Good news for fans of American luxury and performance cars: GM has confirmed that they’ll build the Buick Regal GS. Shown at this year’s North American International Auto Show, the Regal GS concept featured a turbocharged 2 liter motor, good for 255 horsepower, a six speed manual transmission and AWD with a rear-drive bias. It was almost enough to make us forgive GM for killing Pontiac and the Holden built G8.
GM hasn’t yet confirmed production details for the Regal GS, but it will be based on the Opel Insignia OPC. Plans are to get the Regal GS into dealer showrooms sometime next year, most likely as a 2012 model. The Regal GS is Buick’s strategy to draw in a younger buyer, since the brand has long been seen as the official car of AARP. Buick is making progress in attracting younger buyers with the new LaCrosse, which has dropped the average Buick buyer’s age from 72 to 65. Still, they’ve got a ways to go to hit the “Fast and the Furious” demographic.
I’ve driven the 2010 Buick LaCrosse, and have to say that build quality has improved substantially over the past few years. Likewise for choice of materials; the interior quality of the LaCrosse is on par with offerings from Lexus, and that’s not a claim you could make about Buicks a few years back. As you’d expect, the LaCrosse has a ride tuned for comfort, not handling, so it won’t be of interest to driving enthusiasts. Let’s hope that the Regal GS lives up to the promise of the show car, because I’d love to have another option for a performance / luxury sedan built in America.