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GM Vice President of Global  Design Ed Welburn details the Buick Avista's exterior form development on January 11. (Lindsay Brooke)

Buick stuns, delights NAIAS with Avista concept

With a smiling GM CEO Mary Barra and top Chinese executives from SAIC looking on, GM President Dan Ammann unveiled the Buick Avista, a stunning 2+2 GT coupe concept in a Dark Sapphire Jewel color that prompted many in the January 11 media audience to proclaim it a top candidate for Best Concept Vehicle honors at the 2016 North American International Auto Show.

Built on a 110.7-in (2794-mm) wheelbase and 63-in front/62.9-in rear tracks (1600/1597-mm) for a wide, low, and aggressive stance, the Avista packs a 400-hp (298-kW) twin-turbo V6 of unrevealed displacement and Hydra-matic 8-speed transmission driving the 20-in aluminum rear wheels. The engine is fitted with a stop-start system, and GM’s Magneride magneto-rheological suspension system keeps the car firmly in touch with the road surface without sacrificing ride comfort.

Avista’s sumptuous-looking white interior featured 3D-printed door and seat trim, as well as a future conceptualization of the marque’s IntelliLink HMI touchscreen.

GM Vice President of Global Design Ed Welburn noted that the concept consumed more than 12 months’ work by his styling and clay teams in Warren, MI. He described the car as a “labor of love” and indicated that Avista will influence the Buick brand going forward.

Will GM build Avista? Buick's ongoing popularity in China and the presence of SAIC leaders in the audience put a China-focus on possible production. The concept uses GM's mass-efficient Alpha rear-drive platform that underpins Cadillac ATS and CTS. When Automotive Engineering asked Ammann about an available platform, he replied with a grin: “This is a concept car.”

Avista’s surprise-and-delight appearance comes one year after Buick revealed another stunner: the Avenir concept, which currently remains just that. 

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