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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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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.


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