CONCEPT. Buick Centieme Concept (2003)

The 2003 Buick Centieme concept is a distinctive, luxurious vehicle that combines the best features of a sedan and sport utility vehicle. Commemorating Buick’s 100th anniversary, the progressive design suggests a rolling piece of sculpture, embodying the romance of travel for which Buick is renowned.

CONCEPT. Buick Centieme Concept (2003)

The four-door Centieme seats six passengers in a three-row, dual seat configuration.

CONCEPT. Buick Centieme Concept (2003)

‘We started with an inside-out design focus,’ said Anne Asensio, GM’s executive director of design for interiors, quality and brand character. ‘Centieme is modeled for the Buick customer that seeks a premium American family vehicle without giving up style.

‘We have the room and scale to make a very dramatic visual statement. We’ve taken what we do well and enhanced it in a different form of a vehicle, in a sleek, two-box format.’

Style, grace and function
The low, wide-stance vehicle sports Buick’s graceful flowing signature lines and classic grille. Combined with a relatively long wheelbase and tight overhangs, Centieme’s form also projects a nimble and energetic appearance.

‘Centieme conveys the essence of Buick beauty with an appeal to younger customers,’ said Gary Mack, the vehicle’s exterior designer.

Centieme’s sophisticated canyon mist metallic blue-red exterior tri-coat utilizes the texture of metallic flakes to drape this upscale, rugged vehicle in elegance.

A 3.6-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engine — good for 400 horsepower and 400 lbs.-ft. of torque — complements the spirited design. It is mated to a Hydra-Matic 4T65-E electronically controlled four-speed automatic transaxle.

Centieme also features General Motors’ Versatrak all-wheel-drive system, advanced traction control that transfers torque from front wheels to rear, and from side to side, to maintain control on various road surfaces. The front end uses a strut configuration, while the rear employs an SLA independent suspension with coils for car-like performance and handling.

‘Centieme is a vehicle that permits you to immerse yourself in its bold, luxurious car-like qualities,’ said Mack.

Built by famed Italian design house Bertone, the Centieme rides on 22-inch front and rear aluminum wheels with Michelin tires. The front brakes are six-piston calipers with 15-inch rotors backed up by four-piston calipers with 14.75-inch rotors in the rear.

Interior luxury and technology
Inside, ‘captain’s chair’ seating in the front and middle rows give the spacious cabin a look of comfort and security. Armrests are located on the adjacent doors and integrated in the seats for perfect symmetry and enhanced comfort. The front and middle-row seats power-adjust in six ways for individualized coziness. The middle seats also slide forward for easy access to the power-folding, flat-load third row. Ease of entry and egress for rear passengers is aided by wide-opening rear doors.

‘A porcelain-colored leather covers the seats and the lower doors. The ‘dusk’ colored leather on the third-row seating and upper doors contrasts nicely against the lighter hue of the first and second rows, giving the cabin a premium passenger-car ambience,’ said Yan Huang, interior designer. Porcelain soft-touch suede covers the headliner.

The woven-leather floor is custom made, and suggests contemporary upscale home decor.

The center consoles for the front and middle seats are service areas that also slide forward on tracks submerged in the flat floor for extra utility. This exemplifies the heart of the vehicle, allowing more social interaction. The movable consoles provide more cabin space, linking front and rear occupants.

The §teering wheel, consoles and interior trim feature olive ash burl accents. The cluster gauges have aluminum accents that feature a dazzling engine-turned pattern.

Advanced lighting in the headliner provides the passenger compartment with soft, ambient illumination and gives occupants a protected feeling. The luminescence harmonizes with the spaciousness for a luxurious atmosphere.

Technology is advanced but understated, such as with the §teering-wheel-mounted electronic shift controls. The back panels of the front seats also incorporate DVD entertainment centers for rear occupants.

The Buick Centieme is family transportation with American style, drama and security.

‘This vehicle rewards both sides of the brain — the side that demands practicality and functionality, and the side that demands style,’ said Asensio. ‘It’s a family vehicle and an image vehicle.

‘A crossover in style, Centieme is a fitting vehicle to celebrate a century of Buick heritage while fulfilling contemporary values. Sleek, romantic lines accentuate full sculptural forms, and shroud necessary practicality to create a preview of future Buick designs.

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