2012 Buick Regal GS Review | Toronto Sun
2012 Buick Regal GS
By Glen Woodcock, Toronto Sun
A sport sedan of Regal proportions
You need look no farther than the 2012 Buick Regal GS to see how the marque is changing.
Good grief, if they can keep it up, Buick may soon be as popular in North America as it is in China.
Partly because of its importance in China (where it is the No. 1 selling brand) and partly because it is the marque upon which the General Motors empire was built in 1908, Buick survived the great purge of the last decade that saw GM divest itself of first Oldsmobile and then Hummer, Pontiac and Saturn.
The new GS is as good a reason as I can think of to justify that survival.
As the commercials say, it’s the Buick you didn’t see coming.
For one thing, when you slide into the well bolstered driver’s seat you’ll discover a console-mounted six-speed stick. It’s been a long time since a Buick was offered with a manual transmission – so long in, fact, no one I asked at GM Canada could remember exactly when. Best guess was some time in the 1980s on the base Skylark.
And what a lovely transmission it is, with light and easy clutch action and the kind of precise, can’t-miss throws that make driving a delight.
The six-speed manual is offered only with the turbocharged 2.0-litre, direct injection four-cylinder Ecotec engine that’s available in GS and Regal Sport. The high output GS version pumps out an astounding 270 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque, delivering V8 acceleration without a V8’s thirst.
In testing by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) for its 2012 Canadian Car of the Year competition, Regal GS raced from 0-100 km/h in 7.8 seconds and from 80-120 in 5.3. And the German-designed suspension system gives the FWD sedan the kind of ride and agile handling to match its straight line performance.
The four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes are superb, with a 100-0 km/h stopping distance of 38.1 metres, which puts the GS just a few centimetres away from supercar territory.
GM has made a conscious effort to upgrade its interiors and the Regal continues that trend with an attractive and well crafted cabin featuring brushed metal accents and French-stitched leather seating. I love the ice blue ambient lighting!
The base Regal starts at $26,670, but the GS is loaded with extras – including an interactive drive control system with three settings, sport, touring and standard – and has a base MSRP of $42,345.
Standard equipment includes automatic dual zone climate control, heated power front seats, OnStar turn-by-turn navigation, cruise control, keyless entry and push button start, and front and rear parking assist.
The ride is quiet enough for audiophiles to enjoy the nine-speaker harman/kardon sound system.
While the GS differs from other Regals with great looking 20-inch aluminum wheels, bolder front end styling and a rear spoiler, it’s still a comfortable family car with a generous rear seat and 402 litres of trunk space.
Just as in the heyday of the brand back in the 1990s, the new generation Regal is built by GM Canada in Oshawa. Those old Regals were almost bullet-proof and this new version will do well to emulate their enviable record for longevity.
To underline the old marque’s new upscale aspirations, Buicks come with comprehensive four-year warranty coverage comparable to Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi.
If you’re in the market for a sporty sedan, take the new GS out for a test drive. This is the car that will change your mind about Buick.
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