Buick should count its blessings. The aging brand that only escaped death during General Motor's bankruptcy due to its immense popularity in China now reveals its plans to go all-electric by the end of the decade. Today they showed off their new design language, logo, and plans to achieve this goal with the Wildcat concept.
The Wildcat is a wild departure from the conservative lines of past and present Buick models. This 2+2 coupe promises to be the design language of the brand moving forward: from its new Trim-Shield logo that is missing the circular housing of the old logo, to the trapezoidal grille and the flowing lines.
Referred to exclusively as a concept, we are scratching our heads as to why Buick decided to show off a 2+2 coupe in a world hungry for SUVs and crossovers. Yes, the design language is better shown off in a sexy, low-slung coupe, but customers speak with the wallets and SUVs are what they want.
Overall, we are liking the departure from the, let's be honest, somewhat boring styling of current Buick models in favor of something more youthful, classy, and upscale. We are curious what the first production vehicle will be, and if it will feature design elements like the wraparound windshield and winged roof above the door openings (we think not).
The interior is easier to understand how the new design themes will translate to other Buick models. Screens are clearly the way of the future, not only for GM & Buick but for all modern vehicles. The Wildcat concept shows off a very bright and expressive interior with lots of screen real estate up front, furniture-like seats wrapped in light colors with a pop of orange from the seatbelts. A floating console holds another screen for controlling items such as climate and comfort functions.
How much of any of this concept will make it into a production Buick is yet to be seen, but we do know the new try-shield logo will make its way on to all Buicks moving forward much in the same way Kia rolled out their modernized logo this past year. Also announced today is the addition of the "Electra" name to all future Buick EV models, so is this the Buick Electra Wildcat?
DETROIT — Buick today unveiled the Wildcat EV concept — an expressive vision of the brand’s new design direction as it transitions to an all-electric future.
The Wildcat was developed to convey the all-new design language that will influence Buick production models for the foreseeable future. Buick’s new tri-shield logo, mounted prominently on the body front and rear, symbolizes the design transformation and new production models will wear it starting next year.
“The Wildcat EV concept represents the real design future for the brand,” said Sharon Gauci, executive director, Global Buick and GMC Design. “Buick has always been forward looking and this expression is a glimpse of where we’re going, and the optimism we have for the limitless possibilities of an electric future.”
The Wildcat EV concept also introduces a new, expressive face for Buick, distinguished by a bold, forward-leaning front-end appearance that features a low-mounted, trapezoidal grille. Sharp, high-mounted and horizontal check mark-shaped lighting flanks the vehicle, while the outer edges of the grille house primary lighting. The lighting elements are configured to create a unique welcome choreography when the driver approaches.
Further, the vehicle — a 2+2 coupe — strikes a powerful, expressive presence, with an all-new, laid-back proportion complemented by a low, wide stance. The windshield wraps around and flows into the side glass, which tapers dramatically with the fast roofline to accentuate the aggressive profile.
“From every angle, the vehicle looks like it’s ready to pounce,” said Bob Boniface, director, Global Buick Design. “It’s the result of careful attention to the proportions and sculptural beauty derived from the intersection of forms, not lines.”
Additional exterior design highlights include:
Distinctive semi-swing doors for easy entry and exit.
Unique aluminum trim that appears to flow seamlessly into the interior seat structures.
Micro-LED lighting technology and thin-beam projector lenses for the front lighting.
Blade-style taillights embedded in the roof’s sail panels, culminating in check mark-style horizontal lamps that echo the front lighting signature.
An external “state of charge” indicator visible in the exterior hatchback glass.
Jet Age-inspired 18-spoke “turbine” wheels.
“The more you look at the Wildcat EV concept, the more the details reveal themselves,” said Boniface. “Its timeless proportions acknowledge the brand’s rich design legacy, while our latest technology moves you forward.”
A blend of modernity and warmth
Inside, the Wildcat EV concept’s cabin has an inner glow that is inviting and comforting, all while integrating new technologies designed to make the riding experience more enjoyable.
“It’s a space intended to strike an emotional chord,” said Therese Pinazzo, Buick exterior and interior design manager. “It is defined by simple, graceful forms that convey balance, harmony and a feeling of warmth.”
The 2+2 configuration, delineated by a prominent console that extends from the base of the instrument panel to the rear seating area, uses unique graphic and color contrasts to create the perception of visually floating elements intended to accentuate the cabin’s lightweight feel and spaciousness.
Color plays an important role in the warmth and comfort the interior conveys. Legato Green flows through the cabin and is accented with brushed or polished aluminum trim. Lively orange elements, including the seat belts, also add visual distinction.
Additional interior design elements include cockpit-style seats with cantilevered headrests that appear to be floating, and a lightweight, flat-bottom steering wheel.
When it comes to technology integration and infotainment interaction, a sweeping touchscreen is the access point on the instrument panel, along with a complementing screen on the console.
The Wildcat EV concept is built to be a platform for futuristic features such as artificial intelligence, biometrics and aromatherapy. The vehicle is designed to detect an elevation in driver heart rate and automatically adjust vehicle settings to calm them down. For example, when Zen Mode is activated, it will dim the cabin lights, disperse calming aromatherapy scents and activate massaging seats.
Everything about the concept is intended to convey what’s possible — in design, technology and the transformative experience of EV mobility.
“We are on the cusp of true change, and this concept is a tangible vision of it,” said Gauci. “It inaugurates the next chapter in Buick’s design heritage, as we make the crucial transition to our all-electric future.”