Buick continues to fashion a hipper image with the new Regal GS significantly enhancing the brand’s stock.
The GS — short for Gran Sport, a performance label that Buick first used back in the mid-1960s — will be added to the Regal lineup later this year, showing the world that there really can be such a thing as a performance Buick.
The new model also provides one more engine choice for its new midsize platform. At one end of the spectrum, the 2012 Regal will be offered with a new gasoline-electric hybrid combo, called eAssist, that delivers significantly enhanced fuel economy. At the other end, the new GS comes with an enhanced-output turbocharged four-cylinder engine and matching performance/luxury content to challenge similar mid-size sedans from Europe and Japan.
Just as General Motors’ Cadillac division is changing its image with the high-output CTS-V coupe and sedan, the GS will undoubtedly challenge the public’s perceptions about Buick, which has traditionally catered to older drivers who cared very little about acceleration, road holding and steering and stopping performance.
Actually, Buick has a head start since the Regal sedan was conceived in Germany and is arguably the most visually arresting model in Buick’s fleet.
Speed, wheels and brakes
Buick claims the Regal GS delivers zero-to-100-km/h runs in the low seven-second threshold, which is decent, but not spectacular for the 1,680-kilogram sedan.
The GS features 19- and optional 20-inch wheels. As well, it’s braking has been upgraded with a four-wheel-disc package from Brembo, a company that supplies the stopping power for the world’s most elite cars.
Performance-oriented upgrading has also been bestowed upon the GS. Chief among these are special “HiPerStruts” for the front suspension that help reduce torque steer, which is the tendency for high-powered front-wheel-drive vehicles to pull to one side under hard acceleration.
The driver can choose standard, sport and extra-firm suspension settings and for a more sporting feel, the degree of power-steering boost is reduced as suspension firmness increases.
What will give this Buick its performance chops is a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder that Buick promises will deliver at least 255 horsepower and a stout 295 pound-feet of torque.
By comparison, the Regal CXL’s optional 2.0-litre turbo engine produces 220 horses and 258 pound-feet of torque. Much of GS’s added output comes from increased turbocharger boost pressure along with freer flowing exhaust plumping.