The new LaCrosse will be available with either FWD or AWD configurations

The new LaCrosse will be available with either FWD or AWD configurations

A long series of teasers and spy shots have given hints at what the 2010 Buick LaCrosse would look like, but today General Motors has revealed the whole package just ahead of the start of the Detroit Auto Show. While the design is completely fresh, the car is also "instantly recognizable as a Buick" says Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design. Key styling elements, including the 'sweep spear' side feature, portholes in the hood and the waterfall grille carry over classic Buick traits.

The LaCrosse had originally been planned for a debut at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show, but that was pushed back due to cash shortfalls at the end of the year as GM pulled out of the show entirely. The CTS Coupe was also delayed, though when - or if - it will be shown is still unknown. Development of the car is believed to be on indefinite hold. The LaCrosse, however, has moved to production, and today's reveal shows that the car is still relevant despite the delay.

Three trims are available, equipped with a pair of engines. A 3.0L V6 direct-injection unit with 255hp (190kW) and 211lb-ft (286Nm) of torque is available with a six-speed auto in the CX and CXL trims, while a 3.6L direct-injection V6 with 280hp (209kW) and 261lb-t (354Nm) of torque mates with the same Hydra-Matic 6T70 six-speed auto on the sportier CXS. The CXL trim adds leather seats, dual-zone climate control, fog lamps, LED turn indicators and 18in wheels plus optional AWD to the base CX package. The CXS gets similar upgrades, plus a real-time active-dampening suspension with 19in wheels available as an option.

Fuel economy is estimated at a moderate 18mpg city/27mpg highway for the 3.0L V6, and 17/26 for the 3.6L unit. Curb weights are 3,948lb (1,741kg) for the base CX, 4,018lb (1,822kg) for the CXL with FWD, 4,199lb (1,904kg) for the CXL AWD and 4,065lb (1,844kg) for the CXS.

The all-new LaCrosse is another take on the FWD Epsilon II platform that also underpins the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia and eventually the next-gen Saab 9-5. With its new style, borrowed from the Invicta concept, that 'defines Buick's modern global design', the LaCrosse is prepped to be the brand's new ambassador.

Buick is pinning a lot of hope on the new LaCrosse, and has accordingly paid a lot of attention to the little things the company hopes will make it a success. Materials, fit and finish, design elements and features are all intended to provide a world-class experience.

"The new LaCrosse is intended to represent modern elegance," said Welburn. "Throughout the design, you experience a balance of contrasts. Both the interior and exterior have been designed with harmony in mind. The exterior balances taut, sculpted lines with sensuous accents and surfaces. Inside, smoked chrome accents, warm wood, first-class leather and materials combine with cool blue ambient lighting to create an inviting environment.”

A combination of sensing technologies designed to help provide the driver with a 360-degree view from inside the cabin put the LaCrosse fully into the 21st century, though if Buick's past models are any gauge, the high-tech features will be employed seamlessly behind the scenes, with little direct driver involvement. The end goal of the total safety package, which also includes front, side and roof-mounted head-curtain air bags and StabiliTrak stability and traction-control systems, is to achieve a perfect NHTSA 20 Star Safety Rating.

Production will begin mid-year at the Fairfax Assembly facility in Kansas City, Kansas with retails sales to start soon after.

2010 Buick LaCrosse rolling footage and interviews