2012 Buick Verano Brings Old Man Brand to a New Demographic With First Ever Compact

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2012 Buick Verano Brings Old Man Brand to a New Demographic With First Ever Compact

Continuing Buick‘s model rollout the stereotypical old-man-brand is looking for further growth down-market with the introduction of the new Verano. Billed as its first ever model in the compact luxury segment, the folks at Buick might be being purposefully ignorant of the ’80s Skyhawk – although arguably a compact, it could hardly be called a luxury car.

Based on the same platform as the Chevy Cruze, the Verano shares many of the same suspension parts including the Watts Z-link rear end that was designed to offer the best attributes of an independent rear suspension (namely, handling and ride comfort) with the best parts of a torsion beam setup (being lighter, less expensive and taking up less space). The Cruze already provides a comfortable ride and when combined with extensive ‘Quiet tuning’ with plenty of additional noise dampening and canceling devices, the Verano promises a true Buick ride.

As rumored, under the hood, the Verano will get GM’s 2.4-liter Ecotec 4-cylinder, delivering a sizable step up in performance over the Cruze. Power is rated at 177-hp and 170 ft-lbs of torque and when matched to a six-speed automatic will achieve 31-mpg on the highway. Buick is also planning to offer a version of its turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, which makes 220-hp and 258 ft-lbs of torque in the Regal Turbo. A 0-60 mph time of 8.0 seconds is promised for the base engine, so look for a turbo model that might dip into the 6s.

Inside Buick promises true luxury, although don’t expect too much with a rumored starting price of around $20,000. Still, standard and optional features include a pretty impressive list of goodies like a push-button ignition, dual-zone climate control, heated leather seats and a heated steering wheel.

Perhaps more important is the overall refinement with soft-touch materials throughout, ambient lighting and minimal gaps between panels. Although if Buick is looking for a younger demographic they might have wanted to pass on the woodgrain accenting that’s certain to look as genuine as a made-in-Taiwan Louis Vuitton bag.

Outside the Verano is styled more like the large LaCrosse than the Regal, with a prominent waterfall grille. Standard rolling hardware includes 17-inch wheels, although 18s are optional.

Set to make its world premier at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show on January 10th, check back then for live photos then. Until then, see our Detroit Auto Show preview here.

Get more Buick Verano news and info at VeranoTalk.com

GALLERY: 2012 Buick Verano

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Official release after the jump:

PRESS RELEASE

BUICK INTRODUCES THE ALL-NEW 2012 VERANO

Compact Luxury Entry is Buick’s Third New Model in Two Years

DETROIT – The all-new 2012 Buick Verano compact luxury sedan, the brand’s third new model in the past two years and first in the compact luxury segment, will be revealed at the North American International Auto Show.

Verano goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2011, the latest model in a product renaissance that began with the Enclave and continued with the LaCrosse and Regal. Like them, Verano is distinguished by luxury and technology, including 10 standard air bags, an available heated steering wheel and a next-generation radio system with OnStar-powered connectivity that enables seamless communication between the Verano and the driver’s smart phone.

An Ecotec 2.4L and six-speed automatic powertrain combination is standard and delivers an estimated 177 horsepower (132 kW) and 170 lb.-ft. torque (230 Nm), 0-60 mph performance of 8.0 seconds and an estimated 31 mpg on the highway. A 2.0L turbo engine will be offered in the future.

“Verano expands our lineup, continues Buick’s momentum and gives us a great opportunity to attract a new generation of customers with a product that delivers on their expectations for design, performance and technology,” said John Schwegman, vice president of Buick marketing. “It is a smart choice that delivers unexpected luxury in a compact sedan – and it will compete head-to-head with competitors from Audi and Lexus.”

Five elements infused in Verano that define its character:

  • Sculpted design – Refined styling with a sporty profile, blending Buick’s signature cues – including a black chrome waterfall grille, blue translucent projector beam headlamps, portholes and chrome accents
  • Luxurious interior – Premium seat comfort and support redefined for a compact sedan and matched with upscale, soft-touch materials and premium leather – all complemented by leading-edge infotainment and ambient lighting
  • Quiet tuning – The quietest compact sedan on the road – quieter than many midsize and full-size cars – Verano’s quietness is supported by acoustical laminated glass, triple door seals, refined chassis dynamics and specially manufactured 17-inch standard forged alloy multi-spoke wheels, which minimize road noise
  • Refined and responsive performance – Powerful and efficient Ecotec 2.4L/six-speed automatic powertrain matched with a refined, responsive suspension system, including a sophisticated Watts Z-link rear suspension and four-wheel disc brakes with standard anti-lock brakes, full-function traction control and StabiliTrak electronic stability control
  • Purposeful technology – Convenience and safety features that enhance the driving experience and are rare for the segment, including 10 standard air bags, a next-generation radio, touch screen navigation and advanced connectivity technologies powered by OnStar.

Sculpted design

Verano carries the modern Buick design cues introduced on the Enclave and interpreted for the LaCrosse and Regal. They include a bold, detailed black chrome waterfall grille, prominent blue translucent projector beam headlamps, portholes, chrome accents, premium wheels and a tailored body-to-wheel relationship. An arching roofline connects a steeply raked windshield and fast-sloping rear pillars to give the car a sporty profile that’s complemented by large, 17-inch standard multi-spoke forged alloy sterling silver-finish wheels. Two premium 18-inch wheel designs are available.

“Verano translates Buick’s sculptural design language in a new size, with all the refinement and attention to detail pioneered by the Enclave and LaCrosse,” said Dave Lyon, design director. “Beyond all that, it’s simply a great-looking car. It has great proportions and sophisticated details that will look great for years to come.”

Unique to Verano are translucent blue projector-beam headlamps, which give the car a distinctive, upscale appearance. A palette of rich colors enhances the premium look, including Claret Red Tintcoat and White Diamond Tricoat. Other exterior color choices include Black, Olympic White, Switchblade Silver Metallic, Cyber Gray Metallic and Mocha Bronze Metallic.

Luxurious interior

Complementing Verano’s precisely crafted, premium-accented exterior is an interior marked by exceptional seat comfort and support, as well as premium soft-touch materials, including ambient lighting inspired by the LaCrosse. Metallic and wood trims and warm ambient lighting make the cabin an inviting environment.

Neutral and medium titanium colors are offered on interiors with leatherette/fabric seating surfaces, while ebony, cashmere and a unique Choccachino color are offered on the available leather-trimmed interiors. Verano uses the same premium leather material for the seats that is used on the LaCrosse.

The instrument panel blends with an integrated center stack that houses the infotainment display, climate controls and radio controls. Flush-mounted components within the center stack have a gap tolerance of less than 1 mm, while the instrument panel-to-door panel gaps are less than 5 mm. Those tolerances are among the best in class.

Verano’s headliner cover is made of a knit material that is one of five layers of an acoustically designed headliner to help quiet the passenger compartment. The interior pillar and other moldings are color- and grain-matched to the headliner.

Additional interior standard and available features include:

  • Push-button engine start
  • Dual-zone climate control with standard air conditioning (automatic climate control available)
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Heated leather-appointed seating
  • Electronic parking brake
  • Console armrest that slides and locks
  • Power windows with express up/down in the front and express down in the rear
  • Steering wheel radio controls
  • Uplevel front and rear reading lamps.

Verano’s heated steering wheel and heated seats are linked with the remote start feature. In temperatures lower than 45 F (7 C), the steering wheel heater and seat heaters automatically activate.

Quiet tuning

Verano delivers the library-quiet driving experience for which Buicks have become known. Quiet-tuning systems, processes and components are built into every facet of the vehicle’s architecture. All are designed to block or absorb sound and dampen or eliminate vibrations.

Hydraulic ride bushings, for example, and an isolated engine cradle reduce or eliminate vibration pathways that could be transmitted to the passenger compartment. Similarly, a number of noise-reducing and noise-cancelling technologies are employed throughout the body structure, including:

  • The steel front-of-dash panel is sandwiched between two damping mats
  • Nylon baffles are used in various hollow portions of the body structure and filled with sound-absorbing foam that expands when the body enters the paint oven
  • The headliner comprises five layers of thermal fiber acoustic material, including a premium woven fabric on the visible outer layer
  • Patches of sound-damping material are applied strategically throughout the body structure and melt into place when the body passes through the paint oven, allowing the patches to follow the contours of the sheet metal below
  • Sound insulation material between rear-body structural components that is made from recycled denim
  • Triple-sealed doors that feature fiberglass “blankets” serve as water, airflow and noise barriers. The doors are also beta-braced, meaning they close with a solid, precise sound and no resonance
  • Optimized windshield and side glass for quietness, with 5.4-mm-thick laminated windshield and 4.85-mm laminated side glass
  • The engine’s intake and exhaust systems are tuned for quiet performance
  • Isolated brake and fuel lines prevent vibrations.

Even the wheels and tires contribute to Verano’s quietness. The standard 17-inch aluminum wheels are manufactured in a unique way to enhance quietness, while the tires minimize road noise.

Refined and responsive performance

A power-dense Ecotec 2.4L four-cylinder, with dual-overhead camshafts, variable valve timing and E85 capability, is the standard engine in the Verano. It produces an estimated 177 horsepower (132 kW) and 170 lb.-ft. of torque (230 Nm). Direct injection technology helps it produce more power with less fuel and lower emissions – including up to 25-percent reduced hydrocarbon emissions when compared with a multi-point fuel injection engine. The engine is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission that helps the Verano deliver an estimated 31 mpg on the highway. Electric power steering and a more efficient transmission design help optimize fuel economy.

The front suspension uses decoupled MacPherson struts for better isolation, providing greater separation of extreme road conditions – large potholes, for example – from everyday driving conditions. At the rear, a technically advanced Watts Z-link design helps center the rear axle during cornering, which helps keep the Verano’s handling responses symmetrical on both left-hand and right-hand turns. The linkage’s capability to center the axle during cornering delivers a more-balanced driving experience because the rear suspension better follows the lead of the front suspension.

The Z-link design is also lighter and requires less space than a typical fully independent rear suspension. The lower weight contributes to Verano’s fuel economy, while the compact design enables more trunk space.

Steering inputs are executed by an electric power steering system, featuring a dual-pinion rack. Electric powering steering helps save fuel because it removes the conventional power steering pump from the engine’s driven accessories. Engineers tuned the speed-sensitive system to provide quick, direct reaction to steering actions and a strong on-center feel. The system has a ratio of 15.5:1 and requires only slightly more than two turns, lock to lock.

Stopping power is handled by a four-wheel disc brake system with standard anti-lock and electronic brake force distribution, as well as StabiliTrak electronic stability control with traction control.

Purposeful technology

Comprehensive connectivity is enabled by OnStar’s remote vehicle access, which makes keeping tabs on the vehicle a breeze from anywhere with a smart phone. Highlights include:

  • Passive entry
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Touch screen navigation system
  • Bluetooth connectivity (both phone and audio)
  • XM Satellite Radio
  • Bose sound system
  • Next-generation radio.

Downloading an OnStar app enables the use of remote vehicle features from anywhere in the world. With a few taps, customers can check the:

  • Fuel tank level and range
  • Fuel mileage
  • Remaining oil life
  • Tire pressure
  • Odometer reading.

Other remote-access features include remote vehicle locking/unlocking, remote vehicle start and a vehicle locator.

The next-generation radio system includes a navigation system, along with USB and auxiliary input jacks, and includes full Bluetooth with streaming audio, structural speech recognition, SMS texts and more. Additional connectivity features include text-to-speech conversion of SMS texts, smart phone app integration (Pandora, Stitcher, etc.) and Gracenote music organization for external devices (USB drives, etc.), including Playlist Plus and Album Art features.

Safety is another component in Verano’s technology story. Primary features include:

  • Ten standard air bags, including frontal, head curtain side air bags, front and outboard rear-seat side-impact air bags and new knee air bags. The head-curtain side air bags deploy in a rollover crash
  • StabiliTrak electronic stability control, traction control and anti-lock brakes
  • Collapsible pedal system, which allows the pedals to detach during a crash to reduce the risk of leg or ankle injuries
  • OnStar with Automatic Crash Response.

Verano has a strong, unitized body structure that incorporates 60-percent high-strength steel in key areas to enhance strength and crash protection. It is used to help prevent intrusion into the passenger compartment. Safety development included testing at GM’s rollover test facility.

2012 BUICK VERANO PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS

Overview

Models: 2012 Buick Verano
Body style / driveline: four-door, 5-passenger front engine transaxle; front-wheel-drive compact car
Construction: steel body-frame integral with front and rear crumple zones; galvanized steel front fenders, hood, roof, door panels, one-piece bodyside outer panel, thermal plastic olefin (TPO) bumper fascias
Manufacturing location: Orion Township, Mich.
Key competitors: Lexus IS 250,  Audi A3

Engines

Ecotec 2.4L DOHC I-4 (LEA)
Displacement (cu. in. / cc): 145 / 2384
Bore and stroke (in. / mm): 3.46 x 3.85 / 88 x 98
Block material: precision sand cast aluminum
Cylinder head material: SPM cast aluminum
Valvetrain: overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, continuous variable valve timing for intake and exhaust
Ignition system: individual coil-on-plug
Fuel delivery: direct injection and electronic throttle control
Compression ratio: 11.2:1
Horsepower (hp / kW @ rpm): 177 / 132 @ 6200 rpm (estimated, SAE certification pending)
Torque (lb.-ft. / Nm @ rpm): 170 / 230 @ 4800 rpm (estimated, SAE certification pending)
Recommended fuel: regular unleaded or E85
Emissions controls: close-coupled, catalytic converter; variable valve timing; positive crankcase ventilation evaporative system
Estimated fuel economy (city / hwy): 22 / 31

Transmissions

Hydra-Matic 6T45 6-speed automatic
Type: six-speed transverse, electronically controlled, automatic overdrive transmission
Gear ratios (:1)
First: 4.58
Second: 2.96
Third: 1.91
Fourth: 1.45
Fifth: 1.00
Sixth: 0.75
Reverse: 2.84
Final drive: 3.23

Chassis/Suspension

Front: independent, MacPherson strut-type with side-loaded strut modules, specifically tuned coil springs, direct-acting stabilizer bar (hollow); hydraulic ride bushings
Rear: specifically adapted compound crank (torsion beam) with double-walled, U-shaped profile at the rear, Z-link (tunable control arm)
Traction control: all-speed using engine torque reduction and brake intervention
Steering type: rack-mounted electric power steering
Steering wheel turns, lock-to-lock: 2.8
Turning circle, curb-to-curb (feet / meters): 36 / 11
Steering ratio: 15.5:1

Brakes

Type: power-assisted four-wheel disc electronic brake force distribution and ABS
Brake rotor diameter – front (mm / in.): 300 / 11.8 vented; single-piston w/steel caliper
Brake rotor diameter – rear (mm / in.): 292 / 11.5 vented; single-piston w/steel caliper
Total swept area (cu cc; pad area): TBD

Wheels/Tires

Wheel size and type: 17-inch forged alloy (std.) 18-inch alloy (opt. – two designs available)
Tires: 225/50R17 ALS 235/45R18 ALS

Dimensions Exterior

Wheelbase (in. / mm): 105.7 / 2685
Overall length (in. / mm): 183.9 / 4671
Overall width (in. / mm): 71.4 / 1815
Overall height (in. / mm): 58.4 / 1484
Track width front (in. / mm): 60.7 / 1544
Track width rear (in. / mm): 61.3 / 1558
Curb weight (lb / kg): 3300 / 1497

Interior

Seating capacity (front / rear): 2 / 3
Headroom (in. / mm): 38.3 / 973 (front without sunroof)

37.2 / 945 (front with sunroof) 37.8 / 960 (rear without sunroof)

37.8 / 960 (rear with sunroof)

Legroom (in. / mm): 42 / 1068 (front) 33.9 / 861 (rear)
Shoulder room (in. / mm): 55.1 / 1399 (front) 53.8 / 1343 (rear)
Hip room (in. / mm): 53.7 / 1364 (front)

51.9 / 1320 (rear)

Passenger volume (cu. ft. / L) : 95 / 2690
Cargo volume (cu. ft. / L): 15.2 / 430 (maximum with tire inflator kit and without Bose Premium Audio)

14.3 / 405 (with spare tire/jack kit and without Bose Premium Audio)

14 / 396 (with spare tire/jack kit and Bose Premium Audio)

Capacities

Trailer towing maximum (lb. / kg): 1000 / 454
Fuel tank (gal. / L): 15 / 57
Cooling system (qt. / L): TBD

Note: Information shown is current at time of publication.

  • Carlo

    Fact: In my 1983 Buick brochure, the Skyhawk Limited offers electronic touch auto climate control. Sadly very few were ever ordered the option was dropped by 1985, sadly considering the turbo engine was available. By 1980’s standards that feature is unheard of in compacts. I don’t know why people have to be so mean to 80’s American compacts. The J car was a world car of its time. Engineered mostly by Opel in Germany as the new Ascona. Of course GM cheapened the American made models.
    Finally I hate name changes, Buick is too old a car maker to not have classic names.

  • WALTER BREMBS

    please tell the GM people to correct the name to: BUICK VERONA. A LITTLE BIT OF ITALIA SHOULD BE MORE PLEASING. I HAD A 2003 BUICK CENTURY AND VERY SATISFIED, AND LOOKING AHEAD TO PURCHASE THE NEW “VERONA”. AGAIN, THE NAME CHANGE IS VERY IMPORTANT.

  • Colum Wood

    Not a bad suggestion. An Verano just sounds like an SUV/crossover.

  • Vern Boersma

    Interested in new car only. Have seen Verona and others at Auto show.
    No trade in.

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