Buick Wildcat EV Concept Is a Stunning Look at the Future
Don't expect any power figures from this one. That's not what this concept is about at all.
Andrew KrokReviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Concept cars are all about thinking into the future, whether it's near-term or long-term. Sometimes, that means jamming wildly powerful engines (or, increasingly, electric motors) into something that looks closer to a Gundam than a car. But the Buick Wildcat EV concept isn't one of those -- a lesson likely learned from the Avista, which turned a 400-horsepower rear-drive supercoupe into little more than new headlights for humdrum crossovers. The Wildcat is all about design, and what a design it is.
Buick on Tuesday unveiled the Wildcat EV concept car. Get your brain out of the powertrain gutter and focus those peepers on this car's aesthetics, because that's the main point of this thing. This is the next generation of Buick's design language, something we'll begin to see on refreshed and new-generation internal-combustion vehicles, continuing on through the automaker's EV-only future.
Do you remember the whole "That's a Buick?" ad campaign? That's all I had in my brain when I saw this concept in person a week ago. It's a stunner from start to finish. The body is low, long and wide, all the right proportions for a pie-in-the-sky, no-holds-barred concept car. The sharklike nose up front, its lower grille and and its top-mounted logo (which is also new) are things you may very well see in future Buicks. The same goes for the headlights, which -- dare I say it -- look more than a little supercar-ish in shape.
The interior might be even more impressive. First, the color choice is fabulous, with a deep green rising up from the highly stylized carpet to the door panels. Brushed and polished aluminum are absolutely everywhere, with some warm fabrics playing the role of contrast. The cantilevered headrests are both retro and futuristic at the same time. My favorite part might be the passenger side of the dashboard, though; its depth extends well behind the screens, a nod to the kind of packaging EVs can afford designers. There's a bunch of highfalutin' wellness stuff in here, as well, like aromatherapy and massaging seats tied to biometrics, but again, the real focus here is on the design.
Of course, not every inch of the Wildcat EV will make it to production vehicles. The extremely fat fenders over the rear wheels are a bit too aggro, since a real-deal sports coupe probably won't end up in Buick's portfolio. The taillights, which carry a bit of a Volvo vibe thanks to an L-shaped construction that stretches damn near to the roof, are likely just to accentuate the rear end's shape and frame the honkin' rear windshield. When the doors open, panels on the roof rise up to improve ingress and egress -- a cool thing to behold, but undoubtedly expensive to manufacture and maintain. Side-view camera mirrors aren't really legal in the US, so those are out, too. And heaven only knows how expensive that interior would be.
But that's the beauty of a concept car. It's all about taking something to the extreme -- design, in this case. As Buick prepares to go all-electric by the end of the decade, the company can use that opportunity to start thinking outside GM's traditional boxes and get a little weird with it. And in that vein, the Wildcat EV is right where it needs to be.