we'll all be driving ecoboxes and the point will be moot.


RE: The LaCrosse is one fine looking car...
By Spuke on 11/15/2010 10:42:02 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
But who knows - maybe by then we'll all be driving ecoboxes and the point will be moot.

1. I hope not.
2. I'll be the old f#$ker driving the equivalent of a 1982 Chevy Caprice claiming that "they don't make them like they used to".


By Alexvrb on 11/16/2010 12:43:54 AM , Rating: 2
I like B-Body cars. They're solid.

Anyway, this thing gets pretty decent numbers for a mid-sized mild hybrid. That's striking distance of a full-on hybrid of the same class. Also the electric motors should help give it a lil more on-tap push. If they move this drivetrain downrange to the Malibu, that would be a decent affordable mid-sized mild hybrid. Much better than the previous gen mild hybrid 'Bu.


By Sazabi19 on 11/16/2010 8:09:21 AM , Rating: 2
Lol, you couldn't be more wrong. I'm 21 and I want a LaCrosse. I'm not an idiot that needs to rev my engine and impress my friends. I love luxury and it is in a great price range. I like my cars luxurious and my women sporty ;)


RE: The LaCrosse is one fine looking car...
By room200 on 11/15/2010 6:37:04 PM , Rating: 3
GM is never going to "woo" you into their showrooms. You've bought into this whole bash America thing, so there's no way you'd buy an American car. I used to be the same way. I'm now happy in my new Buick Enclave. I get compliments every other day, it's smooth, it's beautiful, and it's American. 8^P


RE: The LaCrosse is one fine looking car...
By Nfarce on 11/15/10, Rating: 0
RE: The LaCrosse is one fine looking car...
By jaydee on 11/15/2010 7:25:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'd seriously consider the bad-ass CTS-V over the M5 if ever in that high level sedan market. Unfortunately, my current pricing range for sedans is in the $35-$40 range, not $60k + range. Nothing GM has in that price range tickles my fancy.

But the CTS sedan is that vehicle. The $35-40k RWD performance sedan. It's price, it's engine, it's platform, everything is comparable to the stated BMW 3-series and Infiniti G37. If for some reason, the CTS isn't good enough for you (styling, headlamps, whatever), that's perfectly valid. But don't blame Buick for not putting a 400hp V8, that's not Buick's function, it's Cadillac's. Just because someone prices a sedan at $35-40k, doesn't mean it has to be performance oriented.


RE: The LaCrosse is one fine looking car...
By Nfarce on 11/15/2010 9:27:00 PM , Rating: 1
The base CTS is comparably priced at the base G37 sedan level. The base CTS has a 270hp V6, 58 less than the G. You have to shell out more for a 304hp variant of the same engine in the CTS, still 24hp shy of what Infinity (only) offers in the G.

I'm not overly fond of Cadillac's styling either, but I could definitely live with the CTS-V if I had the money and wanted one of the fastest cars on the planet.


RE: The LaCrosse is one fine looking car...
By Spuke on 11/15/2010 11:02:05 PM , Rating: 1
As good as the CTS is, I'd pick the G37 over it any day. I even think it's a better car than the 3 series. Nfarce, have you driven a G37 with the 7 speed auto? How does it compare with the 3 series 6 speed auto? I drove a 335i with an auto for the first time and I was REALLY impressed.


RE: The LaCrosse is one fine looking car...
By Runiteshark on 11/16/2010 12:45:02 AM , Rating: 2
Have fun with overheating problems with that VQ37HR in there. As far as I know, they still won't acknowledge they have a problem, nor will they fit oil coolers to your car.

I wouldn't buy a g37 or 370z at all, but then again I think its asinine to spend that much cash (35k+) when you can just get a c6 z06 for the same money used.


By Spuke on 11/16/2010 11:36:44 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I wouldn't buy a g37 or 370z at all, but then again I think its asinine to spend that much cash (35k+) when you can just get a c6 z06 for the same money used.
I don't buy new cars anyways so if I did get a G37, it would be used and they're in the $25k range. I only mentioned a preference for the G37 over the CTS. The Corvette is a sports car, the G37, CTS, and 3 series are not. Let's keep this apples to apples here. Quite frankly, my pick for THIS class is the 3 series, primarily the 335i with DCT. I like turbo's.


RE: The LaCrosse is one fine looking car...
By Nfarce on 11/16/2010 3:20:15 PM , Rating: 2
The only late model 335i I've driven was a 6-speed manual (2009 coupe model). Yeah it's that good of a driver. I haven't driven any of the new G's yet, but am currently shopping for a new car and will be trading in my current G before the end of the year.


By Spuke on 11/16/2010 6:39:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The only late model 335i I've driven was a 6-speed manual (2009 coupe model). Yeah it's that good of a driver.
I've driven a few manual 335i's. Reminded me of a straight six, it was that smooth. I've read about how some prefer the auto but really didn't know why until after I drove one. I'd opt for a 135i with DCT if it was my money though. A little lighter and less expensive used.


RE: The LaCrosse is one fine looking car...
By jaydee on 11/16/2010 9:30:06 AM , Rating: 3
My main intestest is understanding why you expect Buick to compete in this market segment as well.


By Nfarce on 11/16/2010 3:55:37 PM , Rating: 1
My point is just the opposite actually. Buick has priced itself in that market whether that car is really worthy of being in it or not.


By Spuke on 11/15/2010 4:35:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Maximum 255hp from a turbo 4? I don't care how much power you can crank out of a blown 4-banger: it will not come close to the smoothness and refinement of a V6 with equivalent power.
I agree but most people won't notice or care. The newer 4 cyls are pretty smooth though. It's not even nasty at idle which is where I notice most of the 4 cyl harshness. 255hp equals a really small turbo. I have the same engine (LNF) in my car. You're good for maybe 300whp on the stock turbo but the benefit is super quick boost and nice low and midrange torque.

Luxury car customers will be more interested in the torque. IMO, BMW and Infiniti are a different market than the LaCrosse. The Buick is aimed at customers that are looking for more luxury than sport. FWD is not going to be all that sporty. At least not like BMW or Infiniti.

quote:
Gonna have to do better than this.
IMO, they're right on target. It will bring in some conquest sales. Like I said, customers interested in more luxury than sport. I like sport so it won't be for me but it is nice.


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