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Buick Lucerne: Engine & Performance

sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
edited October 2014 in Buick
The January issue of Motor Trend has a test for the Car of the Year award. The 0-60 time for the Lucerne is 7.5 seconds. The DTS with the higher performance northstar and axle ratio is 7.1 seconds.


  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    My point is the model should have been available in September, when everyone else started selling the 06 models.

    I do see your point and agree but that is not the way the industry works today. Perhaps they should have waited one month and called it an '07 like the new GM SUV's? If a car is held until the first of the year they can call it the next model year.
  • prigglypriggly Posts: 642
    For anyone who actually owns or has driven the CXS, how good is the Harman/Kardon audio system and what is the subjective feel regarding acceleration?

    Too bad Buick thinks it has to pander to the faddish low profile tire crowd, isn't it? There is certainly nothing wrong with 16 or 17 inch (at the most) tires.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    Low profiles will not be faddish. Big wheels help the styling too much. Unfortunately the ride suffers. A big car like like the Lucerne needs big wheels.

    I tested out the HK system in a number of other cars before it was spec'd for the Buicks. It really is amazing. their Engineering facility is top notch.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    I don't think that the size of the wheel is as important as the tire design for ride. The 60 series tires on the base Lucerne should ride softer than the 50 series tires on the top of the line model. The top of the line Lucerne is intended to handle better at the expense of a firmer ride. The original equipment tires may not be as good as replacement tires from other manufacturers for ride.
  • bruneau1bruneau1 Posts: 468
    As I reported in a previous message, the ride of the 17" wheels and tires is better than the 18" No surprise here. However, the magnetic shocks do cope with ridges better than the ordinary ones. I doubt that Buick traditionalists will be much attracted to the CXS. It's not cushy enough, costs too much. The best deal is the CXL with the v-8. You can land in this with leather and dual power seats for $32,000, not taking into account any dealing, rebates or GM Card allowances. The sunroof makes the cabin claustrophobic in the front- I don't like them anyway. The V-6 feels lethargic dragging around over 2 tons- to get strong acceleration up a hill, the transmission had to downshift to 2nd. Adequate power, but certainly not exciting. I hope this car succeeds, but Buick needs to fill their dealerships with well priced base models for the Le Sabre faithful. I don't know if others will want to shell out 40,000 for the top model.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    The middle model has 55 series tires which should ride better than the 50 series on the CXS model. The CXS is far cheaper than the comparable DTS model.
  • jh1977jh1977 Posts: 40
    I currently own a 2001 Buick Lesbare, I'm a Lesabre faithful and I like the acceleration of the Lesabre. Why would I want to buy a Base Buick Lucerne (the successor to the Lesabre) when it has less power than my Lesabre. GM claims the Lucerne is a new car with new technology. The Base engine (3800)in the Lucerne is not a new engine. The 3800 has been a proven engine for GM over the last 12 plus years but its now an outdated engine. I can't see how the Base Lucerne will appeal to people under 60 years of age when you have the Impala, 300 Limited, Avalon and Charger (all full size cars) who have newer V6 engines with 240 or more HP compared to the Lucerne's 197 HP. The Lucerne's V8 engine is an option to the V6 but its more expensive, waste to much gasoline and is not really necessary for my driving needs. Please GM, give the Base Lucerne a modern V6 engine to complete with its rivals (Impala, 300 Limited, Avalon and Charger)in the full size car market.
  • jh1977jh1977 Posts: 40
    Thank you for your message, its very informative. I figured the V6 engine (3800) in the base Lucerne is lethargic. As a LeSabre faithful I would not buy the Base Lucerne sedan because of its current V6 engine being lethargic. I don't understand why GM didn't offer three engines for the Lucerne like chevy offers in the Impala. Chrysler offers four engines for its 300 sedans and three engines for its Charger sedans. The Lucerne needs a stronger V6 engine (a third engine) with a reasonable price to compete with the 240HP Impala 3LT/LTZ sedans, 250HP 300 Limited/Touring sedans and the 250HP Charger SE/SXT sedans. As for the Lucerne's V8 engine, I don't need a V8 engine for my driving needs and its above my price range. If GM wants the Lucerne to be a successful seller for Buick, it must keep Lesabre faithfuls like me and gain new people to buy the Lucerne. A split folding rear seatback for more storage capacity should be an option on the Lucerne.
  • I wasn't impressed with the audio until I played a CD. On FM radio, the stereo sounded as if it had a cheap bass boost with no mid-bass. I fiddled with the EQ and found no improvement.

    With a CD (happened to be country music -- not even my taste), the sound was truly excellent. The music was a nice complement to the Martha Stewart "inspired" sandwiches and wine they served last night.

    The sales guy couldn't believe I spent so much time with the stereo. He'll be really astonished when I bring my own CDs in before making the final purchase.

    Acceleration with the V8 was nice but not thrilling. I didn't get to redline though. Ride was smooth and quiet. I doubt the low-profile tires will be a problem.

    Other observations...

    Lumbar control was broken on the driver seat of the demo car. Doesn't bode well for overall quality. I also wish the interior looked richer. It's not offensive but no more impressive than a family car. The plastics feel cheap. Lack of telescope steering wheel is an odd oversight too, especially after Consumer Reports criticizes the Avalon on only this one item.
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    The 3,8 in the Lucerne is no less powerful than in the Le Sabre. SAE changed the norms on measuring HP and the numbers now are slightly lower than before.

    But I stated the same disappointment as you about the lack of power in both engines that power the Lucerne. The competition has better V6 engines, 5-speed autos and some even match the V8 power with a V6.

    If GM really means to make Buick the rival of Lexus, they need to work much harder than this.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: US 25 & US 40Posts: 19,797
    Compare torque figures for most drivers' use of the car in order to compare motors. The typical driver won't use above 3500 rpm in 99% of their driving. I don't.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 590
    As a potential Lucerne buyer I continue to read with interest all the posts to date. Thanks, and please keep the comments coming.

    If the Lucerne has a performance issue, the problem appears to be the transmission. Only 4 forward gears as many have noted. And gear 4 is an overdrive for gas mileage, it has nothing to do acceleration. The horsepower (actually torque) is there, it's just a matter of getting it to the ground. A 5 or 6 speed is critical in this heavy sedan, and much of the competition has one.

    Beyond that, the car sounds like a winner at this point....
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    I wonder when GM cars will carry the new 6-speed auto developed with Ford. The 500 and Fusion got it already...
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    You mean the typical Buick driver doesn't use more than 3500RPM 99% of the time, right? :D
  • jh1977jh1977 Posts: 40
    You may be correct about the LeSabre and Lucerne having comparable engine HP. But per the Consumer Guide and Edmunds car reviews on the Internet, the 2005 LeSabre Custom/Limited is quicker in acceleration than the Base 2006 Lucerne.
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    Actually the Fusion and Five Hundred's Six Speeds to date come from Aisin, a Toyota affiliate. The Ford Edge will be the first Ford to have that joint venture six speed....
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    The Lucerne is about 300lbs heavier than the Le Sabre. Not considering possible differences in gear ratios...

    So, yes, the Lucerne V6 is underpowered, even if the same engine was adequate in the Le Sabre and then.
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    I see. It seems that the new auto will only debut in the Saturn Aura and in the Lincoln Aviator and Ford Edge next year.

  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    The LeSabre Limited weighed about 3600 lbs, while the base Lucerne is nearly 3800 lbs. The V8 Lucerne weighes around 4000 lbs. The V8 axle ratio is 3.11:1 and the V6 is 2.86:1. The 3.6 V6 would make more sense with a higher performance axle ratio, perhaps something like 3.5:1, the LaCrosse 3.6 gets 3.69:1 axle ratio.
  • Pulling two tons with only 4 gears is not the issue. My 4000-lb 96 STS with the Northstar and 4 gears gets to 60 in under 6 seconds. Perhaps the gear ratios are much different.

    I'd still love to see Buick grab the 3.6L engine and/or 5 spd from the modern STS. But I'm guessing they're trying to save a buck by using slightly older designs, which would be OK if performance didn't suffer.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,753
    "I'd still love to see Buick grab the 3.6L engine and/or 5 spd from the modern STS. "

    The 5 speed automatic trans in the current 'modern' STS is a RWD only trans. 5L40 & 5L50. Will not help the Lucerne.

    Details here: tml

    - Ray
    Still very surprised to see the max. TQ limit GM has published for their new 6 speed FWD trans. -


    “Rated for engines up to 315 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque”
    2015 Charger R/T - yup, it's got a Hemi...
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    I have said this before and I am saying it again: I think GM plans to have some RWD cars in the not to distant future which will probably replace the bigger, higher performance FWD cars. I expect the Lucerne and DTS to be replaced by RWD cars at some point. I also expect that the V8 Impala to be replaced by some RWD performance model too.

    However, they could develope a 6T80 version for higher performance models too...
  • bruneau1bruneau1 Posts: 468
    Yes, part of the problem with the 3800 in the Lucerne is the extra weight compared to the Le Sabre. The minor reduction in horsepower compared to the past is due to the new method of measuring horsepower. The torque is still there, but the transmission is calibrated to achieve fuel economy and therefore does not feel spirited in normal driving unless you constantly provoke downshifts. I wouldn't call it underpowered, just sufficient if you are a conservative driver. The 3800 is an old but reliable workhorse, but it's time to retire it if weight keeps increasing. The only way to know is to try it yourself and know your driving style and the loads you will carry. We don't all need the same thing.
  • bruneau1bruneau1 Posts: 468
    The 6spd. in the 500 and Fusion is not the new GM-Ford unit which will start appearing next fall. I am sure it will be a much better unit than what Ford is using now which has no way of holding a gear and is shift happy.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 590
    Can't find the transmission gear numbers, but your STS acceleration probably comes from a 3.71 final drive ratio, the Lucerne uses a 3.11. Big difference. You also have a little more torque available in the engine at most any rpm.

    Given that the Lucerne uses the 3.11 there is no choice but to add gears for acceleration. A 5 speed would do wonders..... yes...
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    I am sure it will be a much better unit than what Ford is using now which has no way of holding a gear and is shift happy.

    Indeed. I've read many people complaining about it in the 500 and Fusion forums.

  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    The STS version of the FWD Seville had 3.71:1 gearing. My SLS has the 3.11:1 gearing. I do not find that performance is bad. Fuel consumption is actually quite good, I averaged about 29 MPG based on the fuel added to the tank on a trip to the West Coast. The computer's average MPG at the end of the trip was over 30 MPG, but the computer's average varies depending on recent consumption. My 29 was for the entire 5000 or so mile trip.

    The SLS performance on 0-60 was rated at about 7.5 seconds, while the STS was rated a bit faster, about 7 seconds I think. The base northstar has more low end torque than the STS's high performance northstar.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 590
    Yes on all counts, sls002. When you can get 29 mpg with that 3.11 final drive and cover 0 to 60 in about 7.5 seconds in a 2 ton car, you are successful. The new V8 Lucerne is 4000 lbs., and has that 3.11 final drive also. But only shows 25 hwy mpg. Seems like GM is moving backwards here as your car is 3 years old. Go figure...

    The Cad in the other post was an STS with the 3.71 gears, hence the faster acceleration. There is a world of difference in a 0.6 final drive change in any car, as you mentioned.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: US 25 & US 40Posts: 19,797
    Performance depends ont he relative ratios in the two lower trans gears, too. Does the 3.11 and 3.71 include the overdrive 4th gear or is that just the "differential" ratio?
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    The SLS is rated at 26
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