2012 Buick Regal GS |MotorWeek

6 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2012 Buick Regal GS |MotorWeek
Buick Regal

Episode 3103

When you hear the name Buick, the most likely words that come to mind are luxury, classy, and stylish. But, the Buick brand also has a rich performance history, filled with Wildcats, Grand Sports, and Grand Nationals. Now, the century old brand is one again offering its unique form of roadmastering performance with the new Buick Regal GS.

General Motors introduced the mostly German engineered Regal GS as a concept at Detroit’s 2010 North American International Auto Show, and it peaked a lot of interest. So much so that only 20 months later that concept has turned into the largely unchanged production 2012 Buick Regal GS. That includes snarly Euro-chic sport sedan cues that instantly set the GS miles ahead of more garden variety Regals.

There’s the lowered ride height, twin port hood, swept-back Bi-Xenon HID headlights above a series of vertical slats and inlets, all flanking a still recognizable Buick waterfall grille. A ground hugging front facia turns to 19 or 20 inch 5-twin spoke alloys and deep rocker panel extensions, past twin trapezoidal exhausts, and up to a rear spoiler. All making a perfect view for those left behind!

But, way beyond the cosmetics, this sport sedan thrives with unique bits like a special GS version of Buick’s Interactive Drive Control System. Like on the Regal Turbo, IDC lets the driver select suspension and steering sensitivity. Here there are three modes, standard, sport, and an exclusive GS mode that increases steering effort and damping levels even further.

Under the hood the GS is packing an uprated Ecotec 2.0-liter, direct injected boosted four cylinder with 270 horsepower, 50 more than the Regal Turbo, with an over square 295 lb-ft of torque. Very impressive! And in a bold move, the Buick Regal GS is initially offered only with a 6-speed manual transmission.

Buick didn’t want to dilute the GS, so a 6-speed automatic will come midyear.

At the drag strip, the GS was indeed more euro muscle than American. Launches were soft and even with a turbo grew the ecotec has limited steam. Still a 0-60 of 6.8 seconds, and a quarter mile in 15.2 seconds at 94 miles per hour is a big improvement over the Regal Turbo.

There was an almost total lack of torque steer thanks to the front HiPer strut suspension. Both the strut and transmission lack sharpness. But linkage is smooth and gear is well matched to the engine.

But, as with most Euro-tweaked sedans, the real entertainment is when you turn the wheels side to side. With the IDC set to GS mode, response is quick and sharp. The HiPer Struts again performed as advertised, managing handling forces and road shock, while retaining reasonable steering feel. As speeds rise, so does composure. Body roll is minimized but the effects of expansion joints is not harsh.

The GS’s Brembo four piston front calipers brought this Regal to a stop in a super short 110 feet. Pedal reaction was firm and sporty. Scoring high against recent German sports sedan we’ve tested.

Taking a break, the interior of the GS is both sporty and still very much a Buick Regal. A flat bottom steering wheel and leather trimmed bucket seats greet front occupants with good support and plenty of leg room. The podded gauge cluster has a large, round tach and speedo, with coolant, fuel, and a multi function display in between. When you activate the GS Mode, gauge lighting changes from ice blue to a glowing white.

The GS comes very well equipped with automatic climate controls and front seat heat. Our car sported the optional sunroof and audio navigation package complete with 7-inch touch screen. The screen is also the interface for Buick’s Intellilink which matches up with smartphone apps for Pandora and Stitcher sites; as well as advanced OnStar features like remote start.

Buick Regal

One downside of European sport sedan style is a tight back seat and the Regal is no different. It’s OK for two adults but not three. But, the seatbacks do fold and the trunk at 14.3 cubic feet is very usable.

And, along with all this performance and comfort comes pretty good government fuel economy ratings of 19-City and 27-Highway with premium gas recommended. Pricing for the top drawer 2012 Buick Regal GS is $35,310. For perspective, an Audi A4 Turbo starts at about 3 grand less.

In recent years Buick has reinvented itself as a younger, more polished premium brand, one that is even more popular abroad than at home. Now, it’s even more exciting to see that the performance heritage of this historic brand is also getting a proper addressing. The 2012 Buick Regal GS is a ball to drive, paving the way for more great road cars to come.

Vital Statistics

Engine: Ecotec 2.0-liter

Buick Regal
Buick Regal
Buick Regal
Buick Regal
Buick Regal
Buick Regal
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