‘Gorgeous… incredibly elegant’ – that was Road & Track’s verdict on a home-town hero that popped out of nowhere to steal the Detroit Motor Show this week.
The car is the Buick Avista, first Buick coupe since the last Riviera of the mid 1990s, and a car with a very clear intention according to the GM brand: to rediscover Buick’s performance roots.
Acclaimed by all who saw – perhaps to the chagrin of Henrik Fisker whose Force 1 supercar failed to be quite as convincing in the minds of many – the Avista is a 2+2 coupe powered by a twin turbocharged V6 delivering 400hp to the… rear wheels. The last Riviera, like all current Buicks, was front-drive.
‘The Avista embodies the dynamic soul of Buick,’ said the man who unveiled it, Bolton-born former Vauxhall MD Duncan Aldred, now Buick global VP for sales and marketing.
‘It is a modern expression of the brand’s heritage of sophisticated performance, communicated with beautiful elegance,’ he told the assembled throng.
Well, we’d go along with that. The car has fine proportions and nary a bad angle. The pillarless coupe design enhances the flowing profile, and while the cabin is very showcar it’s also contemporary, hi-tech with its touch screens and, for an American machine, very driver centric.
With its powerful stance and luxury appeal the Avista comes across as a convincing grand tourer in the manner of some of Buick’s performance heroes of the past – more on those coming on GRR soon.
Technology in the Avista includes an eight-speed automatic transmission, Magnetic Ride dampers, cylinder deactivation to save fuel and, says Buick, a ‘sensory experience’ enhanced by a noise cancellation system, ionic air purification and even aromatherapy – all very Riviera…
According to Bryan Nesbitt, executive director Global Buick Design, the Avista was ‘designed to capture the spirit of the perfect drive.’
Alas that drive won’t be in the UK; indeed it may not even be in the US since this is a concept car slated to influence future designs but not go into production itself – a bit like what is regarded as the industry’s first-ever concept car, Harley J Earl’s 1938 Buick Y-Job.
Given the reaction the car received, however, that would appear to be squandering something of an opportunity.
Images courtesy of GM