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Buick Facelifts GL8 Minivan With 392-HP PHEV Powertrain, VIP Seating, And Subtle Exterior Upgrades

Key Takeaways

  • Updated Buick GL8 minivan arrives with a 392-horsepower plug-in hybrid powertrain.
  • Exterior styling tweaks and interior revisions are part of the facelift.
  • Special VIP seating transforms the minivan into a true luxury car.

Buick has unveiled the updated GL8 minivan at the Beijing Motor Show with fresh styling, new interior touches, and the addition of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Unlike the pre-facelift model, which had a 233-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the PHEV wades into battle with healthy combined outputs of 392 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque, courtesy of an electric motor and turbocharged 1.5-liter motor. Remember, the GL8 is a hefty brute, so acceleration isn’t particularly quick, but 62 mph coming up in 7.8 seconds isn’t unbearable.

The company hasn’t said how big the battery is but claims the luxury minivan can travel 86 miles on battery power. Reports from China suggest that the GL8 PHEV has a combined range of 851 miles. While impressive, both these figures should be taken with a pinch of salt, as they have been calculated on the optimistic CLTC cycle.

Wildcat-Inspired Exterior Styling

The updated GL8 also benefits from a host of aesthetic enhancements. The front end sports new headlights, with the L-shaped clusters making way for more fashionable split lights, with slim DRLs positioned above the headlights. Traces of the Wildcat EV are evident in the fascia, and overall, the GL8 is now more in line with the rest of the Buick range, such as the new Envision. The lower bits of the front bumper have more chrome flourishes, while the radiator grille is even more prominent than before.

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There’s not much designers can do with the side profile of a van, but Buick has made some changes, with new 18-inch wheels and an exciting hockey stick-like piece of chrome trim. This is very similar to the trim on the pre-facelift G11-generation 7 Series. Round back, the lightbar has also been updated with an extra splash of chrome thrown in for good measure.

Cabin Is More Luxurious Than Ever Before

The most essential revisions have taken place in the cabin, which is arguably the highlight of the GL8. The driver and front-row passenger benefit from a redesigned 30-inch curved display, similar to the screens seen in premium GM products available in the states. Buick has also simplified the air vents, opting for a recessed design that does away with traditional vents. The overall effect is positive, and the dashboard looks more luxurious and premium as a result. Occupants can sit back and enjoy supple Nappa leather upholstery, but only the front row seats with heating and ventilation (depending on the setup). An eight-speaker sound system is standard, but a more powerful 14-speaker setup is also available.

The 128-color ambient interior lighting will keep the kids in awe, which will hopefully distract them from fiddling with the smart controls on the door cards. Luxury vans are big business in China, so don’t think of this as a glorified Odyssey or Sienna rival. VIPs often opt for vans due to the interior space, so Buick has responded by setting up VIP and Aviation seating for the second row. This introduces heating and cooling for those seated in the middle row. Specifying the Aviation seats nets passengers a massage function and power adjustment.

VIP Seating Package Transforms GL8 From Plush Kid Hauler To Limo

With the VIP seats, second-row passengers receive a 15.6-inch entertainment screen and folding picnic tables. The screen is compatible with smartphones, which means occupants can wirelessly stream content from their mobile devices. There’s also a center console with a wireless charger and a fridge. Buick’s VIP package sounds like something you’d find in a $100,000 car, and Chinese customers want exactly that.

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As standard, the GL8 receives bench seating in the rearmost row, but customers can choose to have individual VIP captain’s chairs instead. While this reduces seating capacity to six, it extends heating/ventilation and power adjustments to all passengers. Again, ultimate space and comfort are the key for this market.

Surprisingly Reasonable Pricing

On the safety front, the GL8 ships have autonomous emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, and more. Despite all these features, the GL8 has a somewhat palatable price tag, with the base model starting at CN¥359,900 ($49,700) and going up to CN¥419,900 ($58,000).

That’s not cheap, but when you consider the luxury and power on offer, the GL8 looks like quite the bargain. It’s also a cut-price alternative to the recently revealed Zeekr 009 Grand, an EV that costs twice as much but gets high-end features and interior finishings, including marble.

#Buick #Facelifts #GL8 #Minivan #392HP #PHEV #Powertrain #VIP #Seating #Subtle #Exterior #Upgrades

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