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Review: 2012 Buick Regal GS


2012 Buick Regal GS

There hasn’t been a turbocharged Buick Regal since 1987, but Buick is bringing the Regal turbo back, this time with a new, smaller body and a double-overhead-cam, four-valve 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that features direct fuel injection and variable valve timing. Likewise, there hasn’t been a manual-transmission Buick of any kind since the 1991 Skylark, but the 2012 Buick Regal GS will offer a 6-speed manual gearbox behind its 255-horsepower, 295 foot-pound four. A 6-speed automatic with manual control and paddle shifters arrives later in the model year.


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The Buick Regal nameplate was re-launched for 2011 as a midsize four-door sedan. Born and built in Germany, the new Regal is based on the award-winning Opel Insignia. The 2011 Regal CXL offers a choice of 182-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder or 220-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter. The upcoming 2012 Regal GS boasts more power and promises to be a sports sedan that takes full advantage of the superb chassis and mechanicals of the German Opel Insignia sedan. Regal GS versions will ride slightly lower to the ground for better handling.

Buick is predicting 0-60 mph acceleration times of well under seven seconds. Italian Brembo front disc brakes will provide additional stopping power, particularly in hard use. A three-position adjustable steering and ride system called Interactive Driver Control features Sport and GS modes for high-performance driving, complemented by continuously adjustable shock absorbers, a high-performance front strut suspension and a four-link rear suspension. StabiliTrak chassis control, traction control and ABS are standard. Regal GS models will come with 19-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels mounting all-season tires, with the option of 20-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels and high-performance tires.

The Regal GS exterior appearance package includes a unique front and rear fascia, unique front air intakes and grille elements finished in satin metallic. The rear end will carry decklid spoiler and a pair of integrated, trapezoidal exhaust outlets for the three-inch-diameter exhaust system to distinguish it from the Regal CXL.

Inside, the Regal GS versions will have a leather-wrapped steering wheel with a flat bottom section, perforated metal floor pedals, heated leather sport bucket seats with 12-way adjustment and power lumbar adjustment. All GS interiors will be black in the first year of production, with satin metallic trim on the console, steering wheel and instrument panel. When the IDCS system is placed in the GS mode, the instrument panel will glow with white light instead of the normal blue light.

Additional features on the GS include passive keyless entry, XM satellite radio, a Harman/Kardon 320-watt, nine-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, bi-xenon headlamps, front and rear ultrasonic park assist, and a 120-volt power point for on-the-go computing and charging.

The 2012 Buick Regal GS will be in showrooms in the second quarter of 2011. Official pricing information will likely not be available until it goes on sale. We’re guessing the GS will list in the high $20,000s to low $30,000s. An entry-level Buick Regal CX is expected to join the 2012 Regal lineup, also.

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