By on March 9, 2018

2018 Buick Regal GS

Spoiler alert: At some point in this review, I am going to make the idiotic suggestion that the Buick Regal GS ought to come with a manual transmission.

I’m assuming you’re all somewhat familiar with the Buick Regal, a lightly Americanized version of the European-market Opel Insignia. By our standards, the Insignia is legitimately European. It’s a hatchback masquerading as a sedan, which is (or at least used to be) a popular bodystyle in Europe. It’s built in Germany, which is more than a lot of BMWs and Benzes can say. By European standards, though, the Insignia is – well, it’s sort of a Buick. It’s wallowy and a bit soft around the tummy.

The GS is the hod-rod model, which dumps the 2.0-liter turbo four and replaces it with a 310 horsepower version of GM’s corporate 3.6-liter V6. It gets a nine-speed auto tranny and all-wheel-drive, bigger front brakes with red-painted Brembo calipers, unique front and rear fascias, and fancier gauges and front seats.

Surprisingly, the GS’ suspension differs little from the regular car. The front springs are calibrated to carry the extra weight of the V6 engine, and the Regal GS gets Continuous Damping Control, which is GM-speak for adjustable shocks. (One wonders why the Regal didn’t get the magnificent Magnetic Ride Control system. My guess is that CDC offers more discernable variation between driver-selectable drive modes.)

How does it drive? For the most part, it’s quite good. If you’ve ever driven an Audi A4 and thought, “Well, that was a bit overrated,” you’ll understand my feelings about the Regal GS. This is a competent car that does what you’d expect a 300-ish horsepower all-wheel-drive sedan to do. The steering feels nice. The grip is strong. There’s no corner-exit drama, and if you push too hard it raps you lightly on the knuckles with a bit of gentle understeer. You can crank it up to pretty high speeds in the corners and it won’t embarrass itself. I’m not the world’s greatest hot-shoe, nor am I the world’s biggest coward (though I’m more of the latter than the former), and the Regal GS didn’t do anything that scared me.

2018 Buick Regal GS

Unfortunately, it didn’t do anything that really thrilled me, either.

Let’s start picking things apart, shall we?

Before we get to performance, I’d like to talk about appearance. (Ideally, a good sport sedan generates a little adrenaline pressure before you open the door.) I happen to think the Regal Sportback is a good-looking car to begin with, and the GS looks fine to me. From the outside, at least.

Inside, not so much. Not that there’s anything wrong with the new Regal’s interior; goodness knows it’s a huge improvement over the old one. But a video speedometer and some piano-black trim isn’t enough to differentiate the GS from lesser Regals. How about some red stitching on the dash and seats? How about a big fat “GS” embroidered on the headrests? How about programming that video IP so it glows red when you select “Sport” or “GS” mode?

As I said earlier, there’s nothing really wrong with the suspension setup. Buick engineers had to get down with the whole Quiet Tuning thing. I get that. And frankly, they did a pretty amazing job. The Regal GS is as peaceful as a library and has an exceptionally comfortable ride, which is no small accomplishment considering how well it handles.

2018 Buick Regal GS

No, the big letdown is the powertrain. High Feature V6, j’accuse!

It doesn’t help the GS’ case that the 2.0T engine fitted to the regular Regal is a solid powerplant. Of course, there’s a good argument for replacing a turbo four with a V6: Better off-the-line performance courtesy of strong low-end torque.

Problem is, the 3.6 doesn’t have any.

The 2.0T in the Regal Sportback delivers 295 lb-ft of torque when equipped with all-wheel-drive, with peak delivery between 3,000 and 4,000 RPM.

The 3.6 delivers 282 lb-ft of torque, and it peaks at 5,200 RPM.

2018 Buick Regal GS

I’d be willing to bet that the average human can’t detect a 13 lb-ft deficit. But you could have all of the nerve endings in your back and buttocks removed and still figure out that the V6-powered Regal doesn’t take off any better than the 2.0T.

Of course, an engine doesn’t have to be fast to feel fast. There are tricks of the trade: Enough low-end torque to push you back in your seat (and we know that boat has been missed), or a deep, throaty engine note. Nope, the GS doesn’t have that either. Buick claims the Regal GS has a sport-tuned exhaust. Apparently, the sport in question is badminton.

My point – and I probably should have gotten to it earlier – is that the $39,995 Buick Regal GS isn’t enough of an improvement over the regular Regal Sportback. Not enough to justify the $5,200 premium over the top-of-the-line Regal Essence, and sure-as-feck not enough to rationalize the $14,000 increase over the entry-level Sportback.

2018 Buick Regal GS

So what could Buick have done differently?

Well, for one thing, they could have put a stick shift in it.

For the record, I hate, hate, hate it when automotive writers make this ridiculous assertion, especially when the automotive writer in question is me. Don’t get me wrong: I love manual transmissions. If I had my druthers, everything would come with a manual transmission. Who wouldn’t want a Wraith with a three on the tree? But the reality, as we all know, is that few people buy manuals. (Although they’d probably buy more if there were more to buy.)

Pointing out that a given car ought to come with a manual does nothing but highlight the fact that we can’t get what we want. Pour a little lemon juice in the wound, why don’t you.

2018 Buick Regal GS

We can all guess the reason why the GS doesn’t come with a manual: Budget. The Euro-market Insignia obviously comes with a manny-tranny, but it’d cost a bunch o’ money to get U.S. emissions certification for a stick Regal, and it’s just not worth it for the few copies they would sell.

Complicating this is the fact that American performance enthusiasts aren’t that important to Buick. For every car Buick sells in the US, they sell five and a half in China. While I can’t claim to know the mind of the average Chinese auto buyer, I have a feeling they aren’t exactly looking for Lancer Evo clones with Buick badges.

Now, we know GM can build proper performance cars. Anyone who has driven a late-model Corvette, Camaro, ATS-V, or twin-turbo CT6 can attest to that. Buick could have built a Regal GS that would have knocked our socks off, but it probably didn’t make good financial sense – and that’s why the GS appears to be best suited to overweight oldsters who haven’t been able to drive a stick since their knees started acting up a few years ago.

So there’s no business case – but what ever happened to brand pride? Back in ’65, Buick lied about the displacement of the 401 V8, calling it a 400 so that they could skirt the corporate rules restricting the maximum engine size for an intermediate car. If we were back in the 1960s – the days when GM divisions were competing against each other, and not just the rest of the world – Buick would have built a world-class GS.

2018 Buick Regal GS

Sadly, outside of Chevrolet and GMC, brand pride at GM seems to be a relic of the past.

Imagine if that spirit of FU was still alive at Buick. In my dream world, the Regal GS would have a high-output version of the 2.0T cranked up to 300 hp and 300-or-so lb-ft of torque. It would have a six-speed manual lifted from the Insignia. It would have an interior that would make the Civic Type R look as sedate as a Volkswagen Golf. It would have adopted the flappy-valve exhaust from the Corvette, and at the press of a button would go from church quiet to popping and farting on the overrun. It would have the same fantastic suspension setup, with the body dropped a half-inch or so to hug its standard-fit summer performance tires. It would have been a bargain at the GS’ $40k price tag.

The GS I am envisioning would have been ridiculously expensive to engineer and never would have justified the few sales it would garner in the US. But you know what it would do? It would get people like you and me to sit up and take notice of Buick. It would have made us realize that, hey, maybe we had Buick all wrong. Maybe not all Buicks are old man cars or gussied-up rental-quality Chevys. Maybe they’re ‘60s cocktail cool, elegant cars with big-ass motors and hot styling.

2018 Buick Regal GS

Maybe it’d get us to seriously consider Regal Sportbacks and TourXs, just as the ’65 GS cars got people to buy Special Deluxes and Skylarks and LeSabres.

And then Buick would follow up the Regal GS with a Regal TourX GS wagon, and wouldn’t that make people like us lose our shit!

Sadly, I know I’m dreaming. The Buick Regal GS I want is simply not realistic. In fact, Buick tried something like this with the 2012 Regal GS. It didn’t sell many, and I don’t think it did much for Verano, LaCrosse, or Enclave sales, either.

So, like I said, my suggestion that Buick build a stick-shift Regal GS is just plain stupid. Still, can you blame me for thinking the 2018 Regal GS is a missed opportunity?

[Images: General Motors]

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110 Comments on “2018 Buick Regal GS First Drive – The Regal GS We Want Is Not the Regal GS We Deserve...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    How are the seats? I’ve been reading every review I could get my hands on for this sucker and some reviews have said: “World Class Seats!” others have said: “The massage function is effin’ useless – like having a kindergarten student kick you in the back!”

    Actually all the reviews seem bi-polar for this vehicle.

    One will say: “Where’s the flappy paddles? Stupid GM.

    The next review will say: “Doesn’t need flappy paddles. This transmission is wonderful!”

    One will say: “Too subtle of a GS model.”

    Another: “Just right styling for a Buick.”

    I’m getting whiplash.

    • 0 avatar
      Aaron Gold

      The seats: You know, I rarely comment on seats in my reviews because a) seat comfort is so subjective and b) I rarely notice a seat as being bad unless it’s really, really, *really* bad.

      So, these seats: Well, they work. The bolsters inflate and the thigh extender extends. I actually thought the inflatable bolsters were kind of a funny thing considering how many people who buy this thing will be pudgy like yours truly.

      Paddles: The GM folks said “People never use shift paddles.” I am inclined to agree; IMHO, if the transmission is any good, you won’t need them. But they are an expected thing and the Regal GS ought to have them. Price of entry.

      No surprise that the reviews are all over the place. IMHO, the Regal GS is good to drive, and if this was 2001 I might be really impressed… but GM can do better, and I think they should have.

      Aaron

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Gazis

        Aaron

        Had a few things to do yesterday. Ended up driving my 2016 AWD Regal GS around for 8 hours straight with a. Because I’m “fat and old” I would expect to get some aches and pains driving a normal car around, but in the Regal I was perfectly fine.

        Point is the seats are fantastic, and you have no clue what you’re talking about. You should stick to reviewing fan boy racers, and leave the real cars to adults.
        BTW
        The Regal – 37,000 miles through the worst streets, traffic and weather Chicagoland has to offer. Zero issues and still looks like I just drove it off the lot.

        Me – 47 yrs. and 190 lbs. GFY

      • 0 avatar
        peeryog

        Yeah , and whats that dig at badminton? Does the exhaust go “whack, whack”?

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Proof that nobody has spent enough time with this car to get a really accurate feel for it. I saw several Youtube video reviews and they said the LFX 3.6 had plenty of power and sounded really nice too so that seems to vary.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    …but 80% of Buick North American sales are cuv/suv.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Mazda called, they want their grille back. This car seems a little pricey at $40K, you could get a nicely equipped AWD Challenger GT or AWD Charger for less than that.

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    I will never understand a 3.something litre V6 being an upgrade to a 2T. power tends to be similar, the V6 is usually peakier and heaview and on the freeway if you know how to milk a turbo it will get better economy. It really is getting to the point where the step up from a 2T is a V8.

    It will be interesting to see what Holden and especially HSV do with this car, I am going to hazard a guess it will be to more people’s liking.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I like reving over 3500RPM.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Why? It’s just more noise and thrash. I want steamroller torque just off idle so I can make brisk progress in a relaxed way. Especially in a car that is supposed to be quiet and refined.

        And the 2.0T in my GTI pulls hard right to the 6500rpm redline anyway. You just don’t have to do that to make progress. I’ll take a little turbo lag over farfing around with shifting and soaring revs to make things go.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I love noise and am slightly favorable on thrash.

          Something that thrums along with as silent 2500RPM ‘steamroller’ in front of me won’t be getting my money.

    • 0 avatar
      ahintofpepperjack

      The main reason to go V6 was increased reliability, but they have nearly as much tech as the turbo 4 now. You can still buy an LX car with the 1st gen pentastar though -no direct injection, no egr, and no turbo.

    • 0 avatar
      Parousia

      The upgrade from a 2.0 T, as you said, is not an NA V6. Rather, it’s the TTV6 from the ATS V.
      440hp, RW biased AWD, three-mode suspension, a comfortable-enough interior, and the advertised option packages for a GMSRP of $45,000* and I’m interested.

      *Just have to be patient for those “18% Off” sales that GM seems to relish.

      • 0 avatar
        civicjohn

        Re: Parousia,

        You hit the nail on the head. Just wait for the discounts. I wish they would have tried harder, but obviously Corporate had a different idea. Mary is being pulled in so many directions.

        There’s a fair amount of people out there that think V-6 means a whole different driving experience. In most cases it doesn’t, but the owners get to enjoy the crappy MPG that a V-6 gives you, and they’ll get it then.

        GM – the definition of a company that probably knows what the customer wants, but will never deliver unless it’s a truck.

        • 0 avatar
          Peter Gazis

          Civicjohn

          What people say they want and what they actually buy are 2 different things. People loved the Avenir concept car. GM designed the Lacrosse to look just like it. Lacrosse sales tanked.

          Everyone hated everything about the big mouth bass Camry. Still the best selling car in America.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            The only thing Camry buyers care about is that it says Camry on the back. They could make it look and smell like a rotten fish and only sell them in lime yellow and sales wouldn’t budge.

      • 0 avatar
        Blackcloud_9

        Maybe they’re saving the TTV6 for the revival of the Regal GNX. That’ll get all of the old Buick faithful into a collective fit of apoplexy.

    • 0 avatar
      alfaromeo

      310hp from V6 vs. 250hp from 2.0T isn’t small difference in power.
      Also, NA V6 burns regular fuel while 2.0T needs premium fuel, recommended at least.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      The V6 not only sounds light years better but has much better 40-100 MPH pull when the tiny turbo engine is struggling. Yes some places do allow for speeds above 65 MPH. Having seen quite a few LFX 3.6 Gm engines with over 200k miles with no issues at all other than one valve de-carbon procedure speaks volumes on how this engine hold up with proper care. Would have doubts on that tiny turbo 4 banger. Then you have the regular 87 fuel that a 3.6 can burn versus premium that is recommended on the turbo otherwise power and mileage drop.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Seems like the sweet spot in this line might be the regular ol’ 2.0T.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Nice review. I like this car, like the lift back design. The bright red, not so much. Having been a turbo owner, I appreciate the NA engine and its relative simplicity. I love that I can get a Buick with 300 hp and AWD that doesn’t have a completely stupid name like “Lacrosse”.

    I think you are right that people who wanted a stoplight assassin or a Nurbergring champ out of this car are going to be disappointed. But I also think that you, and the other guy will just have to get over it.

    300hp and AWD is probably all the power that vast majority of us would ever need and pretty competitive in this segment at this price. Keeping the price reasonable is appreciated. It ticks a lot of boxes, adding speed, appointments, etc would put this car in price territory that it really doesn’t play well in.

    Im not disappointed at all. Making a car available with a stick these days is nice, for press fleets. Good luck finding one to test drive on a dealer lot unless its an MX-5, Corvette, Mustang, etc.

  • avatar
    RSF

    Yeah I’m definitely not writing a $40k check for a Buick Regal.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Who pays full sticker these days for a sedan/hatch aka anything that isn’t a crossover?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I figure my dealer will get one or two of these in 2018 and they’ll still be sitting there in 2019 when I’m shopping.

        My local Buick dealer isn’t large but he’s got eight 2017 Lacrosses sitting there for his “2017 CLEARANCE SALE”.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I didn’t see anything in the article about torque steer. Doesn’t this car use HiPer Strut? Do all Regals?

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      It’s AWD. Torque steer is in all likelihood not present.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        What I’ve been reading says that the AWD system can bias the torque around pretty liberally when conditions call for it. That I like.

        To many systems today won’t send more than 50% of the power in either direction for a variety of reasons.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Well, I’m still going to test drive one.

    The torque delivery on the V6 won’t bother me much. The lack of a decent exhaust sound likely will though.

  • avatar

    It’s unfortunate over half this first drive review isn’t talking about the car at hand, but rather branding issues and historical moments. The 1960s don’t have anything to do with the 2018 Regal GS.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Perfect article for this group.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Which reminds me of the time a friend and I looked at a ’70 GS 455 convertible for sale, to buy for my little brother (first car). It needed paint (gold) and a new top (black), but was mechanically sound, clean, straight, and rust-free. Asking price? Just $1000. Instead, he ended up with a ’68 Electra 225 4-door hardtop (430) for $600. It lasted a while, until the oil pump went (cheap OEM aluminum thrust plate).

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack7G

      And most of the “wish list” describes the oddball, flawed, enthusiast-courting-on-a-budget, awkwardly youthful-leaning last generation Regal GS. Which was both financially unsuccessful for GM and did bupkiss for the enthusiast commentariat, hence the continued moaning of “when will something come along that makes the enthusiast sit up and take notice of Buick?”

      Which other way could they go? Besides, this is a lame duck now the PSA owns Opel/Vauxhall. And given the sales of the “we threw everything at it” new Lacrosse, or lack thereof, can ya blame em?

      • 0 avatar
        scott25

        Buick doesn’t need to change their image until all the boomers die and by then it’ll be a China-only nameplate

      • 0 avatar
        Hydromatic

        What the enthusiasts really want is a modern-day Grand National, this time made in larger numbers so they can dream about the day they can pick up a lightly-used GNX for 50% off its original MSRP without it immediately becoming high-priced collector bait.

        Nostalgia burns brightest in its final moments.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Buick = American Lexus

    Ditching the 2.0T I4 for the 3.6 V6 was the correct move. The 3.6 will be more reliable in the long run and V6’s are generally smoother. The lack of any noticeable performance upgrade, beyond the more sporty styling, means the Regal GS is functioning like F Sport trim for Lexus. Unfortunately, it seems the interior appointments, infotainment and overall interior design are still lacking.

    2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

    The 3.6L V6 is the smart move for longevity and refinement. Using GS as F Sport trim is a smart move. Allowing the interior to lag behind the competition, and referring to the dodgy interior as “affordable luxury” is an airball.

    • 0 avatar
      ahintofpepperjack

      I’m not so sure it is more reliable. The GM 3.6 is notorious for oil burning and timing chain issues.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        I guess everyone has their own experiences, but the LGX should be fine. It’s the fourth generation 3.6L in the High Feature family.

        In my opinion, most of the the problems with the LLT and LFX were related to owner abuse and/or lack of maintenance.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Mh buddy has a 2012 Impala with the LFX and 202K miles on the original motor with no issues other than a valve de-carbon about 50K miles ago. He also has a 2012 LLT equipped Traverse with 156K miles and it still purrs like a kitten with zero issues. My other friend had a 2013 Impala LTZ with the LFX that had 188K miles and other than the valve de-carbon was flawless. We have also sold a good 30-40 2012-2015 Impala’s, Traverses, Equinoxes and Lacrosses equipped with these engines and well over 100K and they have been flawless with a zero return rate.

        The key- proper maintenance and the use of the correct oil (Dexos). My 2013 is closing in on 80K miles and it too has been flawless enginewise. Zero oil use between changes and it runs perfect. The timing chain issue was corrected years ago and the oil burning seemed to affect the older series original DI motors with improper oil use.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      TW5, you’re comment illustrates the level of delusion in the GM branding strategy. Buick has been a mass market brand, not an aspirational luxury brand, for at least 40 years. Nicer Chevrolet cars sold at GMC dealerships. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but you simply can’t charge Lexus prices for a nicer Chevrolet and expect many customers to buy. The base Buick Regal has some appeal, but the GS is hard to justify at the $40k price point.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        GM doesn’t refer to Buick as American Lexus. I refer to Buick as American Lexus, and I judge it as such because that’s what it must be. American manufacturers don’t define the luxury segment anymore. The Germans and Japanese do. Cadillac is already after the Germans. Buick needs to target the Japanese.

        The new Regal is basically a carbon copy of the Lexus ES in terms of exterior dimensional proportions. The base Regal should be offered with the 2.5L LCV. Unfortunately, it’s offered with the 2.0T LTG. The LTG will probably be unaffordable depreciation and unaffordable long-term maintenance, not affordable luxury. Dumb decision by GM, imo.

        However, the GS is offered with the 3.6L LGX and AWD. That’s smart. Similar to the winning formula used by Lexus. Buick needs to offer the LGX with FWD in virtually all non-base Regals.

        Buick refers to themselves as affordable luxury. It’s smart if you understand the car business and the latent inefficiencies in luxury car manufacturing. It’s incredibly dumb if you understand consumer psychology. I’m ignoring whatever Buick thinks it is, and I’m judging it how it must be judged.

  • avatar
    OzCop

    I purchased a new Buick GS for my spouse back in 1999…THAT was a car worthy of the GS name. Tight suspension, but smooth ride, quick steering, bigger sway bars front and rear, and ample power from the 3.8 supercharged V6. This car is a nothingburger in comparison to what a modern GS version should be. But alas, my wife hated the Buick brand, since everyone she knew who drove a Buick was older to elderly. I only kept that one a couple of years but wish I had it back…

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      As a young man with a recent driver license when the W body S/C GS was new, I wanted one badly. Much moreseo than the Grand Prix GTP. The new GS surely outperformas that W body in every way, but it’s what relative that matters.

      This does nothing for me. Not a performance standout in any way. I can go to any rental car lot and pick out any number of 260-300hp AWD cars that would deliver a very similar experience.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    “It would get people like you and me to sit up and take notice of Buick”

    I know you’re speaking for yourself, but…speak for yourself. If it had the ridiculous gaudiness of Civic Type R and boost-it-till-it-bursts 300hp 2.0T you propose, I’d be noticing it the same way I notice a WRX with a fart can. As it is now, it’s a very tasteful and attractive looking sedan with a linear 300hp six and a price point that would very much have me cross-shopping it against the class-leading A4, 330, and C300 that have a brand perception a full level above Buick.

    Does reasonably tactile steering drive away mainstream consumers? Because that’s one improvement that could make it more attractive to “enthusiasts” without alienating normal buyers.

    It seems guaranteed that in the current automotive environment this car isn’t going much of anywhere, but cross-breeding it with hot hatch genes isn’t going to make it any better either.

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      Most manufacturers seem like they equate “steering feel” to “heavy” and normal people don’t want anything they can’t drive around the parking lot with one finger.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    The thing about manual transmission fast Buicks is that they were offered in recent history, but still no one bought them. Well except for davefromcalgary and that didn’t end well.

    • 0 avatar

      Ouch, Verano memoirs.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      I dont recommend it.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        …or don’t recommend the F40 Aisin 6-speed manual?

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          My car had far more problems than the F40. Wiring harness destroyed by the improperly finished floor pan. Constantly eating sensors. The whole electrical was basically a basket case which caused a lot of the problems. It just so happened the trans was also loud, grindy, clunky and replaced and the first thing I noticed.

          Tldr: the whole thing was a turd. Just accept the fact that GM dropped a deuce on that one.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            @ dave…I’ve been following your Verano story since day one.. Yes GM managed to get you into a rolling t—d

            Your Buick would be the poster vehicle in the leasing vs buying argument .

            My theory for what it worth ?? The major down side of assembly line manufacturing is the odd ball thrown into the schedule.. We ran a few manuals back in the Pontiac 6000 STE days.

            At the time GM assigned people to nothing more than chase the manuals down the line.

            I’m truly sorry you had a sour experience with a GM product. I’ve mentioned before here at TTAC of my horrible experience with an 89 S 15.
            Were it not for the GM logo on my pay cheque that POS would have been the last GM product I ever bought. I traded it for a new 97 W.T that never gave a moments problem.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Thanks for commenting Mikey. It seems to make sense that the oddball nature of my order messed them up, because it was a factory order, and not one out of a set production run of manuals. I can certainly see why that might have caused issues, though it doesnt really excuse it. My main gripe though was GM Canada’s lack of give a damn over the situation. It might be petty but I’m pretty sure it cost them more to fix than it would have for them to buy it back or terminate the lease early, and I am happy about that.

            Ive always been a GM guy and GM has always been a mainstay in my family. I’m window shopping for a truck and looking strongly at 13 and 14 Sierras with the 6.2. That way I can have my truck I want but GM will never see another dime from me, at least not soon. PartSource and a good indy from here out.

            As Ive said before, the saddest thing about my particular experience is that had the thing been trouble free, I would be the first to sing its praises. I think the Verano is a good car, not my Verano.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    In my dream world the GS would be an ATS coupe with an LS motor and 6mt.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    In my dream world the GS would be an ATS coupe with an LS powerplant and 6mt.Maybe call it the Wildcat.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    He’s surprised that the V6 isn’t making torque down low like the 2.0T is? Factory says the turbo is making 295 lb/ft from 2500-4000, not 3000-4000. And it’s making 270 lb/ft by 2000 rpm. It’s a turbo.

    The V6 is making maybe 200 lb/ft max at 2000 rpm.

    Who is this guy? Why is any of this a surprise to him?

    In 95th percentile throttle application, the 9-speed will be able to keep the V6 in its narrow powerband and it will be slightly faster…in all other driving, the 2.0T will feel more powerful.

    • 0 avatar
      Aaron Gold

      >Factory says the turbo is making 295 lb/ft from 2500-4000, not 3000-4000.

      Double-check the specs. The FWD (260 lb-ft) engine peaks from 2500 to 5200, while the AWD (295 lb-ft) engine peaks from 3000-4000. Reading this was a “Wait, what?” moment for me, but there you are.

      Turbo lag, though going away, is still an issue. A nice big V6 should punch you in the back right out of the hole. The GS doesn’t. Happenstance meant that I drove a TourX right before *and* after the Regal GS press junket. The butt dyno didn’t register enough difference between ’em.

      Aaron

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Interesting that this powertrain isn’t available in the wagon body style. I would have thought that the people who buy wagons these days are tilted toward the enthusiast end of the scale and would appreciate the uplevel engine.

    Either way, the mere fact that a NA engine with more cylinders is now offered where it wasn’t before is a win in my book. How many times has that happened in the last 10 years I wonder?

    • 0 avatar
      9Exponent

      According to this review, it sounds like the 2.0 is the uplevel engine.

      These days, enthusiasts may have to think a little beyond the idea that bigger = better.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I wish more companies would stick with naturally aspirated engines. Sorry but a V6 is just nicer than an I4. Smoother. Sounds better. I bet real world negligible difference in MPG, or if you’re Ford probably better than turbo engines.

    It’s a load of garbage. Just cuz a smaller turbo makes same power or whatever doesn’t make it better. Power isn’t everything and I’m a little tired of cars that seem to think stats are important while missing completely on how a car feels (see BMW the last decade). So yeah I applaud the V6 even if it doesn’t rally make the car “faster”.

    Driving an I3 BMW 118i in Europe right now. I’m sure BMW will tell me it makes more power and torque than a naturally aspirated 4 cylinder. Guess what? This engine sucks. Feels like a diesel. Revs like a diesel. Doesn’t give fuel economy of a diesel.

    I doubt the GM 2.0 4 sucks but you get my drift. They should make them all with the V6.

    BTW does this make the regal a potential Ace of Base? Or does it make the TourX the one to buy in this range? Would love a review of that car!

  • avatar

    I’ll buy one when they make it in pretty red.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      That “red” (which BTW has been THE ONLY COLOR I’VE SEEN IN ANY REVIEW) is the only “no-cost” color per Buick’s “Build Your Own”.

      What’s wrong with GM when it comes to color? Any interesting colors cost extra.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        They learned a lesson from Saab. Back in the early ’80s Bob Sinclair took the corner office at SaabUSA. He noticed that black outsold the other colors on the 900 Turbo something like 2:1. He immediately renamed it to “Special Black” and added a $500 upcharge on it. What was special about it – it cost $500 more. Pure profit. So yes, they charge more for the good colors – because they CAN.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          I’ve noticed the only free colors for GMC are red, black, and white. The only colors you need for fleet sales – red for the fire chief, black for law enforcement, and white for the contractors.

          Everything else – pay up.

    • 0 avatar
      9Exponent

      I would have bought an SS in pretty brown.

      And a G8… and a Solstice… and an Elise…. and a Corvair…

  • avatar
    AlexMcD

    Paleeeeeezzzzeeee. No more “man”sterbation articles.

    There are hundreds of thousands of road miles to travel and very few, (especially in the Midwest), which would make owning a stick fun. I will never consider a stick again, not even for a sports car because their day is over.

    Modern automatics are better at everything that I do with a car. If you have to have one, buy one, just don’t try to wedge them into every article.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      They are better at everything except making me happy – and that is ultimately all that matters. Thus I refuse to buy a new car with an automatic. No stick, I won’t even consider the car. I may be rare, but I am not alone.

      The first smart maker is the one who realizes that the true manual transmission people like me will pay MORE for the manual transmission. I would cheerfully pay a couple grand to have a manual in an F31 3-series wagon or an Alfa Giulia, just to name two cars that would be in my garages today if that were possible.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    While a manual transmission may be DOA, how about a GS version of the wagon with the sport seats and WITHOUT the Outback-ed styling details and ride height? Now THAT would get some enthusiast attention and could be more easily done, no?

  • avatar
    John R

    Ah well. I see the spirit of the Altima SE-R is alive and well.

    I never looked at the Regal GS as something to entice Evp/STi owners who’ve grown older. I’ve always seen it as something to lure away Camry SE V6 intenders. Something to break up 5-6 year cycle of buying another Camry.

    Not that I would spend $40k(!) on a Buick (these things off-lease could be a bargain given it’s ostensible performance) it won’t be too far off the mark of the new Camry XSE V6 after obligatory GM discounts.

  • avatar
    hausjam

    I am happy GM halfasses cars like this. Because I know 3 years from now there is going to be a leftover $45k GS collecting dust at the back of a dealer lot, waiting for me to scoop it up for $30k-ish. Just like the $34k Verano Turbo I recently scooped up for $24k.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Hemmings has a story about owner reports on the 1967 Regal GS
    https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2018/03/09/what-new-car-owners-said-regarding-the-1967-buick-gs-400/ Even tho it has 400cuin the reports are close to the same as the current.

  • avatar
    jbm0866

    I think everyone (including the author of the article) is missing the point, and something all car companies do when launching a new/redesigned model..and that’s holding a bit back for later. As soon as the excitement of the new Regal/GS (ha..just humor me) dies down they’ll slap a turbo or supercharger on the V6 giving it around 360 hp, tighten up the suspension, put a wing on the back and call it the “Grand National” or something.

    Anyway, this isn’t the Regal I’m interested in, that would be the TourX (used in a couple years of course) which I think looks stunning..except for the gawdaful plastic wheel arch things. If there’s bare, painted sheet metal underneath and those things aren’t too difficult to remove, a TourX could be in my future. Hell, just make one without the AWD/wheel arch spats and call it “Tour”…that’s the one I want.

  • avatar
    V16

    Color choices for the GS are limited to five exterior, and one interior.
    The base Regal has nine exterior, and two interior.
    The details are still lacking in the GM car lines.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    GMH is a little worried about the new Commodore and are talking it up.

    The new Commodore is the same as this, an Insignia from the Germans.

    I do believe we have a different suspension tune for “Australian” conditions which means a tighter suspension.

    I don’t think this vehicle will set the world on fire. Most all midsize sedans this day and age perform to a good level.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    This GS seems very similar to the VXR Commodore.

    https://www.motoring.com.au/holden-commodore-vxr-2018-review-111103/

  • avatar
    readallover

    Here we are nearly in mid-March, and my local dealer still does not have ANY 2018 Regals

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      My local dealer has ONE sportback and no Tour Xs or GS models. I searched Auto Trader Friday and found TWO 2018 GS in the whole country. Given that the only one I’ve seen for reviews is red – I’m guessing the press fleet is ONE GS ONE Tour X and ONE regular Sportback.

      I understand that these suckers have to cross the Atlantic to get here but given how many reviews are being run in many different media outlets, it seems like you’d want to get cars on dealer lots faster.

      Hopefully I can find one to test drive by mid 2019 when I’m looking. It doesn’t feel like GM wants to put a whole lot of GS out there. Much cautiousness on their part. Given the cars German roots I wonder if it is expensive to manufacture and they’re afraid of loosing money.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I’d rather have the 3.6 and slightly less torque. I’d also rather have a manual, but Buick tried that last time and we saw how well it worked out.

    I can’t escape the fact that I’m a child of the ’80s. At some level, every four-cylinder, even ones boosted to 300+ hp, sounds to me like an Iron Duke. (Or, worse, a Ford HSC.)

    • 0 avatar
      ernest

      I’m a child of the 50’s… and I’m having issues with turbo’d 4 cylinders in $40-$50K cars. Every single one of them idles (and sounds) like a Civic when you fire them up. Or my wife’s Camry. In this case, that isn’t a compliment.

      The Charger puts a big fat grin on my face every time I fire it up. Double grin if the pipes echo in the garage and my wife grimaces.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      dal20402, I’m slowly warming up to 4 cylinder engines, but NVH varies widely. It’s insulting to hear an engine that sounds like it came from farm equipment in an expensive car.

  • avatar
    scott25

    Really, not one mention of the Fusion Sport in the article or the comments? Isn’t that this car’s main competition?

    Personally, I’ll take a turbo 4 over a V6 anyday. The sound of any V6 just reminds me of the dying 80’s-2000’s GM cars that have been struggling around the streets of my life, and make my ears sad. I don’t see why 6 cylinder engines still exist to be honest. 4s and 8s are all the world needs until the death of the ICE.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The sound of a C43 or Ghibli or Quadrifoglio reminds you of a 3.1L Buick Century? That’s some serious PTSD.

      Personally, I’ll do V6 over a diesel-like GDIT 4-cylinder every time.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Huh. My LFX or the LGX’s I test drove sound nothing whatsoever like the old GM pushrod V6’s of either 60 or 90 degree variety. Go drive a Regal GS, a current Lacrosse or better still a Camaro and get back to us.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Turbo engines are ideally suited to automatics. With lots of low rpm torque, they give off the line punch. And, given that automatics have to be prodded really hard to do redline shifts, the fact that most turboed engines run out of breath at 4000 rpm is not a serious problem, especially given the prevalence of 8,9, 10 speed automatics. And, the electronic brain that manages everything in the drive train can compensate for turbo lag and, mostly, deliver apparent linear throttle application.

    However, 4 cylinder engines bigger than 1.6 liters run roughly, idle roughly and are generally “agricultural.” Boosting with a turbo just accentuates this coarseness.

    OTOH, a manual transmission and an N/A engine are a happy combination. If the driver is in a hurry, he just goes deeper into the rev band to get more power and torque. If not, he can just short-shift (and burn less gas). People who prefer the sound of any 4 to a V-6 obvious have never heard (or driven) the 3 liter Yamaha V6 in the original Taurus SHO. More power and torque right up to the 7,000 rpm redline, and asking for more . . . all before the days of variable valve timing.

    So, I agree with the reviewer: this car sounds like it needs a manual.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      That Yamaha V6 is like the n52 in my 328i – makes max power at the redline. But it also doesn’t do much in the mid-range, just like the BMW motor. I really don’t want to have to bang the thing off the limiter to make it go. That is too much like work no matter how nice it sounds doing it. And my BMW has the BMW Performance Intake and Exhaust, so it sound glorious. Still too much work, and uses too much gas. Saab got this right – 2.ish liter turbo 4 tuned for torque pulling nice long gears. No need for fuss to go fast, and incredibly efficient when driven normally.

      If I wanted to rev the nuts off something to make progress I would buy an old Vtec Honda or Acura.

  • avatar
    ernest

    This discussion reminds me of my own household, circa 1961. Dad drove a Mercedes 220S. From his perspective, it was sensibly sized, well made, and enjoyable to drive quickly. My mom, on the other hand, thought the car was small, noisy, uncomfortable, and a chore to drive (it had manual everything back then). Dad was many things, but a fool he wasn’t- he bought mom a T-Bird. The upshot of this is simply this- does the car meet the intended expectations of the owner? There is no right or wrong answer.

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    I am a bit confused? What is the conclusion by the author, a 2.0T or V6 engine to get if you want to Regal GS?

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    Although the GM pictures are nice… you should add some pictures of the car you drove. The corporate pictures are designed to show the car at optimum angles and would never show a defect, blemish, or quirk. That’s what you can do with your photos. I don’t car if the car you drove was dirty or all you had was a 20yr old 1.2MP camera, show that. This goes for all reviews. If I’m interested in more pretty pics of the car I’ll see professionally touched photos on their site.
    You’re TTAC, not Car & Driver.

    • 0 avatar
      Aaron Gold

      My fault, not TTAC’s, as I got the assignment shortly after the media drive. (I was there to cover for another outlet that uses PR photos.) Tim cut me a break, as hiring me was already an act of charity.

      Aaron

  • avatar
    geozinger

    “Still, can you blame me for thinking the 2018 Regal GS is a missed opportunity?”

    Yes. First world problems and all that. Enough with about the histrionics of GM in the 1960’s; no one remembers or cares about that sh!t anymore. The cheapest car you can buy today is 10 times better than any car you could have purchased in the time you referenced in the OP. We suffer from a myriad of great choices (yes, even a Mitsubishi Mirage) for relatively little money.

    Up until several years ago, I would have wanted a nice resto modded car from the 70’s or 80’s. Now, I’d rather have a newer far more reliable and cleaner car from the 2010’s, even if I have to go back into car payments.

    This Regal could be a contestant for that ideal…

    • 0 avatar
      SuperCarEnthusiast

      Everything is design through computers analysis now. Only the accountants still have the last say about what goes and what stays. Buick’s accountants seem to want to cut cost on not having the rear brakes be Brembos like that of the front brakes. Same GM of the 1970s at work here.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        It’s a nose-heavy mostly FWD car. Does it NEED fancier brakes than it already has on the back? Seems unlikely. OLD GM would have put tiny little stoppers on the front that warped if you breathed on them too hard.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          @krhodes1, I swore I read in one of the reviews that the rear brakes were Brembos too BUT weren’t labeled as such. :-?

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Would make sense. Not that it makes any particular difference.

            Brembo brakes is a marketing thing – there is no magic to making brake calipers/rotors. Appropriately sized “GM” brakes would be just as good. And most likely, the only thing Brembo about them is the small licensing fee to use the name anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “cares about that sh!t anymore”

      A major reason I might buy this new Regal is because I *do* care about that sh*t from the past. Even though it was 25 years before I was born.

      GM runs deep.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      This. My ancient 2013 W-body Impala outperforms any older 60’s-80’s car I have ever driven, does 0-60 in well under 6 seconds, has seen 34 on the open road going 74 MPH, is far more comfortable with meat locker A/C, fireplace heat in the winter, dramatically better braking, steering and handling and has never once left me stranded on the side of the road or got stuck in the WInter. And this is an old outdated platform that debuted in 2000 as an update to an even older platform. People today have no clue how luck they have it with cars now even compared to what was offered in the 90’s.

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