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Buick Lucerne: Engine & Performance

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  • rake2rake2 Posts: 120
    Just for the readers' information, picked up a CSX a little over a week ago, and on Tuesday had a trip from Philly to Pittsburgh, mostly highway miles. I got 22 mph cruising at about 74 mph. I'm hoping that once I get more miles on the engine, the mpg will improve. It has great acceleration at 70, which is good for passing. The ride is very smooth and quiet as well.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    CXS :blush:
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 588
    Just the final drive (differential) ratio. The overdrive gear will lower that number to produce highway mileage numbers acceptable to the manufacturer.
    Lucerne is 3.11 reduced by the overdrive gear IV as I read the information.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,530
    "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."

    = = =

    What I could find in my back issue collection last night suggests that the FWD STS was a 6.8 sec. 0 – 60 sedan.

    R&T, Feb 1998 issue P 76 & 77:
    0 – 60: 6.8 \ 4050 #
    Final drive: 3.71 to 1

    C+D, Nov 1998:
    0 – 60: 6.8

    MT, Aug 1999:
    0 – 60: 6.8

    I do not recall ever seeing a published 0 – 60 time for these cars below 6.0 sec.

    The EPA ratings at the time were: 17 / 26.

    What is your source for a sub-6 second 0 – 60?
    My current sedan has been tested at 5.7 seconds for 0 – 60 by C+D.

    - Ray
    Intimately familiar with how much difference in feel there is between a high 6 second and a high 5 second 0 – 60 sedan . .
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,530
    Lucerne Acceleration Performance:

    The original C+D test (1SG w/3.42 to 1 final drive) reported 0 – 60: 6.0 and 14.6 at 97 in the Quarter.

    The later C+D sedan comparison with a 1SE version of the STS (and 2.73 final drive) reported 0 – 60: 6.0 and 14.5 at 100 in the quarter.

    And the 30 – 50 and 50 – 70 mph times were actually better for the 1SE than in their previous test of the 1SG.

    Given Michelin Energy tires (not exactly designed for maximum dry grip) in size 235 / 50 x 17 on the tested 1SE vs Michelin Pilot HX MXM4 in size P255/45ZR-18 on the 1SG, I don’t expect that the 1SE would have better launch traction . . .

    Granted the 1SF test weight is quoted at approx. 150 pounds lighter (attributable to less extensive equipment, I expect)

    The braking performance for that 1SE was worse than the 1SG's . . 70 – 0 = 190 feet vs 177 in previous 1SG test. Exactly as I’d expect, given smaller tires and less bias toward ultimate traction in the tread compound and design.

    In at least a token attempt to bring this into a Lucerne context (and I actually believe it is relevant on this board) since there is no longer a FWD Seville (STS or SLS), and no Olds available at all (FWD or not), it seems to fall to the Lucerne to attempt to win sales for GM where people do want and appreciate the positive attributes of a medium sized FWD sedan. Things like a substantially smaller front & rear ‘hump’ than the STS . . .

    And the Lucerne acceleration in 6 cylinder form appears clearly less than stellar – and in V8 form, well it again appears to be somewhat less than many expect.

    I have driven both a 1SE and a 1SF (3.23 final drive) RWD 2005 STS. I would personally consider the 1SF level of acceleration acceptable in a $35 – 38K mid-sized sedan. But not what I perceived in the 1SE. Fugedabout the V6 in either the STS or the Lucerne (for me – Torque snob) regarding acceleration.

    So – the question (one important question) becomes: Will it sell anyway?

    We shall see . . .

    As someone pointed out above, GM may release a higher capacity 6 speed automatic for FWD eventually – if they do, it could be an aid in the cause. Allowing a better compromise between acceleration and high MPG \ low NVH at highway cruising speeds.

    Again – we’ll see.

    - Ray
    Wondering also if 2007 will see something like a Buick Lucerne GXP – or GS???
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    You state

    "Lucerne Acceleration Performance:

    The original C+D test (1SG w/3.42 to 1 final drive) reported 0 – 60: 6.0 and 14.6 at 97 in the Quarter.

    The later C+D sedan comparison with a 1SE version of the STS (and 2.73 final drive) reported 0 – 60: 6.0 and 14.5 at 100 in the quarter.

    And the 30 – 50 and 50 – 70 mph times were actually better for the 1SE than in their previous test of the 1SG. "

    But you are talking about the STS, right? Which one/year? The older FWD one? I apologize if Im the only one who finds your post confusing, but I enjoy this discussion (generally as an observer) and am totally missing your point.

    ~alpha
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,530
    "But you are talking about the STS, right? Which one/year? The older FWD one? "

    Sorry - Referring to the newer \ current STS here. RWD.

    Relevant to this discussion (I think) because of the context and (apparent) role of the new Lucerne as "top of the GM line of FWD". Used to be the Caddy STS & SLS.

    - Ray
    Always willing to be proven wrong . .
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    Yes, you are right, Car & Driver did get 0-60 at 6 seconds for both RWD STS models that they tested. Road & Track got 5.9 seconds. It is my feeling that the best performance would be with an axle ratio around 3:1, perhaps 3.08:1. The 2.73:1 axle ratio is not good for Autobahn cruising.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,530
    "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. "

    Oops - your post reminds me that there is a 'step up' FWD at GM. The DTS.

    For several reasons, I'd never consider it, but starting at $42K, it is "above" the Lucerne.

    One reason I follow this thread is that now (again, with Olds gone, and the Pontiac Bonne gone, and the STS \ SLS Caddy FWDs gone) this is the overall size I'd likely prefer when I trade my GP GXP.

    If a performance variant of the Lucerne, with more HP and more TQ (from this or some other V8) and a 6 speed automatic with manumatic \ paddle shift, a more performance oriented suspension, wheels & tires, etc. becomes available – I would at least look at it.

    - Ray
    Not likely in the market again until sometime next year . .
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    I don't see any changes coming for the Lucerne's engine lineup anytime soon. The 3800 will remain available until the 2009 model year. Assuming that the Lucerne is not replaced at that point, some replacement V6 is likely. My guess is that if a RWD sedan goes into production for Buick, it will replace the Lucerne. I don't see the 5.3 V8 becoming available in the Lucerne and will probably dissappear from the FWD Impala if a RWD GTO platform ever arrives. A RWD GTO platform would permit a RWD performance sedan/coupe at Chevy with a 5.3 V8. A RWD GTO platform may permit Buick to get a nice RWD sedan to replace the Lucerne, although the Buick sedan would need to be larger than the GTO platform. This is what went wrong with the zeta platform.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,530
    “Yes, you are right, Car & Driver did get 0-60 at 6 seconds for both RWD STS models that they tested. Road & Track got 5.9 seconds. It is my feeling that the best performance would be with an axle ratio around 3:1, perhaps 3.08:1. The 2.73:1 axle ratio is not good for Autobahn cruising.”

    Although I have no access to a true Autobahn (sadly) I am curious about what you’re getting at here.

    My personal preference is low RPM at cruising speeds. My current Sedan shows approx. 1700 \ 2000 and 2250 RPM at 60 \ 70 and 80 MPH. And that gearing (2.93 to 1 final drive and low profile 18” tires) would likely translate into approx. 2800 RPM at 100 MPH and 3350 RPM at 120.

    Although I have never attempted cruising at those speeds, assuming that the wind & road NVH did not rise too quickly, my cruising at up to 80 suggests to me that sustained 100+ would not be a problem – if there was a venue allowing this safely & legally here in the South East US.

    When VW introduced their 8 cylinder 250+ HP version of the Passat (W8), they changed the final drive from 3.0 to 1 (Europe – with opportunity to travel on ‘real’ Autobahns at higher speeds than is currently legal here) to 3.5 (US).

    This (and other similar reading) leads me to believe that in a general sense, many Europeans generally prefer lower RPM cruising and US drivers prefer quicker acceleration. Thus, in this context, the 2.73 in your example would appear to be a more appealing option than 3.08 or 3.1.

    What am I missing?

    - Ray
    Hoping some day to actually drive a fun sedan on the Autobahn . . .
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    Basically, the horsepower requirement increases exponentially with speed. I think that the prime reason for giving the STS (FWD) a 3.71:1 axle ratio was so that it could reach 150 MPH. With a 3.11:1 axle ratio the top speed would probably have been less, although 150 is possible in third gear. My SLS will do 50 MPH @2000 RPM's in third gear and 72 in overdrive (4th). For cruising on the Autobahn, on does not want to be in a lower gear to cruise at 150 MPH. The STS should have been able to reach 150 MPH @5000 RPM's instead of 6000 RPMs.
  • bruneau1bruneau1 Posts: 468
    Who needs to worry about such possible speeds? Who cares? Where can one do that with legality and safety? Get real. What counts is how a car drives under normal and demanding conditions- and I don't mean 100 miles per hour. The Lucerne is a very nice vehicle and it needs to succeed or it is the end of Buick. They have only two cars and two suv types whose sales are dropping and a minivan which is scheduled to die when the Atlanta plant closes.
  • This is all very interesting to me. Thanks for the lively discussion.

    My source for 0-60 times of the older STS is my own test on a 110K mile 9-year old car using a G-Tech accelerometer. I know it's always better to compare 0-60s from the same source, i.e. the same magazine. So maybe my statement exaggerates the difference between the old STS and the new Lucerne. Still, I don't understand why the Lucerne can't have better acceleration or much better fuel economy. My STS gets 27 on long 70 MPH trips.

    My opinion is that the car magazines complain too much about 4 speeds now that 5's are more common. A 4 can be made to work well. I'm so happy with my STS that my first choice would be to buy another one new if I could. By the way, the FWD STS is great in snow. I went to look at the Lucerne which seemed on paper mechanically very similar. But it hasn't completely won me over... yet.

    Eric
  • jh1977jh1977 Posts: 40
    I agree with what you are saying except for the 3800 Engine in the Base Lucerne. The 3800 has been a great reliable Engine for GM cars for years, but now its time has past. GM should put a more modern engine in the Base Lucerne so it can compete with the V6 engines in the Avalon, Charger and 300 Limited full size cars. As we have heard or read in the news, GM is in the process of cutting jobs and closing plants. Toyota, Honda and other foreign manufacturers are gaining car market share in the U.S. To compete with the foreign car manufacturers and Daimler Chrylser, GM must began manufacturing quality built vehicles with modern technology, modern engines and attractive body styles for all of its car divisions (especially Buick) to appeal to a broad section of consumers, if not GM might go out of business. I would hate to see GM and Ford go out of business and the U.S. is left with only foreign car manufacturers.
  • vanman1vanman1 Posts: 1,397
    The base Lucerne needs the 3.6L as a base with a 5 or 6 speed transmission. More HP and a modern power plant for a modern car. I love the Lucerne otherwise but while the 3800 is smooth and efficient, the car would really attract me with better power.

    I also think the optics of 197 hp just looks awful on a near luxury full size car.
  • I would have probably bought a Lecerne, BUT!!!!!!!
    GM advertises them but has NONE for sale. I waited a month for a dealer anywhere to get one. They never showed up. Can't see one now. So I bought an Avalon. Toyota has those in stock!

    GM What a joke. They make a good car (so I have heard) they advertise the heck out of it and don't ship them.

    Just like Chrysler and the New Yorker 25 years ago.

    Won't american car makers ever, ever learn??.

    I would love to buy american. But I can't buy what I can't see.
  • bruneau1bruneau1 Posts: 468
    You are right. Too few out there and too few color choices available as yet. Another example of GM incompetence, and I have owned and liked a lot of GM cars. I grew up driving them. It is sad and irritating to see how far a once great corporation has fallen. And the down trip is not over. There are millions of middle class Americans who benefited greatly from working for GM and other American car makers. Too many stupid, arrogant, and greedy top executives have changed all that. Now GM contemplates selling GMAC- the only profitable part of their North American operations. Maybe they can do something stupid with the money- reinvest in Fiat or something. Sorry for the petulance. Buys Buicks before they are gone.
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    I think that GM has been riding on the good will of many customers for too long. Right now, there's no car in its portfolio that I'd buy. Either because a model that attracts me has an outdated engine or because it's too expensive. The competition is eager to win my business though, offering products with no-excuses interior, reliability and engines.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    The base Lucerne needs the 3.6L as a base with a 5 or 6 speed transmission. More HP and a modern power plant for a modern car. I love the Lucerne otherwise but while the 3800 is smooth and efficient, the car would really attract me with better power.

    But what would you think about a $1500 increase in the base price for just the engine?
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    Someone said that they went into production in mid October, so dealers did not get any till late October at best. My local dealers do have them in stock now.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    You are right. Too few out there and too few color choices available as yet. Another example of GM incompetence, and I have owned and liked a lot of GM cars. I grew up driving them. It is sad and irritating to see how far a once great corporation has fallen. And the down trip is not over. There are millions of middle class Americans who benefited greatly from working for GM and other American car makers. Too many stupid, arrogant, and greedy top executives have changed all that. Now GM contemplates selling GMAC- the only profitable part of their North American operations. Maybe they can do something stupid with the money- reinvest in Fiat or something. Sorry for the petulance. Buys Buicks before they are gone.

    Come on guys. they just started building the Lucerne 5 weeks ago. Let them get some time to build up some stock. GM gets a hot car and it is in short supply and people complain. GM has a slow moving car and people complain.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,250
    Honda brings out a new model and it's hard to find and everyone pays MSRP and that's wonderful. GM brings out a new model and it's hard to find and everyone thinks that's terrible. I don't get it.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,250
    >optics of 197 hp just

    I assume you haven't driven a 3800 in a recent GM product. It's the torque for most people's driving that matters and that motor has a lot of torque at low speed. If may not be BMW territory for high speed sport shifting, but it's a great motor. It has been updated throughout it's life and vastly improved many times. Current improvements in the Series III includes an aluminum oil pan for stiffening the lower motor and reducing harmonic vibrations.
  • jh1977jh1977 Posts: 40
    I agree with you 100%. GM has to change or it will continue to lose car market share in the U.S. The Base Buick Lacrosse and Base Lucerne sedans need new modern engines to compete with the V6 engines in 300 Limited, Charger and Avalon cars.
  • jh1977jh1977 Posts: 40
    I currently drive a late model Buick Lesabre with the 3800 engine. I love the car, it has good acceleration and I have had no problems with it so far. I really hated to see GM drop the Buick LeSabre nameplate. My problem with the new Base Buick Lucerne is that GM says this is a new car with new technology but it has the Buick Lesabre engine with some modifications. Due to the Base Lucerne weighing more and being slower in acceleration that the LeSabre, I think GM should have have put a stronger engine in the Base Lucerne. Please don't get me wrong, the 3800 engine has been a great engine for GM cars for years, but as times change, GM must also change its products to stay competitive in the car manufacturing industry. I read Ford is coming out with a new engine for its 500/Montego sedans within a few years, a 3.5 Liter engine with at least 240 or more HP.
  • rake2rake2 Posts: 120
    All I know is that I was upset w/ Buick's apparently lack of planning in getting the model out in a timely basis. However, now that it's out and I actually own one, I'm happy with it so far. Does it perform like my SS Camaro? No, but I didn't expect it to or want it to. I wanted a nice, comfortable luxury type car that will handle decently in the snow. The rear wheel drive cars won't give me that type of handling. While the Lucerne isn't a real burner off the line (and I have the CXS), the acceleration from speed is absolutely fine.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,530
    “My opinion is that the car magazines complain too much about 4 speeds now that 5's are more common. A 4 can be made to work well. I'm so happy with my STS that my first choice would be to buy another one new if I could. By the way, the FWD STS is great in snow. I went to look at the Lucerne which seemed on paper mechanically very similar. But it hasn't completely won me over... yet.

    Eric”

    I agree that a V8 with sufficient torque can be made to work well.
    I currently drive a GM V8 with a 4 speed automatic – and I think it works very well, indeed. (2005 Grand Prix GXP, for those who care.)

    From this perspective, I believe that there are 2 fundamental differences between the V8 A4 in mine and the Northstar V8 Lucerne.

    1 – Weight. My GXP is somewhat smaller and somewhat lighter than the Lucerne V8. Now much that can be done about that.

    2 – The GXP’s 5.3L V8 with ‘old tech’ OHV vs. the Lucerne’s Northstar V8

    [[ Note on the gearing. The GXP and Lucerne V8 have similar final drive ratios and first & second gear ratios in trans. are also very close. ]]

    The Bonne GXP used a very similar version of the Northstar and essentially the same 4T80 A4 trans. And it did not feel quick – and even with a 3.7 final drive ratio, it was not quick. C+D reported a 0 – 60 in 6.9 and a quarter in 15.4 at 91 MPH.

    I can understand why the Bonne GXP developers chose the Northstar. That was the only V8 available in the GM “parts bin” at that time that was already engineered for FWD.

    What I do not understand is why Buick would choose virtually this same powertrain combination, with a yet LESS aggressive final drive ratio for the Lucerne in 2006.

    With the 5.3L V8 now re-engineered for FWD and with DoD, the choice of the Northstar makes no sense to me. The version used here (designated LD8) has less Torque available at every engine speed from 2,000 to over 5,000 RPM than the 5.3L LS4 V8. Approx. 25 to 35 LB-FT less. This is quite a significant difference.

    I can only speculate that Buick Marketing believes their potential customers do not really care about acceleration – or they lost some internal GM fight and were forced to use this Northstar (without the VVT of the newest version) – perhaps because the tooling is in place and they have capacity to use up . . .

    In any case, there is (was) what I’d consider a viable alternative that would have provided a more rewarding driving experience – from ‘off-the-shelf’ parts, now that there is a corporate V8 with more Torque engineered for FWD.

    My ** guess ** is that with this V8 and everything else the same, this would have resulted in a low 6 second 0 – 60 and a Quarter Mile time in the high 14s. And identical EPA mileage ratings.

    And that would have been reasonable acceleration performance - for this class.

    Just 1 opinion.
    - Ray
    Ready (today) to test drive a supercharged V8 Lucerne . . .
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,250
    > Buick's apparently lack of planning in getting the model out in a timely basis.

    If Microsoft has fewer items then needed for the market (XBox 360) and Ahonda has fewer Civics 06 than needed for the market, how are you able to critize GM for producing the cars only as fast as they car get them down the line?

    Doesn't make sense.
  • rake2rake2 Posts: 120
    My complaint is they started the line 3 to 4 months later than everyone else. They are counting on this model to save Buick, and they lost at least 3 months during the '06 sales year by not having them available. Also factor in that at least one of the options, a nav system, still aren't available and aren't expected to be available until April. My point is that they should have planned better to make it available earlier.
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