As we suspected earlier this week, Buick is bringing the Opel Cascada Convertible stateside to be sold as a Buick. Much of what we know of the Opel Cascada carries over to the Buick, with the primary difference being with powertrain selection.
While the Europeans get 3 engine choices, we only get one. That's not entirely a bad thing in this case as the 1.4T gasoline and 2.0T diesel would not likely be suitable for most American convertible buyers' tastes. The engine we get in the US is a new to us 1.6 liter turbo-charged, direct injected 4-cylinder that produces 200 horsepower and 206 lb-ft of torque. This engine also features an overboost feature that will temporarily boost torque up to 221 lb-ft. Power is routed to the front wheels via the familier GM 6-speed automatic. This is the first application of this powertrain in the US market. This engine is said to be quite fuel efficient for it's output and in the European cycle returns a rating 7.3 liters per 100 km.... which roughly translates to 32 mpg. The European test cycle is known to be rather optimistic so don't expect the Cascada to be rated quite that well once the EPA gets their hands on it.
The suspension consists of GM's HiPer Strut up front with a Watts Z-link in the rear. The Watts Z-Link was chosen as a way to lower vehicle weight and improve the roominess of the trunk.
On the safety side of things, the Cascada comes with active rollover protection bars that deploy from behind the rear seat if a possible rollover is detected, electric seat belt pre-tensioners,
An interesting feature of the Cascada is its ability to lower its top while moving at up to 31 mph. The soft-top is insulated and drops below a hard tonneau cover that blends seamlessly into the rear deck.
The Buick Cascada will be fully revealed at a press conference on January 11, 2015 at 6:30pm. We will be on hand to bring you updates and pictures from the press conference.
Press Release on Page 2
Top-Down Luxury Returns with 2016 Buick Cascada
2+2 convertible with distinctive design, premium features, great refinement and 4G LTE connectivity
Advanced chassis technologies – including HiPer Strut front suspension – and standard turbocharged performance
Sophisticated, insulated soft-top system opens in 17 seconds at up to 31 mph
DETROIT – Buick today introduced the 2016 Cascada – a dynamic, stylish convertible that uses innovative powertrain and chassis technologies to complement a sharp 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 (149 kW) turbocharged engine.
And when it comes to dropping the top on a whim, it lowers in only 17 seconds and 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 and featuring Text Message Alerts, Siri Eyes Free 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
Active rollover safety system includes rollover protection bars that deploy behind the rear seats when the possibility of a rollover is detected
Confidence-inspiring features include 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 was 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 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 soft-top. The electro-hydraulic power roof system features multilayer construction – including acoustic and thermal barriers – which makes 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 features including heated front seats and steering wheel offer comfort in a variety of climate 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 an efficient 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 disc brakes with anti-lock. It 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 dynamic and refined driving experience, contributing to steering precision, ride quality and quietness – as well as safety. A long, 106.1-inch (2,695 mm) wheelbase enhances ride smoothness while enabling greater rear-seat legroom.