Although Buick may be using the term concept fairly loosely here, the LaCrosse GL Concept -- which is slated to make its full unveiling next week at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show -- gives a glimpse into the brains of Buick's designers and the future palette of the tri-shield brand.
Along with its raft of new models, Buick is looking to become a "welcoming, approachable luxury brand," and plans to focus in the near future on designs, textures, and colors to further heighten its owners' experiences with its cars. To do so, the brand's designers are looking to richer, deeper exterior and interior colors; softer, more buttery leather; and helpings of alcantara and brushed chrome accents.
The GL Concept Buick showed us looked slick in a deep cabernet red metallic paint with the more muted brushed chrome trim, and the 20-inch wheels from the Regal GS also in brushed chrome. The interior was dressed in two-tone cocoa brown and chocochino (caramel) soft leather, accented by a light caramel-colored alcantara headliner and ice-blue contrast stitching. Wood and chrome interior trim has been darkened to help imbued a warmer cabin feel.
Most notable about the GL Concept's interior, however, was the smell. In a similar vein to the distinct aroma that BMW's leather interiors have, the LaCrosse GL smelled of warm, worn leather with a hint of tea. We asked Magdalena Kokoszynska, the creative designer for the LaCrosse GL Concept, if the unique smell was part of the new "emotive" brand message Buick was moving toward. We found the aroma distinct and appealing, and potentially a great olfactory signature. Sadly, "the scent was not part of the plan, but a result of the materials we used. We have people working on the new-car smell, but that is not currently part of the plan."
Buick also showed us some styling bucks for other potential interiors, using the same soft leather and deep color palette. The brand wants to move away from the typical grey, beige, and black to a "rich, warm, and contemporary color palette." Every aspect of the GL concept that we touched felt expensive and it was clear that Buick's designers had put thought into every texture and color.
The LaCrosse GL Concept will make its official debut next week on the floor of the Los Angeles Auto Show, and, while that exact interior has not been approved for production yet, expect to see something like it soon.