Restrained extravagance. Two seemingly incompatible words that nonetheless convey the spirit of the Buick Velite – a four-seat convertible that envelops its passengers in an elegant environment while forging new ground in the territory of upscale rear-drive mid-size automobiles.
The Velite is the first American demonstration of GM’s all-new Zeta global vehicle architecture, featuring a premium rear-wheel-drive chassis. Buick will unveil the Velite concept at the New York Auto Show.
Named after a class of quick-moving soldiers in Napoleon’s army, the Velite was designed at GM’s Advanced Studio in Warren, Mich. and assembled at renowned coachbuilder Stile Bertone’s studio in Italy. Its sister car, the Opel Insignia, debuted the Zeta architecture at the Frankfurt International Auto Show last year.
Designers pored over Buick’s extremely rich design history while also studying trends in global cultures and contemporary design. Modern furniture and even the atmosphere of trend-setting lounges influenced the color, mood and shape of the Velite’s exterior and interior. The hood integrates portholes – three per side – in a romantic, yet contemporary nod to Buick’s heritage. The hood tilts forward when opened, creating a dramatic look that evokes a bygone era of touring cars.
Contemporary design also is reflected in the Velite’s passenger compartment, which uses sumptuous materials and the warm glow of indirect lighting. Subdued lighting radiates a warm glow throughout the cabin, and is complemented by leather of three shades: Bronze Pearl, Iceberg Blue, and Woven Tan. The look of Gold Leaf Lacquer, in place of wood, is a statement of richness in many Asian cultures; it accents the interior, including the door handles and shift knob. All seating is leather-covered and the materials used throughout the interior were selected for their reassuring tactile feel.
Power to move the Velite comes from Buick’s experimental twin-turbocharged, intercooled global V-6 engine. Four hundred horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque are derived from its DOHC design and 3.6-liter displacement. The engine features fuel-saving variable valve timing technology, which is available on some of GM’s four-, five-, six- and eight-cylinder engines. Through the use of variable engine valve timing, valve lift and duration is continuously varied to improve fuel economy, horsepower and torque, while reducing emissions.
The V-6 is backed by a Hydra-Matic 6L80-E six-speed, rear-wheel-drive automatic transmission equipped with manual tap-shift gear selection. A pair of large, oval exhaust outlets provides an aural reminder that performance is very much a part of the vehicle’s character.
Although a concept, the Velite affirms GM’s vision for Buick as a global manufacturer of premium, elegant vehicles. It shows the exciting possibilities of the all-new Zeta vehicle architecture and an expressive new direction for Buick.
Story by General Motors Corporation, edited by Supercars.net
Twin Turbo V6
VVT, Varible Intake,
3600 cc / 219.7 in³
298.3 kw / 400 bhp @ 6200 rpm
111.11 bhp per litre
255.59 bhp per tonne
542.33 nm / 400 ft lbs @ 3200 rpm
body / frame
Zeta Architechture – Steel Body over Aluminum & Steel Chassis