Buick sculpts another concept that looks way better than a Buick
Do Buick designers actually look at Buick vehicles before getting shoulder deep in concept car design? Because from the looks of recent efforts like the Avista two-door, Riviera and Enspire, they most definitely do not. Which is just fine because Buick concept cars look decades better than the anonymous office park commuters that fill Buick's dealer lots any given model year. This week brings us another visionary Buick head-turner in the Shanghai-designed Electra concept. The sporty butterfly-winged Electra shows what an edgy electric Buick crossover GT could look like (but probably won't resemble very closely at all).
The Electra highlights a new "potential energy" design language while bringing GM's intensified Ultium battery electric vehicle marketing push to the EV-hungry shores of China. The car comes powered by a front/rear-motored 583-hp electric drive that keeps the wheels spinning for up to 410 miles (660 km) per charge of its efficiently packaged Ultium battery. A 4.3-second 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) time is also within the concept's purported capabilities.
But the real story of the Electra concept is the styling niche Buick explores at the intersection of sporty four-seat crossover and lithe grand tourer. Despite its huge 23-in wheels tires, the Electra feels longer and slimmer than the typical crossover, its glasshouse dipping low and stretching out more like a sports sedan. The concept also wears many of the popular cues of electric concepts – the liquid metallic paint atop undulating body surfaces, the blade-like LED eyes and the glassy roof.
Buick relies successfully on a strong central crease, illuminated model badge against a contrast bumper, smooth indents below the headlamps and a long, thin intake around the Buick badge to establish a strong facial identity in the absence of a central grille. The Matrix LED headlamps feature a "breathing" illumination pattern for added personality.
Driver and passengers enter the Electra through the quartet of facial rec-unlocked butterfly doors. Given the efficient e-drive packaging and lack of B pillars, the interior is an open-space concept with plenty of leg and elbow room. Buick uses the generous amount of space to complement the winged bodyshell with an interior it fancies as something of a "space pod." The hovering widescreen driver display, retractable steering wheel and seats suspended via thin armatures create a feel of zero gravity, while the large glass roof provides intergalactic views.
The digital cockpit relies on a curved retina display to serve as the interface of the next-gen eConnect telematics system without a secondary infotainment or control screen. Also included are a head-up display with advanced live-view navigation and augmented reality and a next-gen AI voice assistant.
Upon arrival to a city center or sprawling office parking lot, drivers can pop the "floating skateboard" out from under the bumper and McFly their way that last mile to their destination. Or so Buick's design team imagines.
The Electra concept was developed as a global design by GM’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) before debuting in Shanghai this week.
Source: General Motors China