The third generation GL8 in China was launched in November 2016 and comes in two versions: a base ES model and a luxurious Avenir model (pictured above). The previous generation, introduced in 2010 (pictured below), continued to be sold alongside the new one as a cheap alternative. Both are built on the same platform. The third generation GL8 marks a significant shift in Buick’s positioning, as this is the first model of the brand worldwide to get the new upscale Avenir moniker. Avenir is not a sub-brand, but more like a top-of-the-line trim, a bit like Ford’s Vignale in Europe and GMC’s Denali in the US. The GL8 is a big MPV, which at first was mostly used by luxury taxi and transport companies, but is now also being embraced by families looking for a lot of passenger space.
It measures over 5,2 meters in length and has a wheelbase of over 3 meters, which makes it longer than a Mercedes-Benz S-Class L or a Cadillac Escalade. Exact dimensions: 5.203/1.878/1.811mm and a wheelbase of 3.088mm, and a weight of close to two tons (up to 1.880-1.960kg). The sumptuous V6 in the previous generation GL8 has been replaced by a downsized 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder petrol engine with 260hp and 350Nm, mated to a six-speed automatic. Prices for the base ES start at 289.900 yuan (€ 39.900,- / US$ 41,800) and run up to 399.900 yuan, while the Avenir is priced at 449.900 yuan (€ 61.900,- / US$ 64,900), which is just under the starting price of the Mercedes-Benz V-Class in China. The GL8 Avenir offers more exterior chrome and a honeycomb grille, larger wheels and a more luxurious interior with second-row massage seats.
As usual in China, the previous generation GL8 will remain on sale alongside the new one to offer an entry-level budget alternative, mostly for fleet customers. More information about the history of the GL8 in China on chinacarhistory.com.