The 2012 Regal GS is a hotted-up version of the basic 2011 Regal Sport Sedan (CXL), and both are based on GM’s Opel Insignia from Germany. The GS should help GM recreate those long-lost days when it had at least a presence in the performance market.
Some are complaining that the GS doesn’t get the Insignia’s 325-hp V6 and its Haldex all-wheel drive. But the car doesn’t need AWD (it’s heavy enough), and its 2-liter turbo four Ecotec outputs 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque—which should do nicely. Keeping the price down was also a factor.
Buick seems to be testing the market with this one, and I would bet that if it takes off, a V6 AWD GS2 will follow. No price set as yet, but the car will deliver in the second half of 2011.
The Regal GS comes with a six-speed manual only, 19- or 20-inch wheels, and fat Brembo brakes. MacPherson struts up front, a multilink independent suspension in back. An Interactive Drive Control System permits drivers to adjust steering, suspension, and shocks in three modes. Zero-60 mph times should be under 7 seconds.
The handsome all-black interior sports all the goodies, including (gosh!) metal-covered pedals and a flat-bottomed steering wheel. Standard are a Harman Kardon 320-watt system, Bluetooth, bi-xenon headlamps, etc. The rest of the list is here.
The GS is being billed as a performance car, and it will be interesting to see the reviews. Estimated EPA economy is 19 city/29 highway mpg, which is good. The real performance buffs will likely scoff at it, but I think it’s on track to take market share from the Audi A4 if, and it’s a big if, GM markets it right.
They really started off on the wrong foot by giving free parties (called the “Regal Remix”) to attract the Young Set in Boston, Dallas, San Antonio, Chicago, and Miami. Yup, free booze, food, music, and noise. Read about them here.
But, these folks aren’t their customers. They don’t own or contemplate A4s. Even though GM seems to be flirting with the idea of returning to the performance field, the Regal GS is a semi-performance car, with sharp looks, and GM should really be talking to Lexus ES 350 buyers. Much will depend on what kind of price the company sets.
Do you see a market for the Buick Regal GS and similar “semi-performance” cars from GM?