What began as a momentary image flash at its L.A. Auto Show press conference has now been released as an official teaser illustration for a compact Buick sedan
that's already been spotted testing in Europe and should go on sale here sometime in 2011. Based on GM's front-drive Delta II platform that also underpins the upcoming Chevy Cruze and Volt as well as the existing Opel Astra, this cleanly styled four-door lacks some of the high-profile styling cues displayed by the 2011 Regal but does carry the division's signature waterfall grille and a headlamp treatment that's reminiscent of its upsized kin. Inside, the Baby Buick-to-be is almost certain to offer an even higher level of charm and content than its Cruze cousin. Underhood, expect to find one or more four-cylinder engines, including GM's new Ecotec 1.4-liter turbocharged unit as the base motivator and possibly the larger 2.4-liter engine from the upcoming Regal, as well as six-speed manual and automatic transmission choices. A similar Astra-based vehicle -- albeit with different powertrains and in a hatchback
body configuration -- is set to hit showrooms in China starting in 2010 as the Buick Excelle. Whether that name will carry over here, be replaced by the more familiar "Skylark" or "Skyhawk" or be all new, remains a mystery. Pricing and possible trim levels also are TBD, although a sub-$20K starting point seems likely.