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Buick Regal GS: Midsize Luxury Performance Car

By Arv Voss, January 28th, 2012

If you have any preconceived notions about what a Buick was, is or should be, then you'll have to chuck them into oblivion. In the past, only older folks drove Buicks, or so it seemed. That's changed.

Manufacturer photo: The 2012 Regal GS blends a 270-horsepower high-output Ecotec 2.0L turbo engine, six-speed manual transmission, responsive suspension technology with exclusive GS-mode, Brembo front calipers into one of Buick's most balanced performance sedans
Manufacturer photo: The 2012 Regal GS blends a 270-horsepower high-output Ecotec 2.0L turbo engine, six-speed manual transmission, responsive suspension technology with exclusive GS-mode, Brembo front calipers into one of Buick's most balanced performance sedans

The Buick arm of General Motors has risen to lofty new heights with the design and production of sporty vehicles that deliver performance, technology and style in affordable packages. In search of attracting new buyers, Buick determined that offering a new midsize luxury performance sedan would be a positive direction. The platform for such a vehicle is the 2012 Regal GS -- or Grand Sport.

The new Regal GS is powered not by a big honking V-8 or a healthy V-6, but by an exclusive, 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 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,400 rpm.

Power is geared to the front wheels by either a six-speed manual gearbox or an Aisin AF40 six-speed automatic transmission. 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.

The Regal GS has a four-wheel independent suspension featuring a unique High Performance Strut (HiPer Strut) front suspension design that reduces torque steer, while improving road surface adhesion and cornering power. The GS also sits lower than other Regal siblings and rides on standard 19-inch, 5-twin-spoke alloy wheels or on optional 20-inch 5-"Y"-spoke polished alloys shod with summer performance tires.

Manufacturer photo: The 2012 Regal GS blends a 270-horsepower high-output Ecotec 2.0L turbo engine, six-speed manual transmission, responsive suspension technology with exclusive GS-mode, Brembo front calipers into one of Buick's most balanced performance sedans

Techno geeks are sure to fall in love with all the state-of-the-art connectivity features and equipment. The 2012 Regal GS serves up exclusive interior appointments, such as a sporty flat-bottom sport steering wheel; standard harman/kardon premium 336-watt, 5.1 Matrix Surround Sound system with nine speakers; Buick IntelliLink linking the driver's smartphone to a high-resolution, full-color 7-inch touch screen.

My test 2012 Buick Regal GS sported a Diamond White metallic exterior finish, complemented by a two-tone Charcoal and Black interior. The base price was set at $34,450 while options elevated the final sticker to $39,000 fully loaded, including destination charges.

The 2012 Buick Regal GS is a thoroughly modern, sophisticated, high-performance luxury sedan, delivering killer good looks that are sure to appeal to both genders, as well as to most age groups. The Buick's fuel economy stats are 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, unless you pilot it in the GS mode most of the time at full throttle.

Acceleration is considerably more than adequate, surpassing the launch off-the-line prowess of several V-6 competitive vehicles in its class. The ride quality is superb and the handling characteristics are right up there on a level with more expensive midsize luxury performance sedans.

In terms of its aesthetic appeal, the GS's 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.

Manufacturer photo: The 2012 Regal GS blends a 270-horsepower high-output Ecotec 2.0L turbo engine, six-speed manual transmission, responsive suspension technology with exclusive GS-mode, Brembo front calipers into one of Buick's most balanced performance sedans

The 2012 Buick Regal GS is definitely Grand and is definitely a Sport, making it hip and cool to be seen in a Buick.

Specifications

Base price $34,450 (as tested: $39,000)
Displacement 2.0-liter
Epa mileage rating 19 mpg city, 27 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 18.5 gal.
Horsepower (net) 270 at 5300 rpm
Motor type 16-valve 4-cyl. Turbo w/DI
Overall length 190.2 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 295 at 2400 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger FWD midsize sedan
Wheelbase 107.8 in.
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