Buick Goes Back to the Future for All-New Verano New twist on steam engine technology designed for smooth ride, dynamic handling
DETROIT – When engineers set out to give the all-new 2012 Buick Verano the agile driving dynamics and smooth quiet ride that drivers expect of the luxury brand, they put a new twist on a technology that pre-dates the automotive industry by more than century.
Verano, which arrives at Buick dealerships later this year, uses a Z-link design in its rear suspension to center the car’s rear axle during turns to provide a more-balanced driving experience.
Z-link is based on the Watt’s linkage, a device invented by James Watt in 1784 to drive a steam engine piston in a straight up-and-down motion. Automotive engineers have since used Watt’s linkage to prevent sideways motion between the axle and body of a vehicle. General Motors’ exclusive Z-link design is a refinement of that technology.
“By using a Z-link on Verano, we were able to achieve the crisp chassis dynamics, a smooth ride, and hushed road noise that Buick customers have come to expect,” said Matt Purdy, Verano vehicle performance manager. “Z-link and other chassis refinements implemented on Verano are expected to deliver unmatched ride quality in the luxury compact car segment.”
The Z-link is carried on a small cross-member attached to the vehicle’s underbody, just behind the rear wheel center line. It consists of a short, pivoting center link with a ball joints at each end, to which the lateral links from the wheels are bolted.
During cornering, the Z-link provides greater lateral stiffness that results in more positive vehicle responses to steering inputs and helps keep the rear suspension aligned with the front suspension. When the Verano is traveling on a straight road, it allows the suspension to travel up and down freely for excellent ride comfort.
Verano’s front suspension uses MacPherson struts that help manage road inputs, and high-strength aluminum components that help improve handling and durability and prevent vibrations while contributing to better fuel economy due to their light weight.
Verano’s ride also benefits from the use of urethane cushions on the top and bottom of the springs to reduce vibrations, and a 10-percent larger twin-tube damper to increase ride control and isolate road noise.
“Verano couples these chassis technologies with remarkable acoustic refinement to deliver the quiet cabin, agile handling and superior ride that our customers have come to expect from Buick,” said Chuck Russell, Verano vehicle line director.
Buick is a modern luxury brand offering vehicles with sculpted designs, luxurious interiors with thoughtful personal technologies, along with responsive-yet-efficient performance. Buick is attracting new customers with its portfolio of award-winning luxury models, including the Enclave crossover, LaCrosse sedan, Regal sport sedan and highly anticipated all-new 2012 Buick Verano sedan. Buick is one of the fastest growing majors in the U.S. and remains a best-selling brand in China, with continuing record growth.www.buick.com.
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