2012 Buick Regal GS: Beauty, Brawn and Brains

2012 Buick Regal GS

We recently ventured to Traverse City, Michigan to join Buick for the evaluation of their latest offering in the Regal lineup – the GS. With its sexy silhouette and menacing stance at first glance, the Regal GS displays a clever coupe-like appearance. When announced that the new Regal GS is currently available in a six-speed manual transmission only, I wasn’t sure what to think. This is definitely not your uncle’s Buick.


Well ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased as punch to report that Buick got it right! I began my trek with the GS around Grand Traverse County’s peninsula for a free-spirited drive on an absolutely gorgeous day. The first distinction that made itself evident was how incredibly fluid and seamless the GS manual gears transitioned. (The six-speed automatic with Driver Shift Control will be offered mid-model year.) The Regal GS has a standard Interactive Drive Control System offering two additional modes of Sport and GS that allows the driver to change the suspension settings and steering sensitivity for a more robust driving experience. Personally, I found it difficult to switch out of the GS mode, simply because it felt so good! My hands felt integrated with the vehicle, gripping the leather-wrapped, flat-bottom sport steering wheel, interacting with all of the routes twists and turns. The Regal GS remained incredibly flat and unwavering to any sudden directional changes. This feeling is mainly achieved, thanks in part to the vehicle’s unique High Performance Strut (HiPer Strut) front suspension design, taken from Buick’s LaCrosse.

With a 2.0-liter Ecotec, high output four-cylinder engine, turbocharged and intercooled like nobody’s business, the GS produces 270 horsepower. The torque from Regal GS’s exclusive high-output engine provides a great launch response. You will of course need to slow down and bring all that power to a quick halt, so again, Buick’s engineers went the extra-mile. The Regal GS is equipped with a four-wheel disc brake system outfitted with Brembo four-piston front calipers, larger ventilated front discs and high performance linings – all of which, are beautifully packaged behind the GS’s 19-inch, 5-Twin Spoke alloy wheels. Twenty inch, 5-Twin spoke polished alloy wheels with summer-rated performance tires are optionally available. They are absolutely eye-catching!

2012 Buick Regal GS, interior

The front fascia of the Regal GS is what really caught my attention. Bi-Xenon HID headlamps and vertical air intake slots accented in a satin-metallic finish gives the GS the image of an ear-to-ear, evil-villain-like grin. Inside, the Regal GS engineers have incorporated an instrument panel that glows white when the driver engages the GS Mode of the Interactive Drive Control System (IDCS). Satin-finish elements on the instrument panel, steering wheel and console, contribute to Buick’s luxurious integrity. An optional audio system with a 7” color touch screen display, SD card reader in the center console, GPS navigation, multi-function controller, and iPod support are available only when the sunroof is ordered. Though, the Regal GS has front and rear ultrasonic parking assist as a standard feature. I was a bit disappointed that there was not a rear-view camera offered.

Other standard features like passive keyless entry, Bluetooth, heated driver and front passenger seats, and XM Satellite Radio with a 3-month trial service make up for any lost ground. The Regal GS will compete with the Acura TSX, Audi A4, BMW 328i, Infiniti G37 and Lincoln MKZ with pricing starting at $35,310 including the  $860 destination fee. Kudos for a job well done Buick. The Regal GS truly blends beauty, brawn and brains in a highly appealing package.

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