Buick Electra-L, Electra-LT concepts lead the Wildcat to production

Buick loves the Beijing Motor Show, and why shouldn’t it? Working with its local partner, SAIC, the brand seems to saves up so much mojo for April in Asia and shows up with stunning designs. Here are another two takes on the brand’s latest sheet metal philosophy, penned by the SAIC-GM Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center and riding on GM’s Ulitum platform, the Electra-L sedan and Electra-LT wagon concepts.

The Electra-L could be seen as a production version of the Wildcat EV concept from 2022 (not the Wildcat from 1985) that launched Buick’s new design language. All the major forms and curves are there, so too the turbine-style wheels, but the fastback roof’s been stretched to create adequate headroom for a quartet. The edges of the front fascia have been redrawn to be less aggressive and form a canvas for illuminated ornamentation. The four-door stretches 198.3 inches long on a 118.1-inch wheelbase, meaning less than an inch difference in both dimensions between the Buick and the new BMW i5. Power comes from a single motor on the rear axle making 342 horsepower. A battery of unknown capacity is claimed to be good for a 435-mile range under China’s CLTC test loop. The light-sensing glass roof hovers over a rectilinear instrument panel with a floating main display and a retractable 7-inch screen for the front passenger, four pressure-sensitive “zero-gravity” seats wrapped in an eco-friendly fabric, and rear quarters with a small inductive cooktop for enjoying tea in the custom tea set. 

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SAIC and Buick had less to say about the Electra-LT. Looking like the Allroad version of the Electra-L, it’s got fender extensions framing the “titanium metal armor” wheel design, an air suspension that can lift the body by 1.6 inches, and that roof box to broadcast its light adventure credentials. Fitted with the same basic interior layout as the sedan, the wagon might add a third row; the description says its “eConnect smart cabin system supports 7-screen interaction.” We’re not sure if something got left out of the powertrain description, though, as the Electra-LT said to be powered by a 342-hp motor on the rear axle while also possessing “independent four-wheel drive.”   

Two years ago, Buick said it would introduce five all-new EVs in China by 2025. The sedan is rumored to be headed to the Chinese market next year, a production version perhaps ready by the time of the 2025 Auto Shanghai. It will join three electric Buicks already on the market there, the Electra E4 and Electra E5 crossovers and the Velite 6 wagon. The future of the Electra-LT is a bit more cloudy — it could be a new generation of the Velite, or, because the Electra-L sedan concept is 15 inches longer than the current Velite 6 wagon, a production version of the three-row Electra-LT might provide a larger option for buyers who don’t want a crossover.

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