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On The Track With The 2016 Buick Regal GS (Review)


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By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel


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I had the opportunity to spend a week driving the 2015 Buick Regal GS around the streets and highways of Chicago. On the invite of Buick I was again given a driving opportunity in the Regal GS. This time it would be at Autobahn Country Club on the north race-circuit and also around an autocross course set up in an adjacent parking area.

As a matter of background the GS badge, from Gran Sport, first appeared on Buick brand cars in 1965. A Regal could be had in GS trim from 1988 to 2004, when production ended. The Regal nameplate was reintroduced in 2011 and is now in its fifth generation.

For 2016 Buick made a couple product updates on the Regal and added some new colors. The bigger news is in the pricing. Buick took down the price by over $3000 for the same vehicle content. The 2016 Buick Regal GS is now priced starting at $34,490 for the front-drive model and $36,490 for all-wheel-drive. This compares to the 2015 price of $37,310 and $39,735, respectively.

The value equation looks much better and makes the Regal a more attractive consideration in the near-luxury midsize sedan segment that is very crowded with choices for the car buyer. Additionally, with SUVs and crossovers being so popular it just might help sway a buyer who could go either way.

On the product side, new on 2016 Regal models the Buick IntelliLink now comes with an enhanced eight-inch color touch screen that allows phone integration technology with applications such as navigation, hands-free text messaging, contact lists and entertainment apps for news and music such as Apple CarPlay.

New exterior colors being offered are Ebony Twilight Metallic, White Frost Tricoat and Crimson Red Tintcoat. 

Of note, no longer offered for 2016 is the six-speed manual on the front-drive GS which was dropped due to low demand.

As for the GS model, on the outside it’s distinguished by a unique front fascia with vertical air intakes. The rear fascia features integrated trapezoidal exhaust outlets. Rocker panel extensions and a rear spoiler extension complete the bodywork. Fitted are exclusive 19-inch wheels and 20-inch wheels mounted with summer tires are an option. And, the ride height is lowered.


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Now getting to the on-track driving of the new GS, beyond the 259HP 2.0-L Turbo engine with its good low to mid-range torque coupled to a six-speed automatic and driving through all four wheels, GS also features the exclusive application of Buick’s Interactive Drive Control system. The system allows the driver to select with the push of a button different drive modes, including the GS mode and its track-oriented competitive setting.

In GS mode, steering effort is increased for more direct feedback. Increased damping levels improve wheel control and reduced body roll for better agility. GS mode also is designed to alter the shift feel of the six-speed automatic transmission.

The GS features a HiPer Strut front suspension for enhanced ride and handling. A four-link independent rear suspension is used on FWD models and an H-arm rear suspension is used on AWD models.


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The GS’s front and rear dampers incorporate active Computer Damping Control with more aggressive, performance-oriented damping characteristics selected by the driver through the Interactive Driver Control system.

Slowing the Regal GS are four-wheel-disc brake system featuring front Brembo four-piston front calipers and larger rotors.

Behind the wheel of the GS on Autobahn’s north circuit, the GS gets up to speed quickly hitting sixty in about 6.8 seconds. The GS is sure-footed both entering a corner and on track-out. The all-wheel drive combined with the Pirelli P-Zero P255/35-ZR20 summer tires certainly help and provide a very confident feeling at speed. Behavior is very predictable; the rear follows along very nicely and throttle application doesn’t cause any sloppy behavior. There’s no evidence of brake-fade after repeated heavy braking on multiple consecutive laps.


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On the autocross, the Regal GS is not overly large and therefore fairly easy to negotiate around a coned flat course. Autocross requires moderate throttle and smooth transitions and the Regal GS made light of those tasks. On a coned slalom section a bit more throttle made for more fun and some harder work for the tires.


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More info on the 2016 Buick Regal GS can be found at www.buick.com. You can read my earlier review of the 2015 Buick Regal right here where I cover a bit more of the product details.

All-in-all the Regal GS is very confident on the track which when coming back to the road equates to more confident control behind the wheel and also the ability to negotiate emergency situations more safely.

So, no, the title is not a mistake. The current generation Buick Regal GS has some pretty good track capabilities.

© 2015 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy