When Buick's latest version of its big Lucerne sedan hits dealerships in April, it will no longer be called CXS but instead "Super," following in the footsteps of little brother LaCrosse, which received a similar designation last year. According to GM, the Lucerne Super will be priced just south of $40K. The main difference between the old CXS and the new Super is under the hood: the CXS Northstar V8 put out 275 hp, while the Super Northstar V8 does 292 hp. Of course, this is a little like... oh, I dunno, touting your 2005 Cabernet over the '04 because you're at 15 percent alcohol by volume, rather than 14.5. Then calling it "Special Reserve" instead of just "Reserve." Thus, Lucerne Super. But so what? More grousing and the GM press release, after the jump.

Lucerne-plus-Northstar V8 equals one thing: good freeway cruising. Buick is calling it a "driver's car," but it's really at its best when it's driving more or less in a straight line on a large American multi-lane highway, doing about 80, with enough mellow torque in reserve to keep everything comfy and confident. I had one of these on a run from L.A. to San Diego about a year ago and it was a pleasant ride (I was involved with Buick marketing from 2004-2006, fyi). Which makes you wonder: If 275 hp was just fine, what's the point in moving up to 292 hp? Is that really "super?" Seems more gratuitous, really. Or just an enhanced reminder that you can't get a V8 on a Toyota Avalon Limited, the Lucerne Super's putative competition. In which case, we're thinking that maybe Buick's not as happy with that competitive relationship as they could be.

However, if form holds and GM starts encouraging markdowns at its new Pontiac-Buick-GMC dealerships, the Lucerne Super might be a chance to get a V8 at a significant discount. Hell, the way things are going, we might be living through the twilight of the mighty V8, so get 'em while you can!

Buick Announces Pricing For The 2008 Buick Lucerne Super

DETROIT - Buick, the premium international brand of General Motors, today announced the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) for its all-new 2008 Lucerne Super entry-luxury sedan. Buick's most premium and powerful full-size sedan carries an MSRP of $39,395 including a $765 destination freight charge. It will be available for sale in dealer showrooms beginning in April.

The Lucerne Super features a long list of standard content exclusive to the Super badge, compelling safety features, and performance and powertrain enhancements. Pricing targets comparably equipped luxury import competitors.

Standard luxury content

2008 Buick Lucerne SuperLucerne Super has a full range of standard equipment and technologies befitting Buick's premium image. Among them include a new 4.6L 292-horsepower Northstar V-8 engine; Magnetic Ride Control technology; premium steering gear; heated and cooled front seats; heated windshield washer fluid; QuietTuning, Buick's exclusive process to reduce, block and absorb interior cabin noise; factory-installed remote start; Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist; rain-sensing windshield wiper system; OnStar; XM Satellite Radio; and six air bags, including an industry-first dual-depth front passenger air bag.

2008 Buick Lucerne SuperLucerne Super's exterior features new and exclusive features such as a chrome waterfall grille, front and rear fascias, rocker panels and dual chrome exhaust tips. Its luxury-like interior gets a leather-wrapped instrument panel with French-seam stitching; suede trim on the doors and seats; heated real walnut wood steering wheel and shifter; a Nova-silver center stack finish; a nine-speaker, 280-watt Harman Kardon audio system; six-disc, in-dash CD changer with MP3 capability; and floor mats embroidered with the Buick name and tri-shield emblem.

Available features include 18-inch chrome wheels, touch screen DVD-based map navigation, power sunroof and an Ultra Confidence package with Side Blind Zone and Lane Departure Warning safety-enhancing technologies.

A driver's car

2008 Buick Lucerne SuperThe Lucerne Super is a driver's car, thanks in part to its increased horsepower, enhanced chassis tuning and steering precision.

The Northstar V-8 engine produces 292 horsepower and 288 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine's added power improves launch-acceleration and vehicle-passing capabilities. New premium steering components give the Lucerne Super improved steering precision and responsiveness.

Lucerne Super's chassis was further tuned for a more agile ride and performance. A key enabler of the chassis is Lucerne Super's Magnetic Ride Control technology. It has been recalibrated to give even more driver control and performance while further reducing body roll and head toss in cornering and lane changes. The system uses magnetically charged particles suspended in a synthetic fluid to continuously adjust the fluid's viscosity to varying road surfaces and driving characteristics. It provides a quicker response than conventional valve-damping systems, while providing exceptional vehicle control and increased tire contact with the road surface.

In addition to the Super trim, Lucerne is also available in CX (MSRP of $27,520) and CXL (MSRP of $30,165) models. All Lucernes are built at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck manufacturing facility and come with the industry's best coverage, including a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper protection.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 77 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 274,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 35 countries. In 2007, nearly 9.37 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.