Vital Stats

Engine:
Turbo 2.0L I4
Power:
259 HP / 295 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Automatic
0-60 Time:
6.8 Seconds
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,982 LBS
Seating:
2+5
Cargo:
14.2 CU-FT
MPG:
19 City / 27 HWY
Base Price:
$39,270
As Tested Price:
$42,465
A few months ago I drove the 2014 Buick LaCrosse and wrote up a First Drive review of it. For all of my quibbles with that sedan (and I had a fair number), I understand that it speaks to the heart of what new Buick loyalists like in a car; it's roomy, has a cushy ride and is as placid as a summer's morning at highway speeds.

Those qualities, while undeniably desirable, don't mean a whole lot to me personally. I prefer sedans that conjure up words like "nimble," "punchy" or even "raucous" on occasion. So, directionally, the high-performance GS version of the 2014 Buick Regal is more my cup of tea than any other car in the company's current range.

In fact, I'd already come to know the Regal GS from its 2012 model year introduction, and grown more than a little fond of the sporting sedan in its original front-wheel-drive, six-speed-manual guise. The fast, sweet-handling car with well-sorted controls may have suffered from a slight identity crisis in terms of pricing (and may still), but it was undeniably fun to drive. So, when I heard that the GS was coming to market for 2014 with optional all-wheel drive (albeit only in combination with a six-speed automatic transmission), I was stoked to have another go and concentrated my driving impressions on the AWD car.

Please bear in mind that the "go" in question here happened over the course of a few hours, and totally within the confines of General Motors' own Milford Proving Grounds. The testing routes we drove (a miles-long section of ride and handling road course, followed by a huge autocross set in the middle of a massive skid pad) were excellent, but the rules of full disclosure necessitate letting you know we were on Buick's home court. Driving at the inner sanctum also explains why you're seeing stock photography here, instead of our standard original photo set – no cameras were allowed.

Driving Notes:
  • At the heart of this revised Regal GS is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. That's the same formula used in the previous GS, but executed with a revised four-cylinder for 2014. The turbo motor is more efficient and quieter in operation than the outgoing unit, with balance shafts, oil pump and oil pan, camshaft drive, crankshaft, fuel rail and more having evolved in pursuit of those goals. The resulting mill pushes out a still formidable 259 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque (down slightly from the 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of the last car), with a healthy 90 percent of that twist available to the driver at just 1,700 rpm.
  • Buick's official 0-60 time for the all-wheel GS is 6.8 seconds. The AWD car is down on its FWD, manual trans brother by 0.6 seconds here, though both GS models feel smooth during fast starts, without a whiff of torque steer. (GM's excellent HiPer Strut front suspension is to thank here, and is standard equipment on all GS models.)
  • I drove the GS AWD and the GS FWD back to back on both the ride and handling course, and on the autocross. After doing so, it's easy to report that the all-wheel-drive system is perhaps just a hair's breadth shy of being totally transformative in terms of GS handling.
  • While the FWD car is still a complete ball to throttle around a winding road at speed, it's nowhere near the precise instrument that the AWD GS has become. Buick uses a Haldex all-wheel-drive system that has a "neutral" state of 50/50 front/rear torque split, with a full 100 percent available to the rear wheels based on front-wheel traction. The eLSD system also allows for adjustment to the torque split out to the rear wheels, further enhancing wheel control and grip. Boil all that down, and you get a vehicle that rewards you for accelerating through hard corners – as I got my sea legs for the road course I pushed the GS harder and harder in fast corners, and was rewarded with a tighter line rather than with buzz-killing understeer. Similar actions in the front-drive car revealed more than enough grip, but with a pushing front end that ultimately had me backing off rather than heating up on the same corners. On the tighter cone course, the AWD Regal seemed to shrink around me, offering nippy changes of direction, despite that fact that initial turn-in wasn't lighting fast.
  • Steering feel and calibration has been retuned for 2014, though I was told that the pre-production prototype cars we had to drive weren't 100-percent locked in in this regard. The steering wheel offered a reassuringly meaty weight at speed, and felt fine when executing long sweepers. Road feel is predictably filtered from the GS tiller, but not more, I have to say, than that of the Audi A4 that Buick brought along for us to test, nor of the Volvo S60 T5 that I'd driven out to Milford.
  • In fact, in terms of dynamic driving behavior, I'd have no problem putting the Regal up against competitors from Audi and Volvo. A head-to-head comparison along those lines would be really interesting, but off the cuff I'd say that the Buick is on par, and ahead of the curve in terms of braking performance and ease-of-use.
  • And, of course, the Regal GS will have to be more than competitive with those products, as it has been aggressively priced near the top of the segment. The GS AWD starts at $40,195 (that's with a $925 delivery/destination fee), and includes a lot of equipment at that price: back-up camera, navigation, premium audio, HID headlights, Brembo brakes and 19-inch wheels all come before an option box is ticked. (It's helpful to remember that the GS is also effectively the top trim level for the Regal line, with the standard car getting the same 2.0T motor without the adaptive GS suspension, bigger brakes, etc.) For reference, the price of entry for an all-wheel-drive, Volvo S60 T5 is right around $35,000, and it costs roughly $37,000 to get into an A4 with Quattro and an automatic trans. Buick is selling a lot of standard content in the GS, and it might be the more inexpensive car when measured option for option, but that forty to start its MSRP does open up a world of very competitive cross-shops. BMW 328i xDrive and Cadillac ATS 2.0T, which uses the same engine found in the GS, wave hello here.
  • Bottom line: I thoroughly enjoyed driving this new Regal GS with its excellent AWD system. It's a car that deserves more of our time for a full review – when we get one out in the real world – and should merit consideration of inclusion in a highly entertaining sport sedan comparison test down the road.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 91 Comments
      Neil
      • 1 Year Ago
      its a nice start, but the insignia is a better choice with its 2.8 liter turbo v6 with 321-hp and 321-lb ft! (atleast it did have it!) I would take that 3.0 direct injected v6 from the now last generation cts and lacrosse and revise it a little more and install two turbos, or maybe a twin scroll turbo.
      Trent
      • 1 Year Ago
      It would be a great company car if the base were about $7k less and was around the price of a base Azera. I actually really like it.
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      I could fully load a 2013 Honda Accord V6 with everything from side/rear cameras, chrome wheels, LED DRL's. At the end of the day I would be able to out-speed the Regal GS, have the same fuel economy, same luxury leather/screen/camera's interior. The new Accordslook much more luxurious than anything from Buick and I you could still save nearly $7,000. Heck you could throw on some 20 inch classy wheels with good tires and still have money left over. Not to mention the naturally aspirated Accord will best the GS 2.0T to 60 as well.
        Derek L. Washington
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        And you would still be in a Honda.
          Rochester
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Derek L. Washington
          Well... there are a few billion Chinese who think Buick is the bee's knees. File that under weird but true.
          Scooter
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Derek L. Washington
          I PROMISE you, nobody on Gods green earth thinks "Buick" is a prestigious nameplate.
          Rochester
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Derek L. Washington
          That's kind of Scooter's point, which he made quite well, BTW.
        ihatemacs9
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        haha, Honda accord.
        Bassracerx
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        the only way you can get the new accord v6 now is in the L trim unless you get the 2 door that means a super squishy suspension and 225mm wide "touring" tires with tall profiles(good luck out speeding if you have to turn the wheel) . also the buick's interior and navigation system is lightyears ahead of honda's and if you say otherwise you have never sat inside the regal gs! and those "chrome" wheels on the honda are cast steel not forged aluminum like you get on the regal go look up how much forged 19" wheels cost and you will see where that "7k" is going.
        Mondrell
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        Doubt you'll have as much fun outside of gunning the JV6, though, which while a great engine (have one), is nowhere near as tuneable. Overall, the Regal has a lot of all-around performance fidelity baked in that the Accord isn't helpless against, but since that isn't the market Honda is chasing, there's no recourse for taking delivery of one from the factory in similarly potent form. HFP does not offer an upgrade program for the sedan, so you're on your own optimizing it. And no, a classy set of 20" wheels and good tires alone won't make up the deficit. There are several mainstream sedans that could take the GS in a straight line. But most, if not all of them would go to pieces at the first medium corner. Recognize that, and you may just understand its purpose, and that short of either spending the Accord's price advantage on mods or buying a TL SH-AWD (which still isn't quite at the same level), it'll never completely overshadow the Regal.
        jtav2002
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        No available AWD though. And the Regal has LED DRL's as well if that's so important. With that being said, the Accord Sport with 6 spd manual is just as quick as the GS from what I've seen. If you're buying an Accord or a Regal to drag race however you're doing it all wrong. "Looking" more luxurious is subjective. If I was buying an Accord it would be the Sport 6 spd for 25k. May not have all the bells and whistles, but it's the best looking trim in the Accord.
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      No FWD system with part-time coupled RWD like this can send all the power to the rear wheels. The fronts are always being driven at least as much as the rears, because the fronts cannot be disconnected from the power at all. It's time to stop repeating marketing nonsense from car companies. This has been going on too long. The only way the rear gets all the torque is if you hang the front wheels up in the air.
        Alfonso T. Alvarez
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rotation
        I think you need to learn a little more about how modern torque distribution systems work in modern AWD systems and stop repeating outdated nonsense ...
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rotation
        Rotation, Thanks for the comment. According to the Buick engineers on hand, the system can send 100% to the rears in a theoretical “infinite slip” situation up front. I believe the system will send 90% to the rear in a real-world situation (that being one in which infinite front wheel slip is impossible). Hope that helps. -Seyth
      Doug Utz
      • 1 Year Ago
      While this car might have the "specs", in the real world, I wonder just how many 3 series or A4 shoppers actually step foot in a Buick dealership to make a comparison. My guess is very, very few.
        mawhalen53
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Doug Utz
        Indeed. I enjoyed reading about the car and it seems like a solid package, but I know that Buick has its own name to overcome with new buyers.
        ishmaelcrowley
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Doug Utz
        You might be right. More people by BMWs for prestige and not specs, however I would think that anyone who buys this car would have a much more reliable one when the warranty runs out, and the maintenance shouldn't kill you either.
        SYJ
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Doug Utz
        Does it really matter? There are a host of cars that could be considered competitors- the 3 series probably isnt even considered a top competitors. for starters, its RWD. I can definitely see it being compared to S60, TSX, TL, Maxima and A4.
          Doug Utz
          • 1 Year Ago
          @SYJ
          In my market (midwest), a high percentage of 3 series are "X" models, so I felt the comparison to be valid, at least from my perspective. Not trying to take anything away from the Regal. As someone else noted, the fact it can even be compared on my levels to other cars in it's class speaks volumes of how far GM has come along. I just don't think the typical BMW, Audi, Volvo buyer, etc. is going to put much effort into checking the Regal out, and that's probably a shame.
        jessesrq
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Doug Utz
        I drove almost every car in this segment before buying my current car, but the Regal was just not on my list. I sat in one at a car show and could not get past the dated interior design. The weight also seemed absurd. I think it is 600 lbs heavier than my 328i.
        CarNutMike
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Doug Utz
        Probably true but they have to start somewhere, right? That fact that one can even suggest a 3 series or A4 buyer might cross shop a Buick with a straight face is saying something, I think.
        bookemd
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Doug Utz
        Well my GS I bought earlier this year has very unique styling on the road from many angles. People notice and many I believe don't even know what it is, but looks good. (I am referencing the majority, not ALL of 3, A4 owners who buy them because of the badge.)
      mookieblaylock
      • 1 Year Ago
      nice as that car is the new S3 at the same price blows it away and the regular a3 quattro should dust it pretty good too
        modalita
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mookieblaylock
        Don't let facts get in the way of being a fanboy. While the S3 is noticeably faster, the normal A3 Quattro is substantially slower. By the way, that is a totally different class of car in which this one competes. http://autos.aol.com/cars-Audi-A3-2013-2.0T_Premium__4dr_All_wheel_Drive_quattro/overview/
          mchica
          • 1 Year Ago
          @modalita
          Definitely, Audi has always been a class above Buick.
      SYJ
      • 1 Year Ago
      At $40k the ATS and 328x drive dont have squat in terms of features. Sure you can get the Cadillac or BMW for the same price as a nearly loaded GS, but you will have to sacrifice features and space. The regal is bigger than both in the cabin and in the trunk. To get those sedans with nav, HIDs, premium stereo, heated seats, 19" wheels, etc. is going to cost quite a bit more than $40k.
        raughle1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SYJ
        I don't know about the ATS, but I'm pretty sure you'd make up most of the cost difference with the bimmer when you go to resell it.
        mchica
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SYJ
        Sheth, you still have your Regal? Haven't seen you mention it much on GMi.
      ferps
      • 1 Year Ago
      Anyone else think Buick should ditch their cheesy front grille and just make it look the same as the Opel Insignia?
      scion_tc
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why can't Buick put a decent V6 motor instead of this 4 banger?
      Derek L. Washington
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Raucous" seriously dude? Grow Up. You test drive cars so you don't have to live with raucous everyday. Why not just review the car you're given rather than your masturbatory fantasies?
      Wetstuff
      • 1 Year Ago
      If you really want one of these, got to sleep for 3yrs then buy this $40+k car for <$28,000 as it leaves a Manheim auction. You'd have to be nuts to eat the depreciation this now, marginal brand offers. Jim
        Alfonso T. Alvarez
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Wetstuff
        " .... this now, marginal brand offers ..." Another totally misinformed comment - Buick is one of the fasted growing brands in the US market and outsells other entry level lux brands (up @ 37% last month, almost 16% YTD), is the eighteenth best selling brand in the US and outsold BMW, Acura, Audi, Infiniti and LIncoln last month. You were saying???
        SYJ
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Wetstuff
        You could buy any car in this class for far less money if you wait 3 years genius.
        paulinator66
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Wetstuff
        Nevermind that the first 3 years of any car ownership are the BEST years.
      Alfonso T. Alvarez
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why no mention that the standard engine in the base Regal, which starts at $30,615, is the same 259 HP/295 LB-FT and is also available with AWD? Seems your price comparison would be substantially different when you are using the base models of the Audi and Volvo - according to Motor Trends review, the Volvo you drove at Milford stickered at $41,295. A little disingenuous on your part, eh?
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Alfonso T. Alvarez
        Hey Alfonso, Thanks for reading and for the comment. I believe you are correct, in so far as the Regal Turbo is going to make a stronger case for itself, based on price alone, than the GS does. We fully intend on doing a review of that car, too. But, as my time was really spent driving the Regal GS on this program at the PG, that’s the car I reviewed this time out. -Seyth
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