Chinese buyers who want the largest Buick available can opt to get the 2011 GL8 minivan, which was completely redesigned from the ground up. This model is certainly bigger than the Enclave crossover that’s offered in North America. The GL8 debuted in 2000 with what seemed to be a dressed-up version of General Motors’ U-van.
However, the new GL8 doesn’t look anything like the U-van. At first glance, it’s obvious that Opel engineers had influenced the van's design. In fact, it resembles the next-generation Zafira, which is set to be launched in 2011. However, most of the development of this vehicle should be credited to Shanghai-GM's own engineering staff.
They’re responsible for designing the GL8's exterior shape. If you were at the 2009 Shanghai Motor Show, it would be easy to spot that the new van is almost a carbon copy of the Buick Business Concept that was displayed in this show.
The interior didn’t anymore have the fancy electroluminescent dashboard and the outlandish LED headlamps, but most aspects of the design such as the odd step-down character line borrowed from Opel and Honda are intact.
When it comes to powertrain, the production GL8 differs from the show car. According to reports, the Business Concept was installed with GM's next-generation mild-hybrid system but so far, GM has announced only two powertrain choices for the production van.
Consumers can choose between the 2.4-liter Ecotec I-4, or the direct-injection 3.0-liter V-6. Either way, power is distributed to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift controls.