Top-down lux­ury re­turns with Buick Cas­cada

The Calvert Recorder - Southern Maryland Automotive Trends - - Front Page -

The 2016 Buick Cas­cada ex­pands the brand’s port­fo­lio with a dy­namic, stylish convertible that uses in­no­va­tive pow­er­train and chas­sis tech­nolo­gies to com­ple­ment the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“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, with an ex­pres­sive driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence rooted in a rigid body struc­ture — and strong per­for­mance from a 200-horse­power (149 kW) 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 top-down driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is priced at $33,990 (in­clud­ing des­ti­na­tion charge, but ex­clud­ing tax, ti­tle, li­cense and dealer fees) and of­fers more stan­dard con­tent and a lower MSRP than Audi A3 Cabri­o­let.

That stan­dard con­tent in­cludes:

• Buick’s so­phis­ti­cated HiPer Strut front sus­pen­sion and re­spon­sive Watts Z-link sus­pen­sion in the rear

• Six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion

• High-in­ten­sity dis­charge, ar­tic­u­lat­ing head­lamps and front LED day­time run­ning lamps; and LED tail­lamps

• Au­to­mated, spring-loaded and py­rotech­ni­cally ac­ti­vated rollover bars be­hind the rear seat that are linked to the air bag sys­tem

• Buick In­telli Link with a 7-inch-di­ag­o­nal color touch screen fea­tur­ing Text Mes­sage Alerts, Siri Eyes Free for Ap­ple phones with an iOS 6 or newer op­er­at­ing sys­tem

• Nav­i­ga­tion ra­dio and seven-speaker pre­mium au­dio sys­tem

• On Star 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot • Rear Vi­sion cam­era • Re­mote ve­hi­cle starter

• Dual-zone cli­mate con­trol

• Front and rear 12-volt power out­lets

• Heat-re­flec­tive leather-ap­pointed seat­ing

• Heated front seats with eight-way power ad­just­ments

• Heated, leather-wrapped three-spoke steer­ing wheel

• Twenty-inch alu­minum wheels with bi-color fin­ish

• Elec­tric power steer­ing • Rear Park As­sist A Cas­cada Pre­mium model adds:

• For­ward Col­li­sion Alert

• Lane De­par­ture Warn­ing

• Au­to­matic head­lamp con­trol with tun­nel de­tec­tion

• Front and Rear Park As­sist

• Rain­sense au­to­matic wind­shield wipers

• Twenty-inch wheels with “di­a­mond graphic” bi-color fin­ish

• Front and rear air de­flec­tors.

DIS­TINC­TIVE DE­SIGN, 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-the­hair 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 so­phis­ti­cat- ed 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.

An 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. Ad­di­tion­ally, elec­tric safety belt pre­sen­ters use tele­scopic arms to slide the up­per front safety belt as­sem­blies from be­hind the front seat into closer reach for eas­ier buck­ling.

The Cas­cada also has plenty of stor­age space for the trap­pings of a week­end get­away, in­clud­ing 13.4 cu­bic feet of cargo room with the top up and 9.8 cu­bic feet with the top down. It also has as a 22.4-inch x 12.6-inch (320 mm x 570 mm) pass-through from the trunk to the pas­sen­ger com­part­ment. When the 50/50-split rear seat is folded, longer items such as skis and wake­boards can be stowed in­side.

DE­SIGNED TO PRO­TECT AND PER­FORM

The 2016 Buick Cas­cada fea­tures a uniquely re­in­forced struc­ture de­signed to com­ple­ment its re­fined ap­pear­ance and en­hance its ver­sa­til­ity, while bol­ster­ing the car’s strength, rigid­ity and chas­sis pre­ces­sion.

Spe­cial fea­tures in­clude spring-loaded, py­rotech­ni­cally ac­ti­vated roll bars be­hind the rear seats that are linked to the air bag sys­tem. When de­ployed, they ex­tend ap­prox­i­mately 14 inches (358 mm) to match the height of the wind­shield.

The body struc­ture al­lows the top, its fold­ing mech­a­nism and the roll bar ap­pa­ra­tus to be stowed be­low the car’s “belt line” and un­der a hard ton­neau cover, for a smooth, un­in­ter­rupted pro­file. It also en­hances cargo space by en­abling the pass-through from the trunk to the pas­sen­ger com­part­ment.

Ad­di­tional el­e­ments de­signed to pro­tect and com­ple­ment the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence:

• A-pil­lars fea­tur­ing press-hard­ened steel in the in­ner struc­tures and re­in­forced with high-strength, hot-rolled and cold-bent tubes within the pil­lars

• Re­in­forced rocker pan­els with in­creased cross sec­tion

• Un­der­body re­in­force­ments in­clud­ing X-braces, V-braces and ad­di­tional brack­ets

• A re­in­forced “torsion box” bulk­head be­hind the rear seats that in­cor­po­rates the pop-up roll bars.

As a re­sult of the struc­ture’s rigid­ity, engi­neers were able to tune the sus­pen­sion and steer­ing sys­tems with a high de­gree of pre­ci­sion, be­cause they didn’t have to com­pen­sate for chas­sis flex.

“That stiff­ness is at the core of the Cas­cada’s pre­cise, re­fined driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Bernd Pohl, Cas­cada struc­tural en­gi­neer. “It is ex­cep­tion­ally re­spon­sive, with great driver feed­back.”

TUR­BOCHARGED PER­FOR­MANCE, EN­GAGED 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 207 lb-ft (280 Nm) and an es­ti­mated 221 lb-ft (300 Nm) with the over­boost fea­ture.

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 four­wheel an­tilock disc brakes. Cas­cada rolls on stan­dard 20inch 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.

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