Once up a time in the '80s, it was fashionable in Detroit to create so-called Euro-sedans by taking conventional mainstream grandma-mobiles and painting all the chrome black, dispensing with the white walls and installing overly stiff springs. Fortunately, those dark days are gone and General Motors and Ford at least have gotten their heads around how to build the kind of cars they sell in Europe. Just bring over European cars.
When bankrupt GM decreed that Buick would survive as one of the company's four core brands, it quickly became clear that Buick would need more models to flesh out its showrooms alongside the LaCrosse and Enclave. It wasn't long before it became obvious that the next addition would be a new Regal. The Regal is already available in Buick's biggest market of China and it's coming back to North America in 2010 as a 2011 model. Anyone familiar with the Opel Insignia will immediately recognize the Regal as the same car with the brand's trademark waterfall grille swapped in.
The new Regal shares its Epsilon II platform with the recently redesigned LaCrosse, but the wheelbase is 6.7 inches shorter overall. While the LaCrosse will soon add an available four-cylinder engine, the Regal will launch with only four-cylinders. The base engine will be the increasingly prevalent 2.4-liter EcoTec with direct injection. As an option, buyers can choose a de-tuned version of the fabulous 2.0-liter DI EcoTec turbo that was used in the Pontiac Solstice GXP, Chevrolet HHR SS and Cobalt SS. For the Regal, output has been trimmed to 220 horsepower while torque remains at 258 pound-feet with a peak at just 2,000 rpm. Both engines are paired only with 6-speed automatic transmissions, the normally aspirated motor getting a Hydramatic unit and the turbo using an Aisin unit.
Only the the premium CXL trim will be available at launch, although others will be added later. When the turbo is added to the lineup next summer, it will have an optional Interactive Drive Control (IDC) system available. The IDC will let drivers pick from three different response modes for the suspension, throttle, steering and transmission. The system offers the usual Sport, Tour and Normal modes but even when the car is in Tour mode, the dampers will automatically stiffen up when the sensors detect a sudden evasive maneuver that could be indicative of an emergency maneuver.
The 2.4-liter Regal will be available in the first half of 2010 with the turbo coming by late summer. Until then, check out this walk-around video from Buick's designer:
- Used Buick Models
- 2004 Buick Regal Overview