The rumor was true. Buick unveiled the Avista, a beautiful concept coupe at a Sunday event before the Detroit Auto Show. Along with the Avista, it also showed off the Envision, a midsize crossover built in China that will come to the U.S. later this year.
The Avista is a 2+2 grand tourer that uses a 3.0-liter, 400-horsepower twin-turbo V6 driving the rear wheels. Yes, this Buick is rear-wheel-drive. It rides on GM's Alpha platform, which underpins the excellent Chevy Camaro, Cadillac ATS and Cadillac CTS.
If put in production, the Avista would be the first rear-wheel-drive Buick since the Rainier SUV. The last Buick coupe was the front-wheel-drive Riviera of the mid-1990s.
The Concept uses an 8-speed automatic transmission and comes equipped with GM's excellent Magnetic Ride Control. In a nod to efficiency, the Avista uses start-stop and cylinder deactivation technology.
The Avista's design language is an extension of the Avenir full-sized sedan concept Buick debuted at last year's Detroit Auto Show.
"There is elegant simplicity in the Avista's surfaces, which speak to the purity of the car's performance, and a timeless beauty that's a hallmark of Buick design," said Bryan Nesbitt, executive director Global Buick Design in a press release. "It was designed to capture the spirit of the perfect drive."
Nesbitt told Road & Track that the Avista's design references the 1954 Buick Wildcat concept. It's hardly a throwback, which Buick emphasized with a modern color palette.
Buick says the Avista represents a return to performance for the brand. It posted a press release to its media site highlighting its past performance credentials just before the Avista was revealed.
Of course being a Buick, comfort is emphasized as well. It's interior features specially-designed noise insulation, air purification and even aromatherapy. The driver will be greeted by a widescreen digital display, which uses a future version of Buick's IntelliLink
The launch event was attended by many important GM personnel including CEO Mary Barra, President Mark Ruess and design chief Ed Welburn. At the event, Welburn said he "can't wait" to wash this car by hand, because it's so gorgeous.
Speaking to Road & Track, a Buick representative confirmed there's no production intent yet, but it's considering putting the Avista, or something like it, in production.
Think of the Avista as a luxury grand touring companion to the pony car Camaro. We very much hope Buick puts it into production.
Photos and Additional reporting by Joe DeMatio.