Auto review by Veeno Dewan
Buick is one of the most sought after brands in China and is undergoing a recent a renaissance in its product line here in North America. If proof were needed, look no further than the new high performance Regal variant – the 2012 Buick Regal GS aimed at a younger more sports driver orientated market. Based on the European Opel Insignia sedan, the Regal GS is a cool looking, powerful mid-size sedan that is offered with a superb four-cylinder power, turbocharged engine and a manual transmission.
Car buffs of course would know that Buick is no stranger to performance as the fast, turbo- powered Buick Grand Nationals coupes from the mid-1980s are still highly collectible.
Exterior features unique to the GS include; special front and rear fascias, satin-metallic trapezoidal exhaust outlets, rocker panel extensions and a rear spoiler.
The 2012 Regal GS is powered by a jewel-like direct-injection, 2.0-litre, turbo engine producing 270 hp, with torque at an impressive 295 lb-ft available at 2,400 rpm.
The technically adept engine is surprisingly – but fittingly mated to a six-speed manual transmission driving the front wheels. An automatic transmission will be available at some point.
Interior wise, the Buick Regal GS has a neat, black. finished cabin with leather seats and trim as standard Other standard features include passive keyless entry, push-button start, XM satellite radio, Harman/Kardon premium 336-watt, 5.1 Matrix Surround Sound system with nine speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, leather wrapped, flat bottom steering wheel with audio controls, metal sport pedals, heated and 12-way power operated driver and front passenger seats, ultrasonic parking assist and Bi-Xenon HID headlamps. A sunroof, navigation system and 20-inch polished aluminum alloy wheels are optional extras.
Overall it is a slick well-finished roomy cabin.
On the road, you can really tell where Buicks development money went as the engine, transmission and chassis engineering shows a high level of tweaking.
The driver controlled Interactive Drive Control System allows performance drivers to select three driving modes: normal, sport and GS. The Sport button tightens up the suspension damping. While GS mode allows for more steering feel and remaps throttle responses. The slick manual transmission is a delight to use with a nice short, precise action combined with a smooth, light, well-modulated clutch.
The lightweight engine and its prodigious power allows for fast acceleration. The gear ratios are short spaced and peak power is available from around 2,300 rpm to 4,900 rpm which is where it is most effective.
Highlights are just how composed the Regal GS is around corners and tight turns and puts the 270 horses to good use.
The Regal GS is also equipped with GM