Gull-winged Buick Riviera has a salty tang

DAVE MOORE
Last updated 05:01 28/04/2013

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Sadly it may not look like the classic Riviera of the early 60s, but at least Buick's show car doesn't look like the GM mom and pop brand's monster coupes of the 70s and 80s either.

The 2013 Riviera coupe which was unveiled at the Shanghai show last week combines avant-garde aesthetics and advanced technology and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle propulsion in a single package. It is the fourth global concept vehicle jointly developed by Shanghai GM and Pan Asia Technical Automotive Centre (PATAC) joint venture in China. And it's not a bad effort, if you have seen some of the products to come out of other Chinese and JV efforts there.

The concept's silhouette with Buick's recognisable "sweep spear" has a three-dimensional effect that GM China says "resembles waves in the ocean coming to a standstill for a split second". We just think the Buick's gull-wing doors and general elegance are pretty neat, even if we can't see the maritime connection - except perhaps for the name.

However, the car's designers go further, telling us that the new Riviera has an ice celadon finish inspired by jade. Oh yeah?

Up front, the concept vehicle's updated signature waterfall grille with wing-shaped daytime running lights points the way for future production Buicks in both China and the United States. The Riviera concept has GM's dual-mode W-PHEV wireless plug-in hybrid electric vehicle propulsion system, which means a user can drive the car on green power in electric mode and the performance of a sports car while driving 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 just behind the front wheel arches.

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.

In passing, you might like to know that in 2012, GM sold more than 2.8 million vehicles in China.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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