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Motoring: General Motors day at CTMP


2017 Corvette 206

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | November 7th, 2016

General Motors doesn’t like sitting still as it is always working on expanding its product portfolio.

To showcase what’s new in their showrooms for 2017, GM of Canada hosted an event to give the invited media an up close and personal look into their new offerings.

Among the line up, there were new models from Buick, GMC and Chevrolet.

For this event, which was held at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, there were cars for road driving and cars to take out on the track.

For the road portion, the first vehicle Interrobang took out was the 2017 Buick Envision. This midsize CUV made quite a lot of news; not because of its style or features, but because the Envision is built in China, making it the first product sold by GM in North America that comes from China.

Envision2017 Buick Envision CREDIT: Nauman Farooq

While the local auto unions huffed and puffed against this decision, the fact of the matter is building it where most of its buyers are from is a good idea. Buick sells far more cars in China than they do in North America, hence the Envision gets built in Yantai, Shandong.

Buick fans should rest easy because all the engineering and design was done in the U.S., and upon close examination, the build quality is as good as you’d expect from any GM product made anywhere in the world.

Thanks to two engine choices, a 2.5 litre I4 that produces 197 horsepower and 192 pounds per foot torque, and a turbocharged 2.0 litre I4 producing 252 horsepower and 260 pounds per foot torque, the Envision goes well too. Its six-speed automatic gearbox shifted smoothly, and overall road manners on a short drive seemed quite good. I’ll certainly have to spend some more time with this vehicle in the future. Pricing starts from $40,095.

The same goes for the 2017 Buick LaCrosse, as I’d like to spend more time with this model as well.

LaCrosse2017 Buick LaCrosse CREDIT: Nauman Farooq

For 2017, the LaCrosse is all new and it starts off with a sleek design that will certainly surprise a lot of people. It looks like no Buick sedan in recent memory, and that’s a good thing.

Open the door and you’re greeted by an interior that is certainly a lot more stylish than you’d expect to find in a Buick sedan.

Under the hood is a GM vehicle with the usual 3.6 litres V6, which here makes 310 horsepower and 282 pounds per foot of torque; behind that is a new eight-speed automatic transmission that is smooth. A full week test will reveal just how efficient it is; prices for this vehicle start at $35,445.

Next on my list was the 2017 GMC Acadia, which is also all new. This model weighs about 700 pounds, which is less than the previous model.

Acadia2017 GMC Acadia CREDIT: Nauman Farooq

Powering this seven passenger SUV is either a 2.5 litre I4 motor that makes 193 horsepower and 188 pounds per foot of torque, or the optional 3.6 litre V6 motor that makes 310 horsepower and 271 pounds per foot of torque. Both engines get a six-speed automatic to play with.

The styling is nice, as is the interior, but GMC needs to be a bit more daring to attract customers from Asian and European crossovers and sport utility vehicles. It is priced well though, starting from just $35,095.

Now, on to the fun stuff, the track exercises. For this session, we had the full-length version of the Drivers Development Track (DDT), at the CTMP. For out playtime, we had access to two Camaro’s, a V6 coupe and a V8 convertible, plus the monster Corvette Z06.

Since I had driven a V6 Camaro before, I chose to just drive the V8 Camaro. While the V8 is plenty powerful out on the track, the convertible models’ chassis, and its soft suspension would do an alright job, but was not really at home being tossed around.

For some mind-blowing track action, you need to get yourself behind the steering wheel of the current Corvette Z06. This monster supercar has a supercharged 6.2 litre V8 that produces 650 horsepower and 650 pounds per foot of torque. All this power is sent to the rear wheels via either a rev-matching seven-speed manual, or an eightspeed automatic.

They were also equipped with the Z07 Performance Package which means a full on aero kit, complete with an adjustable rear spoiler and even a much more aggressive front splitter for added down force.

It took no time at all to learn that out on the track, the Z06 means business. Everything about it, from the way you sit, the way the steering feels, the way the tires grip, the way the brakes bite, is tuned ideally for track time. Step on the pedal and it explodes forward with the kind of force that is akin to being punched in the face by Lennox Lewis.

The track program was however restrained, we had to follow a lead car, and no overtaking allowed, unless directed. Due to the skill level of most participants, the pace was nowhere near what the Z06 can achieve.

In Interrobang’s short experience, we were smitten by the Z06 and if we had a spare $130,000 just lying around, we’d likely bring one home.

All in all, the GM day at CTMP was a lot of fun, and showed the diversity of their products making way into your neighbourhood showrooms for 2017.
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