Buick is in the midst of a mini-revival at the moment, led by the latest mid-sized Insignia from Opel. Having announced the high-riding Insignia Country Tourer would be headed stateside wearing a Regal TourX badge, the team at Buick has whipped the covers off the range-topping Regal GS. With a punchy six-cylinder engine and torque vectoring, it certainly looks good on paper.
Before we get to the numbers, we need to study a bit of geography. The Buick Regal GS you pictured here was developed by Opel, which sells it to the European market as the Insignia GSI. It'll wear a Vauxhall badge in Great Britain, while the Insignia will be marketed as the Commodore VXR in Australia.
Both the Vauxhall and Opel versions are powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 257 hp (192 kW) of power, while the Buick and Holden models get a 3.6-liter V6 with 310 hp (231 kW) and 382 Nm of torque on tap. Those aren't earth-shattering numbers, and they won't give BMW or Mercedes any headaches, but the Buick is competing at a very different price point. The company hasn't released acceleration figures for the GS, but expect it to take around 5.5 seconds to hit 100 km/h (62 mph).
That grunt is put to the road through a clever all-wheel drive system, with proper torque vectoring on the rear axle courtesy of a GKN differential. The Ford Focus RS uses a GKN system as well, but where Ford has a clever torque vectoring differential on the front wheels, the engineers at GM use a less sophisticated electronic diff up front to quell understeer. In other words, the Buick won't be as sophisticated as the Ford, but it should still be able to hold its own in the twisties.
Along with the modern all-wheel drive system, the Regal GS will be only be available with a nine-speed automatic gearbox. There are also paddles behind the steering wheel when the driver wants to take control, but purists are likely to complain about the lack of a manual variant. The GS rides on adaptive dampers capable of adjusting themselves 500 times a second, while drivers can manually flick it into Sport and GS modes for a sportier ride.
Inside, there aren't a huge number of changes to set the GS apart from the regular Regal. There are unique seats, pedals and a flat-bottomed steering wheel, but the rest of the cabin is the same attractive (slightly boring) design previewed earlier this year. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard, and a full color heads-up display is available. Cars specced with the optional Driver Confidence package get auto-emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control as well.
The Regal will sell for US$39,990 when it arrives in showrooms. There's no official release date yet, but we expect to see it break cover towards the end of the year.
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