2017 Buick/Holden "people's" Panamera?
May 5th, 2014
Mark Reuss has wondered if Buick could sell a Porsche Panamera type of vehicle. And we have seen the sketches on computers at Holden Design that look like Holden is also contemplating such a vehicle. We at this time have no idea about platform or even if it would be RWD/AWD or FWD/AWD. However, we do know something about engines that could be on offer. Certainly the new TTV6 would seem a natural choice for this car. Entry could start at a 2.0 Turbo Ecotec, perhaps with eAssist, but I doubt an atmospheric 2.5 I4 would suit such as car's persona. Even if the platform turns out to use a transverse engine we know GM has shoved the small block V8 into transverse Impala's, so a V8 is not completely out of the question, especially if a small 4.5 TT is added to the rage.
Given the recent announcements of new Opel models going to Holden as of 2015, it seems there is likely going to be a closer relationship with Buick/Holden/Opel in model sharing. While there is obviously the continuing potential for Chevy models at the lower end for Holden, I don't see even the Impala being used to replace the higher end Holdens like the Calais, SS and Caprice models. So perhaps Impala replaces the bread and butter Commodores but this 'Panamera' style Buick replaces the Calais and above luxury and performance models for Holden. And it could find a small spot as an Opel/Vauxhall flagship as well as be the next Chinese Buick flagship. I imagine just one plant will make the vehicles for all three destinations in addition to China. I wonder if such a vehicle could be the first GM car made in China to be sold in the US? That would be an interesting PR exercise. They could of course stamp and manufacture it in China and send kits to the US for final assembly to be married to US engine/transmissions, not unlike China currently assembles the Holden Caprice from kits.
In any case I would imagine that such a model would have a top level interior and all the bells and whistles; as GM is getting quite good at that these days. And it could end up being a performance bargain if performance aims at Panamera aspirational levels. My hope would be for a RWD/AWD platform, but even a FWD/AWD platform could still make for a very fast car with the right weight (read lots of aluminium), balance and engine options.
I personally feel Mark Reuss would not have used the evocative comparison to Panamera if it was just about looks. Porsche stands for superior performance above all else, so I cannot imagine any GM vehicle compared to a Panamera would just be an interesting looking I4 FWD sedan.
So the questions are: Can Buick use a performance flagship? And can Buick be believable in a performance role?
What say you?