DETROIT -- All-wheel drive isn't just for the snow belt anymore.
That's the gist of the pitch that will come from Buick when the redesigned 2017 LaCrosse sedan comes out next summer. It's one of several new General Motors models that will get a "twin clutch" awd system from British supplier GKN Driveline. They include the Cadillac XT5 midsize crossover that goes on sale this spring.
Buick has offered awd on the current LaCrosse for years without much success. The take rate on the roughly $2,000 option is less than 10 percent.
Buick hopes to drive that penetration higher by touting the virtues of the twin-clutch system, which is engineered to improve grip and handling across all conditions, including on dry pavement.
"This has a real performance element to it, with big benefits on acceleration and cornering," LaCrosse Marketing Manager Doug Osterhoff said in a recent interview. "We think this will have more play" in warm-weather states where consumers have traditionally eschewed the awd option.
Most awd systems for front-wheel-drive vehicles use a clutch at the front axle that controls the amount of torque that flows to the rear wheels. A differential typically is used to split the torque between the rear wheels.
GKN's twin-clutch system instead uses two electronically controlled clutch packs in the center of the rear driveline module that can control torque between the axles, sending 100 percent of torque to the front, or back, as needed based on driving conditions.