The Buick LaCrosse won't be a giant success as some may think, but this car is key in the transition of the brands renaissance. From the available data and leaked pictures available, this new sedan from Buick seems to be vast improvement over its previous model. However, this is not enough to win first place in a motor magazine compraro. Consider that the base engine, while competent and venerable, has been found to lack the refinement that is required in this segment (see recent Grand Prix reviews). Also take into account that body weight will be increased, possible weighing more than the Pontiac, making the car slower. The interior looks great, but does not seem to break any ground stylistically nor does it look as tight fitting as an Audi. Fortunately, this interior probably will beat out most though, as it does look great. The top of the line model is where the real winner is...the new 3.6 is a great engine and what Buick needs to eventually be seen as the "American Lexus." Unfortuntely it is saddled to the older 4-spd transmission - which is not a bad slushbox - but a 5-spd is a must for this segment. Styling, well, I will forgive because you must realize the proportions these designers are dealing with. The W-body has a large front overhang and dimensions that were more suitable for a 80's-90s cab forward design. Granted, I do not like those headlights, and I hope that other pictures do them justice. But then again, these are the constraints of the W: lighting placement. To pull off a LaCrosse concept/Centieme front end setup would look out of place on such a vehicle. Those concepts' styling theme have a large grille with smaller lights that put focus on the grille, symbolizing power and luxury. If you look at the leaked LaCrosse pictures, imagine if those Spectra-like lights were connected and housed in a Centieme-like setup...they'd be giant and hideous, and the grille would be wimpy, not large and powerful. Plus, all this styling up front would put more emphasis on the front end...and its large overhang. Breaking up the lights decreases this. So again, take into consideration that designers are trying to turn a car with 1986-style proportions into a modern car where short overhangs, larger grills, and agressive stance rule. In conclusion of all this, don't expect the LaCrosse to be the saviour of Buick. It is somewhat competive, but not perfect; great interior - mediocre exterior, great engine - outclassed tranny. But, expect NVH to be greatly improved over the GP due to Quiet Tuning and expect steering to be improved as well(seems like Lutz fixed this). Look for Buick's renaissance ala Cadillac to come MY 2006-2009, when the RWD Sigma Mass vehicles restore this brands great heritage.
IMO, I think it was a bad idea to do away with the Century. It is a volume leader (but also a fleet favorite). An Epsilon Buick, with an extended wheelbase ala G6, would of been a great replacement for this vehicle and would've allowed the LaCrosse to do without the cheap 3.8L to cover the market that the Century left (GM will slowly phase out the Century ala Malibu Classic, however). GM planning (Zarella-era) thought this was a bad idea obviously. Just think, this Epsilon Century would've been the top Epsilon, right there with the Vectra, and this wouldve made GM $$$ by maximizing substitutes.