Buick showed it wouldn’t be left behind in the electric vehicle (EV) market on Monday, debuting the Wildcat electric concept, taking the name from a decades-old production vehicle concept. Like the original, the new Wildcat is a big two-door coupe. Unlike the older version, this one doesn’t have a gas-guzzling V8.
“The Wildcat EV concept represents the true future of design for the brand,” said Sharon Gauci, executive director, global design, Buick-GMC in a press release. “Buick has always been forward-looking, and this expression is a glimpse of the direction we’re headed and the optimism we have for the limitless possibilities of an electric future.”
The Wildcat’s face features a forward-slanted front end with a lower grille that would look right at home on an internal combustion vehicle. The bars are sealed, less airflow is required as no engine cooling is required, and are flanked by two notch-shaped headlights. Concept-style turbine wheels measure 18 inches and at the rear, blade-shaped LED taillights join the fronts in a welcome sequence, like the new BMW 7 Series, as the driver rises.
Buick noted that the low and wide concept was a way to show off its future designs. These marks look best on coupes and sedans.
“It’s definitely a way to make it a dramatic expression that people will remember and understand,” said Therese Pinazzo, Buick’s exterior and interior design manager. Newsweek.
The Wildcat was one of the few times the entire design team agreed on a sketch almost immediately.
“There are times in time when a team really rallies around a sketch. When it came up, everyone gravitated towards it and everyone was behind what was depicted,” Gauci said. Newsweek. “Beyond the design team, it started to influence some leadership decisions and we decided we needed to make it a concept vehicle.”
To enter the Wildcat, all you have to do is press a button that automatically opens the door and opens the roof a few centimeters. This allows the rear passengers to access as easily as the front passengers.
Inside the cabin, the Wildcat features light-colored leather with Legato Green on the carpets and dash. The center console floats from the front seats to the rear. It features lots of metallic accents, chrome and other brushed with a flat finish.
Buick says the concept “is designed to be a platform for futuristic features like artificial intelligence, biometrics and aromatherapy.” It can detect heart rate and adjust vehicle settings for relaxation. In “Zen” mode, cabin lights turn off, aromatherapy scents are released, and massage seats are activated.
Despite the effort put into this concept, when Buick does introduce a production entry into the EV landscape, it will be a compact crossover using another throwback name: Electra, followed by an alphanumeric.
Buick’s first North American electric vehicle will land in 2024 using the name and new badging, which has not been updated since 1990. The three-shield tricolor logo is illuminated on the Wildcat concept on the nose, the tail and steering wheel. It’s a bold look, but not surprising as many brands are updating their look. The lighting is also not surprising, as many luxury car manufacturers also offer this gem.
The new Electra lineup will be complete by the end of this decade, according to Buick, but there will be a time when gas and electric vehicles go on sale. The company also says its new cars will come with three years of OnStar and offer a premium Connected Services plan for Wi-Fi.