On the eve of the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Buick unveiled a low-slung concept car that suggests a renewed focus on performance in future production models. The Buick Avista Concept is a rear-wheel-drive 2+2 hardtop coupe that wears Buick’s typically elegant styling cues over some fairly aggressive long-hood/short-deck proportions.
And, the Avista Concept has the muscle to back up its looks: It’s powered by a 400-horsepower twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 hooked to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The Avista doesn’t break much ground from a technological standpoint—many of its features, such as Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation, Stop/Start technology, Magnetic Ride Control, and noise-cancellation technology, are already available on production GM vehicles.
The Avista is primarily a styling exercise—in addition to its flashy 20-inch wheels and deep Dark Sapphire Jewel paint, it takes Buick’s existing styling cues and injects them with a bit more drama. Highlights include a grille with a new winged tri-shield insignia set against a mesh background, an evolution of Buick’s signature front-fender ports, and wing-shaped headlights and taillights with ‘soft-curtain” elements for a 3D “halo” effect. The interior wears exposed carbon-fiber and aluminum accents and a widescreen touchscreen display that hints at a future version of Buick’s IntelliLink system.
It’s doubtful that you’ll see anything quite as radical as the Avista Concept in Buick showrooms anytime soon, but it’s highly likely that individual Avista design elements—the headlight- and taillight shapes, the winged Buick insignia and mesh grille, the front-fender vents, the swoopy dashboard layout—will find their way on future production Buicks. The Avista also suggests that GM is looking to bring a more overt performance character to future Buicks while maintaining the brand’s understated elegance.