By Andrew Ganz
Friday, Apr 19th, 2013 @ 10:40 am
 
Further signifying the importance of the Chinese market to Buick, one of the General Motors division's most storied nameplates is back, debuting this week in Shanghai as a concept car.

The Buick Riviera Concept coupe, designed by both Shanghai GM and the automaker's Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center, doesn't so much celebrate Buick's past as it does look to its future - a future that's distinctly influenced by the brand's success in China.

Inspired by the Chinese saying "the greatest good is like water," the Riviera's sculpted shape is designed to capture the "dynamic nature of water," Buick says.

GM design chief Ed Welburn says that the car is "a design study of the future expression of Buick," a hint that future production cars could draw heavily from the Riviera.

Underneath its sleek looks, the Riviera features fuel-saving technology like active grille shutters and diffusers, plus active pneumatic wheels. Inside, it uses eaglewood toning, sand-blasted aluminum alloy, lava suede and ebony to evoke China's distinctive jade-inlaid wood. Further emphasizing its subdued demeanor, Buick has integrated noise-absorbing head restraints.

On the tech front, the Riviera features the first use of GM's new wireless plug-in hybrid (W-PHEV) system, which utilizes a sensory recharge panel underneath the vehicle for wireless charging. Buick hasn't stated whether the Riviera's inductive charging system has anything to do with its investment in Powermat a few years ago.

Separately, the Riviera also includes 4G LTE capability to receive real-time traffic information and other road and weather condition updates. A total of 10 high-resolution cameras and 18 micro high-precision sensors help monitor the road ahead.