Proving that a Buick sports sedan is not an oxymoron
The Buick Regal GS’ European counterpart, the Opel Insignia OPC, doesn’t look much different, save for some funny badges and bolder alloy wheels. Under the hood, the OPC gets a 2.8L V6 with two turbochargers making 300 horsepower, as well as all-wheel drive.
Yet again, North Americans got robbed of the “good” power train – our top-spec Regal GS gets a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder making mere 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque through the front wheels – but the boosted V6 didn’t meet North American emissions regulations. According to one Buick engineer the OPC also didn’t meet “the image we wanted to project for Buick” – whatever that means.
GOOD LOOKING CAR WITH AN IMAGE PROBLEM
Image is going to be the biggest struggle for the Regal GS. It’s a cruel fact of the marketplace that a car can be great and still succumb to poor public perception, and the list of such vehicles could fill volumes. It’s too early to tell if the Regal GS will be yet another victim (just like the Pontiac G8, another GM sedan loved by all and purchased by none), but from what we can glean after driving the car for two days, it’s certainly a worthy competitor.
The Regal GS doesn’t look that much different than a standard Regal – some chrome here and there, and a 20-inch wheel and tire package are the main visual indicators. The vehicle itself is very attractive, with a fastback-esque profile that looks distinct from everything else in the segment. The new wheels, added chrome and lower stance only enhance the overall design.
Look a little closer and you’ll see Brembo brakes up front, hiding a GS exclusive Hi-per Strut front suspension. The Hi-per strut design is still a traditional strut setup, but careful manipulation of the suspension and steering geometry allows for more docile handling characteristics in a powerful front-wheel drive car.