So...you thought the 3800 was dead? - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 09-11-2006, 03:41 PM   #1
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Default So...you thought the 3800 was dead?

I was reading this weekend and noticed that the 2007 Buick Lucerne is available with two engine options, one of which is our favorite, the venerable Buick 3800, series III.

You can check it out here:

BTW, every article I've read on the Lucerne, rates this car as top of it'* class. Better than even the Cadillac to some. Apparently, it'* active suspension provides smooth sailing around town, but really changes and provides cornering capabilities to rival BMW when put to the test on high speed twisting back roads.

Oh yeah, and the other engine is a N* V8.
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Old 09-11-2006, 03:54 PM   #2
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I think the only reason it is still around is this: It is a Legacy engine. Most purchasers of the new Buick are older and more refined, and more than likely owned a 3800 or 2 in the past. Those that know the motor, know it is rock-solid and probably one of the best-known V6'* ever. And it is these people that now make up the bulk of the Buick demographic, so why throw them the brand-new 3.9 liter and *hope* they like it, when they can thow them the 3800 S3 and *know* they will like it? To me, that makes sense, though it may not to others.
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Old 09-11-2006, 03:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandrock
I think the only reason it is still around is this: It is a Legacy engine. Most purchasers of the new Buick are older and more refined, and more than likely owned a 3800 or 2 in the past. Those that know the motor, know it is rock-solid and probably one of the best-known V6'* ever. And it is these people that now make up the bulk of the Buick demographic, so why throw them the brand-new 3.9 liter and *hope* they like it, when they can thow them the 3800 S3 and *know* they will like it? To me, that makes sense, though it may not to others.

One word why they are still using that engine. Cheap!!
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Old 09-11-2006, 04:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandrock
I think the only reason it is still around is this: It is a Legacy engine. Most purchasers of the new Buick are older and more refined, and more than likely owned a 3800 or 2 in the past. Those that know the motor, know it is rock-solid and probably one of the best-known V6'* ever. And it is these people that now make up the bulk of the Buick demographic, so why throw them the brand-new 3.9 liter and *hope* they like it, when they can thow them the 3800 S3 and *know* they will like it? To me, that makes sense, though it may not to others.

One word why they are still using that engine. Cheap!!
i think its a combination of the 2
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Old 09-11-2006, 04:15 PM   #5
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The 3.9L is a much more advanced engine, and is FAR superior to the 3800. If it'* reliability is similar, then there'* no contest.

The 3800 is significantly heavier and larger, and the series III has no real improvements over the L36.

I had a lucerne for about a week as a loaner while my car was being refinished. It wasn't "class leading" by any means, but it was a good car. As with 95%+ of GM sedans, there is very little to none steering feel. The ride was good, somewhat squishy, space was good, and the new gm radio and electronics were nice. There is faux "stitching" on the door panels which is really suspect. But again, the performance is far from many imports, and the quality is still not quite at the level of who they would like to compete against (Lexus)
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Old 09-11-2006, 04:16 PM   #6
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Then remember also that it'* a Buick engine to start with. There might even be union considerations to deal with, regarding keeping certain plants and engine facilities open etc.

Anyway you see it, it keeps the primary power plant of this site available for a little longer...
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Old 09-11-2006, 04:19 PM   #7
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I agree that its probably a combo of the two...same kind of thing when the 3.5 debuted, if you do some reading, you can see that it was originally designed and planned to replace the 3.8, but it never did...why?

its not because its a bad engine, its just a rock solid as the L36 IMO and performs just as well if not better in most circumstances.

and which is cheaper to produce? a premium v6 with higher quality internals and many more moving parts? or the old reliable 3.8?

plus most of the demographic that drives these type of cars dont push them nearly as hard as we do here, so if youve never pushed the engine harder than 3k rpms, it would be easy to think that the L36 was a torque monster and that it would blow any 3.5 off the road in a second.

the series 3 keeps the bulk of its power in the area where the majority of drivers are going to use it, making it a driving pleasure, and something that can please everyone.
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Old 09-11-2006, 04:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BonneMeMN
The 3.9L is a much more advanced engine, and is FAR superior to the 3800. If it'* reliability is similar, then there'* no contest.

The 3800 is significantly heavier and larger, and the series III has no real improvements over the L36.

I had a lucerne for about a week as a loaner while my car was being refinished. It wasn't "class leading" by any means, but it was a good car. As with 95%+ of GM sedans, there is very little to none steering feel. The ride was good, somewhat squishy, space was good, and the new gm radio and electronics were nice. There is faux "stitching" on the door panels which is really suspect. But again, the performance is far from many imports, and the quality is still not quite at the level of who they would like to compete against (Lexus)
These faults were all mentioned and (supposedly) addressed for the 2007 or 2008 MY (I can't remember which right now lol).

The reviewer says that he was expecting the same problems as you mentioned for the new release, but the steering feel, ride quality, and interior have all supposedly taken a large step forward. Now I should go look for that review....hmmmm.
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Old 09-11-2006, 04:26 PM   #9
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OK, found the review, from the Orlando Sentinel:

Quote:
New star at Buick
The 2007 Lucerne is just the thing to energize the brand.

Steven Cole Smith | Sentinel Automotive Editor
Posted September 7, 2006

Buick Lucerne (GM)
Sep 7, 2006

When General Motors killed Oldsmobile in December 2000, plenty of us wondered: Why Oldsmobile and not Buick? Promptly, GM sought to answer that question by inviting a small gathering of automotive journalists to a conference, where future Buick products were previewed.

After viewing that presentation, I wondered: Why Oldsmobile and not Buick?

Aside from a slate of competent but undeniable also-rans such as the Buick Terraza minivan and LaCrosse sedan, there was no clear focus on the part of Buick management as to where Buick had been and where it should go. Buick seemed content to just crank out mature versions of other GM products and hope for the best.

But then came the Buick Lucerne, and it seemed that someone at General Motors had listened to criticism. The Buick flagship should be a big, comfortable sedan, handsome but not in a trendy way. From a styling standpoint, the Lucerne delivered.

After I spent a week in one, I found Buick got the rest right too. So often with General Motors cars, I find features that work as well as anything on the market, then I find features that are so disappointing that they erase the good stuff. I waited to be disappointed by some aspect of the Lucerne, but it never happened. More so than with any big GM car, and that includes Cadillac, the Lucerne -- finally! -- takes Buick to the next level.

The Lucerne, which shares a platform with the Cadillac DTS, comes in three models -- the base CX, midlevel CXL and premium CXS. Base cars have a 3.8-liter, 197-horsepower V-6. Standard on the CXS, and optional on the CXL, is a 4.6-liter, 275-horsepower Northstar V-8. Both engines have four-speed automatic transmissions, but the V-8'* transmission is more sophisticated. The presence of four-speed automatics -- when other manufacturers offer five-, six- and even seven-speed automatics -- is perhaps the lone suggestion of lagging technology. But in the V-8 test vehicle, the transmission worked so well that I never missed the extra gears. This is a superb powertrain, as smooth as any V-8 on the market. Fuel mileage, though, is average: EPA-rated at 17 mpg city, 26 mpg highway. Premium gas is suggested but not required. The test car ran fine on regular.

The quickest way to tell a V-6 from a V-8 Lucerne is to count those traditional portholes on the front fenders: Three per side for a V-6, four for a V-8. I'm not sure how well GM'* ancient but proven V-6 works in this car, but the V-8 would be my choice regardless. This is the first V-8 in a Buick sedan in more than a decade, and it'* a welcome, even mandatory, addition for any manufacturer that insists it is building a premium car.

Though the Lucerne is front-wheel drive, and the automotive media are working hard to convince everyone that any car larger than a Honda Civic should be rear-wheel drive, the Lucerne handles well. Very well. GM'* magnetic-controlled suspension allows for a smooth, typically Buick ride, but cram the Lucerne into some tight turns and it responds more like a BMW than a traditional land yacht -- and I am as surprised as anyone to say that.

Even more unexpected is the steering feel. Older big Buicks had overboosted steering that felt only incidentally linked to front wheels, but this Lucerne lets a driver know exactly what the car is doing.

My test model, a top-of-the-line CXS, was loaded. Features included a navigation system with turn-by-turn directions, six air bags, stability control, XM satellite radio, OnStar, heated and cooled seats, and an excellent stereo. Instruments and controls were conventional in appearance and application, but worked well and were easy to use.

The leather-trimmed front seats were excellent. Rear seat room is generous; five 6-footers can fit in the Lucerne without complaint. Trunk space, at 17 cubic feet, is big enough, but smaller than in some competitive models.

Speaking of competitive models, Buick says it is targeting the Toyota Avalon and Lexus ES330, but I would add the Hyundai Azera, Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego.

Regarding price, the Lucerne is in the middle. Base price of the 2007 Lucerne CX is $25,440. At the other end is the CXS, which starts at $34,460. With shipping and several options, the test car was priced at $36,405. At any model level, the Lucerne is competitive with the other cars in its class.

For the first time in years -- really, since the Reatta -- I'm genuinely impressed by a Buick. I hope it happens again, and because the Reatta came out in 1988, I hope it won't take as long.

Sentinel Automotive Editor Steven Cole Smith can be reached at [email protected] or 407-420-5699.
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Old 09-11-2006, 04:27 PM   #10
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The 3.5 was not designed to replace any 3800. It'* the cheap (chinese made IIRC) V6 in GM'* stable now. The 3.6 and 3.9 are the more refined versions with features such as VVT, and new designs, and more power. Think of the 3.5 as the base engine, and the 3.6, 3.9, 5.3, etc as the premium engines.

The ride and all have improved over the previous buicks yes, but the non-magnetic suspension is not performance oriented at all. The 3800 S3 has less power then the L36 (200 HP in the Lucerne I had) and the 4 speed tranny isn't competitive inthis group. The Ford 500 probably is abetter choice on many fronts over the new Lucerne.
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