Buick revealed a surprise production car today ahead of its live debut at the Detroit auto show tomorrow: the very sexy Cascada convertible.
The Cascada is a surprise only in part: the car is a clone of its European Vauxhall and Opel Cascada twins, and arrives as a Buick production model to dealers in early in the 2016 calendar year.
So while the car might not be a total shock, seeing Buick integrate it into the US lineup is relatively big news. It joins the current Regal as a fully autobahn-ready Buick with premium cabin, performance and handling.
This sexy ragtop is the ultimate “That’s Not A Buick!” halo model for the range. Extremely fresh design, practical cabin with luxury and tech galore, plus US-optimized settings for its dynamics all prove a powerful argument.
The Cascada in US trim runs a 200-horsepower turbocharger four-cylinder with a six-speed automatic. The triple-insulated folding cloth roof upens and closes in 17-seconds, even at speeds up to 31-mph. LED lamps in check-mark shapes highlight the corners of the Cascada front and rear, and this launch car wears very cool 19-inch split and polished five-spoke alloys. A final style detail is the flat tonneau cover ringed in chrome, recalling earlier Buick concept cabriolets in the best way.
We expect the Cascada to carry a base price of around $38,000 to compete with the BMW 2-series and Audi A3 ragtops, with pricing of about $45,000 totally loaded. Watch this space for more details on the new Cascada as they become available.
- 2+2 convertible with distinctive design, premium features, refinement and 4G LTE connectivity
- Advanced chassis technologies – including HiPer Strut front suspension – and standard turbocharged performance
- Insulated soft-top system opens in 17 seconds at up to 31 mph
Top-Down Luxury Returns with 2016 Buick Cascada
DETROIT – Buick today introduced the 2016 Cascada – a dynamic, stylish convertible that uses innovative powertrain and chassis technologies to complement the driving experience.
The Cascada will be the first Buick convertible offered in North America in 25 years and the latest globally developed vehicle to join the brand’s growing portfolio. It goes on sale in early 2016.
“The new, 2016 Buick Cascada is a beautiful, engaging convertible that represents the very best of the brand’s global development practices,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick. “It’s a car that will delight customers with its fun spirit and help drive the momentum that’s fueling Buick’s success.”
The Cascada’s 2+2 configuration offers comfortable room for four adults. Its expressive driving experience is rooted in a rigid body structure, Buick’s sophisticated HiPer Strut front suspension and responsive Watts Z-link suspension in the rear – along with a 200-horsepower turbocharged engine.
And when it comes to dropping the top on a whim, it lowers in only 17 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph. When it’s up, superior thermal and acoustic insulation contribute to driving comfort.
“Cascada’s driving enjoyment is rooted in technologies that make it more comfortable and refined,” said Aldred. “Its features work harmoniously to provide a safe, connected and confidence-inspiring driving experience.”
Technology and safety highlights include:
Buick IntelliLink with a seven-inch-diagonal color touch screen featuring Text Message Alerts, Siri Eyes Free for Apple phones with an iOS 6 or newer operating system and navigation
OnStar 4G LTE with built-in Wi-Fi hotspot
Electronic rear-seat entry system automatically powers the front seats forward by simply pressing the seatback forward. It moves the seats back when the seatback is returned to the upright position
Electric safety belt presenters that use telescopic arms to slide the upper front safety belt assemblies from behind the front seat into closer reach for easier buckling
Rollover protection bars that deploy behind the rear seats when the possibility of a rollover is detected
Lane departure warning, rear park assist, rearview camera and Rainsense windshield wipers.
Distinctive design and thoughtful features
Designed from the outset as a convertible, the Buick Cascada has a flowing, sculpted profile, with fast-raked A-pillars that convey a wind-in-the-hair flair. When lowered, the top folds neatly and completely beneath a hard tonneau behind the rear seats, giving the car a pure open-air aesthetic.
“The Cascada’s design blends the suggestion of speed with sophisticated and uncompromising details,” said Holt Ware, Buick exterior design director. “Most convertibles are designed from existing coupes or sedans, meaning stowage of the top is an afterthought, but not this Buick. It looks handsome and has a premium appearance when the top is lowered – and a perfect, seamless profile when it’s up.”
The windswept exterior design is further accentuated with a sweeping body-side line and sleek headlamps that flow into the front fenders, with Buick’s signature wing-shape light-emitting diode (LED) daytime running lights delivering a distinctive appearance.
Chrome trim bridges between the wing-shaped taillights, which are also LED-lit.
The rear deck lid opens rearward to accommodate the folding softtop. The electro-hydraulic power roof system features multilayer construction – including acoustic and thermal barriers – designed for a comfortable ride in various conditions.
Inside, a thoughtfully trimmed and comprehensively equipped cabin reflects Buick’s renaissance. The instrument panel is wrapped with soft-touch material featuring authentic stitching, while heated front seats and steering wheel offer comfort in colder weather conditions.
The Cascada also has plenty of storage space for the trappings of a weekend getaway, including 13.4 cubic feet (380 liters) of cargo room with the top up and 9.8 cubic feet (280 liters) with the top down. The rear seatbacks fold down electronically to expand cargo capability for longer items.
Turbocharged performance, engaging driving experience
The Cascada is driven by a 1.6L turbocharged engine rated at 200 horsepower (149 kW). With more than 100 horsepower per liter, it’s one of the most power-dense engines in the segment. It delivers strong torque, estimated at 206 lb-ft (280 Nm), with an overboost feature that briefly pushes torque to an estimated 221 lb-ft (300 Nm).
Direct injection and variable valve timing complement the turbo engine’s performance with efficiency. It is backed by a six-speed automatic transmission.
Power from the turbocharged engine is translated into driving enjoyment via the innovative suspension system, which employs the sophisticated HiPer Strut front suspension pioneered on the LaCrosse and Regal.
HiPer Strut is based on the MacPherson strut design and features dual-path top mountings that separate the transfer of spring and damper loads to the body structure. It enhances ride and handling by reducing torque steer; more linear and communicative steering through improved camber control, and improved impact isolation on bumps and rough surfaces.
A responsive Watts Z-link design helps center the rear axle during cornering, which helps keep the Cascada’s handling responses symmetrical on both left-hand and right-hand turns. The linkage’s capability to center the axle during cornering delivers a more-balanced driving experience because the rear suspension better follows the lead of the front suspension.
The Z-link design is also lighter and requires less space than a typical fully independent rear suspension. The lower weight enhances efficiency, while the compact design enables the Cascada’s generous cargo room.
Steering inputs are executed by a fuel-saving, rack-mounted electric power steering system, while stopping power is handled by standard four-wheel antilock disc brakes. Cascada rolls on standard 20-inch wheels.
A rigid body structure features high-strength steel in strategic areas, reinforced side sills and press-hardened steel in the A-pillars. It is the foundation for the Cascada’s driving experience, contributing to steering precision, ride quality and quietness – as well as safety. A 106.1-inch (2,695 mm) wheelbase enhances ride smoothness while enabling greater rear-seat legroom.
2016 BUICK CASCADA PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS
|Model:||2016 Buick Cascada|
|Body style / driveline:||two-door, four-passenger convertible; front-engine/front-wheel drive|
|Construction:||steel body-frame-integral (unibody)|
|Wheelbase (in / mm):||106.1 / 2695|
|Overall length (in / mm):||184.9 / 4696|
|Overall height (in / mm):||56.8 / 1443|
|Overall width (in / mm):||72.4 / 1839|
|Track (in / mm):||62.5 / 1587 (front and rear)|
|Engine:||1.6L turbo I-4 DOHC with direct injection|
|Horsepower (hp / kW):||200 / 149|
|Torque (lb-ft / Nm):||206 / 280 (221 / 300 with overboost) – estimated|
|Front suspension:||HiPer Strut with direct-acting stabilizer bar|
|Rear suspension:||compound crank (torsion beam) with Watts Z-link|
|Steering:||rack-mounted electric, variable-assist rack-and-pinion|
|Brakes:||four-wheel disc with ABS and stability control|
|Cargo room (cu ft / L):|
13.4 / 380 – top up
Buick is an international modern luxury brand offering vehicles with sculpted designs, luxurious interiors and thoughtful personal technologies, along with responsive-yet-efficient performance. Buick is attracting new customers with its portfolio of award-winning luxury models in North America and China. Learn more about Buick cars and crossovers at www.buick.com, on Twitter @buick, on Instragram, on Pinterest or at www.facebook.com/buick
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.