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by Tim Beissmann

The Buick Riviera concept has debuted at the Shanghai auto show, previewing the 110-year-old automaker’s future design direction.

Developed jointly by General Motors’ China-based Pan Asia Technical Automotive Centre (PATAC) and Shanghai GM joint ventures, Buick says the sleek, gullwinged Riviera concept combines “avant-garde aesthetics [with] advanced technology”.

Without revealing specific details of its powertrain, Buick says the concept adopts its ‘Buick Intelligent Performance’ technology and all-new, dual-mode wireless plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (W-PHEV) propulsion system.

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The hybrid system allows drivers to operate the concept in pure electric and petrol-supported hybrid modes. It can be recharged using a traditional cable or via a sensory recharge panel on its chassis when the vehicle is parked over an inductive charging mat.

Four-wheel steering, electromagnetically controlled suspension and an air spring system contribute to an innovative vehicle dynamics package.

The Buick Riviera concept’s forward-looking active safety system collects traffic information through 10 high-resolution cameras and 18 micro high-precision sensors. The image and distance data collected is integrated and presented in a holographic image on the car’s windshield.

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Other intelligent driver assist technology features include an autopilot system, night vision, adaptive cruise control, blind spot and lane departure warning systems, rear cross-traffic alert and automatic park assist.

The Riviera also supports high-speed 4G LTE mobile internet connectivity, giving drivers integrated access to real-time traffic information, weather and news updates, and entertainment sources, accessible via touch, voice and gesture recognition.

The 2013 Buick Riviera concept evolves an earlier concept of the same name that debuted five years ago at the 2008 Detroit auto show.

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