Buick‘s version of the Chevrolet Cruze, known in China as the Excelle, has been caught undisguised again, this time in sporty GT trim. The Excelle uses the same platform as the Chevrolet Cruze and Opel Astra, and even uses the same 1.4L, 138 horsepower turbo four-cylinder, but the Excelle also gets a bigger, 1.6L version that makes 180-horsepower, and there’s even a rumored 200-horsepower turbo version (ostensibly the same engine used in the Buick Regal turbo).
Buick is clawing its way back in North America, but the brand is immensely popular in China. Buick has been in China since the early 1900′s, and Chinese emporers in the pre-Communist era drove them, making Buick the car to have. Buick’s reputation managed to survive decades of Communist brain-washing, as the brand enjoy an 85 percent recognition rate in China. With a rising, affluent middle-class looking to buy their first cars, the small, efficient and well made Excelle should be a home run when it comes to market later this year, and we’re looking forward to seeing it make its way Stateside too.