The 2012 Buick LaCrosse midsize premium sedan will get a new and improved V6 engine. The new engine produces 23 more horsepower than the previous V6, while delivering the same fuel economy.

The 2012 LaCrosse V6 will have 303 horsepower, but will maintain the current model's 17 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

The new engine should make the LaCrosse much more competitive in its segment. The Acura TL, for example, has 305 horsepower and gets 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

Normally, getting more power out of an engine means that more fuel has to be consumed. But this engine draws its extra power from using lightweight materials and an improved design for its cylinder head.

The lighter weight materials are used in certain moving parts inside of the engine. The less each part weighs, the easier it is for the engine to move them. The less work an engine has to do, the less power it loses in the process ? which means more power for propelling the car.

The improved cylinder head allows the engine to draw more air into the cylinders. More air means the engine is capable of producing a more powerful explosion, which also boosts horsepower.

The new Buick engine will be available on certain models of the car as a no cost option. The other available engine is a 2.4 liter four cylinder that only produces 182 horsepower, but is able to achieve 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

It should be noted that these fuel mileage figures are for the front wheel drive models of Lacrosse only. Models equipped with the available all-wheel drive system will have lower fuel economy.

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J. Mark Sternberg is an automotive journalist, car enthusiast and writer with a degree from the University of Arizona. Mark is a devoted Formula 1 fan and also enjoys boating, flying and attending the occasional track day.

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