How important is Buick in China? So much so, that it’s debuting a new concept there, as opposed to here in America…you know, where Buick originated, and is currently a division of General Motors.
The Buick Riviera is being revitalised in concept form…this was the fourth jointly designed vehicle by GM’s Shanghai GM and their Chinese joint venture partner, Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC). The aesthetics are a preview of Buick’s future design language. Coupled with the latest technology, including a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle propulsion, it could serve as not only the renaissance of the storied nameplate, but a return as the flagship of the 110-year-old brand.
More specifically, the design was influenced by a moving river, inspired by the Chinese saying: “The greatest good is like water”, as well as waves in the ocean (as far as the silhouette goes). It’s all wrapped up in a finish called “ice cleadon”, which was inspired by jade. Other exterior features include a raked windshield, metallic fibre spoiler, active grille shutters and diffusers, and active pneumatic wheels. Whether any or all of these features will make it onto future Buicks remains to be seen.
Stepping inside, Buick takes elegance to a whole new level, as they are viewed as proper luxury vehicles in China, as opposed to an entry-level make competing with the likes of Acura, Lincoln, Volvo, etc. Refined materials are used throughout the cabin, including sand-blasted aluminum alloy, lava suede and ebony, all brought together in an eaglewood tone. The overall look is striking, yet subdued.
Topping off the interior are such features as floating front seats with an adaptive seating and noise-absorbing head restraint system, as well as a compact centre console to maximise the use of the interior space. It also supports 4G LTE for all of the usual infotainment options, as well as communicating with other vehicles. All of the controls are done via touch, gesture, or by voice.
Under the hood showcases the Buick Intelligent Performance technology, simply dubbed BIP. This features GM’s all-new dual mode wireless plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (W-PHEV) propulsion system, which allows the user to drive the vehicle in one of two modes: either frugally in “electric mode”, or experiencing sports car-like performance in “hybrid mode”. No official specifications were revealed at the show, but the vehicle can be charged with either a traditional cable, or wireless via a sensory recharge panel on the car’s chassis. Charging the vehicle the traditional way involves a charging port that’s been integrated within Buick’s iconic porthole design.
On the handling front, the Riviera is equipped with intelligent four-wheel steering, an electromagentic-controlled suspension with air springs, giving the luxury coupe an ideal balance of both handling and comfort.
Additional technologies include the usual smattering of safety and security features such as night-view assist, side blind-zone alert system, lane departure warning system, range-adaptive cruise control system that can be operated at full-speed, lane change, parking assist, rear cross-traffic alert, as well as a full-on autopilot system.
No official word if the resurrected nameplate will be attached to a production version of the concept, or another vehicle altogether, as Buick will gauge the public’s reaction before making their final decision.
Photo Credit: Newspress