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Buick Lucerne: Engine & Performance

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Comments

  • vanman1vanman1 Posts: 1,397
    "An "upscale division" should not be sharing a lowend engine with Chevy. I think that Cadillac and Buick should be GM's upper end divisions and should have OHC (mostly double OHC) engines".

    Funny thing is, chev isn't even using the 3800 anymore. I'd be ok with the new 3.9L as a base for the Lucerne, but the 3.6L should probably be the base.
  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407
    I dont know if you are new to this topic, but the issue of the 3800 has been beat to death thoroughly and I dont think many people here would argue that the Lucerne would be better off with a 3.6L V6 or a 3.9L V6. The last generation A6 has a 200hp engine standard and did 0-60 in about 9 secs and the magazines still loved the car. The Lucerne isnt the first luxury car to have an inadequate base engine and it wont be the last. This may chase away buyers, but most buyers who really like the car and want more power will get the CXL V8. Remember, the upper models of the Lesabre cost just as much as the CXL V8 Lucerne.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    My point was that the Chevy 3.9 is not really more upscale than the 3800. I think that the Lucerne really should not have a six at all, but in the interests of a lower price tag, the 3800 is a good choice. The 3.9, with its VVT, is probably a more expensive engine and would require higher prices at the low end of the Lucerne line, so why bother.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,529
    Looking at the published (GM Powertrain) HP \ TQ curves for the 3800 as used in the Lucerne and the 3.9 as used in the Impala:

    The 3.9 LZ9 has higher peak HP & TQ (242 \ 242 vs the 3800’s 200 \ 230), somewhat higher Torque at every point on the curve above 1500 RPM, substantially higher peak HP and a wider rpm range.

    Though it may be more expensive, the numbers suggest to me that it is “better”, from this standpoint.

    As someone else has suggested, the 3800 probably costs much less to produce.
    And interesting choice by GM here – and we’ll see where sales go . .

    - Ray
    A “Torque Snob” – wanting (way) more than 242, and thus more interested in the V8 version . . .
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    I am talking about NVH (noise, vibration, harshness). However, Car & Driver has tested two 3.9's in the latest issure and has not made an complaints about the engine. But if you really want torque, the V8 with nearly 300 lb-ft is the only engine worth considering. The 3.6 found in the CTS with 250 lb-ft of torque would be the best V6 to put in the Lucerne.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Actually, the mags ragged on the 98 A6 with the 200 horse engine. That engine was swapped out subsequently, I believe, after a few years, as well. Let's hope the Lucerne will find the same fate, and move to an engine that doesnt date back to 1962.

    ~alpha
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,201
    >move to an engine that doesnt date back to 1962.

    What engine dates back to 1962? The 3.8 has undergone several and important changes. The motor isn't the same as it was before 1993.
  • Actually, every engine in every car (excepting the miniscule number of electric vehicles) dates back to the 1800's - an explosion in a cylinder causes a shaft to rotate. ;)
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    It's architecture reflects the state-of-the-art in engine design of the 50's.

    Although OHV is not necessarily bad, in this day and age 4 valves per cylinder and variable valve timing are must-haves, which incidentally are easier to implement with OHC. GM has such an engine already.

    GM decided to not put it in the Lucerne because it's counting on the typical Buick customer not noticing it. :) IOW, GM can forget about attracting younger buyers. These will find their needs met elsewhere.
  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407
    I think GM used this engine because they have to produce it and it must go into something. I don't think Buick wanted this engine at all. The 3800 is going to be in cars bought by rental agencies and people more concerned about mileage than acceleration. If you want fast 0-60 times this isnt the car for you, even the V8 isnt all that fast. This car isnt about smoking people at stop lights and if that is your goal that the Impala SS and Avalon are great choices. I saw a CXL on the road today and it is a good looking car.

    BTW, I wouldnt count on this engine being in this car until 2008. If extra capacity for the 3.6 becomes available (and it should in 2006) I would expect it to go into the Lucerne. Within two years I expect either three engine choices for Lucerne, or the total replacement of the 3800. If the 3800 is going to soldier on, I think it will survive as the base engine for Lacrosse and Grand Prix.
  • We have had a Buick LaCrosse for around 8 months with the 3.8L V6, and it has been more than adequate for that vehicle. Our uses include going to work, and whenever we go out (with or without our 2 kids, 8 and 9). The engine is extremely quiet (this is, of course, also a function of the body construction), and even with a full load, has more than enough acceleration for our needs. We live in Colorado, and our driving experience includes going into the mountains up ca. 10% grades with passing as needed, as well as standard flatland driving. Thus, if I were in the market for a Lucerne, I would almost certainly get the old-fashioned, boring 3.8. From my perspective, more power is nice in terms of bragging rights, but is of virtually no significance in terms of functionality or safety (There is a reason why as a car's horse-power goes up the insurance payments frequently also go up.).

    Off topic for those of you who ski - the skiing this year in the northern half of CO is outrageous!)
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    I have a '02 Bonneville with it and enjoy it too. However, passing and merging is not its territory, as I always attest to when I drive my '00 Intrigue with the 3.5 DOHC.

    The 3.8 lags the 3.5, a failed design BTW, in NVH and HP, but excels it in oil consumption and low-end torque. Mileage is about the same, with a slight advantage to the 3.8 in city driving and to the 3.5 on the highway.

    Owning cars with such different designs I wish there were an engine with the best virtues of both. I think I found this engine when I test-drove a La Crosse with the new 3.6. Now that I know that it exists, I'm not willing to compromise anymore.

    But that's just me...
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    I think GM used this engine because they have to produce it and it must go into something.

    Well, that's what trucks are for. Instead, the domestic makers have been investing in trucks and I'm afraid they'll pay a lot in the coming years now that the truck market has shrunk, hopefully the start of the end of this dreaded fad, IMO.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    Well, that's what trucks are for. Instead, the domestic makers have been investing in trucks and I'm afraid they'll pay a lot in the coming years now that the truck market has shrunk, hopefully the start of the end of this dreaded fad, IMO.

    When will the truck market shrink? Still selling well over 50% in this country with gas at $3 and now at close to $2. Sorry, trucks are not going away. They will change however.
  • batistabatista Posts: 159
    The 3800 is going to be in cars bought by rental agencies and people more concerned about mileage than acceleration.

    My 01 Impala with the 3.8L has been giving me 15 mpg in the city during the winter months and 17 mpg in the summer. This isn't great fuel economy in my books.
    I obtained 14 mpg in the city with a 300C with the hemi engine and that's with me flooring it every 5-10 minutes.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,201
    The torque curve on the 3800 is well done. Most people driving a basic Lucerne aren't going to be hot rodding it. That seems to be the basis for some to judge a motor. But reality is when I floor my LeSabres, they both surprise me at how well they move. I realize the Lucerne is slightly heavier and sounds like it may be geared at some speeds for less performance and more pollution control. I am looking forward to braving a salesman and driving a Lucerne 3800 soon.

    The Lucernes I'm seeing driven are by people younger than LeSabre/Park Avenue drivers in my judgement. The idea that most people car about a motor's build is like saying they care about FWD vs RWD. Most don't; a part do care.
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    In September, both GM and Ford sold about 40% less than the previous year. In October, overall, trucks sold 15% less. Yet, it made just a dent on their market share relative to cars. :cry:

    But unfortunately you're right, trucks won't go away and SUVs will only change.

    I dread trucks because I'm tired of those slow behemoths on the left lane slowing down before even the gentlest curves. Darn, I don't use the brakes for hundreds of miles, traffic allowing! ;)
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    My Bonneville delivers about 29MPG on the highway and 23-24MPG in my commute, mixing 65% urban, 35% highway. The Intrigue, 31MPG and 22-23MPG, respectively.

    For the record, my Focus 2.0 delivers just 25MPG in my commute, although it weighs 1000lbs less and has just 65% of the power of the Bonneville.

    The 3.8 is a very fuel-efficient engine indeed.
  • batistabatista Posts: 159
    The fact that my 3.8L Impala gets driven 7 miles to work and most trips are when the engine is cold contributes to the bad fuel economy. My car has 30K miles in 4 years so I might replace it with a V8 Lucerne since I don't drive all that much.
    I am disappointed with the performance of the V8 considering the 3.8L W-Body vehicles are generally 0-60 in 8 seconds and the V8 Lucerne is 7.5 Sec? Shouldn't it be 6-6.5 seconds since it has nearly 300 lbs of torque and the supercharged grand prixs/impalas with the 280lbs of torque were performing 6.5 seconds. I know it weighs more but the 20lbs of torque advantage should even things out.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    The Automotive News website is free this week to all. The link shows data for the year.

    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=DATACENTER

    trucks are down -10% for November and -1.3% for the year thru November. Trucks are still selling well over 50%. Trucks are changing though. Buick will be selling a crossover "truck" that will be a BUICK!! So Buick will have 2 nice cars and a crossover that will complement each other well.

    Hopefully the LuCerne will get the 3.6 as base soon even though I think we will see a lot of 3.8's bought.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,201
    The torque ratings printed are at a maximum torque rpm. What really counts is the torque at lower speeds like 1500 and 2500 where many people are accelerating.

    The speed to 60 miles per hour is not really germaine. They could raise the numerical drive ratio and the car would accelerate like a jack rabbit, but the car would lose miles per gallon at cruising and probably there are other reasons the overall drive ratio was chosen. Remember the 4.11 rear ends they put in cars in the 70s (60s?) with 14 inch wheels which multiplies power compared to 15/16/17 inch wheels used now. They were hot rods, but gas mileage was terrible.

    If I recall correctly the touring model of LeSabres had a higher drive ratio which made them seem peppier at a slight loss in gas mileage.

    Speaking of that awful, ridiculed 3800 motor in my 03 LeSabre: I got 29 mpg actual from Dayton/Nashville and return at 72-75 mph with a few bursts of power. 3 people on board and trunk full and back seat partly filled with coolers and junk. It did slightly lower than in summer with air conditioning on. I don't know if it's my driving or more oil resistance in trans and motor due to cool temps - 30s instead of 80s. Pretty good for a motor that hauls the thing from 0-60 in about 7 seconds based on my test.

    Take both Lucerne types out and drive them to select the motor and drive ratio for you.
  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407
    The lucerne has only been tested once and GM's 0-60 times are almost always conservative so I wouldnt be surprised if a LUcerne V8 is eventually clocked at 7-7.2secs by some magazine. The last generation STS/DTS were clocked at 6.4-6.5 secs with the 300hp Northstar. The Lucerne has less power, but a flatter torque curve with it's version of the Nortshtar, plus it weighs about 200lbs less than the FWD STS/DTS. In other words it should be able to get to 60 in about 7secs.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 588
    Straight line acceleration is a function of several things as you have posted. But the single best thing for the Lucerne would be to add a 5 speed transmission. This will produce ever so slightly faster 0-60 times and also keep the gas mileage numbers up. How much could it cost, really....? Keep the old pushrod V6 even. Many potential buyers probably won't care about the dated engine design as long as the performance is satisfactory. :)
  • rake2rake2 Posts: 120
    I own a CXS and a Camaro SS. The CXS doesn't have the off the line acceleration I expected, but it has great acceleration from speed for usual driving conditions. Obviously not the SS acceleration, but surprisingly good acceleration when you punch it at 65. I don't really think many Lucerne owners are going to be looking to do any drag racing, though, so I believe the power is fine. Of course, I wasn't looking for it to be my hot rod, either.
  • batistabatista Posts: 159
    I am concerned with horsepower and torque because I don't want to be smoked by a RAV 4 with a 263HP engine that can do 0-60 in 6.3 seconds according to Car and Driver and a 07 Toyota Camry with a 3.5L 260 HP V6 which will also be a low 6.0 sec car.
    You have to keep up with the competition and I hate to lose when I need the power to pass.
  • rake2rake2 Posts: 120
    There is plenty of power to pass. Although it's not fast off the line, it almost feels like there's a turbo boost around 4000 rpm.
  • rake!

    we i would love some pics! what color? ext/int?

    i am excited someone has a CXS....i want one
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    I am concerned with horsepower and torque because I don't want to be smoked by a RAV 4 with a 263HP engine that can do 0-60 in 6.3 seconds according to Car and Driver
    You have to keep up with the competition and I hate to lose when I need the power to pass.


    Yea, I see little trucks out there in the streets every day drag racing with Lucernes. :P
  • batistabatista Posts: 159
    Where I live there are a lot of city roads where 2 lanes become 1 lane. So there are idiots who like to take the side lane and pass. Who wants to drive a V8 automobile and get passed by a mini SUV with a V6. Most times I let them pass especially when I know they can beat me but other times it gets annoying.

    I know you are probably thinking why get this car if you are so concerned with power but I like large roomy cars with lots of power. Maybe a 300C is more for me.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi Everyone,
    I took a look at the Lucerne at my local dealer. Everyone was right, the exterior looks much better in person. The dealer only had a base CX with cloth and a column shifter. I bet a CXL V8 or CXS would be much nicer looking inside. The basic shape of the car is really nice. I would love to see one with that Glacier Blue they show on the Lucerne page off of buick.com

    I think these Acceleration numbers are for mere bragging rights. My LS430 supposedly does 0-60 in around 5.8-6.3 seconds. I don't think I've ever needed to floor the gas pedal or drag race someone. My older LS400 has 250 HP and that is more than adequate. I can't wait for the 6 Speed Auto though. Mated to the Northstar that really ought to be something..

    Sam
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