Few concept cars have generated more buzz than the Buick Avenir, the sleek and sexy sedan that made its debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Despite repeated efforts to make a business case, General Motors has given up on putting the concept into production, but the Avenir name lives on.
Think of it as Buick’s answer to GMC’s top-line sub-brand, Denali. We got a look at the first Avenir edition last April with the New York Auto Show debut of the Buick Enclave Avenir. Now, General Motors’ premium brand is giving the Avenir treatment to its midsize LaCrosse sedan.
The LaCrosse Avenir is actually just one of several updates the sedan has gotten for 2018. Among other things, Buick has introduced a new mild hybrid system. There’s also a new base trim. Now, the marque is turning to the high end of the midsize segment.
“Nine out of 10 LaCrosse buyers are choosing one of the top two trim levels — customers are signaling they want more from Buick,” said Duncan Aldred, who serves as vice president of both the Buick and GMC brands.
(Buick takes on the import hot hatch crowd with 310-hp Regal. For the story, Click Here.)
The 2015 Avenir concept was meant to explore what a flagship sedan might look like for Buick, starting with a more progressive design, then adding advanced technologies for comfort and connectivity.
Visually, the 2018 Buick LaCrosse Avenir started with a three-dimensional mesh grille with streamlined wings that seem determined to give the sedan a more light and airy feeling. The mesh repeats on the lower grille, as well. There are new Avenir badges on the front doors, and the car gets unique 19- and 20-inch wheels, as well as a panoramic sunroof.
“Exterior styling is very important to LaCrosse buyers, and its sculpted beauty withstands passing trends,” said Bob Boniface, global director of Buick Exterior Design. “For Avenir, we focused on maintaining the timelessness of the LaCrosse, while giving these customers subtle and tasteful details that elevate this car to a new level.”
(Click Here to see how Buick is moving upscale with new Enclave Avenir.)
Inside, the Avenir badge repeats on the headrests and door sill plates. Buyers can choose between chestnut brown or black interior color schemes.
In keeping with the concept’s theme, the LaCrosse Avenir sedan comes well-equipped before you check a single box, a navigation system and a Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound premium audio system are among the standard features.
All-wheel-drive is optional however, as are electronically controlled dampers and a variety of advanced safety technologies.
While the base LaCrosse line is powered by a 2.5-liter inline-four using the eAssist mild hybrid system to boost power to 194 horsepower. LaCrosse Avenir, however, gets Buick’s 3.6-liter V-6 making a much more peppy 310 hp. It’s paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.
(To see how a 10-month supply of LaCrosses helped to shut down GM’s Poletown plant, Click Here.)
As with the GMC brand, Buick appears to have big plans for its new, high-line sub-brand and, if GMC’s approach to Denali is any indication we can expect to see Avenir editions of most – and perhaps even all – Buick nameplates in the not-too-distant future.