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Buick Regal GS Launches in Miami Beach

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author photo by Autotrader November 2010

On Thursday evening, November 4th, Buick introduced a high-performance version of its Regal sedan, the GS, at a special event in Miami. This constitutes Buick’s most aggressive car in decades.

The 2012 Regal GS sits on huge aluminum wheels, sporty exterior and interior styling, and packs a turbocharged four cylinder that Buick promises will push it to 60 miles per hour in less than seven seconds.

Externally, the lines of this newest member of the Regal family (introduced in 2010 for the 2011 model year) incorporate a spoiler out back and a ride height once inch lower than the standard Regal and Regal CXS turbo. The GS sits on 19” aluminum wheels and all-season tires, with 20” wheels and summer tires an option.

Inside, the GS has heated sport seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel, instrumentation lighting that changes from blue to white during a performance driving mode, metal pedals, and a standard manual shifter, the latter not seen in a Buick since 1989.

For faster acceleration, GM tweaked the turbocharger that’s standard on the uplevel Regal CXL. Turbochargers force-feed air into the engine (most engines do their own breathing), and the GS’ turbo pumps air at a higher pressure than in the CXL resulting in 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft torque versus the CXL’s 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. Those are big numbers from a small, 2.0-liter four cylinder. For comparison, Audi and Volkswagen’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four (which, like the Regal’s four, features gasoline direct injection), makes nearly identical numbers in standard and high-output versions.

With the loss of Pontiac, GM’s Buick division is now tasked with covering far more ground than the cushy cruisers it’s been marketing to older folks for decades. The Regal GS – or Gran Sport – draws on Buick’s history of niche performance models from decades’ past. Some Gran Sport models were merely trim packages with aluminum wheels. Some featured more power and tighter suspensions, and still others, such as the Regal Grand National of the 80s, were blisteringly fast turbocharged cars that kept pace with the highest performance Corvettes and Mustangs of the day.

The Regal GS isn’t going for muscle-car prowess. Rather, it aims to do battle with sport sedans from Audi, Acura, and BMW – brands that just aren’t cross-shopped with Buick. It’s no coincidence that the Regal is currently built alongside the Opel Insignia in Russelsheim, Germany, endowing it with many of the driving dynamics found in European machines. Production will shift to Canada for 2012 and beyond.

Is GM wise to re-badge an Opel sedan as a Buick? Will American drivers who love German sport sedans really park a Regal in their driveways? The brand is betting big on this sedan to broaden its buyer demographic, and it will be interesting to see how the market responds

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Buick Regal GS Launches in Miami Beach - Autotrader