The Buick Regal, a mid-sized sedan, has been offered off and on (mostly on) since 1973. The model is situated in the middle of the Buick model lineup, below the LaCrosse and above the compact Verano. It is a re-branded version of the European Opel Insignia.
Buick automobiles are in the middle, as well, of the General Motors lineup, above the mainstream Chevrolet and below the luxury Cadillac nameplate. It is the oldest active American automobile marque, existing since 1908, as is the case with Weld County Garage in Greeley, CO. Weld County Garage is the sole Buick franchised dealer in Colorado’s biggest county. Nationally, Buick sold over 1,150,000 automobiles in 2014, an all-time record performance.
Perched atop Buick’s Regal sedan lineup is the GS (Gran Sport), the subject of my most recent test/review. The one I was loaned was painted White Diamond Tricoat and featured an Ebony (black) leather five-passenger interior. Its M.S.R.P. came in at $46,025.00, including $925.00 for freight charges. The base price of $39,810.00 had as additions two driver confidence packages ($2,235.00), moon roof ($1,000.00), the upgraded paint ($995.00), 20″ alloy wheels ($700.00), and cargo tray/floor mat package ($360.00). The equipment associated with the driver’s confidence were adaptive (radar) cruise control, auto-collision preparation system, following-distance sensor, forward collision alert, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, and blind spot warning with lane change alert. That last item warns the driver of fast-approaching vehicles in the next lane that are up to 230 feet behind the Regal.
Safety aside, what made a week driving the Regal GS fun was the performance oomph that Buick has engineered into this car. It, along with the Cadillac ATS/CTS and Corvette, provides GM with a large measure of hot rod cachet for car nuts like me. Starting under the hood of the GS is a four-cylinder, 2.0 liter turbocharged engine with 259 horsepower (@ 5,300 rpm) and 295 ( !! ) lb. ft. of torque (@ 2,500 rpm). A Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic transmits power to the Haldex all-wheel-drive system. Zero to sixty acceleration is reportedly 6 to 7 seconds, depending on altitude. Speaking of altitude, the twin-scroll turbocharger on the GS helps mitigate power loss associated with gasoline engines at high altitude, enabling the car to perform well in the Rockies.
GS underpinnings include HiPer strut front suspension and control-arm rear suspension exclusive to the AWD Regal. The interactive Drive Control system allows the driver to select different drive modes – normal, Sport, and GS for maximum handling performance. My favorite was the Sport mode, which firms up the dampers, sharpens steering and throttle response, and maximizes the shift programming. All this fun and excitement does not serve to invite sounds into the driver’s (and passenger’s) environment, as I found road noise to be at a minimum.
The GS styling is different than that of the standard Regal, most notably up front where the front fascia incorporates prominent, vertical air intake slots. The rear fascia features a pair of integrated, satin-metallic trapezoidal exhaust outlets and additionally, rocker panel extensions and a rear spoiler extension are also part of the package. The five-forked, polished alloy 20″ wheels really set off the look of the GS, and they are surrounded by Pirelli 255/35R20 P Zero summer radial tires.
Overall length of the test car was 190.2″, the wheelbase was 107.8″, and the weight was 3,981 lbs., soaking wet. And wet is was, because while testing the GS, our town received about 2″ of much-desired rain. The trunk of this car held 14.2 cubic feet of cargo and rear legroom came in at 37.3″. Fuel economy ratings for the hopped-up Buick were 19-city, 27-highway, and 22-combined miles per gallon. My observation of mileage during the wet week was 21.5 mpg, and the tank can hold 18 gallons of regular unleaded gasoline. That last item was a surprise to me at refueling time, as I expected a requirement of premium grade.
Henceforth, when friends and associates ask what my favorite tested vehicle is, this 2015 Buick Regal GS will be on the tip of my tongue.