• Image Credit: Buick
  • Image Credit: Buick
  • Image Credit: Buick
When we wrote about the Buick Enspire concept debut in China earlier this year, we said "we wouldn't be surprised to see either an all-new crossover, or a redesigned current model, sporting the designs seen on this concept." Now it appears General Motors might be planning to go with Option A. GM Authority discovered a trademark application for the name "Enspire," to be applied to "Automobiles, excluding motor homes." This is the second time GM filed for the name, the first being in 2015.

As always, applications don't mean certainties. However, we know Buick has a range of new models in development, it's losing the LaCrosse sedan and its crossovers sell quite well. If there's to be a new vehicle called Enspire, it shouldn't be hard to guess what kind it would be.

GMA's previous investigations picked up clues that there'll be two new Buick crossovers, one about the size of the China-sourced Envision and sitting on the E2 platform that supports the Cadillac XT4, Chevrolet Malibu, and Buick Regal. Based on data in an IHS Automotive document, the site said the putative Enspire's platform code is E2UB, the U for utility vehicle, the B for Buick. The other crossover would sit above an Envision, below the Enclave, on the short-wheelbase C1 platform employed by the Cadillac XT5.

We can probably take the Enspire concept's design cues as a preview of the future, if not its electric drivetrain. Designers carved the wide, formidable stance with curved and elongated versions of traditional Buick brand cues, such as the grille crossbar stretching into the headlights. A futuristic, art-filled and screen-heavy interior contrasts with genuine wood, and is probably best not to look at because Buick couldn't bring anything like it to production.

The electric drivetrain included a 550-horsepower electric motor and enough battery to power a 370-mile range. Those figures seem a little outlandish given the potential price tag and the Buick badge. Besides, GM has other plans for a dedicated EV powertrain in development that should bow around 2021, and a Buick EV based on the Chevrolet Bolt's BEV II architecture. As such, a conventional powertrain seems more likely for an Enspire crossover, at least initially.

The same IHS Automotive document said the E2UB vehicle would go into production in Shanghai in late 2019. If the pieces come together as suggested, we wouldn't be surprised at a Beijing reveal for the production version of whatever is potentially called the Buick Enspire next year.

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