By on May 26, 2010
Taut. Trim. Modern. Sporty. Developed in Germany. Aimed at youthful enthusiasts. Stop me when it starts sounding like I’m describing a Buick.

Since the launch of the Enclave in 2007, Buick has repeatedly touted a decline in average buyer age that still has yet to push the brand’s demographics into the fat sections of America’s population pyramid. Though the year-old LaCrosse appears to be helping Buick’s central PR narrative, even it is, at best, not your grandfather’s Buick. Despite a brand heritage based on a traditional, suburban American image whose fading appeal is evidenced in Buick’s pre-Enclave demographics, the long-term health of GM’s entry-luxury (or “premium,” to use GM-speak) marque depends on continued progress away from the “blue hair” image it has so richly earned over the past several decades.

It should come as no surprise then, that the 2011 Regal is the most substantive break from Buick’s past to date. And no wonder: born in Germany as the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia, the Regal is as traditionally American as a Kraftwerk album. In Europe, the Insignia is sold as fashion-forward competitor in the mass-market, midsized segment. In the context of a Buick that still offers a taste of the geriatric image it’s desperate to escape in the G-Body Lucerne, the Regal is unapologetically marketed as a sports sedan. And until a recently-approved high-performance GS version arrives, the 220 horsepower Turbo version is the bellwether for both the Regal’s sporting pretensions and Buick’s desire to attract a new kind of buyer.

The decision to launch the Regal on 200 miles of twisting road east of San Diego, California is testament to just how much Buick believes in the Regal’s sporting credentials. And this was no mirror-smooth, touring course either. Tight hairpins, deep compressions, nasty potholes and impossibly narrow, rough roads left the Regal no opportunity to fake the funk. Nausea-control armbands left in each Regal’s center console weren’t just for show either: several of Buick’s reps were looking decidedly green around the gills at the stops between driving stages.

And no wonder. The Regal Turbo we tested proved not only to be the best-handling Buick ever (damning with faint praise, to be sure), but also an accomplished athlete by any reasonable comparison. The Regal Turbo is by far the most enthusiast-oriented application of GM’s Epsilon II platform to date, and was, throughout the test, a poised and willing dance partner. The front-drive chassis provided considerable grip through fast sweepers, performed sharp direction changes with aplomb and carried its 3,600 pound claimed curb weight with unexpected grace. And though a far cry from the squishy, all-day touring comfort that previously defined Buick chassis and suspension setups, it never felt overly harsh or hard-core. Even fitted with optional 19 inch wheels (reminiscent of the Jaguar XF’s), the ride remained impressively smooth.

Of course, on the kind of roads that one finds in the hill country east of San Diego, a well-settled chassis alone isn’t enough to deliver true enthusiast performance. The loaded Turbo model we drove was equipped with an active damping system that will be optional on Turbo models when they arrive at dealer lots later this year. With this option comes the choice of three modes, Normal, Touring and Sport, selectable with buttons on the instrument panel. According to the engineers responsible for developing the Regal Turbo, the car itself will even choose between the different modes based on its analysis of real-time telemetric data.

With Sport mode engaged, the difference in suspension, steering and drivetrain settings were immediately noticeable, and is clearly responsible for many of the superlatives in this review. Because Sport mode is self-activating, however, it’s hard to say how a Turbo model without active damping would perform, and its advantages are based on an imperfect comparison to the 2.4 liter, normally-aspirated base Regal with 18 inch rims.

But even with the performance-enhancing wheel and active suspension upgrades, the Regal Turbo we drove was not a perfect athlete. The impressively-fettled chassis, and firm, flattering suspension were consistently let down by a hydraulic-assist steering setup that failed to live up to the Regal’s promise of sports sedan performance. From the moment I slid behind the wheel, it felt almost comically disconnected from the wheels, and driving through downtown San Diego in Touring mode, my concern with the super-light, feedback-free, and vague on-center feel through the Regal’s helm only grew. Based on the number of fellow testers who waggled their wheels in curiosity on the way out of town, like Formula 1 drivers breaking in their tires on a warm-up lap, I wasn’t the only one who took notice.

And sure enough, as soon as the drive’s first leg got into the curvy stuff, the steering came into focus as the weakest link in the enthusiastic driving equation. The vagueness on-center, which was mitigated (but not removed) by pressing the Sport button, robbed the Regal’s driver of confidence when diving into an apex, while the overboosted lightness prevented a steady flow of communication between the road and the driver. As a result, it was extremely difficult to feel out the limits of the Regal’s capability, and one couldn’t help but get the impression that an otherwise capable chassis was going underexploited. Moreover, it limited the Regal’s ability to flatter the driver, an key consideration for an entry sports sedan.

These steering feel complaints are popular whipping boys for road testers, but I wasn’t the only one left cold by the Turbo’s aloof tiller. Halfway through the test, Vehicle Line Engineer Jim Federico admitted that our Turbos fell short on steering weight and feel. He insisted that he understood the need to improve the steering heft on Turbo models, and promised that this would be “dialed in” by the time Turbos hit dealerships later this year. Federico is clearly an engineer who takes his job seriously, but we’re bound by the Great Communicator’s principle of trust but verify on this count.

In contrast to its steering, the Regal’s two-liter, twin-scroll turbocharged Ecotec engine is extremely well-suited to this application. Making 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, the direct-injection engine provides plenty of usable power. Buick’s reps were quick to point out that the Regal Turbo offered comparable torque to the Acura TSX V6 (which makes 254 lb-ft), despite coming up a good 60 horsepower short of its arch-rival. And despite the many on-paper similarities between these two cars, this comparison offers a keen insight into the Regal’s soul.

The turbocharged Ecotec is not a rev-happy screamer, preferring to focus on mid-range power, and offering surprisingly refined performance. A subtle but unmistakable turbo whistle greets the driver under acceleration, before being drowned out by a restrained, though less-than-entirely-musical note as the engine charges up the rev counter. The results are certainly effective, feeling at least the claimed second faster to 60 MPH than its normally-aspirated cousin, and in non-enthusiast driving it’s smooth, refined and quiet.

As an enthusiast-oriented engine, however, it could stand to offer more in the way of soul. In fact, the lack of rev-rewards almost make the wait for manual transmission versions (coming in Q4 of this year) a non-event. Almost. Unfortunately, the six-speed automatic also takes away slightly from the Regal’s dancing abilities. Letting off the throttle and brushing the brakes on the entrance to a corner almost always leaves the slushbox in a higher gear than the exit requires. Truly spirited driving requires almost constant contact with the gas pedal, and early, subtle throttle inputs to keep the transmission from confusing itself coming out of a tight bend (the transmission offers a “manual” mode which helps in this regard, but not paddle shifters which are even available on the Malibu). Luckily, the chassis can take corners at a high enough speed to allow earlier gassing than you might expect, but tight hairpins can take some wind out of the Turbo’s progress and stringing fast corners together takes some planning. Again, it  wouldn’t be at all fair to call the Regal “unsporty” on this count, but it also doesn’t flatter the driver the way a true enthusiast’s sedan can.

But there I go again, criticizing a Buick for failing to live up to “true enthusiast” standards. In the real world the Regal Turbo is not only more than capable of entertaining anyone currently considering a front-drive, four-door sedan, it also offers an experience that jives surprisingly well with my concept of what a Buick should be. The smooth, quiet powerplant is complimented by a an impressively quiet cabin, which in turn compliments the chassis’s well-moderated balance between ride and handling. The exterior styling, though an undeniable break from Buick’s heritage of ventiports and sweep-spear lines, is handsome and well-detailed but subtle nearly (although not quite) to the point of anonymity. How Buick is that?

Similarly, the interior is well-appointed with surprisingly high-quality materials, and more importantly, surprisingly few low-quality materials. The interior’s Teutonic simplicity is a refreshing (if somber) break from the often overwrought interior designs that have emerged from GM in recent years. Unfortunately, it does suffer similarly from GM’s propensity for IP button overpopulation. The only real letdowns: an all-too familiar steering wheel from GM’s corporate parts bin, and seats that, though comfortable, offer little meaningful side-bolstering for the sub-200 pound driver. This last point is yet another quibble with the Regal’s sporting pretensions, and a possible clue to the nausea that afflicted several Buick reps on the test drive, as the chassis also outclasses the seat’s ability to hold the driver in place during spirited driving.

Is the Regal Turbo a “real” Buick? That’s a debate that will likely rage on until the folks who can still remember a glory year for the brand have died off. It’s certainly different, but with a crossover already in its lineup and compact sedans and MPVs on the way, Buick’s managers aren’t letting fear of the unknown stop them now. And with this less-visceral, more refined alternative to front-drive sports sedans (notably the TSX), they certainly could have taken a less-Buick-like step into the unknown. But whether it will continue the sales momentum that the LaCrosse has undeniably built up over the last year still remains very much to be seen.

On paper, the Regal Turbo’s just-under $30k price point puts it in competition with the base, four-cylinder TSX while offering power closer to the $35k TSX V6. But what exactly the loaded Turbo I drove, with navigation, active suspension damping, 19 inch wheels and more will end up costing is an open question as GM has not yet released full Turbo pricing. And with Federico’s last-minute steering tweaks and a manual transmission as yet untested, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the Regal’s sporting capabilities… let alone any sporty Buick’s youthful-customer-attracting capabilities.

General Motors offered to fly me to San Diego and put me up in some swanky digs for this launch event. I turned down this kind offer, but over the course of the event I did receive three delicious meals, a 2 GB Buick-branded USB drive (which I instantly lost), and two small pies (one stop on the test drive was a pie shop) which I was afraid to take on the airplane, and gave to a friend.

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61 Comments on “Review: 2011 Buick Regal Turbo...”


  • avatar

    I would take this, with the manual, over a new TSX any day.

    Also, I drive a 2006 TSX, so that says something… maybe less about the new Buick and more about the new Acura.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian E

      I also own a 2006 TSX. If I was just looking at the merits of the cars alone, I’d consider the Regal.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      People have saying that about new GM models for the past several decades. Guess reality called before that new car smell was gone.

      I will be a believer, when I read a really positive review of a 10 year old GM model. For as far as I know, people still regard 2003 TSX as a good car.

    • 0 avatar

      @wsn: I don’t know if I’d say several decades, but I think the last few years in particular, GM has been releasing better and better cars.

      In 2015 I’ll still admire the current Malibu, Regal, LaCrosse, and CTS. Additionally, I think that the 2004 TSX continues to be highly regarded for two reasons; 1) The new TSX is a comparative dud, 2) The Acura will supposedly have better reliability, which makes it a “good” car for some people.

    • 0 avatar
      Norma

      @carguy622 / @ Brian E:

      Hope your leases of Regal Turbo run out before the infamous GM reliability reputation rear its head.

  • avatar
    JeremyR

    Sounds like a step in the right direction. Bummer about the steering, though.

    I mentioned it in another thread, but earlier this week in Denver I saw a pair of camouflaged Opel Insignias on a trailer heading south. If there’s already a press fleet of Regal Turbos, then I’m not sure what these cars’ purpose would be. Perhaps development mules for the GS?

  • avatar

    I look forward to driving the turbo. The base Regal, which I previously reviewed here, is a good but perhaps insufficiently distinctive car.

    I’m also hoping to have reliability stats on the new Regal well ahead of any other source.

    To read about TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey, and sign up to participate in it:

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    lawmonkey

    Looks like something to at least check out. Fan of the look both inside and out, except for that rear 3/4 shot – the chrome mustache and pseudo-Bangle baby bump clash with the otherwise clean lines, and the tail lights are a little too G6 coupe for my taste.

  • avatar
    jfranci3

    It’s a nice car, but at the wrong price point. This car will compete well with a 24k Hyundai Sonata.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      The Sonata is down by 20hp but is 300 pounds lighter. On price, the Buick will be closer to the Sonata Turbo. The turbo has 274hp vs. the Regal’s 220 and extra weight. It would be interesting the see a comparison review of the two cars.

    • 0 avatar

      from what I’ve seen, the base Sonata is cheaper than the base Regal by at least $2000 – $3000. That’s a big deal since most people will either be financing and the lenders aren’t lending as much as they were.

  • avatar
    werewolf34

    This car is badge-crippled. It’s a rebadged OPEL right?

    I think the Buick-ness of it was a bad choice; it will be positioned as a Lexus es350 fighter and will fail even though it looks like a good car

  • avatar

    “the Regal’s two-liter, twin-scroll turbocharged Ecoboost engine is ” — I thoght Ford made Ecoboosts. Is it a typo or there’s some kind of joint powerplant initiative?

  • avatar

    I am intrigued.

    I think this Opel is worthy of the Regal name and makes a good Buick (much better than it would have a Saturn or anything else).

    But dammit, the Gran Sport has to have a turbo V6. Not a further huffed-on four cylinder.

    They already make this car with a 300hp turbo six. For what the Gran Sport is going to cost that’s the powertrain it should be packing.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    “Is the Regal Turbo a ‘real’ Buick?”

    If a ‘real’ Buick is supposed to conform to the trend of the last 20 years, then this is not a ‘real’ Buick. Paradoxically, Buick no longer wants to sell ‘real’ Buicks.

  • avatar

    This engine was originally intended for the Saab 9-5.. the claim to fame is that it may be the first E85 optimized engine sold in the US. GM claims the ethanol mpg penalty will only be 5%, instead of the usual 15%.. and they promise to improve that in future versions. The combination of turbocharging and DI takes advantage of the higher octane of ethanol.

    • 0 avatar

      For what it’s worth, the Regal’s driving experience was compared to past Saabs by several other journos at the launch… no surprises there, considering the Opel platform and turbo four-pot. I haven’t driven enough comparable Saabs to confirm the similarity.
      Oh yeah, and all the turbos had “Flex Fuel” badges, but ethanol was not widely discussed by the PR guys. Again, no big surprises there…

    • 0 avatar

      Those badges are ugly and peeling them off would be the first thing I do to the car.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The Opel Insignia and this car are about 85%+ of the new Saab 9-5. Of course the only 9-5 available in the US at launch will be V6 Turbo XWD models with a price tag of $50K+. Which, IMHO is roughly $10K too much. Saab will offer the 9-5 with FWD and the 2.0T next year.

      I am surprised that they (Buick) are not using the 260hp version of this engine as found in the Solstice and Cobalt SS. Or is that what the GS version will get?

    • 0 avatar
      snabster

      Hmm. You can criticize saab but don’t drive them….

      Yep, GM’s last laugh. They take their saaby engine and but it in a buick, and people like it. Sigh.

      The problem for saab is getting their hands back on this engine, and figuring a way to make the 2012 9-3 compete with this car. Can it be done? Maybe.

  • avatar
    Boxofrain

    I caught a glimpse of one of these on the road the other day and it looked great. At least it’s heading in the right direction. I agree that the GS should pack more punch when it arrives, say 280-300 HP.

    As for the 2009 TSX, why is it a dud? My mother owns one and it’s a nice car. Quality interior and classy looks with more power in the 4 cyl. than most. To say a car has failed because of style makes no sense as looks are very subjective. It’s fine to quote stats, HP, 0-60 times etc, but when you get down to it, Acura makes solid, reliable vehicles that hold their value over time. Yes the new styling is not for everyone and their lineup lacks a little something, but they make better quality vehicles than most.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The new TSX isn’t so much a failure as it is a betrayal. The prior TSX was practically perfect: the new one is a TL without the virtues of size or power.

      Acura has no business making “solid, comfortable cars” a la Lexus, just as Buick probably shouldn’t be making Audi clones.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    You learn something new every day. Today I learned that the Lucerne was an H-Body, not a G-Body.

    Oh, the Regal? Other than that it’s not exactly brand appropriate (it would have made a better G6, I think) I’m hoping we’ll see the rumoured five-door and looking forward to it’s rolling off Oshawa’s assembly line.

    The branding thing, though, that’s tough. Buick, no matter what hopefuls wish, is not a sporting nor a young brand. I don’t think the Regal is going to get much appreciation, especially as the LaCrosse creeps into it’s price bracket, and it’s not likely to grab A4 intenders. Lexus doesn’t have much to worry about, either. Acura does, but that has more to do with Honda’s schizophrenic management of the brand.

    The comparison with Acura is, I think, I good one. Honda wanted to chase Toyota/Lexus and ended up with a product that didn’t appeal to existing buyers without the cachet needed to go after the big boys. Buick is doing something similar, but in the opposite direction given it’s tradition appeal. A better Lucerne should be Buick’s concern, not the Regal. And certainly not the Excelle-nee-Astra.

    While we’re on that note, why are we spending effort on Buick when Cadillac is starving for product?

    Again, I like the car and, if I can swing it, I’ll get one for the home-team factor alone: it’s the first GM-built car from a local plant that I wouldn’t have second thoughts about. But I get the same feel from Buick that I got for Saturn, Pontiac and Olds: that GM is throwing everything against the wall.

    • 0 avatar
      snabster

      isn’t the rule of GM when they finally come up with a great car (aurora, g8, 9-5, h3) they kill the division?

      And of course the real irony is that this car isn’t meant for you. It is meant for some Chinese dude who wants an a4. Which shows how much love hometown folks get from GM…

  • avatar
    slance66

    I’ve not been in the new TSX, and detest the styling of the new TL, but as the former owner of an 88 Legend, which was a brilliant car, I reject the idea that Honda was chasing Lexus. Acura came first, then Lexus, and then Nissan chased them both with Infiniti.

    Meanwhile this Regal is good looking, doesn’t ride and handle like the 83 Electra my mom had, and had a pretty decent looking interior. It will sell, if they can get anyone in the dealership. I’m happy to see GM making decent cars. I hope the days are gone when I could go from my 89 Accord to my friend’s 95 Cutlass Supreme and find that while every button and knob in the 130k Honda was perfect, the interior of the 2 year old GM looked like it came from a 20 year old car that had been badly abused.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      I’m pretty sure the comment was talking about Acura’s refocusing in the last five years or so, particularly the fat-ification of the new TSX compared with the old one, not the founding of the brand in ’86. Acura was, indeed, the first luxury Japanese brand in the US.

      Also, Infiniti and Lexus launched within two months of each other, with nearly a decade of planning behind each initiative. I don’t think anyone would consider Infiniti truly “chasing” Lexus as much as both were treading trails pioneered by Acura, and taking them to the next level (whereas the Legend was an Accord upsized a class or two, with all of the characteristic benefits and limitations therein, the LS400 and Q45 were more or less direct competitors to the established German flagship sedans).

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    Well, Buick certainly has a better track record at selling Opels in the US than any other GM division. But this sure feels like a Buick Catera.

  • avatar

    I don’t think I could pull off driving a Buick at 24….

    • 0 avatar
      backspacer

      I don’t think I could at 32. You may cry foul, but I feel like that waterfall grille with the standard Buick emblem has a lot to do with it. Why can’t they make it look a little different, if they’re really going for a different demographic?

      Can someone clarify if this setup requires premium gas? Since flex-fuel stickers were mentioned above, I would think not.

      I’m waiting with interest to hear how the manual ends up.

    • 0 avatar

      We were told that the Turbo runs fine on regular, but that premium would give you “every last bit” of the claimed power numbers. I’d be shocked if the one I drove wasn’t running premium.
      Incidentally, the Regal Turbo has not been rated for fuel efficiency.

    • 0 avatar
      PeregrineFalcon

      I’d drive a W-body GS, with a tweaked PCM, smaller pulley, and a few other mods.

      That gives you one bland-looking, smooth-riding, invisible-to-police-radar family sedan … until you tromp on the loud pedal and drown out the rap music blaring from punk kid in the lane over with a combination of blower whine, tire squeal, and of course, classic rock.

      [EDIT] And it almost goes without saying, but I’d probably trade a nut for a collector-grade GNX.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Interesting car, I’m guessing the MSRP of one equipped as tested to be $34-35k and I’m thinking Buick is kinda in a no mans land to market a car like this at that price point. I think the potential buyers don’t even have Buick on their radar. I like the styling in and out and will look at the non-turbo version. Despite the review giving the impression that the turbo is a nice car I just don’t see very many of these being sold.

    • 0 avatar

      Per Buick’s website, the difference between a base (RL1) version of the non-turbo Regal (CXL) and a loaded (RL6) version of same (the only version with navigation) is $4,785 ($26,245 vs. $31,030). The Turbo I drove had 19-inch wheels and active dampers on top of the RL6 package, so with a base Turbo MSRP as near as dammit to $3ok, I think your $35k estimate might well be on the conservative side. And I agree, getting people to pay that for a Buick won’t be easy.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      I might be splitting hairs here, but for what it’s worth, it’s not getting people to pay that much for a Buick (people have payed nearly $40 large for LeSabres in the past). The trick will be getting the people Buick wants to attract to pay that much for this particular car. Which, as you can see, is a bunch of variables to coincide for this car to sell well. I say fat chance, even though I’d take one in a heartbeat (make mine the GS showcar, please).

  • avatar
    65corvair

    I stopped reading the review after I read the word “Regal”. Come on GM, can’t you come up with a modern name. Only the LeSebre people are going to get excided. Is anyone going to say, “I’ve got my choice narrowed down to a 328 and a Regal?” Even if the Regal is the better car, it’s going to cost sales. Get rid of the Buick part too!

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      How many people will know what the hell a 328 is? At least Regal is a name and means something. These stupid number/letter names are getting so confusing that few average consumers can tell me what car model they just went and test drove, only the brand manufacturer.

  • avatar
    ajla

    *Hey, look over there! It’s a dead horse*

    I’m glad that the Regal is a decent car.

    However, every time I read about it, I just wish that that GM decided to build the Holden Calais in Oshawa (badged as a Buick Lesabre) instead of going the Insignia/Regal route.

    Does the Epsilon II platform really do the whole “driver’s car” thing better than the Zeta?

    I guess a Zeta sedan would nip at the CTS, but won’t there be some overlap with the Regal and Malibu anyway?

    *Leaves dead horse thoroughly beaten. Again.*

  • avatar

    The G8 got glowing reviews and failed. History will repeat itself with this Regal. Acura’s response to this car is below.

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  • avatar

    I am constantly baffled by why GM tries to make its divisions something they’re not. It’s always nice to see a good car hit the market, no matter what badge it wears, but at a certain point it becomes impossible to reinvent a brand. Buick reached that point about 30 years ago – they’ve been cars for old people since at least 1980. That’s an important date because people turning 50 this year – buyers Buick needs if it’s going to push its average age down – were born in 1960. By the time they were 20 Buicks were already old-people cars. They’ve been old-people cars for their entire adult lives.

    Maybe GM is afraid that the youth-obsessed boomers – who are hitting retirement age now – won’t buy Buicks because they’re traditional old-people cars and feels the need to bathe Buicks in the Fountain of Youth so that they can sell geezermobiles in disguise to geezers in denial.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    GMs badge engineering is fucked
    This is an Opel Insignia.
    Why don´t sell it as an Opel instead of rebadge it with a dead brand?
    Sell it with the 325 bhp 2,8 V6 engine and the 160 bhp 2,0 cdti engine.
    http://www.opel-opc.de/

  • avatar
    stationwagon

    GM should have rebadged this car as a chevy monte carlo.

  • avatar
    Ach

    Underpowered with 274 hp Sonatas and 290 hp Maximas running around for under 30K. They need to drop the base motor, make the 220 bhp turbo standard, and the 255-hp version the step up. A Regal GS with less horsepower than a standard-issue Sonata will be a joke given the price premium and the supposed performance pedigree.

  • avatar

    My predictions (Regal Sales)

    2010 – 10,000
    2011 – 16,000
    2012 – 20,500

    GM should have used the Astra excuse by telling us the Regal is a limited imported production run.

  • avatar
    slingshot

    GM and the other American manufacturers don’t have a good track record with captive imports. Remember the GTO and G8. This car will be pretty expensive by the time you purchase the options you need. What is the reliability of the Opel? At least the Acura TSX is pretty much bullet proof. GM sems to want a premium for this car. Put in a small V-6 engine, AWD with a 6 speed manual, which is almost impossible to find, and I would be interested.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Denver

      They could do that, but the car would have to sell for $40K – German labor costs, etc. Also you would be among about 5 people would want that combo (in a Buick). And you would be “interested” but probably wouldn’t actually buy one, leaving only 4. Does Opel do an AWD version of this car? If not, you could forget AWD at any price. It’s easy to design cars that are ideal for YOU, but designing and selling one that will actually sell to the public in sufficient #’s to make a profit is an entirely different matter.

  • avatar
    carguy

    An interesting car and new direction for Buick. The question of being a “real Buick” is nearly pointless as most don’t remember when a Buick was anything than badge engineered sub-par transportation for the elderly.

    I am not in the market for a front drive sedan but I would take this over its competition as it has useful low rpm torque (unlike the TSX), seems to look good and appears to be more fun than a Lexus ES350 (but then again what isn’t?).

    The pricing will be the crucial factor – if it’s like the Lincoln MKZ then it will never be more than a niche product for the Buick fan club.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I’m sorry but calling this a Sporty model would indicate better 0-60 and 1/4 mile performance than my 2008 Impala which it clearly can’t do with less HP and more weight and steering that is numb and disconnected (think Camry). When GM tried making Oldsmobile into a sporty import fighter we all know what the result was. I think the blue haired buyers that go to look at this car will walk away confused and the much sought after younger buyers will shop elsewhere and buy the real thing. GM needs to get serious if they want to make this a sporty model. The weak 182 Hp 2.4 needs to be shown the door. The 220 HP turbo should be the entry level engine for the 30K this car will command and the 255 HP version should be the up level option. A turbo 3.0 liter V6 with 350 plus HP is the only thing that should be showing up in a Regal with the GS badge not a 255 HP 4 banger than can barely out run an old 2000 Regal GS 3800 with a couple cheap mods.

  • avatar
    Jack Denver

    What is a “real Buick”? Once the divisions gave up their exclusive engines and platforms, there was nothing “real” about any of them. Auto marketing has always been more about perception than reality. The problem with Buick is not the reality but that they don’t like how they are perceived – as geezermobliles. There’s no easy fix for this – if you change perception too often then you lose your core customers before you have won over new ones and then you go out of business. People joke about how GM closes a division just at the time the division gets a breakthru vehicle – this is not a coincidence.

  • avatar
    hurls

    What I want to know is how this compares to a TSX.

    Just kidding.

    What I really want to know is the map of the roads you took. I need some more back country SD road trip routes for when I finish restoring/refreshing my Miata :)

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Every review of a GM car I’ve read in the last five years mentions the poor steering. Yet, when Delphi got in trouble, GM wanted to buy out its steering unit to keep putting them in their cars. Per the review, the steering is numb, overboosted and doesn’t center well. The Cobalt, Lucerne and Impala that I rented were all too easy to slide into the next lane at highway speeds. I can only think they must be dirt cheap to make, and that the engineer cited hasn’t got a chance of making it better.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’s not completely universal at GM, but it is odd to see it on the Regal.

      From my experience, non-domestic GM cars have tended to have decent steering (some Saabs, the Astra, Daewoos like the Aveo, Optra and Epica) while the domestic models, up to and including the Corvette**, were pretty lifeless.

      This started to change with the new Malibu and the (I think) 2008 Corvette. The steering racks weren’t always works of art, but they were direct and firm. That the Regal doesn’t continue the trend seems strange.

      I’ve only seen a Lacrosse and haven’t driven either it or the Regal; does anyone have any comments on how the two compare?

      ** Yes, I am saying that the Aveo had better steering feel than the Corvette. Note that I say steering feel, not handling or dynamics. Biiiig difference.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Psar,

      I find it even more odd, as the last time I drove an Opel (the Catera), one of the things most memorable about it was the steering feel. Seemed as though the only thing GM did was slap some duck laden badges on the hood, trunk and rims and away they went.

      I wonder if the steering feel of the Insignia is different than that of the Regal.

  • avatar

    Well, I guess the Regal customer will be somebody that likes a traditional American that performs like a rebadged Opel and comes with only a 4 cylinder engine. I don’t think there are many of those customers around. Take the Buick logo off this car and you have a Mercury Milan.

    http://autosguides.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/2010-Mercury-Milan.jpg

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    The LaCrosse and Regal are two completely different cars on a common Epsilon platform, one using a longer wheelbase. The Regal is noisier, harder riding, slightly quicker with the base 2.4 compared to the 2.4 LaCrosse, has harder less comfortable seats and amazingly has a larger trunk compared to the Lax. The steering is numb on either car. The Lax in contrast is like riding in a tomb with noticeably more back seat room and comfort. The Lax feels like an older persons car compared to the Regals much more youth oriented approach and it’s surprising how two cars could feel so different. Neither car is very inspiring to me with the 2.4 engine and 3600-3800 LBS of pork to lug around and only 172 LBS FT of torque to do it making a V6 in the Lax or the turbo 4 in the Regal mandatory if you want something more from your car other than a boring appliance.

  • avatar
    Geo. Levecque

    Just listened to a Radio Interview with Tony LaRoque from GM Canada about the Buick Regal, saying that GM is going after the Acura product with this new Buick! He also said that this Car would be soon be built in Oshawa, Ontario, I guess we all will have to wait to see what develops on this idea.

  • avatar
    Almost Jake

    The question I keep asking myself is how much does it cost to repair since its made in Germany? I heard that is a major issue with the Holden built GMs.
    Almost Jake


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