2012 Buick Regal GS – Prototype Drive

The relaunch—revival, really—of Buick’s storied, then abused, then abandoned GS performance moniker is quickly approaching. The$35,310 Regal GS hits dealerships this fall. This fall is soon, so as the car enters its final development phase, GM invited us out to its Milford, Michigan, proving ground to take a turn behind the wheel. With the caveat that our impressions were derived only from the smooth, tight, and twisty handling course at the grounds (it replicates some of the most challenging sectors from various racetracks around the world), read on to see what we gleaned from a preproduction GS.

Regal GS: A Primer

But first, a refresher on what has happened with the hottest of Regals—the first to wear the GS badge as more than mere window dressing in a longtime—since its debut at the 2010 Los Angeles auto show. The car’s dedicated crew of engineers took the show car’s 255-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four, itself a version of the 220-horse 2.0 in the Regal Turbo, and bumped total output to 270 hp to go with 295 lb-ft of torque. The supplementary oomph over the turbo comes from cranking up the boost to 20 psi versus 15 and gifting the GS a freer-flowing exhaust and a slightly reworked intake system. Furthering the true-GS mantra, this hopped-up Regal finds itself fitted with other performance goodies such as larger front brake rotors with four-piston Brembo calipers, nicely bolstered seats, available Pirelli P Zero performance tires, and GM’s trickHiPer Strut front suspension setup. That latter works with Buick’s adaptive “interactive drive control” system (it controls damping and steering and here includes a unique, stiffer GS mode) to help get the power to the ground without much torque steer.

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