• May 3, 2010
2011 Buick Regal Turbo – Click above for high-res image gallery

Starting this fall, all new 2011 Buick Regals will have flex-fuel capability. The first boatloads of Regals from Germany have begun rolling off the docks in New Jersey in the past week and are being sent out to dealers. The first several months of Regal production will all be powered by a gasoline-only version of General Motors' normally aspirated 2.4-liter inline four.

Once the 2.0-liter direct injected turbo four starts arriving in late August, both engines will be able to run on either gasoline or E85 ethanol. The turbo will be GM's first production E85-capable turbocharged and direct injected engine. The engine was originally developed for the new Saab 9-5, which rides on the same Epsilon II platform as the Regal, and GM decided to install it in the U.S.-spec Buick as well. The new Regal has been available in China since late 2008.

According Jim Federico, vehicle line executive for the global midsize platform, combining direct injection and turbocharging will allow the new engine to get much closer to the volumetric fuel efficiency of gasoline while running on ethanol. Until now, normally aspirated flex-fuel engines typically have gotten about 15 percent worse fuel efficiency on ethanol. The Regal engine should cut that deficit to the mid-single digits and future versions should be just about even.


Photos Copyright ©2010 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.
[Source: Buick]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 49 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why? So we can all get s*** fuel econ and performance?

      ... And let's not even mention ethanol production or subsidies.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I read that part. Worse is still worse (you said 15%, not me) even if it is reduced. I take it back about the cost effectiveness though. Apparently in many places right now it is cost-effective. On average E85 is 25% less expensive than gas, so it makes financial sense to buy it at the moment.

        I don't believe E85 reduces our dependency on oil. Maybe some day with better techniques, but right now you have to buy so much oil-derived fertilizer to produce the corn that it isn't a net positive.

        MBS:
        I've never met anyone who is impressed the the flex-fuel capabilities of any car. It doesn't seem like a very effective greenwash to me.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I only said 15% because that's what's in the story. Either way, GM says this version will drop that deficit down to the "mid-single digits" and future versions expect to be even with gasoline. Once again, as we move away from corn as a primary supply source for Ethanol(which is the plan), then the majority of your argument against it is gone.

        Breakthroughs like this certainly make the choice of using E85 a much easier one.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @LS2LS7: No, the only reason to do this is for GM to greenwash their image.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You apparently missed an important part of the story. Due to the direct injection and turbo, this engine will not have the typical 15%+ fuel economy penalty, they will be much closer to the single digits on this car and they expect to be even on future versions.

        So, on the other hand, you'll be getting mileage much closer to gasoline while spending less on the fuel to achieve that(and using far less imported oil as well).
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ethanol isn't low performance. In fact, if you can utilize it correctly (and maybe a turbo can) it's higher performance. But yeah, you get fewer miles per gallon due to lower energy density and it's more expensive per mile and getting even worse now that the subsidies are reduced.

        On top of that, the CAFE Ethanol loophole goes away in 2015 I think. The only reason I can think to do this is for non-US countries, like Brazil maybe?
      • 4 Years Ago
      *insignia*??
        • 4 Years Ago
        You realize this is sold in Europe as the Opel Insignia, right?
      • 4 Years Ago
      how much is turbo? wouldn't it better to just buy a Sonata turbo when it comes out?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes, a Sonata will be cheaper.
      • 4 Years Ago
      People are filling their tanks with ethanol?
        • 4 Years Ago
        You're missing the bigger picture here.
        _IF_ all vehicles were to be designed for E85 capability that would explicitly mean that the engine will readily run on _anything_ between regular gas and E85, leaving government and fuel companies to mix to whatever they see fit for production needs and local resources. (E-whatever at the pumps anyone?). A lot of bashing in Europe (mostly Sweden?) recently has been about people buying E85 vehicles and only running them on gas, just to get the tax deduction for being a "green" vehicle. My point is, so what?
        If all gas powered cars were capable of combusting regulated fuels to any mixture, that would open up a whole new set of possibilities. The end result for the difference between bio-gas, natural gas, regular gas and ethanol, for an engine with a somewhat smart ignition system is absolutely zilch. They will generate energy.
        Think like Saab did in the early 90:ies. A ionizing current knock detection to be able to determine near realtime combustion properties. That's why Saab had an easy job converting all ecotecs to E85 mixtures. In fact: the engines would readily run E85 with little to no modification, they just had to make sure everything could take the corrosive nature of Ethanol.
      • 4 Years Ago
      GM ahead of the curve!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Huh? GM is just following the CAFE trail down the rabbit hole.
        • 4 Years Ago
        GM would be 'ahead of the curve' if when you use E50 or higher fuel, the turbo engine increases in power from 220hp to 270hp.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It takes about 20 pounds of corn to make 1 gallon of ethanol. After the ethanol is removed about 7 pounds of a high protein feed remain. The only part of the corn seed used to make ethanol is the starch. Starch makes us fat, the good nutrition is left. GM is right on developing the turbo e-85 4 cyl. engine, it will be a great investment.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Regal is one of the best looking Buicks in recent times.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yes the badge is too big.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Building my still now.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That's great! However I don't need another logo or badge on the car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Simplecar I am annoyed by almost everything you say but I think we can both agree that debadging a pretty car is the only sensible thing to do.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @decapitor

        I could care less if I annoy you. Don't read my comments though. Your "agreeing" with me just finally shows your the one finally coming around and making sense. Yet your comments are so bandwagon though, it blends in effortlessly into the rest of the post, that I can't even remember you.

        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree. I think the "Buick" to the left on the back is unnecessary. You already have the Logo. They could put an engine Logo there or something
      • 4 Years Ago
      All vehicles sold in the U.S. should be required to be flex fuel.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Depends on where we are. That being said, we need to be focusing on where fuels might be during the two decades or so that vehicle is on the road, not what the supply situation is today.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, lets dump more inefficient ethanol into fuel tanks, instead of using that corn for foodstuffs.

        Ethanol from grain is stupid, wasteful, and inefficient.

        There is no possible way to get the same mileage from mostly alcohol, as from mostly or all gasoline.

        Alcohol is less energy dense, so by definition, it cannot provide as much energy per unit of fuel volume. The same energy required to travel the same distance in the same car... alcohol will always require more fuel quantity for that amount of energy.

        Turbocharging may help a bit, but will never be equal, given the laws of physics and chemistry.

        And 1 gallon of ethanol still requires as much grain as would provide foodstuffs for a family for quite a long time, at least months. How long does it take to burn a gallon's worth of ethanol mixed into your tank? Hours of driving, maybe?
        • 4 Years Ago
        You do understand that grain ethanol is just one type of many right?
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Model T was flex-fuel. 100 years later and most people still couldn't find an E-85 pump if they tried.
      • 4 Years Ago
      There's this video called Food Inc. Watch it. The farmers said the govt told them to grow as much corn as possible and they'll find as much uses for it as possible. In short, I'd rather put it in my gas tank than in my belly.
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