Last week General Motors announced they would officially be bringing back the Buick Regal. The car is set to arrive in spring of next year as a 2011 model. The car will launch with a base 2.4 liter four cylinder that puts out 182 hp while returning 30 mpg on the highway. Later in the summer, a 2.0 liter turbo four cylinder that puts out 220 hp will launch. The more powerful engine will still manage 29 mpg on the highway. The list of specifications reads like a list of what Buick needs to get customers to both show up in the showrooms and buy their cars. The car may look familiar to some of you, and that is because the car is a rebadged Opel Insignia. The car that instantly won Car of the Year in Europe and is already selling well as a Buick Regal in China. The turbo model will come with “Interactive Drive Control System.” This will have four different driver selectable suspension settings. GM has not gone into detail about the system yet though it sounds promising.
The main question is simple, will this car sell? Buick already has the new LaCrosse and the Enclave, both of which are being viewed as successes so far and selling quite well. GM knows they need more home runs and more foot traffic in the showroom. The Regal should bring a lower entry price point into the Buick showrooms. GM is hoping that, in itself, will lower the age of the customers. While we do not know pricing yet, we can naturally assume the Regal will be priced both aggressively and will undercut the new LaCrosse somewhat significantly. I personally think, from the specifications we know so far, this car will definitely help both Buick and General Motors. My only hope is that the rumors of a GS (GS stands for Grand Sport) model come true. That would not only be an epic move on GM’s part, but also drive huge foot traffic that might otherwise not come near the Buick showroom. Bob Lutz actually recently told Car and Driver that they are considering a version for the new Buick Regal to be Regal GS. It would essentially be a rebadged Insignia OPC. It would push somewhere along the lines of 335 hp and all wheel drive and possibly have the trick torque vectoring rear end. Finish all this off with a six speed manual transmission and a reasonable price point that would obviously going to undercut the Germans, and everyone else that would compete, and you have a recipe for huge success. I truly believe that GM needs a model like the Regal with a GS trim level. It will show how serious they really are about growing their market share and changing the image of Buick once and for all. Hey GM, I want a Regal GS, I want it now, and a wagon variant would not hurt.
Note- Hakim Givens created a mock up of what a Regal GS wagon variant might look like.