2016 Buick Regal GS- Wow!
Jim Powell, Sat, 12 Mar 2016 08:33:56 PST
Let me start by stating that the 2016 Buick Regal GS does come with some new infotainment hardware and software this year. Like most high-end GM products in 2016, the advantages of having an OnStar-based 4G LTE connection with a Wi-Fi hotspot are apparent the first time I had to stop and do some business from a parking lot. With a world so connected to the internet, business travelers will appreciate pulling over to a safe place and bringing up websites on their iPads or laptops with amazing speed or video conferencing from a covered parking structure with great connectivity.
And yes, the 2016 Regal models come with an updated Buick IntelliLink system with a bright and clear eight-inch color touch screen that syncs up with applications on a smartphone. This includes navigation, voice text messaging, contact lists and entertainment apps for news and music. Buick is demonstrating that they want potential customers, young and old, to know that today's Buicks are connected to the technologies that most affluent buyers are looking for.
However, I want readers to know that when one climbs into the 2016 Buick Regal GS, they are in for a surprise. This European Opal Insignia-based Regal is a true driver's car. Unlike slower Buick Regal sedans from years past, this 2.0 liter, turbocharged engine is rated at 259 horsepower and can really move. That is correct; a four-cylinder engine matched to a sporty 6-speed automatic transmission can make this Regal dance.
Even more surprising is the way the Regal GS handles. The suspension geometry is set for quick cornering, precise movement over the pavement, and controlled high-speed freeway jogging. There is a "sport" electronic/magnetic adjustable setting that tightens things like the shock dampening and steering up for playing on the backroads. If the driver wants to feel every tar strip on the asphalt, push the "GS" button and hang on! The Regal GS runs in an enhancing cornering mode called the Interactive Drive Control System when driven in the "GS" mode. This is an advanced vehicle stability program and can help this sedan run some impressive slalom times. However, the "normal" mode is the right balance between a comfortable and a controlled ride, throttle response, and shifting for all around driving.
My Regal GS press car came with the optional AWD which uses a four-wheel independent suspension with Buick's high performance "HiPer Strut" front suspension. They claim it improves ride and handling by reducing torque steer and it can be felt when getting on the gas. This Regal GS is very linear and feels like it runs on a rail. There is a four-link independent rear suspension on the front-wheel drive and a unique H-arm design on the all-wheel drive models. Both rear ends work well, even over rough pavement.
The Regal GS steering is some of the best I have felt on a GM sports sedan, or any other brand for that matter. GM uses a dual-pinion electric rack-and-pinion power steering on the standard Regal FWD models and a belt-driven electric power steering on the GS and all AWD Regal models. What a delight to have a car go where you point it without computers telling the driver what to do!
The 2016 Regal is available in four trim levels including the Regal, Regal base plus options, Regal Premium and GS (Grand Sport). Standard features on all models include a host of air bags- including side curtain, StabiliTrak electronic stability control with full-time traction control, fog lamps (except GS), and cruise control. There is a long list of power accessories included in all models.
The extra driver-assist wizardry includes a radar-based and camera-based Lane Change Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert and Collision Mitigation Braking, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Side Blind Zone Alert systems. The automatic cruise control system worked very well and sensed traffic in front of the Regal and adjusted the speed- even on curves and corners. The radar system was not fooled by traffic darting in and out in front of the car.
The aforementioned eight-inch Buick IntelliLink system comes with AM/FM/Sirius XM, and still a CD player with auxiliary input jacks, USB ports, and Bluetooth wireless connectivity for select phones. Leather seats with heated driver and passenger front seats are standard as well. The standard electronics include a rear view camera system, electric parking brake, and cool ice blue ambient lighting on the interior.
The base Regal model comes with the same 2.4 liter four cylinder engine as before. This same engine can also be matched to GM's Assist light electrification (almost a hybrid) system that is offered for fleet customers. These are still very solid platforms with nice amenities but the real driver's choice has to be with the 2.0 liter turbo powerplant.
Some will question GM's build quality but the J.D. Power ratings for the Buick brand are fairly strong these days. The Regal has some very solid German engineering and has an average reliability projection. With the ultra-quiet cabin, the passenger conversations are only interrupted by the occasional growl of the dual exhaust pipes. Just lift your foot off the throttle a little and one can continue the conversation in quiet all the way down the road.
To compete with some other European brands, Buick is including the first two visits of scheduled maintenance services for two years/24,000 miles, whichever occurs first. The need to trust the GM brand in this price range means also stepping up with a 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty and a 6-year/70,000-mile powertrain limited warranty.
There is more to tell about the LED running and rear lights, halogen project beams, and Xenon head lights, optional 20 inch chrome wheels, and other bling; however, these things just add to the sticker price which can climb north of $40,000. The real story is money spent on the things that make this a true sports sedan- which will surprise anyone who has not driven this Buick recently.
2016 Regal GS Specifications:
Engine: 2.0L turbo DOHC 4-cylinder SIDI with Variable Valve Timing (VVT) (259 hp [193.0 kW] @ 5300 rpm, 295 lb-ft of torque [400 N-m] @ 3000 - 4000 rpm [2500 - 4000 rpm for GS])
0-60 mph: Regal GS AWD - 6.5 seconds
Price as Tested: $41,845.00