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Concept-Buick Regal GS Show Car Preview

By Jeff Youngs, February 24, 2012

Buick Regal GS Show CarCritical Knowledge:

  • Performance-oriented Buick concept based on all-new 2011 Regal midsize sport sedan
  • Turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with direct injection (est. 255 horsepower)
  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • Adaptive all-wheel-drive (AWD) system with electronic limited-slip rear differential
  • All-new Interactive Drive Control System (IDCS) offering driver-selectable suspension settings and automatic driver suspension setting adaptability
  • 4-wheel independent suspension with High Performance Strut (HiPerStrut) design in front
  • Brembo brakes with ABS, brake assist and electronic parking brake
  • Standard 20-inch aluminum wheels and Z-rated Bridgestone tires
  • Standard stability control and traction control
  • Two additional front air intakes
  • Unique rocker panels
  • Integrated rear spoiler
  • Dual exhaust outlets
  • Olympic white paint with satin metallic accents
  • Jet black interior
  • Suede-covered, flat-bottom steering wheel
  • Recaro front seats and metal pedals
  • 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds (manufacturer claim)
  • Introduced at the 2010 North American International (Detroit) Auto Show

Originally a high-performance option package available on a handful of Buick models sold in the mid-to-late 1960s and early 1970s, when the muscle car performance wars ruled the domestic auto industry, the "Gran Sport" moniker has long stood for Buick performance. First appearing on the Buick Skylark and Riviera in 1965 and, most recently, on the Regal that ended production in 2004, the "Gran Sport" designation was typically accompanied by sporty styling, enhanced handling capabilities, a more powerful engine, and a variety of other go-fast bits (or a combination of all four).

Introduced at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and touted as a possible glimpse of the next Buick Gran Sport model, General Motors has offered up the Regal GS Show Car, a performance-oriented concept based on the forthcoming 2011 Buick Regal sport sedan, itself based on the European-market Opel Insignia. Under the hood of the Regal GS Show Car is a 255-horsepower (est.), turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, sending power through a 6-speed manual transmission to all four wheels. Upgraded suspension, Brembo brakes, and 20-inch alloy wheels round out the mechanical package. Cosmetically, the GS Concept features a sport-oriented interior complementing its mildly reworked body panels. And although the Regal GS is officially a concept vehicle, based on the information and photos GM has released, we'd say it's pretty much a lock for production in the near future.

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<ahref="#"target="_blank">Buick Regal GS Show CarDesign
The Buick Regal GS Show Car is based on the forthcoming 2011 Buick Regal sport sedan, which is itself based on the European-market Opel Insignia-Europe's "Car of the Year" in 2009. Exterior styling tweaks to the GS include a lowered body, two additional vertical front air intakes, unique rocker panels, an integrated rear spoiler, dual exhaust outlets, and Olympic white paint with satin metallic accents.

On the inside, the design motif is jet black, including the pillars and headliner. Sporting touches include a suede-covered, flat-bottom sport steering wheel, metal pedals, and Recaro high-performance front seats that feature 4-way lumbar support and cushion extensions. Adding to the sporting effect inside the Regal GS, the instrument panel glows ice blue when the driver engages the "Gran Sport" mode of the Interactive Drive Control System (more on IDCS in the Technology section).

Model Lineup
As the Regal GS is still technically a concept, a full list of standard and optional features was not available when this preview was written. However, if (when) the GS reaches production, expect it to be outfitted with much the same standard and optional equipment as the top-of-the-line Regal CXL. This would include leather seats; heated front seats; 12-way power driver's seat; Bluetooth capability; XM satellite radio; OnStar communications; traction control; and stability control. Notable optional features will likely include a navigation system; Harmon Kardon sound system; internal flash drive (1GB); hard drive with 10 GB capacity for music; and a USB port.

<ahref="#"target="_blank">Buick Regal GS Show CarHardware
Powering the Regal GS Show Car is a high-output version of the 2.0-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine from the Regal CXL, the main difference being that the engine and turbocharger in the GS are tuned to deliver greater boost pressure. Output is estimated at 255 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque, and the Regal GS is equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission.

The Regal GS Show Car features an adaptive all-wheel-drive system that, according to GM, distributes the engine's power to ensure the best possible handling in corners. The system includes an electronic limited-slip rear differential, which, GM claims, helps the Regal GS to run 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds.

The Regal GS is also equipped with Interactive Drive Control System (IDCS) chassis technology (also offered on Regal CXL models with the 2.0L turbo engine), which allows the driver to select one of three operating modes-normal, sport and GS-that change the suspension settings, throttle response and steering sensitivity through the variable-effort steering system.

In addition, the Regal GS Show Car features a unique front suspension, which the manufacturer calls High Performance Strut (HiPerStrut). According to GM, the HiPerStrut system "helps reduce torque steer and maintain negative camber during cornering," improving both dry and wet traction. Additional benefits of the HiPerStrut system include reduced torque steer, improved grip and increased cornering power, and crisper handling, steering precision and feedback, GM says.

Other hardware highlights on the Regal GS include 14-inch, cross-drilled Brembo brakes with 4-piston calipers; 20-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in Z-rated Bridgestone tires; and stability and traction control.

As it is based on the all-new 2011 Buick Regal, the Regal GS Show Car likely features similar safety equipment, including: 4-wheel-disc brakes with 4-channel anti-lock braking and brake assist; standard stability control and traction control; standard dual-stage frontal air bags; side-curtain air bags; pedal-release system; and available rear-seat side air bags.

The new Regal also comes standard with OnStar, GM's in-vehicle communications and safety telematics system. OnStar offers several safety-related technologies, including automatic crash response, automatic air bag deployment response, emergency services, and crisis alert, which connects drivers to a specially trained advisor who can help obtain food, water, medical assistance or help the driver to communicate with loved ones in the event of an emergency or other crisis.

<ahref="#"target="_blank">Buick Regal GS Show CarTechnology
The Buick Regal GS Show Car features GM's Interactive Drive Control System (IDCS), which is essentially a driver-selectable suspension control system. IDCS allows the driver to choose between three different operating modes-Normal, Sport or GS-that change the suspension settings, throttle response, shift pattern and steering sensitivity through the variable-effort steering system. Depending on which mode the driver selects, the vehicle will exhibit different driving characteristics. "Normal," the default mode, would be ideal for most driving, such as daily commuting and around-town driving, whereas selecting "GS" mode optimizes the car for dynamic driving, tightening the suspension and steering response. In addition to being able to choose the desired suspension setup, the other major benefit of IDCS is that it automatically adapts the vehicle's performance settings to individual driving styles, the maker explains.

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