2018 Buick Regal GS : The 310-hp American hot hatch

And it's cheaper than rivals from Acura and Lexus.

  • Image Credit: Buick
Buick has spent the last decade shredding its perception as the low-level luxury vehicle for geriatrics, but the brand hasn't always been associated with that crowd. In fact, ask some enthusiasts and you'll hear about the GM 3800 series engines, IndyCar racing, and the mythical GS and GNX. In that high-octane theme, GM pulled back the curtain on the all-new, all-wheel drive, 310-horsepower 2018 Buick Regal GS Wednesday morning in Milford, MI.

The GS is basically a sport-tuned version of the all-new Buick Regal. We've seen the standard and high-riding wagon variants, but this is our first look at what's likely to be the enthusiast pick. The Regal GS uses the five-door sportback bodystyle from the standard car (though a GS version of the TourX would be awesome), swiped from GM's soon-to-be former German division, Opel.

While a number of automakers are downsizing engines, Buick is soldiering on with its tried and true naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6, in this guise making 310 horsepower and 282 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic. The all-wheel drive system uses a twin-clutch setup and has been tuned specifically for the GS. The Regal GS makes more power than both the Acura TLX A-Spec (290 horsepower) and the Lexus IS350 F-Sport (306 horsepower). The V6 features both cylinder deactivation and auto stop/start for better fuel economy.

The fully independent suspension uses the second-gen Continuous Damping Control (CDC), capable of 500 adjustments per second. Selectable modes allow the driver to tailor the car to fit the situation. Large Brembo front brakes are surrounded by standard 19-inch wheels and tires. The exterior gets a few styling changes like a sporty front and rear fascias, a small rear spoiler, and plenty of GS badges.

Inside, the Regal GS gets unique sport seats with integrated headrests and adjustable lumbar and thigh bolsters. They even come standard with heating, ventilation, and massaging functions. The driver faces a GS badged flat-bottom steering wheel and GS-specific pedals. A full-color heads-up display is optional. Available safety features include front pedestrian braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warnings, forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.

The real key for the success of the Regal GS could be pricing. At $39,990 with destination, it undercuts both the $45,750 Acura TLX A-Spec SH-AWD and $47,245 Lexus IS350 F-Sport by a significant margin. The 2018 Buick Regal GS should hit dealers sometime later this year.

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