Poised in front of the flat bottomed steering wheel in the refreshed 2014 Buick Regal GS, its close kinship to its Opel Insignia cousin is readily evident, as is the fact Buick is getting serious about offering a respectable luxury sports sedan. In fact, Buick’s promotional literature for the car refers to the Regal as “the athlete of the family”.
Of course, those familiar with the history of Buick know this is far from the first Buick Regal to come to market with a performance edge. In the late 1980s, Buick had a formidable run of turbocharged V6-powered Buick Regals, culminating in a 1987 Buick Regal GNX capable of outrunning the 1987 Corvette to 60 miles per hour and in the quarter mile.
Of course, these days, the performance parameters for American cars have broadened considerably. While that zero to 60 time is still quite relevant, so are slalom times, braking distances, steering feel, and cornering attitudes. In other words, these days, if you want your sport sedan product to be considered a hot car, you have to make sure its skill-set is just as much about handling and overall refinement as it is out and out acceleration. Cornering speeds and trap speeds are considered in the same breath as acceleration times and top speed. What’s more, if we’re looking in the contemporary luxury sport sedan category, equipment, fit, finish, and comfort rank highly as well.
In other words, these days, if you want your luxury sport sedan to be taken seriously, it’s all about the overall execution of the entire package. It is into this environment, the 2014 Buick Regal GS steps, as it thrusts the venerable Buick nameplate into what is a totally unexpected role (as far as most current sport sedan intenders are concerned) for the marque. The good news is the Buick goes a long way toward being satisfying in a number of areas and is quite competitive in still others.
The bad news is it still has a bit of yardage to make up in one place too.
What, where, and how?