All-New Buick GL8 Minivan Fully Revealed, Only for China

After selling more than 330,000 units of the original Buick GL8 since 1999, General Motors unveiled an all-new version of its MPV model featuring several key improvements and innovations, destined exclusively for the China market. Built by the firm's Shanghai GM joint venture, the new GL8 is said to offer an "unmistakable Buick experience" - always according to the automaker.

“The new GL8 was developed by Shanghai GM in cooperation with the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) in Shanghai with the specific needs of our customers in mind”, said Terry Johnsson, Shanghai GM Vice President of Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing. “It offers everything that consumers have come to expect from Buick, including a dynamic, smooth, quiet and comfortable ride. Like its predecessor, the new GL8 is the right product at the right time.”

Based on the 2009 Buick Business hybrid concept model and boasting the “classic waterfall grille”, the GL8 features several sharp edges running from front to rear, giving it a modern look. Large, tear-shaped headlamps cut into the fenders, while LEDs incorporated into the tail lamps and rear bumper.

With a wheelbase measuring 3,088 mm (122 inches), the MPV provides a spacious cabin for up to 7 passengers. Being a luxury oriented people carrier, the GL8 features all the usual amenities such as genuine leather seats, panorama sunroof, electric sliding door and lift door, high-quality Bose sound system, 7-inch touch screen up front and 10.2-inch HD display for the next two rows. OnStar is also on the menu.

The engine range kicks off with a 2.4-liter Ecotec four-pot and tops out with a 3.0-liter V6 SIDI direct injection powerplant. A six-speed automatic is standard on all variants.

For enhanced safety, ESP will do its best to prevent accidents and certain models can also be specified with 6 airbags.

The new GL8 will hit the Chinese market in January 2011, for a retail price of between RMB 288,000 and RMB 388,000 [US$43,300 - 58,300]. In parallel, Shanghai GM will offer an updated 2011 model of the current generation, featuring the 2.4-liter engine and six-speed automatic, targeting the upper-medium segment. General Motors claims that this dual-model strategy will result in better market coverage.

By Csaba Daradics