Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, Buick produced a number of potent muscle cars. During the height of its run, the Buick GS performance package supplied power via the brute force method. Massive 7.5L (455) engines cranked out 400+ horsepower and fuel economy was little more than a footnote in a sales brochure, if it was mentioned at all. Today, the name remains the same, but the method of delivery has changed and fuel economy is in the limelight. Not that the new Buick Regal GS is expected to top EPA fuel economy ratings, but we're fairly confident it will do a shade better than the numbers thrown down by some of the big blocks back in the 1970s, which could dip into the single digits if you had your foot on it. By a 'shade better'? we mean potentially triple. Estimates put the MPGs between 18 city and 29 highway.
Fuel economy aside, the heart of Buick's new 2012 Regal GS is an Ecotec 2.0L turbo engine that produces 255 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. Not the most powerful car in the running, but according to Buick, it's enough get-up-and-go to propel the 3,710 pound GS from 0 to 60 in less than seven seconds. The engine is of a DOHC VVT design, and is a tuned version of what you'll see in the Regal CXL Turbo later this year. Upon introduction, the 2.0L engine will be coupled with a six-speed manual transmission, but an automatic will become available at a later date. A 3-inch diameter exhaust system allows the engine room to breathe, but sorry folks, no glass packs.
Technology has more than doubled the horsepower-per-liter numbers, but it has also allowed further refinement of the driving experience. Selectable performance modes are becoming increasingly popular as drivers demand more from their cars. Buick has addressed this with the Interactive Drive Control System (IDCS), which allows drivers to change suspension settings and steering sensitivity between three modes: standard, sport and GS. According to Buick, '[the IDCS] continually monitors driving style utilizing yaw rate, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, steering wheel, throttle and vehicle speed.'? The standard mode is for general driving. The sport mode tightens up the car a bit, and the GS mode further refines the suspension for 'dynamic driving.'?
Buick has been on a roll lately in the styling department and from the front the GS delivers. The car gets a lower stance than other Regals and also features unique front and rear fascias with the front featuring large air intakes that blend angular lines with curvy surfaces in an eye-pleasing manner. Our only two quibbles on the exterior aesthetics would be the rear and the wheel choice. Out back we get plenty of angular momentum, but it isn't integrated as well with the sculpted curves as it is in the front. Lastly, the standard 19-inch five-spoke wheels look less OEM performance and more aftermarket bling.
The new 2012 Buick Regal GS goes on sale in late 2011 with a price expected to be somewhere in the $32,000 - $35,000 range.