Buick has dusted off the Invicta name, which hasn't been used by the brand since 1959, for its newest concept that debuted today at the Beijing Motor Show. The mid-size sedan previews the look of what U.S. customers will get with the next redesign of the LaCrosse sedan, and draws much of its design inspiration from Buick's most recent concepts like the Riviera and Velite. The Invicta features traditional Buick design cues like its waterfall grille and portholes, relocated on this car to the hood rather than the front fenders, but the rest of its styling is modern and fresh in a decidedly un-Buick way. The high beltline is a common element in many auto designs today, and is used well on the Invicta to give the concept a big presence for a mid-size car. We particular the shape of the lower air intake up front and the "sweepspear" character line along the side of the car. The sweepspear looks a bit like the sheetmetal kink on the Dodge Avenger, but so much better. The interior, meanwhile, appears surprisingly production ready with a wraparound dash and self-contained location for all controls above the sweeping center console.
Power for the concept comes from a turbocharged, direct-inject four-cylinder engine producing 250 horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque, which is hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission. Since it's a concept, however, the Invicta's powertrain is pretty immaterial. We're interested in its styling since it's likely what we'll see on the next-gen LaCrosse, which is scheduled to switch over to the Epsilon II platform that's shared with the Chevy Malibu when it debuts as a 2010 model. According to spy shots, things are coming along quite nicely.
Buick Evolves Global Design Inspiration Into Invicta Show Car
BEIJING – The sleek Buick Invicta show car revealed here in conjunction with Auto China 2008 is Buick's strongest statement yet of its deliberately international plans. The four-door midsize sedan with a coupe-like roofline presents bold direction for Buick's new generation of vehicles in the world's two biggest automotive markets – the United States and China.
Invicta has evolved from Buick concepts such as the 2004 Velite convertible and 2007 Riviera coupe, both of which received accolades for their thoroughly modern adaptation of classic Buick themes. Invicta was designed collaboratively by GM centers of expertise in Warren, Mich. and Shanghai, China. The name, which is Latin for "invincible," returns to Buick after a 45-year hiatus in the United States.
"Buick's global appeal created an opportunity for GM Design Centers to elevate our collaboration to new levels. Using our virtual reality centers in Warren and Shanghai, designers fused the best ideas from both cultures during the development of the Invicta," said Edward T. Welburn, vice president, General Motors Global Design. "The result will set a new design standard for Buick, and it couldn't have been achieved by one studio working in isolation. The Invicta represents another significant design milestone in Buick's history."
Invicta is powered by Buick's first direct injection turbocharged engine, a four-cylinder powerplant that produces 250 horsepower (186 kW) and 220 lb-ft (298 Nm) of torque. The engine is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission for maximum fuel efficiency.
Modern, sleek exterior
Invicta's designers drew inspiration from the Riviera concept. Invicta features modern and sleek proportions with exterior lines that flow uninterrupted around the vehicle. For example, Invicta's cat-eye headlamps transition into the Buick heritage-inspired sweepspear design cue, which flows seamlessly along the body sides and merges into the taillamps. Similarly, one can trace the top of the headlamp casing to the roofline and the rear of the vehicle without interruptions.
As with Riviera, Invicta features short overhangs with wheels pushed out to the corners for a well-planted stance. The overall appearance is sleek, thanks in part to a sweeping, low roofline and a front windshield that has an aggressive rake.
Up front, the Buick tri-shield is prominently displayed inside the Velite-inspired chrome vertical waterfall grille. Polished aluminum surrounding the headlamps, portholes, around the D-pillar and along the lower side of the vehicle on the lower doors accentuates the overall exterior design. Reminiscent of a number of historic Buick models, Invicta's portholes – three per side – are located on the hood rather than on the front quarter panels.
Invicta's wheelbase and high belt line give the vehicle more substantial proportions while visually reinforcing its premium appearance. Invicta's 20-inch polished aluminum wheels feature a milled Buick tri-shield in the center cap.
To signal its premium attributes while enhancing the vehicle's sleek proportions, Invicta's exterior is draped in a sumptuous AluStone color. Its warm beige tone contains wafer-thin flakes of aluminum that reflect light to emit a liquid gold appearance.
Flowing, crafted interior
The focus and attention to seamless transitions carry over inside Invicta. The doors merge to become one with the instrument panel, which morphs into the center console.
The wrap-around design of the interior and fluid design provide a spacious cabin for all passengers, especially those seated in the back of the vehicle. At nearly 100 cubic feet of interior space, Invicta delivers large-car comfort in a mid-size sedan. The sense of roominess is further accentuated by a full glass roof, which allows all passengers to enjoy the sights, day or night.
Invicta also showcases a high level of interior craftsmanship while creating an environment that is soothing, quiet, comfortable and inviting for all passengers.
The blending of premium materials – such as wood trim and polished aluminum accents, soft aniline leather, supple suede-like material and soothing Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting technology – encase passengers in Buick luxury.
Beyond its sumptuous appearance, Buick created a show car for the senses. Authentic French seam stitching on the soft-touch instrument panel pad, door panels and steering wheel invites touch. Buttons, switches and door pulls are crafted to deliver a tactile quality experience. Soft and soothing Ice Blue ambient LED lighting on the instrument panel, around the central vehicle function controls, along the console and center storage, and in the front footwells provoke visual sophistication. Two discriminating "spotlights" also accent the center point of the front and rear seats.
Buick introduced the Invicta in North America as a production vehicle in 1959. The Invicta show car is the first time the nameplate has appeared on a Buick in China.
BUICK INVICTA SPECIFICATIONS
Vehicle type: four-door, five-passenger luxury show car sedan
Wheelbase (in / mm): 114.5 / 2908
Length (in / mm): 194.2 / 4932
Width (in / mm): 73.8 / 1874
Height (in / mm): 57.7 / 1466
Track (in / mm): 64.4 / 1635 front; 64.5 / 1637 rear
Engine: 2.0L DOHC, direct injection turbo
Horsepower (kW): 250 / 186
Torque (Nm): 220 / 298
Transmission: six-speed automatic
Suspension: MacPherson strut, front; independent, rear
Brakes: four-wheel anti-lock disc
Wheels: polished aluminum, 20 in. x 8.5 in. with milled Buick emblem