euro cars

Turbo, AWD and Brembos….on a Buick?   I know that you’re thinking somehow I got mixed up and wrote an STi review instead of a Buick Regal review.  Well you’re wrong.  This is the 2015 Buick Regal GS!  Now Buick is in the midst of trying to reinvent itself.  Instead of catering to the retiree demographic, they are desperately trying to get the attention of the youth.  Which was the exact scenario Cadillac ran into years ago, the way they fixed it was the CTS.  Now instead of creating a car from scratch, they tapped into the GM’s wide portfolio and plucked a sports sedan right from the lands of the sport sedansdom… Europe.  The Vauxhall Insignia VXR.

Buick Regal

Regal GS front

Now on to the looks.  If you want one of the most striking sedans on the road today, this is your choice. This isn’t your grandfather’s Buick, with it’s deep aggressive front end, beautiful 20 inch wheels, spoiler and massive Brembos…you’ll never mistake this car for anything else.  So much in fact brace yourself to be questioned at every traffic light, stop sign and gas station with the phrase is ‘’That’s a Buick??”

back of Regal GS

2015 Buick Regal GS back

The interior is another huge leap forward for the brand.  Long gone are the large swaths of shiny and chintzy plastic, now you’re adorned with a thoroughly modern interior with expensive feeling leather, aluminum and soft touch panels.  The seats….my God the seats.  They are one of the most supportive and comfortable seats this side of a Lexus F vehicle.  The hug and fit you like a pair of expensive tailored jeans.  The infotainment system is another work of art.  It’s beautifully rendered, blazingly quick and the center Multifunction Display is absolute genius.

Buick Regal Interior

Interior of the Regal GS

2016 Buick Regal GS eight-inch digital driver information center (DIC) in touring mode. This graphic demonstrates the friction-bubble/cornering force display.

2015 Buick Regal GS eight-inch digital driver information center (DIC) in touring mode.

Now let’s talk about the driving experience.  To be honest it’s a bit of a mixed bag.  The engine is 2.0 liter K04 turboed 4 cylinder that makes 259 horsepower and 295 ft/lbs which is paired to a 6 speed auto in the AWD and a 6 speed manual in the FWD.  Now that’s the issue.  Unfortunately auto is slow to shift, slow to respond and I firmly believe has self-esteem issues and hates being automatic in general.  Shifting the car manually through the assigned gate doesn’t help manners and there are no paddles available in the steering wheel either.  If you keep the turbo on boil it will haul butt though but another 50 horsepower will transform this car.  Switching between Sport and GS mode does not yield any significant or noticeable drivetrain changes.

2016 Buick Regal GS Interactive Drive Control System and Lane Departure Warning, buttons.

2016 Buick Regal GS Interactive Drive Control System and Lane Departure Warning, buttons.

What you will notice though is the suspension differences between the modes.  Standard mode is ‘Buick’ mode.  The car just glides over bumps, crevices and soaks most anything thrown at it.  Sport mode tightens up the suspension a bit but the real joy is GS mode.  Clicking that innocuous little button is akin to slapping on a set of aftermarket coilovers and setting everything to stiff.  It completely transforms the car in a stiffly sprung, responsive driving beast!  Now if you want to truly enjoy the car…that’s the key.   If you take this car by the scruff of its neck in GS mode and drive the ever living poop out of it, the chassis comes alive in your hands.  The feedback you get is amazing and everything just responds.  Keep the turbo on full boil, stomp on the Brembos and yank the wheel like a madman through corners you won’t believe you’re a in Buick…you won’t believe you’re in a $44,000 car…you. Just. Won’t. Believe.  It’s one of those few moments where logic doesn’t make sense, you’re lost to the outside world…you’re just concentrating ‘On the Drive’.  The grip you get from the fat sticky Pirellis is amazing…it claws at the payment like a scalded cat.  GS mode is where this car comes alive and its soul is shown to you.  Its harken back to the days when the Grand National came out and scared the crap out of everyone.  The GN is in the DNA of this car….but to unleash it you just have to press GS.

Pirelli Pzero

255/35/20 Pirelli Pzero