Step into a Lexus dealership and read the ES 350 brochure, and you won't see separate models. There's no ES 350 EX, or an ES 350 LSi or anything like that. Nope, just the ES 350, with various options packages attached. However, the Buick LaCrosse, a car which benchmarked the Lexus during its development, still uses separate model designations.
According to a report on Autoblog, Buick will be dropping the CX, CXL and CXS designations from its popular LaCrosse sedan. Instead, various options packages will be offered up which essentially do the same thing.
It's a smart move. Luxury cars, generally speaking, don't distinguish between "base" and upscale models with a trim designation. Of course, there is some wiggle room there. For example, European manufacturers tend to break down their lineups into engine size, such as the BMW 328i or 335i, not to mention the M3. However, that's just really engine size. You can usually get the same sport, luxury or other optios packages on either vehicle, regardless of what's under the hood, without an EX, LS or SX type model breakdown. Why not? Because that's what budget cars do. Think about it. It makes perfect sense on, say, a Chevy Malibu to offer LS, LT and LTZ models within the same lineup. Do it on a luxury brand though, and it sounds off kilter.
This is a sensible move for Buick. It will help establish the brand as more upscale, and also ditch a somewhat confusing model system that never made much sense to begin with. No word on whether Buick will be dropping the models across the board, but it would make sense to go all the way with the model revamp.
Buick will also be offering two different engines in the LaCrosse. Standard will be the new eAssist mild hybrid system, which Buick says will produce 187 horsepower but still deliver 37 mpg on the highway, remarkable for such a big sedan. A no-cost option will be a 280-hp 3.6-liter V-6. Prices will increase from the current $26,995 to about $30,000. It's a big bump in price, but it sounds like Buick is essentially dropping the base model and offering up two more comprehensively equipped vehicles for buyers to chose from. The new scheme goes into effect this summer.