Bengal is poised to become a prized
The Buick Bengal concept vehicle, a sleekly sculpted
roadster with a convertible top and featuring a high
performance powertrain, state-of-the-art voice- activated
controls and a next-generation audio system, is making
its debut at 2001 auto shows.
The Bengal is a car with “sensual elegance and versatility,”
said Dave Lyon, 31, Buick brand character chief designer.
“We think this car will catch the attention of younger
Bengal owes its beautiful proportions to its “wheels
forward” architecture, which permits a long dash-to-axle
ratio, said Lyon. The look is enhanced by 20-inch
wheels. “We wanted a design that’s drop-dead gorgeous,
and I think we achieved that.”
Bengal’s 110-inch wheelbase is only two inches shorter
than the Buick LeSabre – but that’s somewhat misleading.
Because its wheels are at the corners, the overall
length of the Bengal is actually 25 inches less than
the 200-inch-long LeSabre.
with Surprise Seating for Four
“When you’re driving with the seats folded, you’re
in a hot two-seat roadster,” Lyon said. But looks
are deceiving. A small third door behind the driver’s
door and a retractable tonneau cover reveal storage
space for custom golf bags or seating for two additional
Inside, Bengal’s leather seating gives driver and
passengers the feel of comfortable club chairs, said
Lyon. Also, leather inserts grace the wood steering
Powerful V6 with Six-Speed Auto Transmission
Bengal owes some of its exceptional handling and
sculptural exterior appearance to an innovative powertrain.
Its supercharged, 3.4-liter V6 engine, which generates
250 horsepower, is transverse-mounted with the six-speed
automatic transmission in front of it, rather than
behind. This new drivetrain creates a shorter front
overhang and a more rearward center of gravity that
gives Bengal great handling on curves.
The smooth power of the engine and precisefront-wheel-drive
handling give this roadster self-assurance and control
in all kinds of driving situations, Lyon said.
Voice Activated Controls, Head-Up Display
Quiet Servant, first shown on Buick’s LaCrosse and
Cielo concepts, is back -- featuring voice- activated
controls from Visteon Corporation and a reconfigurable,
color head-up display that shows gauges on demand.
This enables the driver to control the car and its
systems with voice commands or a four-position joystick
on the steering wheel. As a result, the dashboard
is simple and elegant and the driver operates the
car with both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
Freed of the usual gauges and knobs, the entire dashboard
is in fact one large flat-panel speaker from NXT Audio,
anchoring Bengal’s premium audio system. Altogether,
there are five of these unobtrusive speakers which
envelop the interior in audiophile-quality sound.
Buick General Manager Roger W. Adams said that one
of the main benefits of the Quiet Servant package
is to reduce the number of distractions to the driver.
“This design eliminates gauges and controls – except
when you need them – and allows the driver to concentrate
on the road.”
Target Customers are Affluent Young Families
Adams said Bengal’s target customers would be affluent
young families that desire a fun vehicle to complement
a more practical vehicle in the garage.
“Bengal is a car with beautiful proportions and advanced
design and engineering,” said Adams. “It’s a dramatic
vehicle to drive – and to be seen in – and it doesn’t
forget the family.”
Visteon Voice™ enables hands-free
operation of systems on concept car
The most striking thing about the interior of the
2001 Buick Bengal concept car is the absence of any
controls or gauges. This car will respond to verbal
instructions from the driver, thanks to a partnership
between Visteon Corporation and General Motors which
demonstrates technology that will blend safety, personalization,
comfort and convenience.
"The Visteon Voice technology behind Buick’s
Quiet Servant allows drivers to keep their hands on
the wheel and their eyes on the road while controlling
virtually anything on the interior or exterior of
the car with just their voice," said Michael
Johnston, Visteon president and chief operating officer.
Visteon Voice is capable of recognizing six languages
and regional accents while ignoring surrounding sounds
in the automobile, even in a convertible like the
Bengal. The driver can issue more than 118 commands
to the car, operating the headlights, wipers, heating
system, sound system, convertible top, on-board navigation,
seat adjustments and cruise control.
The Bengal’s Quiet Servant will confirm each choice
with a verbal reply in either a female or male voice.
The voice control system eliminates the need for
controls and displays traditionally found on an instrument
panel. In turn, the Bengal’s dashboard has become
a large flat-panel speaker from NXT, with superior
sound reproduction in an unobtrusive package.
Buick Bengal Named
'Best Of The Best' Concept Car By Autoweek Editors
Detroit - AutoWeek magazine has named the
Buick Bengal - the first car designed with a major
sports figure in mind, Tiger Woods - 'Best of the
Best' Concept Car of the Year among all concepts introduced
at various international auto shows this year.
Bengal is a sleekly sculptured roadster that looks
like a two-seat convertible - but its looks are deceiving.
A small third door behind the drivers' door and a
retractable tonneau cover reveal space for two additional
passengers or two custom golf bags. Woods' influence
is further evident in Bengal's cutting-edge sound
system and engine performance. In addition to "wheels
forward" architecture, Bengal features a supercharged
250-horsepower 3.4 liter V-6 engine and voice-activated
The Buick Bengal was introduced in January 2001 at
the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
AutoWeek's 'Best of the Best' award this year was
picked from concept cars introduced at auto shows
in Paris, Detroit and Geneva.
Against its competitors, one AutoWeek editor said
the Bengal "looks like the most fun of the group
to drive." Another said, "In the looks category,
it's a stunner."
Dutch Mandel, editor and associate publisher of AutoWeek,
said earlier this year in announcing Bengal as the
magazine's Best Concept at Detroit, that the Bengal
is a winning blend of elegance and functionality.
"AutoWeek's editors are extremely impressed with
Buick's design direction," he said.
Source: Buick Motor Division
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