Edmunds and several leading auto blogs theorize that Buick will eventually go ahead and build a sporty version of its popular LaCrosse midsize sedan. Unlike the original model, the proposed car will be a true roadster, as Buick looks to inject some youth into its aging model lineup. This is great news for Buick, which hasn’t built a truly youth-oriented car since it stopped production of the Regal Grand National sports car during the 1980s. Will the Super Sport be enough to help Buick win back a segment? lost from the market? That’s still up for debate, so let’s see what Buick is planning with the Super Sport and then you can decide for yourself.
For the past few years, Buick has been near the top in most quality and customer satisfaction surveys. After years of languishing much lower down the list, Buick decided to really emphasize quality, and that move paid off. However, quality cars are one thing, while exciting cars are another. Buick simply hasn’t been building cars that rank high on the list of “wow” factors. Sales have been stable as the age level of its buyers continued to rise. Anyone who understands the car business will tell you that you must continually attract a younger audience to grow and prosper. Let’s just say that even AARP’s youngest drivers haven’t been very drawn to Buick’s current lineup of models.
As far as the Super Sport is concerned, the car is based on the Velite concept, a car that has been showing up in auto shows in recent years. Like the Lexus SC430, the Super Sport will target high-end buyers attracted by a combination of premium luxury, performance and style. While drivetrain information hasn’t been finalized, reports have been circulating of a 300hp V8 being offered. This engine will likely be mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. A 3.6L twin-turbo engine producing over 400 hp has also been rumored for the Super Sport, but that engine choice could be ruled out if gas prices remain historically high.
Information on the specifics of the Super Sport is fairly limited, but if the car stays true to the Velite concept, buyers can expect the following with the Super Sport:
— Traditional styling based on a late 1930s Buick boat tail design. Buick’s recognizable waterfall grille design along with decorative side portholes are also expected to appear on the Super Sport.
— 20-inch front wheels and 21-inch rear wheels; rear wheel drive
— Leather 2 plus 2 seats.
— A retractable hood that fits snugly into the trunk.
— Full cabin amenities including OnStar and XM satellite radio switches integrated into the dash.
Beyond what’s been listed, the rest is speculation, including possible build and launch dates for the Super Sport. GM’s current financial troubles will affect the final decision on whether to build this car, but if approval is given, a 2008 or 2009 launch is possible.
Yes, Buick needs a car of this caliber to breathe new life into a rather uninspiring lineup. Prices for the Super Sport are likely to exceed $40,000, limiting the car’s appeal to those with significant means. Still, if Buick can pull it out of the Super Sport, it may pave the way for additional model changes, perhaps even opening the door for a Regal-inspired car to rejoin the lineup. That would be great news for a brand in dire need of a new injection of youth.