Buick’s GL8 Avenir Concept brings ancient Chinese crafts together with the latest in high-tech, yielding a spacious MPV with emotional impact
The GL8 Avenir concept MPV, revealed in Shanghai in April, provides a showcase for Buick’s expertise in blending science, technology, art and luxury. Developed by GM’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) joint venture in Shanghai, the design draws on unique insights into the needs and expectations of buyers in the high-end MPV market.
The concept’s exterior unites established Buick signatures with new elements drawn from traditional Chinese culture, including a focus on the beauty of details. The broad front grille was inspired by rolling waves, and forms a more threedimensional shape compared with the previous GL8. The calm and rhythmic pattern of its dark metal lattice, set within a chrome surround, features a surface finish designed to catch the light, creating attractive reflection effects. Wing-shaped LED front lamps feature Evonik covers for a smooth and seamless finish, while the daylight lamps have been upgraded in both material and internal structure.
At the rear, new wing-shaped tail lamps flow smoothly into the dramatic feature lines running along the concept’s flanks, while bright chrome highlights draw the eye, contrasting with the deep blue bodywork. Various elements are enlarged compared with the current GL8, including the grille, headlamps and chrome trim pieces. The changes alter the perception of the vehicle’s size and height, giving a more premium impression. Space is often the ultimate luxury while travelling, enhanced in the GL8 Avenir concept by a roomy, four-seat layout.
Inspired by traditional Chinese ink painting, the interior employs a light grey and deep blue palette. A pale cashmere carpet and dark blue headlining provide a restful backdrop for even the busiest journey, enhanced by overhead lighting that recreates a starry night. The interior also features a variety of beautiful lacquered surfaces, showcasing a traditional craft that is considered a national treasure in China. The technique employs natural materials and skilled manual processes, drawing on a 7,000- year history of craftsmanship to yield polished surfaces with rich colours, a delicate touch and unique artistry.
Over time, lacquered surfaces mature in both colour and lustre, a quality that is considered part of the technique’s appeal. Lacquer work within the GL8 Avenir Concept has been inspired by traditional blue-green Chinese paintings, with gold highlights adding to the cabin’s richness. All four seats provide a first-class experience, with a recline function and integrated extending leg rests in the rear. The pale upholstery is hand-stitched using a pattern of interlocking diamonds and straight lines, inspired by waterfalls. Blue armrests extend all the way to the floor, giving an impression of strength and support, while the rear centre armrest features a drinks cabinet, inspired by the luxurious fittings of private yachts.
The sumptuous cabin also features a surround speaker system and extensive ambient lighting. Coupled with the overhead illumination, the aim is to recreate the feeling of floating at sea on a starry night. Technical highlights include a 12-inch screen and 14-inch head-up display (HUD) system at the front, while seat-back displays, touchscreens at armrest level and wireless recharging receptacles cater for the needs of rear occupants. As a fully-functional show car, the GL8 Avenir Concept MPV offers a very clear indication of what to expect from Buick in the near future.
Pan Asia Automotive Technical Center Co., Ltd.
SAIC MOTOR / GM China LLC