Buick Wildcat concept shows design direction for Electra EV series arriving in 2024

Buick on Wednesday revealed a concept that it says previews “an expressive vision of the brand’s new design direction” as it transitions to fully electric by the end of the decade. And it also confirmed that upcoming Buick EVs—including the first one to arrive in North America in 2024—will carry the Electra name, as part of a naming series. 

The Wildcat is meant to convey design language—not tech specs—and collectively it suggests that Buick design might have recently shifted. 

In early 2020, GM executives showed Green Car Reports and various other outlets a clay-model version of a modern Buick electric crossover powered by its Ultium propulsion platform, and noted that it was wearing “the new face of Buick.” 

That was quite different than what Buick is showing here in the Wildcat, with a stepped-up look. While that crossover looked much-inspired by the 2018 Buick Enspire concept, or the Buick Electra concept itself from 2020, the Wildcat appears to show that Buick has taken some new turns even since then.

Buick Wildcat EV concept

Buick Wildcat EV concept

Buick Wildcat EV concept

Buick Wildcat EV concept

Buick Wildcat EV concept

Buick Wildcat EV concept

The Wildcat is a 2+2 coupe—meaning that it has a very small back seat—and its silhouette is one of the most noteworthy elements, incorporating a leaning-forward front end and a rather upright windshield that flows cleanly around to smooth, tapered rear-end styling. 

The look of the whole car is balanced; it appears formal and upscale yet edgy, aggressive yet calm. The Wildcat combines some very sharp creases and pointed details up front with otherwise soft and graceful contouring and bodywork. Buick notes that the concept has “semi-swing doors for easy entry and exit,” and it opted for eye-catching 18-spoke “turbine” wheels that it describes as Jet Age–inspired. 

Buick Wildcat EV concept

Buick Wildcat EV concept

Buick Wildcat EV concept

Buick Wildcat EV concept

The circular logo is gone, and a new tri-shield design adorns the front and rear of the car—with one each colored red, white, and blue within. Rear lights pull downward from the roofline, then outward to the corners, in three streaks of LED, while a soft metallic look marks the rear accents. 

While there are plenty of elements in this exterior that we think would translate well to production, the excessive brightwork of the concept might not carry so well to the present. One of the wildest parts of the Wildcat’s design are its seats, which look oddly bolstered and adorned with shiny brightwork. A full-length console splits up the spaces left to right, and it’s not entirely clear whether that’s space available for stowing things or whether GM sees this as dual-level battery-pack space. 

Buick Wildcat EV concept

Buick Wildcat EV concept

If this all sounds like it’s harking back to another era, Buick also notes that the Wildcat EV concept is “built to be a platform for futuristic features such as artificial intelligence, biometrics and aromatherapy.” The brand says that the concept would, for instance, detect the driver’s elevation in heart rate and then activate Zen Mode, with dimmed cabin lights, massage seats, and soothing scents. 

The brand underscores that this concept is something to take note of—although certainly not necessarily production-bound. The brand has saved the name for “innovative, progressive Buick concept vehicles that pushed the boundaries of design and technology,” it says. In 1985, for instance, it applied the name to a mid-engine, all-wheel-drive supercar “developed to showcase new engine technologies.”

Buick notes that its new brand identity will include “new typography, an updated color palette, and a new marketing approach,” with remote vehicle access, wifi data, and safety services all included as standard equipment.

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