Buick, an American brand that has a strong presence in China thanks to the SAIC-GM joint venture, stormed the 2021 Guangzhou Auto Show with a design study for the autonomous luxury MPV of the future. The Buick Smart Pod enjoyed its world premiere in China alongside the more down-to-earth GL8 Flagship Concept.
The company describes the Smart Pod as their “bold vision for the future of luxury business travel”. It is based on GM’s latest Ultium EV platform and its design is focused on luxury and connectivity.
The one-box design differentiates itself from existing minivans, though we won’t blame anyone for finding at least some similarities with Porsche’s wild Vision Renndienst prototype. The Smart Pod is characterized by large-diameter wheels, toned-up fenders, short overhangs, and a sculpted body. The massive glass roof and side windows are body-colored, for a cleaner look. Similarly, the headlights and taillights are hidden when not in use, with fluid high-resolution graphics looking like flames.
Stepping inside from the large sliding doors, you’ll come across a cozy living room with plenty of open space since it can only accommodate up to four passengers. Two of them have access to independent reclining seats at the back, looking like expensive pieces of furniture with a “sleeping mode” and a small bar between them.
The concept car was envisioned as fully autonomous so there is no need for a driver. Thus, the passengers at the back can enjoy an unobstructed view of a retractable 50-inch retina display with ultra-crisp graphics for entertainment, online meetings, navigation, or any other useful information. Data can also be presented on the side windows thanks to a head-up display.
When not in use, the screen retracts leaving a small piece of it visible for the basic stuff. If there is a need for more passengers, a bench seat for two more people unfolds from the table that is located in front of the screen. Sensors and artificial intelligence allow users to navigate the infotainment system for anything they might need during their trip. For relaxed conversations, there is also an intelligent noise cancellation system, creating a quiet and pleasant environment.
From the official interior renderings, we can see that the cabin is full of high-end materials. The upper part is mostly painted in white, combined with the blue suede upholstery of the seats, the leather-like material with white stitching, the wood grain floor, and the copper accents.
As you have probably guessed from the looks of the Buick Smart Pod, it is not expected to morph into a production vehicle anytime soon. However, several design features of the concept car could be integrated into future models in one form or another.
Read more: carscoops.com