Meet The Chinese-Market Buick Excelle 1.6 Turbo Sport Edition18
Selling just shy of 2,500 units in March, the Buick Verano is off to a good start in the U.S. But what some may not be aware of is the fact that the Verano’s twin in China — the Buick Excelle GT — has a sporty version that’s not available in the U.S. of A.
For starters, the Excelle GT 1.6 sport edition (yes, that’s the official name) cradles a 1.6 liter turbo-charged Ecotec engine good for 135 Kw (181 horses) and 235 Nm (173 lb.-ft.) of torque. These numbers are almost identical to the base naturally-aspirated 2.4 liter Ecotec found in the North American-market Verano, but the 1.6T obviously behaves differently thanks to a different power band of the turbocharged mill.
The changes to the Excelle sport edition don’t end with the engine, however, as the Excelle features the FlexRide system that allows the driver to recalibrate the driving mode of the car with the push of a button — think Buick Regal’s Interactive Drive Control. Entering Sport Mode, for instance, adjusts the gas pedal for a more linear feel and changes the damper settings — all in real time — to stiffen the suspension. Touring mode relaxes the car’s suspenders to make for a more relaxed ride. The Excelle also has Xenon HID headlamps with dynamic level height adjustment and a headlamp cleaner. Interesting that Buick decided to exclude both of these features from the U.S.-market Verano.
Rounding out the additions to the 1.6T are a rear spoiler, aluminum pedals, and red with black fabric wrapping the bolstered sport seats. The Excelle GT retails from 132,000 RMB, or $20,912 at current conversion rates.
Knowing this is possible with the Verano/Excelle Delta II platform, do you think the Buick Verano sold in North America can benefit from such a package/trim? Talk to us in the comments!
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GM needs to pull out all the stops with the Verano, this vehicle could be sweet in a sport theme here in the states.
Verano doesn’t need this motor. The 2.0 turbo is coming to the Verano. However the 2.5L needs to be offered in the Verano pronto. And get a color information display in there (like the 2013 Malibu). Same with the Regal
Agreed on the engine and color display. No reason even the Cruze shouldn’t have one either, actually.
But what of the other features, namely the interactive ride control?
or just offer the Cruze with the 2.0T
With interactive Ride Control we could have the best of both worlds — sporty or soft. But then, if Buick were to be a “full luxury brand,” it would impinge on Cadillac. All the more to let Buick evolve on its own within that huge price gap between Chevy and Cadillac. I believe cars like the Verano and Encore will do that, but we need more. I would welcome the Excelle XT here in the U.S. I don’t see GM adding some of the nice features of the XT to a Cruze Hatch, and then offering them to U.S. buyers. Just won’t happen. But Buick is at least opening the door with the Encore.
By the way, I had “interactive ride control” on my 1984 Mazda 626. It didn’t have the plush ride of a Buick in either mode, but at least they were that forward-thinking almost 3 decades ago. Now we’re seeing something just as progressive with SkyActive. After the 626 I felt I should buy American, so I bought Saturns. Running a Saturn for a 100K miles and then tossing it pretty much satisfied me. I didn’t see the sense in spending more for a throw-away commuter car. But then I saw Honda, Toyota, etc. double that mileage, which told me I was missing something by being loyal. I would have gone with the Asian brands but the cockpit fit did not suit my 6 foot European frame. (Even the Saturns were barely manageable.) I ended up with a MINI. Hope Buick will stay flexible and provide comfort for all, even if they manufacture in Asia primarily for Asians.
Hey EncoreArmRest, if SkyActiv is so progressive, how do you explain that cars with the technology get inferior MPG than the Cruze that’s 5-10 years behind (on paper)? The answer is that stuffing a car with the latest tech isn’t always the solution. GM is in the process of applying the latest technology to its vehicles (like DI and the Cruze) but even without it, GM vehicles are winning still.
Really like the red and black fabric seating….I would think ATS would be very sharp with the same instead of the leatherette
Should bo part of the 2.0 turbo package
What what what?!? China gets HIDs and we dont?
The 1.6T belongs in the Encore.
I don’t see no reason why our version didn’t get the headlight package. This could of been a extra cost item even or standard on top line model
Alex – I am really, really frustrated with GM’s inability or unwillingness to communicate to potential high performance customers exactly what their plans are. I’ve been a GM High Perf guy for most of my life: SS’s, Z28’s, GS’s, Corvettes, etc., but I don’t understand this reticience reguarding their high performance future plans. They have been a performance leader and now it seems the Camaro is as far as their immediate plans extend…
I an a GM guy and I’d wait if they could tell me what’s coming and when but nothing, we know that the Verano and Malibu are getting the excellent 2.0 turbo but WHEN ?? Dealers and GM Canada claim they know nothing.
The result for me since my HHR “SS’s” lease is up, and their are so many great platforms out there that are available now is I’m going elsewhere, probably a GTI, Civic Si or BMW 135i . I’d like to stay within the GM family (and still have my C6) but I can`t wait for GM to get their act together !
Great job with the site Alex !
The whole thing can be boiled down to “is it profitable to make performance versions of existing cars?”
Some cars can sell in numbers great enough that they hardly need more affordable versions. The Camaro and the Corvette do this just fine and their performance versions provide more than enough to recoup GM’s investment cost.
But cars like the Verano, something that has a lower transaction price and sells in a lower volume, cannot justify the cost of investing in a performance version and expect to make a sizeable return.
The writing on the wall is pretty clear in this case and GM hardly needs to be frank with their unwillingness to offer this version of the Verano in NA. It’s the same reason why there isn’t any Cruze SS; although a Cruze SS would be far more likely to be produced than a Hi-Po Verano.
@Graw and @Hamilji — there’s another aspect that we may be overlooking when it comes to performance. It’s the effort-time-priority trade off versus payoff.
In effect, GM can spend x amount of time developing a high performance variant of the Cruze, Verano, Malibu, etc… or it can focus on project that are much more lucrative, like filling in the holes in the rest of its line (like a compact crossover for Buick, Chevy, and Cadillac… or a midsize crossover for Buick, or a full-size Chevy sedan (Impala), which only started development under the new GM).
So when the segments that bring a greater return are filled, then it’s my belief that we will see the more “playful” segments filled, such as the high performance variants of existing mainstream models. It’s really not that difficult to make a profit on the high-po variants even at low sales volumes, as the additional expense of building them is a non-starter in most cases (unless we start talking about adding AWD to the mix or making major changes such as those seen on the Golf R32).
I agree that chances of a Hi Po Verano are slim but it is a very nice little car and deserves a better motor which GM already has in the 2.0 turbo ; even with an automatic . I think the car will need more power if it is to be successful. Let’s not forget when we talk economies of scale that the North American parent got the 2.0 turbo and indeed most of the EcoTec motor engineering from Opel so in effect, for free as the European sales have already covered much of it.
My frustration however is that , at least in Canada, GM and dealers claim to know nothing, indeed things that are accepted as fact in Europe and the USA are “unknown ”
here. I can understand this for vehicles like the Corvette, as its a “halo” model, but Cruze, Malibu, Impala, and Regal and Verano are the “bread and butter” models, HiPo customers should have the info to make their purchase decisions ASAP as there are other manufacturers out there that do make their intentions known. Make no mistake, I’m a GM guy and I hope my criticism is taken as constructive – I want GM to be THE car company BUT the competition is fierce !
Alex, I totally agree with you and I have no problem with GM spending time and $$ on the models that will profit them the most, however I also believe that they DO know what’s coming and say nothing hoping to sell a LoPo to a HiPo buyer. I know this was tried on me when I got my HHR “SS” 4 years ago…my dealer tried to sell me a normal HHR, a Malibu or an Equinox none of which interested me in the least, because they didn’t think they had anything else ! Heck I’ve bought 4 Corvettes from these guys and they think I want a Malibu or an SUV ! They knew I was a GM guy and thought I’d just settle…
If friends at Corvette Engineering had not steered me to the “SS” I would have gotten a GTI, Si or BMW then. Fortunately they recognized that GM was going to lose me as a daily driver customer as I didn’t know about Heinricy’s “SS” development at the Nurburgring, so they steered me to Utube. I then discovered that the “SS” was soon to be released in the USA (this was Fall 2007), and I was able to encourage my dealer to look into it – otherwise I would never have even heard about this great little vehicle until I was into something else, which if it HAD been a GM, would have been expensive to get out of ! This attitude has made me a very disgruntled GM customer. I’ll buy a new C7 ’cause I’m a hopeless Corvette fanatic but they are going to have to lure me back into their fold with superior product (which I know they can do as the product development people are still “car guys”) ! But I’m afraid this anti high performance attitude is pervasive with the “beancounters”
I have learned that with GM Canada, if you are a HiPo guy you have to do your own research and even then be prepared to have them (GM Canada) discourage you all the way…the 300 HP Stage II turbo kit, sold as a dealer option in the USA for Cobalt, HHR and Solstice resulted in voiding of your warranty if installed in Canada…nice EHH !! Beware of this attitude “invading” the USA !
I have been driving a loaner Buick GS turbo with the 6spd manual for the last few days and i really enjoyed the quality and power of this car. You can really see the difference in the interiors of the new GM vehicles,and i love the shape of this car. My friend has just received one of the new Veranos with the 2.4 and a 6spd auto box,and it is also a real quality built car. But i guess like many others i would like this car with the 2.0 Turbo,and a 6spd manual. I prefer the Verano over the Regal mainly because of size,but also because of about a 200 to 300lb difference in weight!! Man the Verano Turbo would really show the imports what GM can do in the performance area,without having to spend $43000 canadian for a Regal GS,or $72000 for a Cadillac CTSV!! It would be the regular guys affordable CTSV by Buick. Bring it on GM………Joseph O
Joseph…..yes, a new engine in the Verano will make this car really rock…..