Buick Lucerne CXS Review The Truth About Cars

8 Июн 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Buick Lucerne CXS Review The Truth About Cars отключены
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Buick Lucerne CXS Review

Electra Waggoner Biggs was born a Texas cattle and oil man’s daughter, but le ft the Lone Star State for Bryn Mawr, Columbia and the Sorbonne. Upon her return she became a revered sculptress, best known for her work “Into the Sunset,” memorializing cowboy actor Will Rogers. In 1959, the President of Buick (and Electra’s husband’s brother-in-law) named a flagship sedan after the middle aged Texan. Today s Buick Lucerne is named after a quaint Swiss tourist trap, with only a failed peasant’s revolt to its name. And there you have it: Buick has tossed away decades of brash Americana for subdued Euro-style.

That s beyond stupid.

Of course, Lucerne is a beautiful town, and the Lucerne CXS is a beautiful car. Truth be told, the comely Lucerne is a pastiche of the Audi group’s best sedans a bit of Audi A8 here (rear three quarter) and a bit of Phaeton there (pillars, rear) with a healthy dose of Buick’s polarizing Velite concept roadster (front). Fortunately, it works.

There’s no question the Lucerne is its own machine; the Buick’s portholes are as authoritative a brand statement as Mister T s mohawk.

It’s all very dignified and elegant in a vaguely European way until you open the door. Then you discover that the Lucerne is cursed with GM s latest interior initiative: strategically placed quality. For example, the Lucerne ’s dash is fashioned from a polymer that’s less forgiving than a Taliban elder.


And yet, only millimeters away, you encounter GM s finest door panels to date. They’re superb examples of industrial art: a Lexus-like mix of triple-stitched vinyl, padded plastic and convincing wood grain. But aside from the swank door trimmings, richly textured headliner and hip cobalt blue gauge faces, the Lucerne s interior is the Buick brand’s Bay of Pigs .

The optional Harman-Kardon boombox is the cabin’s saving grace. Play that funky music [white boy] and you unleash both top-notch imaging and skin-tight bass response. The noise is most welcome; the Roadmaster-esque seating rivals memory foam mattresses for sybaritic somnambulism.

Mobsters looking for a place to stash rivals heading for the big sleep take note: the Lucerne ’s trunk is a thing of beauty. It’s large and accommodating, replete with plastic modesty panels hiding the decklid s dogleg hinges.

Fire up the Lucerne CXS’ Northstar 4.6-liter V8 and the mixed messages continue. Dial-up a few revs and the hunky Lucerne rumbles like an old muscle-bound big-block Buick GSX. (Buick’s “Quiet Tuning” obviously doesn’t apply to Cadillac-sourced powertrains.) Drop the hammer and the de-clawed 275hp Northstar helps the Lucerne slide to sixty in a tick under seven seconds. Yes, but how many front-wheel drive V8-powered luxury cars can you name?

And how many have you bought? There’s a reason for that

At sensible speeds, the Lucerne hides its wrong-wheel drive roots commendably. Eight mild-mannered cylinders render torque steer a minor issue. But awaken the beast at the wrong time and the Lucerne counters with smoking rubber and a completely wayward helm.

Fortunately, the iron filings floating in the Lucerne ’s shocks deliver a reasonable imitation of dynamic fluidity; Magnetic Ride Control suspension keeps the two-ton luxobarge flat during cornering. Yes, really.

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But to what end? The big Buick fails to impress one s land yacht Ying or grand touring Yang. For Type-A personalities, the Northstar s take-a-number throttle response, uncommunicative and overboosted steering and lazy four-cog slushbox infuriates.

Even with Magna-charged dampers in full suppress mode, mundane Continental rubber, cushy springs and planar seats deny sporting satisfaction. Grab a lower gear for upcoming corners and the flimsy floor-shift quivers in anticipation.

For the Type-B folks, the Lucerne rides comfortably enough on most surfaces, but nails surface imperfections like an economy car chassis, lacking the brick-house swagger of Mercury’s mighty-mighty Marquis. No matter what your tastes, the Lucerne s coarse underpinnings prove GM half baked this auto-culinary treat.

The Lucerne certainly outclasses its clueless Park Avenue predecessor, but what does this sub-$40k whip do that a fresher-looking Camry can’t? De-ice its windscreen with heated washer fluid? Seriously, when a carmaker promotes its flagship model with a relatively minor gadget, you know it’s a “pay no attention to the car behind that curtain” affair. The fact that the portly Lucerne ’s standard mill is a positively ancient pushrod V6 shows that even GM knows they’ve over-priced and under-delivered.

While entry-level Lucernes face the prospect of rental car Hell, the CSX goes nowhere fast.

More than that, the Lucerne ’s lack of soul proves that Buick is a … marque …. One could argue that Electra Waggoner Biggs’ sculpture and the car named after her were tacky nothing more than American populism with a continental twist. But their unabashed spirit demanded your attention.

If the Lucerne is as good as a Buick gets, it’s only a matter of time before the entire brand follows its Swiss namesake into historical irrelevance.

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