By on February 13, 2012

The official reasoning behind GM failing to bring the Opel Insignia OPC, according to Buick PR staff, is that the all-wheel drive, twin-turbo V6 powered sedan with 321 horsepower “didn’t fit with the brand image”. Right. The real reason is likely that a Buick Regal GS outfitted like this would cost far more than the already expensive $35,310 that GM wants for a car. And if the market for a $35,000 manual transmission Buick is limited, well – imagine who would buy a $45,000-$50,000 AWD Regal.

The 270 horsepower Regal GS is, say it with me front-wheel drive. If  that means “wrong wheel drive” in your books, close the browser window immediately and go back to The Car Lounge. GM has something called a HiPer strut front suspension, a modified MacPherson strut design that reduces torque steer and increases steering feel by playing with the suspension geometry and separating the steering and suspension components. When paired with the adjustable shocks and sticky rubber available on the Regal GS, the system allows the Regal to maintain exceptional composure through the sweeping curves (and crappy pavement) of Northern Michigan.

The sweet chassis is backed up by a 2.0L turbocharged Ecotec making 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. While torque steer is present, it’s manageable and only presents briefly. 60 mph comes up in 6.7 seconds according to GM – the Regal GS feels much faster than that. No hero-launches were attempted during our drive, but the Regal GS is what the British rags would call a “fast point-to-point car”. The Regal GS really shines when covering a lot of ground in a short amount of time. A broad torque band, a composed chassis and a docile nature can allow most people to exploit the considerable performance of a Regal GS. On paper, it may not be as impressive as an Audi S4 but in the real world, on an open road, there’s little to suggest that the Regal couldn’t hang with the 4-ringed car. The Brembo brakes on the Regal GS are also outstanding, with great feel through the pedal and strong, consistent performance even with repeated hard uses.

In typical GM fashion, there are more than a couple of flaws that are tough to overlook. The steering is weighty when the “GS” button on the dash is activated, but offers as much feedback as a bad boss. The 6-speed manual seems so promising but delivers so little. The shifter’s throws are a pastiche of every negative adjective in the auto journalism handbook – rubbery, dead-feeling, long and inaccurate. Furthermore, the pedals are totally unsuited to heel-and-toe shifting, making rev matching out of the question unless your feet are child-sized. Heretical as it may be, opting for the automatic gearbox on the Regal GS might not be a bad thing. (At launch just the manual transmission is being offered). Only the most fanatical DIY-shifting types need apply for this dreadful bit of engineering. The interior of the Regal isn’t bad overall, but has a very particular “General Motors” feel. Many of the buttons, cabin materials and readouts are sourced from the common parts bin, something that is barely acceptable on a vehicle that’s ostensibly positioned as a luxury car. The center console is a mess of buttons that’s confusing to the eye. The front seats do a good job of keeping you in place without being uncomfortable, but the back seats are tight. Don’t expect to use them for anything more than taking friends to dinner.

The subtle additions to the exterior, like larger wheels, tasteful chrome accents and dual exhausts help the Regal GS keep a low profile. Order it in an understated color like black or silver and you’ve got a genuine sleeper on your hands. The big hurdle for the Regal GS will be finding buyers, even true enthusiasts, who may not be able to look past its discreet exterior (some may consider it boring) and the front-drive/turbo 4-cylinder powerplant. The notion of “wrong-wheel drive” is laughable given that the Regal GS is a far superior driving machine to the dreadful base CTS trim levels and Audi has no trouble pushing the A4 2.0T (which is about as engaging as a PBS telethon) onto the status-hungry masses.

Which is exactly the problem. A lot of people need to tell their friends just how good their purchases. Think how ridiculous it sounds to the average person that someone bought a turbocharged, stick shift Buick for $35k. Others have suggested it’s not quite up to snuff compared to the competition – that’s nonsense. The Regal GS has enough power to get you some serious speeding tickets. And unlike a BMW 335i, your fuel pump won’t explode. The big problem with the Regal GS is getting consumers to sign on the dotted line. The Regal GS would probably be a fine product for anyone who ever bought a turbo Saab, but how many of those were sold in the last decade or two?

Derek Kreindler originally drove the Buick Regal GS in August, 2011. Buick provided airfare, lodging and meals for the trip to Traverse City, MI.

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93 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2012 Buick Regal GS Take Two...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I still want one and if the manual trans is crap then maybe the auto is the better choice.

    Am I the only one who feels like many manufacturers are “phoning it in” when building manuals? The irony is the people who buy manuals are MORE likely to rave about how great their car is if the stick shift is sweet…

    • 0 avatar
      PJ McCombs

      Definitely not just you. GM seems especially guilty of this (the Pontiac G6 GTP’s was about the worst I’ve ever tried), but even Honda’s phoned in a few lately.

      • 0 avatar
        PeteK

        Granted, it’s a low-volume premium car, but the manual on my new CTS-V is fantastic. The shift is silky smooth, with enough ‘notchiness’ to feel each gear click into place, but not enough to prevent easy shifting.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    I drive a 2008 TL, and so I should be squarely in Buick’s sights with the Regal: front-drive isn’t a problem, brand identity isn’t a problem, all I want is a good car at a decent price.

    I haven’t driven the GS, but I rented the base model for a week last month. I was excited to pick up the car, but it didn’t last. The steering was decent (even if it lacked feedback), the suspension tuning was impressively aggressive, and the front seats weren’t terribly uncomfortable. But the engine was so thrashy and underpowered that it made be doubt that GM could build a decent engine. The rear seats felt like coach with a lower seat cushion, all smushed up against the guy in front of you with no visibility and no way out. Dash surfaces were Mattel-quality plastic. And the road noise was shocking. I’d like to try the Lacrosse, but first impressions on Buick’s revival were not good.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      I have to take exception to your comment about the “mattel quality plastic”. I have seen it myself and read many reviews and the plastics are perfectly acceptable at this price range. If you think they are mattel quality then I shudder to think what you say about any mainstream mid-size (or smaller) car.

      As for those who compare this to a Optima SX and say for $30K you can get 274hp etc etc. That is true, but for $30K you can also get a Charger RT with 370hp. Not saying it is better, but we can all play the numbers game.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      Haven’t seen the GS cockpit but the Audi A4 is a plastic wonderland.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Had what must have been a base model A4 as a loaner recently. It made me wonder what an A3 would be like, as it had nothing approaching a premium feel about it. Considering how big it was on the outside, it also had a mysterious lack of legroom. The new A6, on the other hand, reminds you where your money went every time you drive it.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        I agree the rear is tight given its size. The sloping roof and small window does it no favors. The Verano seemed much more spacious in the back for headroom and visibility out of the windows.

        Yes the dashboard is plastic, as are most car dashboards. The quality of materials was reasonable – not super luxurious (Audi are generally recognized as the best in this regard) but also not poor. It stacks up OK against an Accord or Civic for material quality!

    • 0 avatar
      NotFast

      I don’t believe you should ever judge a car by the crappy strippers rental car companies feature.

      • 0 avatar
        Rob Finfrock

        Actually, renting a beat-to-death “stripper” model is a pretty good indicator of how well a vehicle holds up. (Nevermind that most rental cars today are reasonably well-equipped.)

        It stands to reason that if the bare bones model isn’t very good, or durable, odds are the blinged-out UberTurboGSMarkVII edition won’t be particularly decent in the long run, either.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @NotFast: “I don’t believe you should ever judge a car by the crappy strippers rental car companies feature.”

        And, yet, this is how a lot of people judge them. Rentals have helped me form negative opinions of the Cobalt and HHR, for instance. The HHR is a particularly interesting case because the HHR is intended for my current needs (family wagon), and there was nothing wrong with the rental car itself — it’s just that, after the 3rd day in the HHR, we realized that the visibility was dangerously bad with those giant pillars and tiny tunnel-vision windows. Also, the MPGs were nothing special. And this was from a rental where everything went perfectly!

        Unfair to a car’s potential? Perhaps. The most relevant data I have? Absolutely.

        I remember hearing once that Toyota refused to sell stripped down cars to rental agencies. This is probably a wise strategy, since every car rental is an extended test drive from someone with a good job (or extra money), regardless of how one might wish rentals to be perceived.

        (P.S. Without having rented the HHR, I might have bought one by mistake and I might have spent years cursing the vehicle and cursing GM for making it. The visibility problems weren’t evident until I’d settled in to driving it after a couple of hours.)

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @Rob depends on the rental.

        I would never rent a Camry L, designed specifically for rental company fleet sales, and judge the rest of the Camry line up based on that.

        I wouldn’t climb into an Impala, and judge the GM line up based on that as a second example.

        The Ford Fusion is my “go to” rental car. Interestingly I would never own one, but I love them as a rental. My second to last rental was a completely stripped 4-banger with 44K miles on the odometer, check airbag light on and warped brake rotors. It was God awful, horrible. I wouldn’t judge the Fusion based on the completely stripped rental. I’ve had better equipped versions, including ones with higher miles into the 30’s that were much better. Base base base stripped models of most cars just suck in general.

        I just had a rental Mustang convertible that was optionless – yeck.

      • 0 avatar
        afflo

        Just had a ’10 Fusion SEL as a rental car. No moonroof, but it had climate control, heated leather seats, SYNC, etc. The interior was very nicely done. In fact, it’s been yeasr since I saw an actual stripper for a rental car.

        Two things killed the car for me though: The ponderous, floaty suspension/steering, and the auto-tranny was almost insufferable. Being able to gun it on the freeway and say “One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thou.” before it downshifts and begins to actually accelerate is unacceptible, particularly when dealing with busy metro traffic. It was unpredictable, sometimes slow to downshift when needed, and other times too eager to downshift.

        Worse, there was no way to manually override it. Supposedly its a 6 speed. (Disclaimer… I despise automatics, especially for heavy city traffic).

    • 0 avatar
      IronEagle

      Yeah I had the 2.4 Ecotec non turbo in the Malibu LT rental car I got paid for by GM while the Regal was in the shop for a turbo seal fix. It felt like half the engine of the Regal T. You’ll have to drive one to feel the huge difference it is like night and day! Enjoy!

      • 0 avatar
        jayzwhiterabbit

        Everyone knows Ford automatics are the worst in the industry….I don’t care how great they design their engines – they ruin them with these lazy, gear-hunting, POS transmissions. It seems nothing has changed at the Blue Oval much since the original Taurus.

  • avatar
    mjal

    I haven’t driven a GS, but in base turbo trim the Regal offers marginal front seat comfort, and somewhat sluggish takeoffs until the turbo kicks in. I found the Acura TSX for similar money offered superior front seat comfort, better fit/finish, and more responsive takeoffs. The Regal was quiet, however.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    “. . . but offers as much feedback as a bad boss.”
    –Love that!

    I too feel that the Regal’s console would be much better served with more knobs and nondescript fewer buttons.

  • avatar
    theonewhogotaway

    How heavy is that beast? The early 2000s Regal GS with the supercharged 3800II that was rated at 240/280 output had similar 0-60 times and was not not a lightweight vehicle by any means.
    (Ok… looked it up: 3710 vs 3540 for the current vs the previous generation.) Something does not add up. less than 200lbs heavier, but better aerodynamics and a considerable advantage in both HP and torque should have those numbers dropped to the low 6s…

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      If it were only as simple as this weight + this horse power = this speed. Gearing, ability to hook up launch based on rubber, rolling resistance on acceleration, electronic nannies like torque management and traction control…

      On paper this should run as fast as a Camry SE. Same HP (basically) more torque and damn close in weight.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The 2012 Camry SE V6 weighs 3,370 lbs. 340 lbs makes a difference. A driver only Buick might be as quick as a Camry with three people in it though.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        What’s the Camcord got in? Three granola eaten vegans at 113 lbs each? The GS is fully loaded, what does a fully load camcord weigh?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        340 lbs divided by two is 170 lbs. The Camry tested and weighed by MT had most things, including navigation. It also has a vast interior, unlike the obese and slow Buick. I suppose passenger weight won’t be as much of an issue for math-challenged Buick buyers, since there isn’t room for them anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Funny the author mentioned that similar layout cars are not in the same league as the GS, a sport sedan. And you bring up the Camry? Well it does cost as much and gets similar fuel economy…

        http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/toyota-camry-se-v6-road-test-review?redirect=no

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The Camry they tested cost almost $8,000 less than the GS they tested while returning 25 mpg vs 22 mpg for the Buick. I guess that is close enough for some people.

      • 0 avatar
        jayzwhiterabbit

        Except the Regal has one thing the Camry doesn’t: style.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      How bout the fact that the smaller (inside) car is heavier? No wonder Ford gave up on the Panther, a redesign would have made it an honest to god 5000+ lbs! Might as well buy a Navigator and get it over with.

      • 0 avatar
        theonewhogotaway

        Agreed completely about the way that cars have been growing heavy. Case in point: My ’96 Cherokee with a fairly heavy 4wd system and a cast iron engine and a 5000lb towning capacity weighs 3,357 lbs which is 75 lbs more than a new Prius V or a 4WD Matrix…

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Heavy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It gives the car stability and grip. Lets face it no one drives at 150mph everyday. The fastest people go on a normal basis is probably 90mph. Most people don’t care if the car’s top speed is 150 or 130.

      • 0 avatar
        smokingclutch

        LOL, “road hugging weight,” eh, Mandalorian? Might want to get a fundamental understanding of physics, first. Here’s a hint – all else being equal, a heavier car will achieve lower ultimate lateral G force. You have to ADD grip to heavier cars through wider/stickier tires. This is why a BMW M3 requires wider tires than a Lotus Elise.

        This doesn’t even get into transient states where low mass is even more important.

        Weight also plays a comparatively tiny role in top speed.

        Where is Baruth when you need him?

      • 0 avatar
        MattPete

        “Weight gives stability and grip”. <- weight, in this case, is accompanied by mass*. Weight, in this case, is the enemy of stability and grip and give you less of each.

        * an example of weight w/o mass is aerodynamic downforce.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The spiritual successor to the Pontiac G8 GXP goes 0 to 60 in 6.7 seconds, has a cramped backseat, rubbery shifter and puts the power to the ground via the front wheels and when loaded costs almost as much as the gone LS3 beast. THIS is the car GM wants Pontiac buyers to flock to.

    *SOB*

  • avatar
    gslippy

    This seems like a car designed for former Buick-Pontiac-Chevy owners, rather than prospective BMW or Audi drivers.

    $35-38k is a lot of coin for what you’re getting. It’s not even possible to pay that much for an Optima SX Turbo, which has similar straight-line performance and fuel economy, but better looks and a better warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I spent a couple hours in an Optima SX over the weekend – friend had it for an extended test drive, and is in the final decision making process between the SX and the EX-Turbo. Very impressive car for the money. HUGE inside, all the bells and whistles you could ever want, but it is VERY obvious why it is $15K cheaper than my 3-series. Not in the same universe of interior quality or ride/handling. Which is OK, to my mind, it is $15K cheaper! TANSTAAFL always applies. But I can’t imagine the Buick is any nicer than the Optima inside, has similar levels of tech, and my friend negotiated a $28K price for the KIA (with a mandatory automatic that most buyers would want anyway)….

      I will say that the Optima is another car where if they had only spent another $500 on the interior it would be completely amazing. It’s all there, it basically looks good and works well, but it all looks (and feels) cheap and brittle. So close.

      • 0 avatar
        FromaBuick6

        Kia is the new Pontiac: faux luxury/sport for the Walmart crowd.

        Everyone keeps raving about the looks of the Optima, but I think it’s a hideous mishmash of Audi and Honda styling themes.

        I’m sure its a decent enough car and feels a little sportier than the rest of the bland mid sizers. Maybe I’d take it over the current, spitefully-designed Accord, but that’s not saying much.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        I keep hearing the “well for $30K I could buy an Optima” as the argument against the TSX, Regal GS etc. Well why doesn`t your freind, if he is so in need for absolute hp go and look at a Charger R/T. It is 370hp and bigger inside and can be had for $30K. I am not recommending it but if all some people want is a high number of horsepower.

  • avatar
    theonewhogotaway

    Just looked at the price configurator at one of them web sites about the Regal. Looks like that the turbo engine is an option on the base Regal as well. With that engine and a 6sp manual or auto the total price is around $30K ($5K cheaper than the GS.) This brings back memories of the late 80s early 90s when Ford had the 5.0 engine as an option on the Mustang LX and not only on the GT. The less loaded car with the bigger engine was the option of choice and I suspect that this will be the case now. Plus you lose the uber-ugly wheels. Methinks that GM shot themselves on the foot with this one

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      That flavor of the 2.0 T-4 is detuned to 225 HP.

      The GM ECOTEC 2.0 DI turbo-4 has been pressed into a wide range of configurations and outputs including 225 HP, 240 HP, 260 HP, 270 HP, 290 HP (dealer updated) and 300 HP (dealer updated).

      Power, EPA, emissions and MPG requirements dictate – I guess. Wish they would just settle on a singular configuration; seems it would be easier.

      • 0 avatar
        Mrb00st

        The 2.0T in the Regal “Turbo” is a port-injected Ecotec.
        The GS uses an updated LNF Direct-injected ecotec, similar to the one in the Cobalt SS and Kappa Turbo Twins (Sky/Solstice). It has a ton of low end torque, but the 800lbs greater curb weight than a Cobalt will go some way to mask that.

        The Cobalt SS/TC with this engine was an unreasonably rapid car.

  • avatar
    John R

    Derek, would you favor this over a Maxima with the sport package?

    • 0 avatar
      RobAllen

      A well-equipped Maxima will run you closer to the $40k range and there is no option for a manual transmission unless you go up to the Infinit G37 6MT (which costs more).

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I do not understand the point of this car at all. A 321 hp 6 cylinder and awd sounds about right for $45-50k (puts you square in S4, 335ix, and G37x territory), brand be damned. But a wrong wheel drive 4 cylinder with a crappy shifter that can’t outrun a Kia or Miata in a straight line? Why bother?

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Rental car companies going to put premium in for turbo cars? I know they don’t for the Cruze and it’s a nice wake when proper octane is used.

    The review ecgos autoblog’s review in just about every aspect. Very nice indeed.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I got a supercharged Grand Prix as a rental back in 2006 (bummer it was pouring rain the whole time I had it, no fun). It didn’t require premium fuel and was detuned to run on regular unleaded.

  • avatar
    tced2

    How did the manual shift get to be so wrong? Isn’t the manual shift offered in the Opel and don’t the Europeans require a good manual shift? I doubt that the manual was changed in the boat trip over from Europe.

  • avatar
    PaulVincent

    Isn’t this how GM destroyed Oldsmobile?

    • 0 avatar
      acuraandy

      Most people my gen don’t know what an Oldsmobile is; unless they inherited an Alero from their parents. Give me a Holden Commodore, REBADGED AS A DELTA 88! with an FI 350 Rocket; crank windows, vinyl floors, the whole bit.

      This begs the question: WHY DID GM GET RID OF OLDSMOBILE INSTEAD OF BUICK!?

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        It was a mystery to those of us alive at the time too. It was almost like it was on GMs Bucket List: Kill off the oldest brand in automotive-dom still in production… check.

        FYI what you described acuraandy sounds more like a new 442. :)

      • 0 avatar
        acuraandy

        @Dan: interesting moniker. However, it would be more like a Delta 88 or possibly a neo-Aurora (without the GARBAGE Northstar motor) than a 442.

        Unless you’re talking about a Monaro rebadged as an Olds 442 (ala Plymouth -Chrysler?- Cuda.) NOW we’re talking…

        I’ll settle with GM, give me a Holden Ute in LS2 livery for sub-$25k US. Since this will never happen now, i’ll just keep my $ and get a TSX. :)

      • 0 avatar
        LectroByte

        > WHY DID GM GET RID OF OLDSMOBILE INSTEAD OF BUICK!?

        I’ve always heard it was because the Buick brand is huge in China.

      • 0 avatar
        acuraandy

        @LectroByte: read my lips…SCREW CHINA. :)

      • 0 avatar
        MattPete

        Yep, a mystery. Oldsmobile actually had some very attractive cars right before the division was axed. At the time, I could easily see people in their late 20s and mid 30s stepping up to an Oldsmobile from a foreign mark.

        Buick. Nothing says ‘geriatric’ like a Buick. And nothing says “cheap and pointless” like the Buick Skyhawk T-type hatchback my ex-mother-in-law had. I would have kept Olds and killed Buick in a heartbeat.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        Buick’s survival was absolutely because of its popularity in China.

        Like it or not, China is about as important a car market as the US now.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        I think part of it was GM was doing alot of weird things with Oldsmobile toward the end in an attempt to save it. The Aurora on paper and in pictures looked phenomenal, but in practice the Northstar derived 4.0 (and 3.5 Shortstar) didn’t pan out as expected. Much as the way they destroyed Cadillac from MY1981 onward, it was always about ‘whiz bang’ features and ‘new fangled’ technology, not a technically solid car which lasts the test of time and encourages buyers to come back for more. Sell the sizzle and not the steak right… this sort of approach doesn’t work too well with a mid level brand. Many first time new car buyers may have wanted ‘their father’s Oldsmobile’ simply because they were not in a financial position to trade every two years before the head gaskets blow. How many FWD Northstar Cadillacs do you see around today? How many Intrigues and Auroras? I see fewer and fewer on the road, what I do see is legions of Buick, Pontiacs, and certain Chevrolet models, MY 90 and onward. Boring? Sure. Underpowered? Maybe. Spartan? You bet. But they stood the test of time and are still running. I now see Buick going down this road with these turbo engines… if I recall correctly turbos don’t last.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    One glance at the roof-line is all you should need to know the back seat would be a miserable place to occupy. GM is betting that its customers don’t think. Business as usual, in other words.

    • 0 avatar
      acuraandy

      The issue is, that if someone can afford a $30k car, they can also analyze the best value for their money. Usually…

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        How many people would really be best served by a 3,700+ lb 2+2 with a 4 cylinder engine and sedan styling? This car is a bet that there are enough people that will be dazzled by…I’ve no idea what the appeal is, but they’re supposed to be dazzled by something to make them choose this car over a more functional, better driving, more efficient something else. Buying this car is like trading Manhattan for some shiny beads.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        “The issue is, that if someone can afford a $30k car, they can also analyze the best value for their money. Usually…”

        I agree, and that’s why GM was bankrupt once and there will be more.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    I just came home from my local VW dealer. My new six speed GLI Autobahn will be here in a couple of days. Sure, it’s down 70 horsepower from the Regal GS, and will inevitably suffer from Volkswagen’s horrific reliability, but it also costs 10 grand less, the manual doesn’t suck and I won’t have to explain to everyone I meet why my car isn’t for geezers.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      Believe it or not I have a Jetta III GLX with 224,00+ that I purchased new.

      It’s had its problems but overall it’s served me well and is still going strong. I don’t put the rear windows down though:-)

      The GLI is on my list to test drive as well as the CC R-Line.

      • 0 avatar
        FromaBuick6

        That’s great to hear. The car’s such a perfect compromise between my needs, wants and budget. Nothing else came close. I’ve heard all the bad stories, but this car feels special enough that I’m willing to incur the extra costs to keep on the road for a decade or more. I wouldn’t feel that way about a new Civic or Focus.

        The irony is that I was chiding one of the prominent Euro fans on this site for expressing essentially belief about his cars. I guess he was right.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      @FromaBuick6:
      In my opinion, a car enthusiast is someone who has an emotional connection with their car. That connection can be dampened or reinvigorated by various factors, but it’s still there. It’s good to read one of the B&B make that connection today. Thanks for sharing!

    • 0 avatar
      acuraandy

      Like GM reliability is much better than VW’s? Good buy, sir.

      Even ‘geezers’ don’t buy Detroit anymore. Just sayin’…:)

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        It’s hard to do worse than the reliability of the Jetta I used to own. The problem wasn’t so much that that particular transmissions only lasts about 50kmiles (01M 4-speed auto), but that nobody outside of Germany can seem to rebuild it.

        I went through about 5 transmissions in 10k miles. 3.5 of them were replaced under warranty. When your transmission change interval is 1/5th of your oil change interval, you get a statistically relevant sample pretty quick.

        It’s unlikely that I’ll ever buy from VAG again. No matter how good those Sportwagens and Audis look. I’m rich enough to afford a used Lexus, but there’s NFW I can afford a used Volkswagen at any price.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      $10k in savings still couldn’t convince me to buy VW’s inherent unreliability.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        Growing up I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have at least one Volksie.

        I can’t comment on others experiences (I know V.W. went through a rough patch particularly with the Jetta III) but overall I’ve had good experiences.

        I also had a Fox that went 178,000 miles with no major problems

        I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another and probably will.

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      You made a great choice. Everything I’ve been hearing about the GLI has been overwhelmingly positive – enough to make the VW faithful forget that the infamous 8v base model even exists.

      I need to test drive one, even though I’m really in the market for a 2.5L…

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    ‘The interior of the Regal isn’t bad overall, but has a very particular “General Motors” feel. Many of the buttons, cabin materials and readouts are sourced from the common parts bin, something that is barely acceptable on a vehicle that’s ostensibly positioned as a luxury car.’

    And more is to expected from Gov’t Motors? Yeah, I know it’s -technically- an Opel, but…cheapest parts, cheapest platform, built the cheapest labor at the cheapest price to be sold at highest margin. Their profit motive hasn’t changed in 35 years…

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      It is an European Insignia, just like the Acura TSX is a European Honda Accord. Both compete in the same class (and price) in Europe. They are comparable cars.

      “Built by the cheapest labor” – really the first Regals were built in Germany and now they are built in Canada. Both countries renowned for their cut price labor!

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Buick could only HOPE to sell as many of these as Saab sold turbos in the past couple decades.

    Meh, I too don’t see the point of this sort of car. Spend a little more and get a correct-wheel-drive BMW 328i if you are a driving enthusiast. It will shift properly and have pedals spaced correctly. It won’t have all the toys without spending a bunch more, but I would rather have a stripped truely premium car than a loaded-up mid-ranger. You can even get a wagon, and if you act fast the wagon will have a lovely inline six in it instead of a turbo-4. Which even with a considerable hp and torque deficit still manages to be faster. The F30 328i with thier turbo-4 is faster still.

    • 0 avatar
      FromaBuick6

      I can’t even see why a non-enthusiast would take the Regal over a 3 Series. Or an A4. Or a C350 Sport. Etc, etc. Most shoppers for this class of car are primarily concerned with badge appeal. The true enthusiasts will be turned off by the Buick’s front drive and clumsy transmission. Traditional Buick buyers will be turned off by everything else.

      A handful of GM loyalists will sign on the dotted line, but there’s almost no market for this car beyond that.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Maybe someone who is a die hard GM fan or someone that wants to run the car into the ground… without incurring immense maintenance costs.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Here’s a news flash – ALL high-tech modern cars are bloody expensive to fix. Joe at the corner garage is not going to do any better with GM’s direct-injection, turbo-charged, super-high pressure injection pump equipped engine than BMWs, and if anything, the wrong-wheel drive engine layout will make it that much worse to get at everything. My local Chevy dealer charges a whole $10 an hour less than my local BMW dealer, assume local Buick dealer is similar. $110 vs $120. At the end of the day, this is a German car too.

        If you can’t pay to play, stick to Corollas.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Makes sense due to scalability. Past decades ‘cock roaches of the road’ were cheaper due to simplicity and sheer numbers. But there is a difference between reality and customer expectations. Domestic brands will carry that ‘cheaper to fix’ stigma for some time.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      And how many new 328i buyers are actually driving enthusiasts?

      • 0 avatar
        acuraandy

        I’d wager about 5%. The rest are IT guys/girls who finally made $50k/yr and want to rub it in their high school friends’ faces.

        That said, if the Regal ‘GS’ is anything like my ’08 Malibu (which parts wise, IT IS), it is COMPLETE RUBBISH! :)

      • 0 avatar
        Secret Hi5

        @acuraandy,
        I hope you’re joking because anyone making $50K/yr should be looking at a $10K-$15K car, not a BMW!

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        BMW knows better, Secret Hi5. There was an article here about their first time buyer program, which makes financing available down deep into the $30K a year bracket.

      • 0 avatar
        acuraandy

        @Secret Hi5, yes, you are correct. The problem is there are still a bunch of self-entitled monsters -TM Adam Carolla- that think a BMW is to be handed to them post-graduation from college. That, and a parking space in the heated and cooled parking garage of a flat designated by their masters, whilst paying of a 100k loan for a degree in underwater basket-weaving or WTF ‘degree’ they obtained…

        Keep in mind most ‘drivers’ of Gen Why were raised on PS2 and XBOX playing Gran Turismo and Forza and wouldn’t have the foggiest idea of how to ACTUALLY drive the cars they did in the game.

        I can say this by personal experience, as I was one of the last people in the US to drive a brand new Acura NSX. At speed. ITS MY JOB. :)

  • avatar
    dreadnought

    “The Regal GS would probably be a fine product for anyone who ever bought a turbo Saab”

    Considering how GM has treated Saab owners the last three years, I wouldn’t expect many takers from that quarter.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The CTS AWD “Performance” costs $45K.
    The Saab 9-3 XWD 2.8T was around $41K.
    The Volvo S60 R-design costs around $42K.
    The Taurus SHO costs around $38K.
    The TL SH-AWD is around $43K.

    If GM legitimately could not bring over the OPC because they would need to charge $45K+ to make it worth while, then they have some serious issues. It’s a car built in Canada, on the Epsilon platform, with existing technology.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Every powerful car on the market with FWD suffers from massive torque steer. And more clever companies than GM can’t figure out how to tame it… because you can’t. And “manageable,” like in the article, is relative. I really don’t want to be fighting the steering wheel when I want to pass someone on a county road.

    What this is, really, is GM being too cheap to offer/engineer/buy even a rudimentary AWD to tame this beast.

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    For 10 grand less I got a better car, the Kia Optima with turbo. Yep, still wrong wheel drive, but just as nice, in fact, better looking inside and out.

  • avatar
    ixim

    A 2002 supercharged Regal GS was rated at <7 sec 0-60. Its looks put speed trap cops to sleep. This model, high cost aside, fills a similar role. Much better brakes and suspension, too. May we say – a latter-day GN?

  • avatar
    slance66

    It’s a nice car. I wouldn’t buy it at this price. The aforementioned Optima and Camry SE are more appealing given their prices, and a 328i would be more appealing for not much more money.

    • 0 avatar
      ixim

      What is it with the love for high-end Camrys and Kias here? They are not Buicks, and versy-vicy. 328i’s, on the other hand….well, if the maintenance is similar to the tri-shield….which it probably is not…always tradeoffs.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      I know it’s all personal preference but the Optima, Camry, Sonata as well as the rest of the usual suspects wouldn’t be further than midway up on my list.

      Id much rather have something that I enjoy.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Why does the fact that heel-toeing is a challenge preclude rev-matching? I can rev-match fine in my car, but I can’t heel-toe for shite (this is an absence of skill on my part and I don’t deny that), but I’ve never seen it said that being unable to heel-toe means you can’t rev-match.

    Heel-toe = fancy rev-matching.
    Rev-matching =/= heel-toe.

    A=B but B=/=A

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Why does the fact that heel-toeing is a challenge preclude rev-matching? I can rev-match fine in my car, but I can’t heel-toe for anything (this is an absence of skill on my part and I don’t deny that), but I’ve never seen it said that being unable to heel-toe means you can’t rev-match.

    Heel-toe = fancy rev-matching.
    Rev-matching =/= heel-toe.

    A=B but B=/=A

  • avatar
    IronEagle

    2011 Regal T here. It’s a great car for the money especially the lease deal with $5,500 on the hood. Paying less than for a 4 cylinder base Malibu LS at $269 a month for 3 years. If I could have had $500 payments a 2011 Charger R/T would have been my first choice but we were looking at base 4 cylinder Malibus so I was able to jump up a couple of classes with the great deal on this Regal.

    No problems with it yet except for an oil leak that turned out to be a turbo seal they fixed under warranty. This car loves the highway and cruises at 70-80mph like a champ. The interior is one of the best from GM yet. In my opinion the Regal is right up there with Lexus and BMW in materials and fit and finish. The design is smart and the gauge cluster and LED lighting in the cockpit is really done well.

    I have said before with the money one the hood discounts the Turbo is a better value than a GS. The Turbo has 220bhp and the car never feels slow or lacking power. You have to wonder if GM has held back the Regal again like in the 1980s. Back then the Corvette was supposed to be GM performance king and when the Grand National and GNX challenged that it was a big deal. Now you have to wonder if Cadillac put their foot down on the power output of the Regal since the CTS sedan starts at $36,800. The Ecotech can handle serious power. The stock turbo Ecotec in the HHR/Cobalt SS is rated at 260bhp with HHR and Cobalt SS turbos running 400-500bhp in daily drivers with turbo and bolt on upgrades. Yet the Regal T intercooler pipes are about half the size of the HHR/Cobalt pipes and the turbo exhaust downpipe has a catalytic converter in it (!?!) along with some sort of steel mesh material in it choking the exhaust.

    A nice solution is a company called Trifecta Tuning has a $500 “tune” that adds 61 hp and 51 lb ft of torque at the wheels on the Turbo with no other changes but you need to run premium fuel. They get even more power if you are running 108 octane E85 or race gas. A neat trick they can do is set the “tune” to be stock or performance with the steering wheel’s cruise control on/off switch. If you open up this car’s turbo plumbing and put a good exhaust on this car with the Trifecta Tune you will have a true sleeper that would show its taillights to the GS and a Sonata/Optima Turbo or Camry and Maxima V6s easily if that matters to you.

    A big disappointment I discovered recently is with the Aisin/Warner 6 speed automatic. In the “manual shift” mode it is a joy to drive and sporty and when in “D” the shifts are smooth and we see 23-24mpg city driving average with a light foot. Yet in manual shift mode under full throttle acceleration torque management I believe kicks in. It bucks the car severely as you lose acceleration and the gear change finally goes through. You would think it would be quicker in this mode but for full throttle you need to leave it in “D”. I believe the Trifecta Tuning “tune” can eliminate this.

    Prior rides are 89 Mustang GT, 92 Miata, 95 Contour SE 5 speed, 96 LT4 Corvette, 98 Trans Am, 2000 Camaro SS, 95 Eagle Talon TSi AWD converted, (current project car), and an 04 Mazda RX-8. I could have gone with an 04 supercharged Terminator Mustang Cobra and I found a dealer who would sell to me for $3000 off MSRP but instead I picked the RX-8 as the Mazda was such a true enthusiast machine in it’s design and execution. Never regretted the decision even with almost 200 less horsepower. Like the RX-8 I give the big thumbs up to the Regal Turbo or GS. It’s fun going “fast with class”. If you love the feel of a well tuned Turbo-4 and a German sport sedan you will love this GS or a T. This car was developed for the autobahn and at the Nurburgring and it shows every time you drive it.

    If you get the Turbo you may be able to still get one made in Germany like ours. :)

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      I agree this thing’s got a quality interior. IMO, it puts the materials of the Camry, Accord and Optima to shame.

      I test drove a Regal Turbo. If the driver’s seatback weren’t a medieval lumbar torture device, I could have seen owning it.

    • 0 avatar
      jayzwhiterabbit

      Thank God somebody else sees the car for what it is. If this Regal had a Lexus badge, all these people would be drooling over it. It’s easy to see right through the GM bashing, however, because anyone with the actual car (or has driven one) knows the reality. The anti-GM obsession on this site, while somewhat expected, borders on paranoid schizophrenia in intensity. At first I thought TTAC was different…but over time I’ve realized it’s really not.


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