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LA 2009: Buick Regal Debuts With Confirmation of Turbocharged 6-Speed Manual Model

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Buick has just officially announced the release of the all-new 2011 Regal at the LA Auto Show. With the car, General Motors is taking aim at luxury rivals like the Acura TSX in the entry-level sport/luxury market. Normally, you'd expect a Buick to underperform in this dynamic segment but Buick insists the Regal will be up to the task, even touting the car's Autobahn upbringing. After all, the Regal is based on the same chassis as the award winning Opel Insignia, which was made in (and for) the German market. This is also the same chassis used for the new Buick LaCrosse, but is shortened by four-inches between the wheels and shrunk by 6.7-inches in total. The smaller overhangs should make for a more dynamic driving experience, as should the standard 18-inch wheels.

Under the hood, Buick will offer two engines – both of which are four-cylinders. Initially, the base engine model will be available with the same 2.4-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder as found in a lot of GM's products lately. It will make roughly 182-hp and get 30 mpg on the highway. Later an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder will be offered with 220-hp and 258 ft-lbs of torque and get 29 mpg highway. Both engines will come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission that features driver shift control.

Buick has confirmed that the turbocharged model will be available with a six-speed manual transmission as well, which it hopes will help promote the idea that the brand is now more youth and performance oriented than ever.

Having just had our first up-close experience with the Regal we have to say it's not quite as exciting as we had expected – although the car's touted European driving experience may change that. It's not overly exciting to look at (being a smaller and more tame interpretation of the LaCrosse) and the interior is just so-so. In fact, after sitting in the car we scurried back over to the newly launched Tucson to double-check it the Hyundai's interior does seem higher grade.

When the turbocharged model launches in the summer of 2010, it will also come with a new Interactive Drive Control (IDC) option that will let the driver choose from three settings (Sport, Tour and Normal) for the suspension, throttle, steering and transmission. Cool stuff!

The 2011 Buick Regal will go on sale in the first half of next year. Only the 2.4-liter model will be offered in top-level CXL trim, with the turbocharged motor arriving in the Summer and other trim levels after that.

At the press conference Buick did announce that it is planning yet another more entry-level luxury sedan to fit in under the Regal.

More: LA 2009: Buick Regal Debuts With Confirmation of Turbocharged 6-Speed Manual Model on AutoGuide.com

For more coverage of the 2009 LA Auto Show visit AutoGuide.com
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