Regal offers right mix for driving Buick forward
By JOHN STEIN Automotive Editor June 22, 2012 5:01PM
2012 BUICK REGAL GS
ENGINE: 270-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder
TRANSMISSION: six-speed automatic
DRIVETRAIN: front-wheel drive
FUEL ECONOMY: 19 city/27 highway
BASE PRICE: $34,450
AS TESTED: $39,000
General Motors’ Buick division has taken a lofty leap with its new combo of vehicles that meld design and sporty vehicles with real-life performance. That has not been the formula for Buick, and thankfully Buick has realized that to survive it must change the formula moving forward.
The new 2012 Buick Regal offers technology and style in an affordable package. In search of attracting new buyers, Buick has come to the conclusion that offering a new midsize luxury performance sedan would be a good way to go. In my opinion Buick got it right.
The platform for such a game-changer vehicle is the 2012 Regal GS, the Grand Sport.
The new Regal GS is powered by not only a huge V-8, but also a capable V-6; the real news actually might be the high-output Ecotec 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with electronic throttle control and VVTi, capable of generating 270 horsepower at 5,300 rpm while also developing 295 pound-feet of torque at 2,400 rpm.
This was the engine in my tester and it had me wondering whether it could keep pace with the other offerings in this class. Power is sent to the front wheels by either a six-speed manual gearbox or an Aisin AF40 six-speed automatic transmission. The interactive drive control system with standard (comfort), sport and an exclusive GS mode allows the driver to modify suspension settings and steering sensitivity for an enhanced and more spirited driving experience.
My Regal GS tester had a four-wheel-independent suspension featuring a high-performance-strut front suspension design that reduces torque steer while, according to Buick, improving road surface adhesion and cornering power. Part of the real fun while driving the Regal GS is that it sits lower than other Regal siblings and rides on standard 19-inch, five-twin-spoke alloy wheels or on optional 20-inch 5-Y-spoke polished alloys shod with summer performance tires.
The state-of-the-art connectivity features make this a sedan that easily competes with the top of the sedan world. My Regal GS delivered impressive interior appointments such as a flat-bottom sport steering wheel; standard harman/kardon premium 336-watt, 5.1 Matrix surround-sound system with nine speakers; and Buick IntelliLink linking the driver’s smart phone to a high-resolution full-color 7-inch touch screen.
My tester had a base price of $34,450, and options moved the final sticker to $39,000 fully loaded, including destination charges.
The 2012 Buick Regal GS offers a contemporary, sophisticated high-performance luxury sedan while delivering outstanding style that is certain to appeal to a huge demographic spectrum while supplying finality to the Regal traditionalists who demand performance. The Buick’s fuel economy is merely OK at 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway in eco mode.
Acceleration is considerably more than adequate, surpassing the launch off-the-line prowess of several V-6 competitive vehicles in its class. I found my tester’s ride to be fun, and the handling characteristics are right up there on a level with more expensive midsize luxury performance sedans.
On the outside, the GS’ design displays unique body-color front and rear fascias, with the front incorporating prominent vertical air intake slots accented in a satin-metallic finish. The rear fascia sports a pair of integrated, satin-metallic trapezoidal exhaust outlets. Rocker panel extensions and a rear spoiler add dramatically to the car’s performance persona.
The 2012 Buick Regal GS was a wonderful sedan to push through varying degrees of performance tactics. This combination of great looks and outstanding performance make this a sedan that is a great looker and a great performer.
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