|Buick Envision. Click to enlarge.|
Shanghai GM officially launched the Buick Envision premium midsize SUV today in Chengdu. Four variants are being offered: the AWD Elite, AWD Luxury, AWD Versatile Flagship and AWD Versatile Sporty Flagship.
The Envision comes with GM’s latest-generation 2.0T direct injection turbocharged engine, named one of Ward’s 10 Best Engines for 2013. It generates maximum power of 191 kW (256 hp) at 5,500 rpm and peak torque of 353 N·m (260 lb-ft) at 5,300 rpm, with power per liter reaching 95.5 kW/L. The Envision accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.4 seconds; with engine start/stop standard across the lineup, combined fuel economy is 8.8L/100 km (26.7 mpg US).
The engine is mated to GM’s all-new six-speed Dynamic Start/Stop Shift (DSS) automatic transmission (also used in the new Cruze, earlier post).
The production model is inspired by the Buick Envision plug-in hybrid concept vehicle, introduced at Auto Shanghai 2011. (Earlier post.) The plug-in hybrid concept was equipped with a 2.0-liter SIDI intelligent direct injection turbocharged engine complemented by a pair of electric motor generators in the Envision’s dual automatic/manual eight-speed transmission.
The Envision also comes with a new, intelligent all-wheel-drive system, which provides a variable front-to-rear torque split and a 0:100~100:0 rear torque split. Offered for the first time by GM, this system features two electronically controlled multi-plate clutches in the rear axle automatically distribute torque from the front to rear wheels and between the rear wheels as needed. This makes it more responsive, flexible and efficient, and provides a better driving experience with enhanced ride comfort and dynamics than conventional all-wheel-drive systems, the company said.
The Envision’s chassis consists of a MacPherson strut front suspension, an optimized and fully independent four-link rear suspension, and a full front subframe. This gives the SUV rigidity and precise handling. The class-leading FlexRide system provides four selectable driving modes: Normal, Tour, Sport and Off-Road.
Seventy-five percent of the Envision’s body is made of high-strength steel, with 13% made of ultra-high-strength steel. Key areas such as the A-pillar, B-pillar, roof and driver's foot fender are made of ultra-high-strength hot-pressed steel. Door plates are four times stronger than those made of ordinary steel.
The Envision comes with Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane-Keeping Assist, Following Distance Indicator, Forward Collision Alert, Collision Mitigation Braking, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and intelligent headlights.
It also comes with anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, electronic stability control, a traction control system and Hill Start Assist as standard across the line. Options include Hill Descent Control, OnStar and the Automatic Parking Assist system.
The Envision is the first vehicle in its segment in China to come standard with Active Noise Cancellation technology, which reads sound waves through microphones inside the vehicle and produces an opposite sound wave from speakers to counteract it. The vehicle also employs Buick’s Quiet-Tuning technology, which reduces, blocks or absorbs noise. These technologies include the use of liquid applied sound dampers (LASD). Compared with traditional sound insulating pads, LASD are not only lighter and greener, but also deliver better sound-proofing and shock-absorbing performance.
New drag-reducing intake grille shuts automatically to lower wind drag and reduce fuel consumption when the vehicle starts or operates at high speeds. The rear power liftgate can be completely or partially opened by adjusting the opening height in three levels. The top-of-the-line Envision variant features a foot-sensing function to allow hands-free opening of the liftgate.
The Envision carries forward the design essence of the Buick Envision concept vehicle, reflecting Buick’s modern design language. The design is stylish and sporty. It comes with a new intelligent drag-reducing grille, wing-style front and rear lights with LED lamps inside, curved flank lines, 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels, an aluminum alloy luggage rack and a wing-shaped spoiler.
The Envision measures 4,667 mm in length, 1,839 mm in width and 1,696 mm in height, and rides on a wheelbase of 2,750 mm. This gives it a roomy interior. Its split rear seats fold flat and can slide forward or backward to provide up to 1,550 liters of space for carrying cargo. In addition, there are 24 storage compartments.