The name “Riviera” carries a lot of weight with the Buick faithful, so you can believe that Buick wouldn’t use the name lightly. They haven’t used it on a production car since 1999 (which probably has to do with Buick not selling a coupe since ’99, but hey), and the last time it made an official appearance was on a concept at the 2007 Shanghai Motor Show.
Well, six years later, Buick’s back in Shanghai with a new Riviera concept—and this new Riviera is a stone-cold stunner. Those gullwing doors are big enough to make the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG insecure; sadly, those probably won’t make their way onto any future Buicks (at least not anytime soon), but the flowing, liquid style it wears—which was apparently inspired, no joke, by an ancient Chinese proverb that says “the greatest good is like water”—will be seen in toned-down form on Buicks before long.
Buick says the Riviera is powered by a plug-in hybrid powertrain that can be charged either by plugging a cable into one of the Buick-trademark portholes on the side of the car, or wirelessly using inductive charging (if you wanna know more how that works, click here for the handy Wikipedia page). Inductive charging hasn’t been brought to production cars yet, but it’ll probably be in some by the end of the decade—and, considering how it’ll make electric cars less of a hassle, we’re down with that.
The Buick Riviera Concept’s tech is just as wild as its exterior. The car uses a forward-facing safety system which collects data from 10 hi-def cameras and 18 distance-measuring sensors, then holographically projects the information on the dashboard. There’s night vision, an autopilot, and “transparent” A-pillars, along with 4G LTE internet access, electromagnetic suspension with air springs, and four-wheel steering. Again, most of this stuff is a long way from production, but here’s hoping we see it before too long. [Shout-out to Buick!]
New Buick Riviera Concept Vehicle Makes Global Debut
Merges avant-garde aesthetics and advanced technology
SHANGHAI – The new Buick Riviera concept vehicle made its global debut this evening in Shanghai.
The coupe combines avant-garde aesthetics and advanced technology, including plug-in hybrid electric vehicle propulsion, in a single package. It is the fourth global concept vehicle jointly developed by GM’s Shanghai GM and Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) joint ventures in Shanghai.
“The new Riviera offers a preview of Buick’s future design language,” said Shanghai GM President Ye Yongming. “By seamlessly integrating advanced technologies, flexible functions and contemporary aesthetics, the new Riviera heralds the start of a new chapter for the 110-year-old Buick brand.”
Elegant Design Inspired by the Dynamic Nature of Water
The new Riviera’s designers took inspiration from the Chinese saying: “The greatest good is like water.” The vehicle’s sweeping design, which goes from thick to thin, has the vibrant nature of a moving river embodied in its athletic shape, elegant ambience and deeply sculpted lines.
“Riviera is a design study of the future expression of Buick design with its elegant athletic shape, sculptural beauty, and precision execution,” said Ed Welburn, GM vice president of global design. “It is a great opportunity to share Buick’s future design language and technology strategy.”
The concept’s silhouette with Buick’s recognizable “sweep spear” has a three-dimensional effect that resembles waves in the ocean coming to a standstill for a split second. Buick’s unique gull-wing doors exude a dynamic yet elegant ambience. The new Riviera has an ice celadon finish inspired by jade.
Up front, the concept vehicle’s updated waterfall grille and wing-shaped daytime running lights will both become key elements of Buick’s future design DNA.
The new Riviera has a low drag coefficient and a harmonious balance between style and performance thanks to its raked windshield, 14-degree fastback design and metallic fiber spoiler, which are complemented by active grille shutters and diffusers, and active pneumatic wheels.
The interior carries on Buick’s signature 360-degree integrated design with high levels of elegance and refinement. The eaglewood tone interior features the abundant use of refined materials such as sand-blasted aluminum alloy, lava suede and ebony used in a bold style reminiscent of traditional Chinese jade-inlaid wood. This creates a striking visual effect as well as a subdued sense of luxury.
The new Riviera’s compact yet well-structured center console, front floating seats and adaptive seating system, as well as its noise-absorbing head restraint system, represent the best combination of interior design and elegance.
Innovative Propulsion, Infotainment and Safety Technology
The new Riviera has adopted BIP (Buick Intelligent Performance) technology. It is equipped with GM’s all-new, dual-mode W-PHEV (wireless plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) propulsion system. The user can drive the car on green power in electric mode and enjoy the exhilarating handling and performance of a sports car while driving “green” in hybrid mode. In addition, the vehicle can be charged with a traditional cable or wirelessly via a sensory recharge panel on the car’s chassis. The charging port is integrated into Buick’s iconic porthole design.
The new Riviera is also equipped with intelligent four-wheel steering, an electromagnetic-controlled suspension and an air spring package for sure handling and comfort in extreme conditions.
The innovative mobile Internet system adopted in the new Riviera supports high-speed 4G LTE network use. The concept vehicle offers real-time traffic information, weather updates, and news and entertainment while communicating with other vehicles. The vehicle’s voice commands and controls along with touch and gesture recognition activate a range of vehicle systems and enable seamless interaction between driver and vehicle.
The new Riviera employs a forward-looking active safety system that collects traffic information through 10 high-resolution cameras (for image monitoring) and 18 micro high-precision sensors (for distance monitoring). The information is integrated and presented in a holographic image onto the windshield.
The intelligent driver assist system provides occupants a high level of active safety and security. The system incorporates a variety of driver assist functions, including: an eagle view record system, night view assist, side blind-zone alert system, lane departure warning system, full-speed range-adaptive cruise control system, lane change assist system, parking assist system, rear cross-traffic alert system, autopilot system and “transparent” A pillars.
The new Riviera will be featured in the Buick display at Auto Shanghai 2013, which runs from April 20-29.