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The turbocharged, rear-wheel drive Avista concept is unlike any Buick you’ve seen before

Buick has surprised show-goers in the nation’s Motor City by introducing a sleek, sporty-looking concept called Avista.

The Avista takes the form of a 2+2 coupe with a muscular-looking front end characterized by thin headlights, a rippled hood, and a wide grille with mesh inserts as well as a winged Buick emblem. Careful observers will note the front fascia bears more than a passing resemblance to the Monza concept that General Motors’ Germany-based Opel division presented at the 2013 edition of the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Beyond the front end, the Avista features an arched roof line, pronounced haunches, and sharp tail lamps. With typical rear-wheel drive proportions, the coupe stands out as the most eye-catching concept Buick has built in recent memory. It shatters the perception that the car maker only makes big, boring sedans and crossovers by rekindling ties with its illustrious performance heritage.

The cabin gets a futuristic design that previews how Buick’s IntelliLink infotainment system could evolve in the coming years. The instrument cluster has been replaced by a wide high-resolution screen which designers have merged with the touch screen typically found at the top of the center stack. A second screen built into the center console groups the coupe’s HVAC, connectivity, and entertainment features into a single unit. Carbon fiber trim — in a Buick, no less — adds a dash of sportiness to the cockpit.

Surprisingly, the technical details provided by Buick are vague at best. All we know at this point is that the Avista is powered by a twin-turbocharged V6 engine that sends 400 horsepower to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. A start/stop system and cylinder deactivation join forces to keep fuel economy in check, and the company’s Magnetic Ride Control technology help deliver the precise handling that enthusiasts look for in a sports car.

Duncan Aldred, the vice president of Buick’s sales, service, and marketing department, explained in a statement that the Avista embodies the company’s dynamic soul. Only time will tell if that means a turbocharged, rear-wheel drive coupe is about to land in Buick showrooms.

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