2012 Buick Verano Sedan: China's Excelle GT finally Makes it to the States

If you've been following the news on Carscoop, the 2012 Buick Verano won't come as a surprise as the new compact sedan is the North American version of GM's China market Buick Excelle GT that was revealed in the first half of 2010. The two Buicks are identical in styling right up to the somewhat gaudy chrome eyebrows over the tail lamps.

The small Buick is essentially the sedan version of the European market Opel Astra, something that is visible from the profile styling as well as the interior, and is built on the same platform and shares basic engine architecture with the Chevrolet Cruze.

The VW Jetta-sized Verano measures 183.9 in. (4,671 mm) long, 71.4 in. (1,815 mm) wide and 58.4 in. (1,484 mm) tall, featuring a 105.7 in. (2,685 mm) long wheelbase.

Under the skin, the Verano's front suspension uses decoupled MacPherson struts and the rear a Watts Z-link design. Steering inputs are executed by an electric power steering system, featuring a dual-pinion rack, while stopping power is provided by a four-wheel disc brake system with standard anti-lock and electronic brake force distribution, as well as StabiliTrak electronic stability control with traction control.

At launch, the new Buick Verano will offered with a standard 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine delivering an estimated 177 horsepower (132 kW) and 170 lb.-ft. of peak torque (230 Nm), with a six-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels. GM says the basic Verano will return a 0-60 mph [96 km/h] performance of 8.0 seconds and an estimated 31 mpg [7.6 lt/100km] on the highway.

The Detroit automaker said a more powerful 2.0-liter turbo engine will be offered in the future. In China, the Verano's twin sibling is available with a naturally-aspirated 1.8-liter producing 145HP and a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-pot delivering 181HP.

The 2012 Verano compact sedan will receive its world premiere at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week and go on sale in the States in the fourth quarter of 2011. Pricing has yet to be released, though an allegedly official document that was leaked online suggests that the Verano will start at around $21,000.