Buick Avenir Concept: Future flagship for a global brand (+VIDEO)
Categorizing it as a flagship sedan that embodies progressive design, Buick took the wraps off of its new Avenir Concept on the eve of the Detroit Auto Show. Crafted by an international team of Buick designers and sculptors, the Avenir - which means future in French - was inspired by classic divisional styling cues including the "sweep spear" character line that has been a division hallmark. Ed Welburn, vice president of General Motors Global Design says those values -- which "focus on effortless beauty and presence without pretense," -- demonstrate the division's growing international reach and could signal a return to rear drive in its passenger car lineup.
Finished in Crystalline blue tone, the Avenir's sleek exterior and long nose/short rear deck recalls the dramatic proportions similar to the original 1963 Riviera. The taut character lines and elegantly tailored contours impart a dynamic character which is further emphasized by its 21-inch wheel/tire package, full LED lighting and a striking new grille treatment. Michael Simcoe, vice president of design, GM International Operations says this modern interpretation of a design first seen on the 1954 Wildcat II Concept, represents "a break from convention and progressiveness in technology." Given the Avenir's stated mission, we suspect it also will become an integral part of the division's upcoming product portfolio.
High style and high tech
Inside, the Avenir Concept seamlessly melds a host of high-tech features into a spacious 4-place cabin that displays the same sculpted feel as the exterior but renders it in rich leather that features a wave-like design motif set off by oiled wood and Galvano satin chrome accents. Using technology that's already available or soon will be, the Avenir's on-board connectivity automatically syncs up devices and configures its digital gauges and displays based on prior customization preferences. In addition to a next-gen Buick IntelliLink infotainment package with 12.0-inch touchscreen, OnStar with 4G LTE and Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless mobile device charging, the Avenir features a high-end rear seat entertainment setup with individual video screens and USB ports.
Buick has confirmed that the Avenir Concept is fitted with a next-gen direct-injected V6 that incorporates Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation and start/stop technology. A paddle-shiftable 9-speed automatic transmission sends power to all four corners via twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system and a variable-damping suspension allows drivers to fine tune the ride and handling characteristics to their individual preferences. While the concept is all-wheel drive, the Avenir is rumored to be based on the same platform as the upcoming Cadillac CT6 sedan, which has a longitudinally mounted engine with a rear-drive bias. While Buick didn't announce a production model, it's clear that the division is looking at a new flagship to move the brand further upmarket and boost sales in both North America and China.
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