In a list of auto brands that embody adjectives like "sleek" and "sporty," Buick traditionally sits comfortably toward the bottom. It's something Buick itself is well aware of, and has been gradually addressing through new product and advertising. It has been quietly filling its lineup with cars designed to get folks reaching for those adjectives, instead of laughing them off. The all-new Avista concept is its best effort yet, showing how a Buick can move right past "sporty" to become downright "sexy" and "seductive."
The Avista is the next evolution of styling that began on last year's Avenir concept and will be moving through to the production line (in much more muted form) on the 2017 LaCrosse. Like the Avenir, the Avista has an athletic, swept-back body set firmly on a muscular rear haunches. The wheelbase measures in at 110.7 in (2,811 mm) and the front and rear tracks at 63 in (1,601 mm) and 62.9-in (1,598 mm), respectively, helping create a two-door that looks like it is absolutely itching to launch forward into full sprint.
Buick executive director of global design Bryan Nesbitt sums it up simply, "It was designed to capture the spirit of the perfect drive."
That perfect drive must be a fast one, because the concept's skin shows the effects of forward momentum in the multitude of light lines shooting back up over the hood and along the sides. The marks all appear to originate from a single point directly in front of the Buick emblem straddling the front grille crease, lending a very taut, symmetrical feel to the entire front of the car.
The headlamps are also pointed in toward the Avista's central axis, giving the wide face a menacing stare. More specifically, it's the eyebrows of the headlamps, which Buick calls soft curtain "halos," that give it the angry look. Buick explains that these treatments are used to convey a sense of 3D sculpting and serve as a preview of evolutions in its production lighting. To us, they just say that the Avista is ready to overtake everything in its path and make no apologies while doing so.
The Avista relies on a 400-hp twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 to make good on the subtle threats issued by its mean glare. The engine sends power to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The car has GM's Magnetic Ride Control, active fuel management (cylinder deactivation) and stop/start technologies.
Inside, Buick covers the 2+2 layout with sweeping, uninterrupted lines that mimic the exterior. The concept wears a futuristic iteration of Buick's IntelliLink infotainment system, with touchscreen controls stretching across a wide instrument panel and down the center console. There's also 3D-printed trim, next-generation QuietTuning noise reduction and air-quality control.
Get to know the Avista in our gallery and tell us whether or not the name "Buick" rings a little more attractive after seeing it.