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Buick reveals Avista concept coupe ahead of Detroit auto show

This rear-wheel-drive coupe dials up the performance and style.

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It's not a Grand National, but the Buick Avista concept is show-stopping beautiful and does pack a decent performance punch. On the night before press days at the North American International Auto Show, Buick took the wraps off of its 2 + 2 coupe concept that pushes the brand's design forward, but also moves the company back towards its rich performance past.

Performance credentials for the Avista concept include a respectable 400 horsepower coming from a twin-turbocharged V-6 engine with cylinder deactivation and a stop/start system to be mindful about fuel efficiency. Power throws the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, while tight but comfortable handling characteristics should be present with the Magnetic Ride Control suspension that does wonders for numerous products in the GM portfolio. It's available on a variety of vehicles, ranging from the Chevrolet Corvette to big crossover SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade.

Interestingly, the Avista's wheelbase is 110.7 inches, which also happens to be the same as the latest Chevrolet Camaro, which naturally has us assuming the Alpha platform is underpinning the Buick concept. With enough positive feedback, maybe a production version of the Avista wouldn't be too far off?

The design does without regular B-pillars and features plenty of body lines that stretch the length of the car to give the Avista a sporty, flowing appearance. The roofline reminds me of the Aston Martin Vanquish and Jaguar F-Type Coupe, which isn't a bad thing at all. Buick's signature wing-shaped lighting now has a halo look, which will make its way to future production vehicles. The winged tri-shield insignia in the grille is new with a mesh background, and the front fender vents are a fresh take of the company's fender ports. The concept rides on 20-inch wheels wrapped with Pirelli P Zero tires.

Inside the cabin, the flowing design theme continues with trim materials consisting of carbon fiber and aluminum for a sporty flair. A future version of Buick's IntelliLink infotainment system features touchscreen controls on a widescreen instrument panel, and the center console houses yet another touchscreen.

Being a Buick, keeping the interior quiet is a priority with the help of an active noise cancelling system. Cabin air quality was also a consideration with ionic air purifiers and an aromatherapy system installed.

If given the green light, the Avista would be the clearest sign yet that Buick is serious about changing the perception of the brand by committing to performance and styling, which will draw new customers into the fold. The upcoming Envision will certainly bring in buyers because crossover SUVs are booming, but it's emotional products like the Avista that will really help perk up Buick's reputation.