It's got a lot of tech (and grille) going on.
The Buick Century has made a triumphant return, but not as another humdrum sedan. It also won't be sold in the USA as Americans have become severely allergic to minivans since the advent of the crossover. The new Century is an upmarket MPV. Think of it as the lovechild of a Toyota Sienna and BMW i7.
Buick's new Century is a China-only model, which makes sense if you look at the American brand's sales figures in the East. Since it was introduced via the SAIC-GM alliance in 1998, Buick has sold more than 10 million vehicles in China. And there's nothing the Chinese love more than space, and the Century provides plenty of it.
It is a garish-looking thing, however. We often criticize BMW for its ostentatious grilles, but the grille-to-hood ratio on the new Century is easily 1:1. Buick says it's a forward-leaning "shark nose," which is apt. It makes us want to run away in the opposite direction.
The Century is only available with a 2.0-liter turbocharged mild-hybrid four-pot engine producing 233 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.
The car's official title is GL8 Century, as it's part of Buick's growing MPV family, which includes the GL8 Avenir, GL8 ES, and GL8 Legacy. The Century is the most luxurious offering.
"Buick is the pioneer and ongoing leader in the luxury MPV segment in China," said Cesar Toledo, general director of Buick sales and marketing at SAIC-GM. "Our successful GL8 family has continued to raise the bar over the years. Representing a 'century' of development from Buick, the Century provides unmatched spaciousness and integrates expressive design with intelligent technology as well as luxurious comfort. It will exceed the expectations of customers and take the brand to new heights."
While we'd like to sit back and laugh at Buick's ugly shark car, it has a standard features list that easily rivals anything coming out of Rolls Royce and Bentley. The headlamps are made up of 90 individual LEDs, while the taillights take the count up to 730. These lights come standard with choreography, which we assume is a feel-good feature like the celebration thing Teslas do. A set of 19-inch brushed aluminum wheels are standard, as is the two-tone exterior.
In the six-seat configuration, the seats can be adjusted in seven different formats, including one for sleeping. The premium seats also have heating, ventilation, and 10-point massaging. Other standard features include a foldable table, wireless charging, and enough USB charging ports for everyone.
On the tech side, it comes with an EyeMax 30-inch Freeform display in 6K resolution.
The four-seater is the one we'd like to have. BMW and its theatre screen be damned.
Buick's four-seater has an in-vehicle partition with an integrated 32-inch sliding screen. It can be lowered, but why would you when the view forward can readily be displayed on the screen? Rear passengers also get an eight-inch clock, a Bose sound system, a scent diffuser, and a fridge.
The rear seats are finished in semi-aniline leather and come standard with 18-way power adjustment, not to mention the five-zone independent heating and 18-point zoned massage.
The star-lined roof consists of 366 LEDs and 162 flashing lights on the suede lining, and they can display a dynamic shooting star animation. The patterns have multiple lighting modes, including welcoming, romance, and meditation. But let's not kid ourselves. If you have a driver and a hot partner, the van will be in romance mode full-time.
The new Buick Century retails for the equivalent of $73,000 to $95,000 in China.