Buick is trying hard to shed their image as the official car of the Gray Panthers, and is proud that the median buyer age has dropped from 72 to 65. That’s moving in the right direction, but the division still needs to attract a younger buyer who’ll stay with the brand to ensure Buick’s growth in the luxury segment. Cars like the Lacrosse aren’t bad, but it takes more than build quality and ride comfort to attract buyers who’d otherwise shop Lexus, Infiniti or BMW.
Last May, GM announced that the Buick Regal GS would see production, based upon positive feedback from the Detroit Auto Show concept. The GS would have a 255 horsepower, turbocharged four cylinder motor, an available shift-it-yourself six speed transmission and a sport tuned suspension. Inside, the car would feel more like a true sport sedan than a luxo-barge, but buyers would still get things like a premium stereo and premium leather seats.
GM’s finally released pictures of a production Buick Regal GS, and I can’t wait to drive one. On the performance side, the car will indeed produce 255 horsepower from a turbocharged Ecotec motor, exclusive to the Regal GS. The six speed manual transmission will send power to the 19” front wheels via a limited slip differential, and braking will be handled by Brembo calipers (for the front rotors, at least). Inside, the seats are described by Left Lane News as “Recaro style”, which sets my expectations pretty high, especially since the genuine Recaros in the Cadillac CTS-V are so good. The steering wheel is flat bottomed and suede-wrapped, giving a much more aggressive appearance and feel than you’d expect from the most conservative of GM brands. Every other luxury amenity you’d expect, from HID headlights through heated seats and a Harman Kardon sound system is part of the package.
The car goes on sale in the second half of 2011, and I’d expect a starting price at around the $30,000 mark.