Buick recently revealed the all-new Regal GS, which completely bucked the turbocharging trend. Its engine is a 3.6-liter V6 borrowed from the Camaro producing 310 horsepower. Power is sent to GM’s twin-clutch intelligent all-wheel drive system through a nine-speed automatic. We are very excited to see if this Buick Regal GS can capture the hearts of enthusiasts. The previous GS model was really an afterthought in the luxury performance sedan segment, but this lack of popularity means used models are now cheap, cheap, cheap.
If you don't know much about the previous-generation Buick Regal GS, we don't blame you. Much like the Chevy SS, Buick didn't really advertise its performance-oriented sport sedan, which was even available with a manual transmission. The Regal GS was sold from 2012 to 2016 and used prices range wildly based on mileage and condition. Higher mileage models from 2012 can be found for as little as $10,000, while newer 2016 models with low mileage tend to top out at around $25,000. When it was new, the GS had a $40,000 to $50,000 price tag, making it a tough sell against other luxury sedans and even GM's own SS.
The fifth generation of the Regal was based on the Opel Insignia, which means this American luxury brand actually has European DNA. Instead of Opel's 2.8-liter twin-turbo V6, the Regal GS received a high output version of GM's Ecotec 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder. In the GS, this engine produced 259 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, customers who wanted to row their own gears with a six-speed manual had to make do with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive was available, but only with a six-speed automatic. Still, it was was the quicker option, hitting 60 mph in 6.2 seconds and completing the quarter-mile in 14.7 ticks of the watch.
Even though the Regal came with Brembo brakes and 20-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tires, its performance was never class leading. This may be why so many people overlooked it when it was nearly $50,000. We don't blame people for ignoring the Regal GS, because it was—at the end of the day—a high-priced sedan that was slower than the much cheaper Subaru WRX. Now the Regal GS has had time to depreciate, and we think it offers fantastic value for money. The original 2012 and 2013 models were a bit of a mess on the interior, thanks to a dashboard brimming with buttons and knobs.
The interior was given an update in 2014, which eliminated the whirlwind of buttons. Buick also replaced the physical gauges for a center digital display reminiscent of the one found in the C7 Corvette. The redesign looks remarkably more upscale and more competitive with other luxury sedans. Outside, the Regal GS sets itself apart from standard models with what looks like two chrome fangs on the front fascia and lovely 19- or 20-inch wheels. The Regal GS drives more like a luxury car than an all out performance sedan, but it certainly wouldn't be out of place at a track day or autocross event.
We'd recommend the Regal GS as a daily driver for very occasional track use. Its 2.0-liter Ecotec has plenty of aftermarket tunes available, so power can easily be increased. Our ideal GS would be a front-wheel-drive manual model, although the AWD model would be sufficient for people who live in cold climates. If you are looking for an affordable luxury performance car and want a manual transmission with a luxury feel, you could do a lot worse than a Buick Regal GS.