• 210
Buick Regal GS – Click above for high-res image gallery

Buick has a long history of turbocharged Regals, starting back in 1978 when the first example appeared. That "personal luxury" coupe was one of the first mainstream American products to adopt exhaust-driven turbocharging to recover some of the power lost to downsized engines. Unfortunately, in the era before electronic engine management and fuel injection, those Regals weren't very good. Over the next decade, however, Buick refined these technologies, which led to the formidable GNX, supposedly the quickest production car in the world when it was introduced in 1986.

Fast forward to today and the Regal badge is back. Aside from four wheels and Buick's signature water fall grille, the new Regal has no relationship to the Regals of yore. Unlike the Eighties, when making an American car more "European" meant painting the chrome trim black and stiffening the springs, this sedan was originally developed by General Motors' European operation as the Opel Insignia. As such, it might actually appeal to those considering a BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 or Mercedes-Benz C-Class. But to really seal the deal, Buick is using the Detroit Auto Show to revive another one of its historic badges: the GS. Learn about the Regal GS after the jump.

  • Buick Regal GS show car. X11BU_RG012
  • Buick Regal GS show car. X11BU_RG015
  • Buick Regal GS show car. X11BU_RG013
  • Buick Regal GS show car. X11BU_RG014
  • Buick Regal GS show car. X11BU_RG016
  • Buick Regal GS show car. X11BU_RG017
  • Buick Regal GS show car. X11BU_RG018
  • Buick Regal GS show car. X11BU_RG019

Live photos by Sam Abuelsamid / Copyright ©2009 Weblogs, Inc.

At a sneak preview of the Regal GS, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz told us in no uncertain terms, "We are officially not announcing this today." What he meant was that the Regal GS in not yet confirmed for production. However, given that most of its components are already in production and the level of detailed information revealed, all indications say that a Regal GS will debut a few months after its lesser siblings hit the streets.

The Regal GS is based directly on the high-performance OPC version of the Opel Insignia, but instead of using the foreigner's 325-horsepower turbocharged V6, Buick is sticking with its four-cylinder-only strategy for the Regal. The GS is powered by a higher output version of the 2.0-liter direct-injected EcoTec four-cylinder that we've come to know and love in numerous GM products over the few years, with the tell-tale dual portholes on either side of its hood indicating its intentions. In this application, powertrain engineers have re-tuned the engine from its original 260 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque to 255 hp and 295 pound-feet. The GS is also equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox... in a Buick! While we tend to favor three-pedal configurations, we're confident that the GS will also be available with a self-shifting option when it arrives in showrooms.

Back in the glory days of the GNX, turbo Regals offered plenty of capability for ramping up velocities. But when it came time to slow down or chang direction... well, when's the last time you saw a tight left-hander or chicane at your local drag strip? Being a true European sport sedan this go-'round, Buick has apparently covered all the bases when it comes to managing kinetic energy.

To convert that forward momentum into thermal energy Buick went with one of the top names in the business: Brembo. The front wheels are equipped with 14-inch cross-drilled rotors and four-pot mono-block calipers... again, on a Buick! Match it all up with 19-inch wheels wearing appropriate rubber and the GS should haul down in a hurry.

The last time a Regal had any serious performance, the tractive effort was handled only by the car's rear axle. Since this new version is a normally front-wheel drive, having any real credibility means adding an all-wheel drive system. Fortunately, the Epsilon II platform has already been engineered for this. Using the latest edition of the Haldex-based torque vectoring system that served duty in the Saab Turbo-X, the Regal should be able to send power to the wheels that need it most and move the car in any direction the driver wants with ease.

Proper control of a performance car also requires a proper working environment for the driver. In the Regal that means a thick-rimmed steering wheel with a flattened bottom. That last bit should help ease getting in and out of the heavily bolstered Recaro thrones. (Hey GM, if a Buick Regal can sport Recaros, when will we get some better seats in the Corvette?) While ensconced, the driver can use an Interactive Drive Control System (IDCS) to select different settings for the throttle response, adaptive damping, steering and shifting (presumably when equipped with an auto-box).

As we said, Maximum Bob made it clear that GM was officially not announcing anything yet. This is technically a concept for the moment – a show car only – but the smiles among GM staffers when talking about the GS, and the fact that the car is already engineered to go, indicates that we'll likely see the Regal GS in dealer showrooms sooner rather than later. We expect it to arrive sometime in 2011 with a price tag somewhere in the mid- to upper-$30K range.

As much as we like what we've seen of the Regal GS, however, it still doesn't help us understand exactly what kind of brand Buick is supposed to be going forward. Perhaps we can contemplate the answer while letting the brakes cool after blasting some back roads... in a Buick!

Show full PR text
  • 21st-century successor to Buick's Gran Sport heritage
  • Bold, sporty design with unique exterior details and an aggressive stance
  • High-output Ecotec 2.0L turbocharged engine and six-speed manual transmission
  • Adaptive all-wheel-drive system and electronic limited-slip rear differential
  • 0-60 in less than 6.0 seconds
  • Buick's class-exclusive Interactive Drive Control System

DETROIT – With an estimated 255 turbocharged horsepower (190 kW), a six-speed manual transmission and an advanced, adaptive all-wheel-drive system, the Buick Regal GS show car is a high-tech, high-performance version of the brand's newest sport sedan. It was introduced at the 2010 North American International Auto Show.

The mechanical elements were developed with the aim of delivering a driving experience that is sporting, confidence-inspiring and refined. It has a performance-oriented drivetrain, a lowered body and lower center of gravity. Exterior and interior cues include two additional vertical front air intakes; large, forged aluminum 20-inch wheels and performance tires; a racing-inspired sport steering wheel and metal pedals. Recaro high-performance front seats feature four-way lumbar support and cushion extensions.

"We designed the Regal GS to explore the appeal of a high-performance variant of the Regal," said Craig Bierley, product marketing director for Buick. "Like the Regal, the Regal GS is based on the award-winning Opel Insignia, and we believe it will reinvigorate Buick's storied Gran Sport legacy."

The Regal GS exterior is distinguished by vertical air inlets in the front fascia, as well as unique rocker panels, an integrated rear spoiler, dual exhaust outlets, Olympic White paint and satin metallic accents.

"The idea behind the Regal GS was taking the production model in a more aggressive direction to appeal to performance enthusiasts," said John Cafaro, Buick design director. "But along with its aggressive stance, there's sophisticated style in the design that complements the driving experience."

Inside, the Regal GS varies from the standard Regal by featuring a completely jet black interior, including the pillars and headliner, sport shifter for the six-speed manual transmission and a suede-covered, flat-bottom steering wheel reminiscent of those used in international racing series. The instrument panel glows ice blue when the driver engages the sport mode of the Interactive Drive Control System (IDCS).

Turbocharged AWD performance
Power for the Regal GS comes from a high-output 2.0L Ecotec turbocharged engine with direct-injection technology. It is based on the engine that will be offered on Regal CXL models later this summer, but the engine and turbocharger are tuned to deliver greater boost pressure in the GS. The output is estimated at 255 horsepower (190 kW) and 295 lb.-ft. of torque (400 Nm).

The engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission that directs torque to an adaptive all-wheel-drive system calibrated for performance driving. An electronic, limited-slip rear differential helps ensure the engine's power is distributed effectively during cornering.

The high-performance drivetrain is expected to enable the Regal GS to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds. That performance is complemented by a four-wheel-independent suspension, with a unique High Performance Strut (HiPerStrut) design in front. The HiPerStrut system helps reduce torque steer and maintain negative camber during cornering. This improves ultimate grip levels in dry and wet conditions, as well as improves the direct feel of the road, while isolating undesirable feedback. Behind the wheel the driver experiences reduced torque steer, improved grip and increased cornering power, along with crisper handling, steering precision and feedback.

The Regal GS features a high-performance Brembo brake system with 14 x 1.2-inch (355 x 32 mm) cross-drilled rotors; four-piston, high-strength aluminum calipers, and high-performance pads.

The Regal GS is also equipped with Interactive Drive Control System (IDCS) chassis technology (also offered on Regal CXL models with the 2.0L turbo engine). It delivers enhanced vehicle stability and greater driving safety, while also adapting the driving characteristics of the car to the driver's preferences. The driver selects among three operating modes – normal, sport and GS – that change the suspension settings, throttle response, shift pattern and steering sensitivity through the variable-effort steering system.

About Buick
Buick is in the midst of a transformation that started with the Enclave luxury crossover and continues with the completely redesigned LaCrosse luxury sedan and Regal sport sedan. Buick is emerging as a modern, premium brand with vehicles characterized by sculpted designs, personal technologies, luxurious interiors and responsive performance. Future new sedans and crossovers are planned and will continue to expand Buick's portfolio both in North America and China. More information can be found at www.buick.com.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      This will make an excellent rental car. For my money? Probably not. The styling isn't bad, but the interior looks cheap. Turbo 4 means premium gas, which means you're not saving any real $$$ over a NA 6. With AWD, I would be surprised if this car is actually sprightly, the drive train will eat up all the power. Put in an efficient but powerful v6, and make it RWD, and you might just have something.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The SIDI 2.0L Ecotec turbo can run on regular fuel.

        The V6 that is in it in Europe is a turbo 2.8L (not direct injection) and probably requires premium.

        With that much torque it may not be that much of a dog under power. The MazdaSpeed 6 seemed to do pretty good.

        I really like this Regal. If it's $29,999 then I will be very happy.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Umm.... GNX was not introduced into production until '87 not '86. GN (intercooled first in '86 then in '87) was at the time I believe the fastest production car yes.

      Anyways, this GS is hot! I'd buy one in a second. I have an '06 Subaru Legacy GT Spec.B (highly modified) right now and this GS just appeals to to me bigtime - pushes all the right buttons save for the old man corporate grill.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This is wrong bud. You're mixed up. the '87 Corvette was SLOWER than the '87 GN period. 'Fast' in this conversation is referring to accelleration - E.T. specifically.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No, the GN was never the fastest production car. It wasn't even the fastest car in the GM stable, the Corvette beat it unless conditions were perfect for the turbo (i.e. cold weather).

        The GNX may have been the fastest production car when it came out, I'm not sure, I don't think anyone really is since Buick wasn't interested in putting any accurate performance figures on it, it would have meant doing quite a bit of standardized testing against the other candidates to find out.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Shame we are not getting the engine from the OPC, will we get a GS button that will turn the gauges red and firm suspension and throttle response? Can't wait to see how it performs against the Legacy GT, Audi A4, etc. Do want after I pay off my current car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Way to go Buick.Building cars with style was the reacipie for sucess in the past, hopefully they do well....
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM, bring this car if you want to turn around Buick's image. I'm 29 and would seriously consider this car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Enthusiast? Sure. Fanboy? Not so much. It's hard to be a fanboy of a brand whose target market is somewhere in their 70's. Though I will say I understand where you're coming from.

        I've tried desperately to find an American car to replace my Honda, Mazda, and now currently Subaru, and so far the only one that has truly piqued my interest was the G8. Well, now that it's played it's swan song, my options have dwindled. I really like the new 2010/11 Mustang, but it's just not my thing. Same goes for the Camaro and Challenger. I think this new Buick IS a trendsetter; as far as American cars go. Baby steps, yes, but at least they're in the right direction.

        I do have to disagree with your points on the interior. I'm not sure how you can tell the buttons are "cheap" from a photo, and not everyone wants an i-drive-like system. I personally like the all black interior. Agree to disagree?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I drive an '08 WRX right now and while the powertrain and drivetrain are solid, this thing is far from a "proper sport sedan". My rental Kia had a nicer interior. It feels cheap, looks cheap, but I bought soley on the premise of its engine and AWD. I regret it every day. The Buick on the other hand offers much more.

        I had an '06 Mazdaspeed6 and this car reminds me of it; power with a little bit of luxury.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm 26 and I'd never buy it. I know the mechanical difference between a re-dressed, optional AWD 4 cylinder family sedan and a proper sport sedan. Guess they don't teach much about cars in school. Mid 30K for this is a total ripoff. If you want an expensive AWD 4 banger, get a WRX and you can actually drive it like a real sports car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm 17 and I Love and want this Buick!!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        All of you young'uns... you're enthusiasts...and fanboys. Of course you want it.

        I don't think it's bad, but it's certainly not trendsetting. There's way too many cheap buttons under the nav screen. Way too many. If Buick really wanted to up the ante they would've created a cool multi-touch interface or put in some sort of control knob if they have that many things that need controlling. The days of 100 buttons on the dash are over, and this panel is straight out of 10 years ago. Finally, enough with the yards of black plastic. Be creative - SPICE IT UP WITH SOME COLOR! The interior is like a frickin' coffin.

        The looks are ok, except they really didn't need those holes in the hood near the base of the windshield. WTF is that?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Since the announcement of the Buick Regal, I have been hoping and praying that someone at GM brings the OPC variant over.
        Its happening!
        and i hope they change nothing, leave it as it is now.

        I'm 21 and I want this as my next car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        23 and in law school, here, and sign me up upon graduation!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Looks like they copied the Saab 9-5. Not surprising.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Great looking, very promising and so on... But no turbo V6 from the OPC ?!? That's a shame right there... And ultimately a big dealbreaker. It would have gone toe-to-toe with a lot more competition with the V6. Why, Buick ? Oh well, moving on.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Is the A4 not bigger and even more expensive? It's not a near luxury car, it's a luxury car.

        Maybe I'm just being too picky.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Why? Probably because they know it wouldN'T stack up to the V6 competition out there.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And the OPC weights 1810 kilograms...or just over 3900 lbs and 200 lbs more than the G...so yes, yes it does have a weight advantage. I wouldn't consider one because of the auto-only thing, but I'm just saying that i'd be shocked if even the automatic G didn't easily outperform this car for the same money with similar levels of equipment. Doesn't mean I don't like the Regal...i think it's great...but I wouldn't consider it at that price and i don't think many other people will either.
        • 5 Years Ago

        The 2.0T in this GS will have the same 295lb-ft of torque as the 2.8T V6 in the Insignia VXR. Except that the Buick will weigh less at the front, so it'll handle better.

        And it'll drink less fuel. Let's see how well it goes before mourning the lack of a V6 option.

        I've read reviews about the V6 in the TSX spoiling the car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The weight of the G37x is over 3700lbs. It has no weight advantage on this car. And you can't get a G37x with a stick anyway.

        It's pretty tough to get a 328xi in the 30s, it's pretty stripped down. But I guess in a way it competes against this.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Audi A4.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I love almost everything about this car...and it's gorgeous. The Regal is an absolute home-run from a product standpoint.

        In this price bracket, however, it's going to compete with A4s, 325 xDrives, and G37Xs that are 250-350 lbs lighter (they're 400 lbs lighter than an OPC with the bigger engine), roughly the same size, and have "premium" badges. They GS will probably out-perform the Bimmer and Audi but i'd bet the actual stats close enough to put them in the same ballpark. It's an almost sure bet that a G37x will resolutely outperform this car for the same money.

        I wouldn't pay the same amount of money for a GM car as I would for a more reputable brand unless it slammed the competition in its price bracket. Once again GM puts together a solid (albeit slightly overweight) car without realizing that it can't command the same amount of money for its vehicles that other manufacturers without its tarnished reputation can get.
        • 5 Years Ago
        What competition?

        I can't think of a car in the US this competes with right now. The closest I can think of is the Mazdaspeed 6, but that's been gone for 2 years.

        If there were an Ecoboost V6 Fusion then it would be similar too (no stick though) and would lick this on speed I figure, probably even if this had the 2.8T.

        I would think you're trying to put this up against the G37, but it's not really the same is it?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Some people have no idea what a new 2.0T A4 Quattro or 328i (with AWD) cost these days. If this Buick tops out at 37k with all the bells and whistles it will be substantially cheaper and FASTER than a comparably equipped German sedan.

      • 5 Years Ago
      You teased me with the estate car... Now I want it!!! GS with a wagon back!!! Dark Grey outside/Black leather inside... THNX!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Top Gear just did a review of the opel insignia opc. It was realy good, and i am surpirsed gm kept the buick exactly the same, including the sport and the racer button under the nav/info screen
      • 5 Years Ago
      OK. That is not a buick. That is a vauxhall insignia. Do not be fooled by buick. I highly doubt they could come up with something like that by themselves.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Man, you're sharp.
    • Load More Comments