Automotive

Wildcat EV concept pounces toward Buick's aggressive electric rollout

Wildcat EV concept pounces toward Buick's aggressive electric rollout
There's going to be a whole new brand of Buick
There's going to be a whole new brand of Buick
View 19 Images
There's going to be a whole new brand of Buick
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There's going to be a whole new brand of Buick
Beyond new powertrain tech and styling, Buick also has a brand-new tri-shield logo, debuted this week
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Beyond new powertrain tech and styling, Buick also has a brand-new tri-shield logo, debuted this week
The Wildcat EV includes a wraparound-style glasshouse
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The Wildcat EV includes a wraparound-style glasshouse
Truly a wildcat, the Wildcat EV concept stretches over a long wheelbase and looks ready to lunge forward
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Truly a wildcat, the Wildcat EV concept stretches over a long wheelbase and looks ready to lunge forward
Buick plays around with the traditional door, adding a pop-up roof panel for easier ingress/egress
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Buick plays around with the traditional door, adding a pop-up roof panel for easier ingress/egress
Buick Wildcat EV rear.
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Buick Wildcat EV rear.
The Wildcat EV front-end shares a lot of basic cues with the 2020 Electra concept but more intricately detailed
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The Wildcat EV front-end shares a lot of basic cues with the 2020 Electra concept but more intricately detailed
The Buick Wildcat EV concept rides on 18-spoke “turbine” wheels
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The Buick Wildcat EV concept rides on 18-spoke “turbine” wheels
The Wildcat EV interior features a large digital instrument display, secondary center screen, full-length console and flat-bottom steering wheel
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The Wildcat EV interior features a large digital instrument display, secondary center screen, full-length console and flat-bottom steering wheel
Who can resist those light but enveloping concept car seats with the floating headrests?
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Who can resist those light but enveloping concept car seats with the floating headrests?
The long, defined console splits the Wildcat EV interior into a neatly separated 2+2
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The long, defined console splits the Wildcat EV interior into a neatly separated 2+2
Buick Wildcat EV concept side-view cameras
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Buick Wildcat EV concept side-view cameras
Buick gives the Wildcat concept cantilevered headrests that appear to be floating.
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Buick gives the Wildcat concept cantilevered headrests that appear to be floating.
The Buick Wildcat EV concept has one touchscreen on the instrument panel and a second screen on the console.
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The Buick Wildcat EV concept has one touchscreen on the instrument panel and a second screen on the console.
Buick debuted the Electra-X concept in China the same day it debuted the Wildcat EV concept in the US
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Buick debuted the Electra-X concept in China the same day it debuted the Wildcat EV concept in the US
The Electra-X is an electric SUV concept and appears closer to production than the Wildcat EV
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The Electra-X is an electric SUV concept and appears closer to production than the Wildcat EV
The Electra-X has a similar cockpit with extra-long digital instrument panel, secondary console screen, flat-bottom steering wheel and broad center console
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The Electra-X has a similar cockpit with extra-long digital instrument panel, secondary console screen, flat-bottom steering wheel and broad center console
The Electra-X seats are even floatier than the Wildcat's
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The Electra-X seats are even floatier than the Wildcat's
The Electra-X concept is a bit more toned-down than the Wildcat EV but is still a very stylish, sporty step for Buick
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The Electra-X concept is a bit more toned-down than the Wildcat EV but is still a very stylish, sporty step for Buick
View gallery - 19 images

Much like other auto brands around the world, Buick is buckling down on its electrification program, with plans to go fully electric by the end of the decade. The 2018 Enspire and other previous concept cars have showed that the electric age should treat Buick styling quite well indeed, and the all-new Wildcat EV advances that storyline. Buick's newest electric concept might be its most striking yet, a taut sculpture that looks ready to lunge forth every bit as ferociously but beautifully as its namesake making dinner.

Buick has made something of a recent habit of creating concept cars that look far better than any production Buick we're used to seeing on the road, and the Wildcat EV is the latest member of that crew. If the Wildcat proves to be as meaningful a preview of the brand's plans as Buick suggests it is, electricity is going to bring some serious excitement to the redesigned triple shields.

New age, new logo: The Buick shields leap out of their circular prison and line up neatly beside each other on the nose and tail of Buick's latest show car. The new logo design signifies the start of a new era in styling and technology, and Buick says new models will begin wearing the updated branding next year.

Between those front and rear tri-shield logos, the Wildcat is one of those car designs that simply exemplifies pure, unfiltered motion. It's truly a big cat ready to pounce on its prey, the prey being whatever stretch of smooth, wide-open asphalt lies ahead. The long wheelbase, short rear overhang, wedge-shaped side volumes and fastback roofline merely enhance the feeling of a car that's all wound up and ready to surge out of sight.

The Wildcat EV front-end shares a lot of basic cues with the 2020 Electra concept but more intricately detailed
The Wildcat EV front-end shares a lot of basic cues with the 2020 Electra concept but more intricately detailed

Buick's design team paid particular attention to the front-end, better defining facial features out of the more abstractly sculpted front-end on the 2020 Electra concept. As on the Electra, a sturdy trapezoidal lower grille supports a sharp upper crease that curves its way into tucked side recesses below sharp headlamps. But this evolution features more detail in the grille area, fins and intakes, and razor-sharp micro-LED projector headlamps. It all comes together quite prettily. It might have a touch too much grille for the electric age, but we find the little goatee rather adorable, and the new badge looks handsome standing proudly over the neat nose crease.

The rear-end is arguably even more dramatic than the front thanks to the sharpened, oversized check-mark taillights that climb alongside the C-pillars next to the rear window. Another sharp crease creates a platform to highlight the new logo once again, and the quarter-moon-like center mass rolls into sharp quarter-panel legs to complete a very distinctive parting view.

Buick plays around with the traditional door, adding a pop-up roof panel for easier ingress/egress
Buick plays around with the traditional door, adding a pop-up roof panel for easier ingress/egress

Another design point that continues its evolution from the Electra concept is unconventional door design. Buick has augmented the usual dual swinging doors with lift-up roof panels that clear more headroom for smoother entry in and exit from the 2+2 interior. The cabin itself is a collection of typical concept car fare – weird, skeletal seats; serious digitization by way of digital instruments that flow directly into the center touchscreen, complemented by a lower console screen; a full-length center console that splits the two rows of seats; and "visually floating elements intended to accentuate the cabin’s lightweight feel and spaciousness."

Also quite typical of a forward-looking concept car, the Wildcat is loaded with paper tech like AI, biometrics, and a high heart rate-activated Zen Mode that dims lighting, kicks on seat massage and disperses aromatherapy.

The Wildcat EV interior features a large digital instrument display, secondary center screen, full-length console and flat-bottom steering wheel
The Wildcat EV interior features a large digital instrument display, secondary center screen, full-length console and flat-bottom steering wheel

The Wildcat EV is obviously electric, but Buick makes no mention of powertrain specs, real or imagined.

Along with the Wildcat EV, Buick also announced this week that it plans to bring its first electric vehicle to the North American market in 2024 on its way to developing an all-electric portfolio by the end of the decade. Electric Buick models may wear some of the Wildcat's handsome, high-speed looks but they'll carry the "Electra" nameplate.

"Our forthcoming products will adopt a new design language that emphasizes a sleek, dynamic and forward-looking appearance," said Sharon Gauci, executive director of Global Buick and GMC Design. "Our exteriors will incorporate fluid movements that contrast with tension to convey motion. Interiors will balance modern design, new technologies and attention to detail to evoke warmth and a rich sensory experience."

The Electra-X concept is a bit more toned-down than the Wildcat EV but is still a very stylish, sporty step for Buick
The Electra-X concept is a bit more toned-down than the Wildcat EV but is still a very stylish, sporty step for Buick

Buick's electric plans will be even more aggressive in China, where it plans to reveal two EVs this year and five by 2025. The new logo will also feature in China, but the market gets its own concept preview of the electric future via the Shanghai-designed, nearer-to-production Electra-X SUV. Based on GM's Ultium platform, the Electra-X is more subdued than the Wildcat or original Electra concepts but still quite striking and sporty. In fact, our first impression was that it looks more like a prettier Lotus SUV than a Buick. You can see more of Electra-X concept in the gallery.

Sources: Buick, Buick China

View gallery - 19 images
9 comments
9 comments
Demosthenes
The design is reminiscent of the nuclear-powered car studies from the 1950s - terrible.
michael_dowling
GM is probably headed for extinction along with many of the other legacy makers,as it's response to EVs has been lethargic. If Tesla hadn't lit a fire under their butts,EVs would still be glorified golf carts. Only a few like VW have a shot at remaining viable in the electric era.
Username
I think it's gorgeous. It will probably never see the light of day.
guzmanchinky
I really like it.
Rusty Harris
That is one ugly car! Can you imagine if you bump someone in front of you? You'd have to replace the entire front end.
The interior sucks too. Notice they never mention the "price range"
Marco McClean
Christ, what a horror.
Dr.Glove136
The Wildcat EV butt-ugly Buick emulates the current Buick lineup. They're all ugly. Besides that, the Wildcat (as described) is so loaded with electronic gizwickery that driver distraction is guaranteed to produce the sort of front end modification that Rusty Harris is concerned about. On the other hand, an ugly front end did not seem to deter BMW, so let's get on with the show. As for the price range...if you have to ask, you can't afford it.
Jezzafool
I really don't understand why the screens for camera wing mirrors are so low down in the doors, Audi also did this. They should be at the base of the A pillars IMO.
Dark Dove
For those hating the Buick for innovative design, I suppose you want to buy my fathers updated Oldsmobile. ;-). Damn, I rather have innovative and real design like Hyundai / KIA are putting out rather than boring more of the same look alike SUVs from most brands. I'm surprised Ford is finally put the design back into their trucks, SUVs and electric SUVs. The Mustang Mach-e has been a huge success selling out - I wish Ford wouldn't copy Tesla's floating laptop autistic design and put a more cool traditional digital dash in like upcoming MBs, or current Lambos and Ferraris.