GM Launches Mild Hybrid 2022 Buick GL8 Classic In China6
Two months after introducing the updated top-of-the-range 2022 Buick GL8 Avenir in China, General Motors just launched the 2022 Buick GL8 Classic with some notable upgrades to keep the nameplate competitive in the Asian country. Just as it did with the flagship version of the MPV, the automaker outfitted the Buick GL8 Classic with a 48V mild hybrid powertrain as the main novelty of the 2022 model year.
The 2022 Buick GL8 Classic maintains exactly the same exterior and interior appearance introduced during the MPV’s last update in April 2020. As such, new enhancements to the second-generation GL8 encompass a new paint color called Golden Damo, Buick’s latest infotainment system with connectivity features and the aforementioned 48V mild hybrid powertrain.
In keeping with the latest SAIC-GM joint venture launches, the 2022 Buick GL8 Classic receives an electrified powertrain as standard, which consists of the turbocharged 2.0L LSY I-4 engine in conjunction with an electric motor and 48V battery. Interestingly, output remains the same at 233 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, homologated in the previous model year, while GM’s nine-speed automatic transmission is unchanged as well.
In addition, the mild hybrid 2022 Buick GL8 Classic is equipped with an auxiliary power module and a hybrid control unit that allows functions such as braking energy regeneration, electric idling, and smart charging. GM claims that with the help of 48V mild hybrid technology, the MPV now has a better ride quality, with a smoother and quieter acceleration.
The only change inside the 2022 Buick GL8 Classic is the adoption of the brand’s latest infotainment system with an increased number of connectivity features. Upgrades include a faster processor to manage the 12-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple Car Play and Android integration, smart voice assistant, and the AutoNavi real-time navigation system.
The mild hybrid 2022 Buick GL8 Classic is now available for sale across the entire Buick dealer network in China, the only country where the Tri-Shield brand’s MPV is marketed. The starting price is 232,900 CNY, about $36,150 USD at the current exchange rate. With this launch, the update of the three models that make up the 2022 GL8 range has been completed, which includes the top-of-the-range Avenir variant, the third-generation standard ES and the highly popular Classic.
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I don’t believe a mild hybrid system, whether a GM system or otherwise, has ever added peak power and certainly not enough to ever turn the engine alone. It is an assist, commonly on restarts (i.e red light, idling, etc) or smooth/maintain [some] torque between shifts. In fact some engines are rated slightly lower than without the generator mild hybrid.
There are claims with a big’ol asterisk that state they can improve efficiency by 10%, and that asterisk is 10% only when being used under very specific conditions versus not having the system at all. Under regular driving conditions you may never actually see a net fuel savings.
Emissions. Mild hybrid systems are used with turbocharged gas DI engines to reduce PM during high-torque low-speed operation, specifically taking off at a stop. This is major, since China is adopting Euro 6 PM/PN regulations (what causes gas particulate filters in Europe).
As you mention, they smooth torque transients during shifts and that reduces emissions and fuel consumption when the turbo and engine are out of equilibrium. Taking some load off the engine during higher torque situations (speeding up on a highway) lets the engine continue to run leaner and save fuel, where NOx emissions would otherwise be limiting.
GM needs a family van in the USA. China, seems to be getting all the attention. 1.4 billion people can get ones attention, but don’t forget the market that made you (North America). You may end up like Jack Ma & Alibaba, pouring $15.5 billion into China’s drive to achieve “common prosperity,” Stock holders would love it!
We rented a Dodge Grand Caravan from Enterprise this month and I have to say it drove very nicely and served our needs perfectly. It didn’t feel like a truck or van. In fact, out of all the rental vehicles I’ve driven the last year or two (Jaguar F-Pace, Chevrolet Impala, Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia) this was the most comfortable and pleasing. I hated the start-stop on the GMs and the Jaguar was a little tight, so it was hard for me to get in and out of it. The Dodge Grand Caravan had a convenient key fob that opened the passenger doors on either side and the tailgate. I checked later and learned that Dodge discontinued this model after 2020. For our next rental, we have requested a Chrysler Pacifica (or similar, as the rental car companies say).
All sedan vehicles of today is nearly impossible to slide in and out if your over 5’10”. For crashworthiness, the A pillar is rake’d so much that it makes a for a low roof line. Try to put a child in the rear seat? In my book one of the main reasons SUV’s and trucks are out selling everything.
Pacifica is selling very well, GM misjudged the minivan segment – much like not making a Volt SUV (after building a production ready concept, no less).
End of the day, they’ve decided US customers will have to wait for BEV3 to become affordable. Then they will make sedans, vans, and possibly even a roadster. But it sure doesn’t make GM look good for Americans in the process.