It is Buick's goal to become to Cadillac what BMW was to Mercedes before BMW also became totally ostentatious: a subtler yet still prestigious brand with nothing overstated. The Velite Concept, which may or may not materialize around 2007, shows the company working hard towards the aforementioned position with a powerful four-seater convertible that could quite possibly retail for under $40,000. The exterior incorporates several traditional Buick design cues, like the vertical-slat grille, the angular boattail rear end, and the ventiports gracing the front quarterpanels. The ideal engine would be a 400-hp twin-turboed V6, with room in the bay for an eight cylinder if necessary. The interior is a dreamy combination of brown and light blue leather, plus elegant chrome brightwork, and unless my eyes are going on me, an actual manual transmission. It may be relatively easy to get a concept car's interior right when cost is no object and it only has to be produced once, but I applaud Buick for moving away from the lifeless tan-on-taupe-on-beige combinations of recent snoremobiles.
Posted Aug 3rd 2004 12:33PM