For all of us car buffs born in the 1980s and later, we mostly think of Buicks as being granddad’s car. You know, a big, cushiony jalopy that can barely get out of its own way. The last real Buick that we know of being even remotely high-performance was the Grand National and the Regal T-Type from 1978 through 1987. Since the Grand National’s deletion, there has been little life in Buick’s lineup and performance car buyers went away from the brand.
In recent years, GM has been reshaping all of its lineups to not only be more economical, but also to be more performance oriented, including Buick. The thing with Buick is that it has to retain its now strong customer base – the retired American – but offer the performance to draw in younger buyers. Well, when Buick released the Verano, it knew it had a car that was compact and stylish enough to draw in younger buyers without alienating its primary buyers. Once GM started mentioning a turbocharged model, a la the Cobalt SS, our ears perked up a little.
While the details are still a little scarce on the complete model, we felt it was time to get a full review together, so you can see what’s going on.
We will preview this review by letting you know that this is not your granddad’s Buick…
Click past the jump to read more on the Buick Verano Turbo.
From the outside, there is not much that gives away the fact that this Verano boasts a powerful turbocharged engine. From what we can tell on the press release photos – GM didn’t release info on the exterior yet – is that there are only three differences between the base model Verano and the Verano Turbo. The first, and most noticeable, change is the addition of dual exhaust tips protruding from the rear bumpers. The second, and more subtle, addition to the Verano Turbo is an ominous “T” badge just after the “Verano” badge on the rear of the car. The final difference it the addition of a small spoiler on the trunk lid, just to give it a sportier look.
There are eight colors available for the 2013 Verano Turbo, including: Crystal Red Tintcoat, White Diamond Tricoat, Carbon Black Metallic, Summit White, Quicksilver Metallic, Mocha Bronze Metallic, Cyber Gray Metallic and Luxio Blue Metallic (the color seen in the press release images).
The 2013 Verano Turbo will feature IntelliLink SiriusXM radio with Bluetooth capabilities, a USB port. Auxiliary audio input, voice recognition and available navigation. It also allows access to Pandora and Stitcher radio. The entire radio system will boast a now-common voice-control system, so you never have to touch that pesky LCD screen or its buttons to change its settings. You also get a standard rearview camera to help you back into a parking space safely.
Also standard on the Verano T is a push-button starting system and dual-zone climate control. It also comes standard with a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls mounted on it, heated leather seats, six-way power driver’s seat, a sliding and locking center console, and front and rear reading lights.
The interior of the Verano T is kept whisper quiet via Buick’s Quiet Tuning technology. This system helps block out vibration and road noise, making the Verano the quietest compact sedan on the market, according to Buick.
We all know that the Verano Turbo, just like all 2013 vehicles, will come standard with stability and traction control, per NHTSA law. Also per law, the 2013 Verano will include antilock brakes. A few bits of safety that are included and not federal law, yet, are a side blind zone alert and a rear traffic crossing alert, to let you know when someone is in you rearward path or in a blind spot.
The Verano T also boasts 10 standard airbags, including front, head curtain side, front and outboard rear seat side impact, and knee airbags. Standard pretensioners in the seatbelts help keep you glued to the seat in an impact and collapsible pedals help avoid lower leg injuries. OnStar Crash Response is also standard on the 2013 Verano T, along with a free 6-month subscription to OnStar service.
Engine and Drivetrain
Where GM really went crazy on releasing information is in regards to engine and driveline specifications, and the Verano’s four-banger does not disappoint. This boosted four-pot 2.0-liter engine with direct fuel injection pumps out a healthy 250 horsepower and 260 pound feet of torque. The majority of this 260 pounds of twisting power is available between 1,700 and 5,500 rpm, meaning this Buick has no problem laying vulcanized rubber onto the concrete – traction control permitting, of course. What’s more surprising is that Buick is even fitting this model with a six-speed manual transmission, which now makes two Buick models that have an option for a six-speed manual – the Regal is the other model. That’s likely more manual transmissions than Buick has offered in the 20 years predating the 2011 release of the Regal six-speed. For those looking for an easier drive, Buick is also offering a six-speed automatic, but without paddle shift – sigh.
This engine and trans combination is good for a 0 – 60 mph sprint of 6.2 seconds, only 0.7 seconds slower than the hallowed 1988 Grand National GNX, and a whole 2.1 seconds faster than a base Verano.
There is no information on the fuel economy on this new twist on a luxury car, but the 2.0-liter boosted four-banger in the Verano T is the same one that was in the Cobalt SS. Using basic logic, and considering that the 2010 got 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, and weighed about 600 lbs less than the Verano T, we can safely assume that the Verano T will get at least 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, and Buick anticipates 30 mpg on the highway.
Suspension and Braking
The suspension system as a whole on the Verano Turbo is 15 to 20 percent stiffer than that on the current Verano model, giving it better handling in the twisties, but not hurting ride quality too much. Unfortunately, GM is absolutely obsessed with its zero feedback electric power steering system, but has tuned it to have a better on-center feel and a little bit more feedback. We’ll have to see about that.
The rubber is the same that you’ll find on any old Verano on the dealership lot. They are a full set of Continental ContiProContact tires in the size 235/45R18. Why put those expensive tires on a base model too is beyond our comprehension…
The suspension all adds up to the 2013 Verano Turbo being able to hold 0.83 g on the skid pad without an issue.
There is no mention of the braking system in any reports, so we think it’s safe to assume that you will see the same braking system on the Turbo model as you will on any 2013 Verano.
In the class that the Verano Turbo is in, there is really not too much competition, but GM labels the 2013 Acura ILX as the Verano’s closest competition. We’re not going to kid ourselves here and humor the fact that the Verano even approaches the level of sexiness that the ILX does, so we’ll just bypass looks and dig into performance.
The only trim level on the ILX that competes with the Verano Turbo is the six-speed model with the Premium Package. This package features a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder that pumps out a respectable 201 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. Unfortunately for Acura, that pales in comparison to the Verano to the tune of 49 horsepower and 90 pound-feet of twist. The Acura is about 600 lbs lighter than the Buick, but that’s not enough to counter the power separation.
Another issue is the fact that the 2.4-liter-equipped ILX is only available in a six-speed manual. There is no optional automatic available, which cuts your potential client base severely. The gas mileage between the two is very close, as the ILX gets 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.
The ILX is definitely a better looker than the Buick, but the Buick has far more power and hits 60 mph in 0.9 seconds faster than the 2.4-liter ILX. We’ll just have to wait and see exactly what Buick does with the Verano T’s interior to make a final ruling. For now, it’s a draw.
We love the fact that Buick is going back to its roots of combining luxury with a fun-to-drive feel. Yeah, its cars are not powerhouses or racecars, but they provide tons of luxury and just enough pep to keep you wanting to drive it.
Check back often for updates, as more information is sure to be rolling in soon.
Buick didn’t try to make it too sporty
250 ponies and 260 twisties, what?
Three pedals in a Buick!
Doesn’t look too different from every other Verano
Some interior shots would be nice
Still shaking off the "old person’s" car stigma
DETROIT – Buick today announced the 2013 Verano Turbo luxury sedan will be powered by an Ecotec 2.0L turbocharged engine with direct injection and continuously variable valve timing that produces an SAE-certified 250 horsepower (187 kW) at 5300 rpm and 260 lb.-ft. (353 Nm) of torque at 2000 rpm. Acceleration from 0-60 mph is an estimated 6.2 seconds.
The Verano Turbo goes on sale later this year.
More than 90 percent of the Verano Turbo’s peak torque – more than 234 lb.-ft. – is available between 1700 to 5500 rpm. Its closest competitor, the 2013 Acura ILX 2.4L, offers a peak of 170 lb.-ft. of torque.
“The 2.0L turbo engine was designed for refinement, higher output capabilities and reduced noise,” said Amy Joss, Ecotec 2.0L assistant chief engineer. “The way it sounds, the power delivery and the refined character are all fitting of a luxury sedan with a fun side.”
In December, Buick’s 2.0L turbocharged Ecotec engine was named one of WardsAuto World’s 2012 10Best Engines for North America. At the time, the publication’s editor-in-chief, Drew Winter, said: “This engine delivers a level of power and sophistication that redefines Buick.”
The choice to use a small-displacement turbocharged engine for a more powerful Verano model is consistent with Buick’s effort to downsize its powertrains without sacrificing performance. Verano and the Regal luxury sport sedan are available exclusively with four-cylinder engines, while the LaCrosse luxury sedan comes standard with a four-cylinder engine paired with eAssist technology, which uses an electric motor and battery to boost both performance and fuel economy. The standard 2013 Regal four-cylinder engine also is equipped with eAssist.
“Buick’s engine strategy continues to be driven by intelligent performance,” said Tony DiSalle, vice president of Buick Marketing. “Four-cylinder engines, turbocharging and eAssist are all the right solutions for today’s market. With these advanced technologies, Buicks are more efficient without sacrificing their smooth, quiet character.”
According to IHS Automotive, use of four-cylinder engines in North American vehicles will grow 74 percent from 6.9 million to 12.2 million units over the next 10 years.
The Verano Turbo will be available with a choice of a six-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual gearbox. Including Regal Turbo and Regal GS, the Buick brand offers more manual transmissions than Ferrari and Lamborghini combined.
Acceleration performance is expected to be consistent between the two transmissions.
Fuel economy numbers are not final, but the Verano Turbo is expected to be in line with Buick’s other turbocharged models. Pricing will be announced closer to the start of production in late 2012.
Buick is a modern luxury brand offering vehicles with sculpted designs, luxurious interiors with thoughtful personal technologies, along with responsive-yet-efficient performance. Buick is attracting new customers with its portfolio of award-winning luxury models, including the Enclave crossover, LaCrosse sedan, Regal sport sedan, Buick Verano sedan and the all-new 2013 Encore crossover. Learn more about Buick cars and crossovers at www.buick.com, on Twitter @buick or at www.facebook.com/buick.