November 26, 2014

2012 Buick Regal GS Revealed

The Buick Regal GS 2012

The 2012 Buick Regal GS - the Yankee Insignia VXR

GM has revealed the US version of the Vauxhall Insignia VXR – the Buick Regal GS – ahead of the Los Angeles Motor Show.

Yes, I know. News on a Buick isn’t anything to get too excited about unless you’re the wrong side of sixty. And a resident of the US. But that was ‘Old’ Buick. ‘New’Buick is a lot more interesting, especially when  what’s on offer is a the American version of the very good Vauxhall Insignia VXR.

In fact, on the outside there’s not much to seperate the Buick Regal GS from its Euro cousin apart from the grill. Sadly – certainly from the perspective of our Colonial Cousins – it’s a different story under the metal.

The Buick GS gets a 2.0 litre Ecotec 4-pot which delivers 255bhp and 295lb/ft of torque. Unfortunately, that power is all shoved through a six-speed manual ‘box and out through the front wheels. Yep, the Yankee VXR doesn’t get 4WD. Which I suppose may be no loss when you’ve only got 255bhp to play with instead of the 325bhp the Euro VXR has.

But apart from the lack of power and FWD the Buick GS gets much of what the VXR/OPC gets. It gets a decent interior which feels on the good side of decent; a nice set of Brembos to haul you in and an all-round ‘Premium’ feel.

Still, even with less power than it deserves, the Buick Regal GS must seem like a car from another planet to Buick’s regular customers.

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  1. Robert Nichols says:

    In an attempt to appeal to a much, much younger crowd, Buick has decided to add the option of a manual transmission to the 2011 Regal. This would seem like a great idea, at first. Soon though I started to wonder, “Who will buy this car?” This may well be a very good car. It looks good, drives well enough. But none of that matters because no one will ever buy one. Why? Let me explain.

    Everything seems well and good on paper. You get a 2.0L Turbo 4 with DOHC, which produces 220hp and 258 lb/ft of torque. According to the build-your-own Buick software, when you choose the Preferred Equipment Group (navigation, mp3, DVD, etc.) it adds $6,375.00 to the cost, bringing the total price to $42,815.00. This is a bit steep for the intended younger crowd. But there is another serious flaw.

    Let’s divide car consumers into three groups. There is the 20 something crowd. This should be Buick’s target group. They are too young to know the stigma that the name Buick carries (more on that in a bit). For them Buick is just another GM brand. However, this “Playstation” generation will not choose a car with a manual that has to be changed via a gear lever. To them this is antiquated technology for farmers. They want the same paddle shifting experience they get while playing Gran Turismo. Also, the cost of admission is way too high for anyone starting out. And if by some chance someone from this age group had that kind of cash, they would buy the car they drove on the Playstation, either the Subaru WRX, or the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart.

    The next age group is the 30 – 50 year olds. We are the ones that know the stigma the Buick name carries. When we think of a Buick driver, immediately the image that comes to mind is that of a shrunken prune with prescription lens so strong astronomers envy them. Most of our grandparents drove Buicks. They were large, squishy and slow. So no matter how incredible or ground breaking the new Regal is, we wouldn’t be caught dead in one.

    This leaves us with the final group – the retirees. These are Buick people. They long for the cushy suspension to drown out the bumps and protect their aching joints. They want a car so large that when they hit something, (and I do mean “when”, not “if”), they will not even feel it. To offer a car with firmish suspension to this group is like offering steak tartar to vegans. It just does not make sense. Worse yet is asking this group to remember what that third pedal is for. They just want a car they put in “D” and go.

    So the 2011 Buick Regal is a nice car, built for no one.

    • Nicely constructed argument, and one that applies to so many car makers trying to reinvent their image.

      Thanks for the contribution.

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