By Cars.com EditorsFebruary 1, 2012
About the video
Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2012 Buick Regal GS. It competes with the Audi A4 and Acura TSX.
(rock music) <v Male Narrator>Cars.com Auto Reviews. Hi, I'm Kelsey Mays for Cars.com, here with the 2012 Buick Regal GS. Now, back in the day, GS, which stood for Grand Sport, meant more power. Most recently in the form of a supercharged V6.
The 2012 Regal GS has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine though, plus a six-speed manual transmission and a higher performance suspension. It's not the quickest sports sedan out there, but it is a fun refined addition to the Regal lineup. We'll show you why. Changes on the GS include unique 19 or 20-inch wheels. Our test car has the 20s plus a reshaped front bumper. So you've got these vertical inlets here, alongside the lower portion of the grill. There's also sort of these wannabe inlets in front of the front fenders. Unfortunately, they're fake, so are the hood extractors here, which are just other pieces of plastic. Fortunately, the plastics inside are pretty convincing. Buick says there's this satin metallic finish along the center console here, the steering wheel. Pretty genuine looking. It could fool us for real metal. The piano blacks along the center control's pretty nice stuff too. The center controls here in the Regal, kinda hard to get used to. There's three separate knobs here, plus a touch screen up here. So you can use that, or you can use this knob here in the center. A lot of redundant stuff down here on this knob. Not the most intuitive layouts. I mean, you're trying to go to the audio screen, but this button, which says audio, doesn't get you there, instead you have to hit this source button over here. But once you get the hang of it, actually, there's a lot of controllability here. When you go to the map, there's plenty of street labels and this convenient four-way directional pad here allows you to kind of scroll the map without dragging your finger along the screen. Buick's IntelliLink system, also new, allows you to stream things off your smartphone, like Pandora. Kind of cool. We're in back now, and that's where I'd sit to drive. Leg room, decent, and the seat sits nice and high off the ground. Headroom isn't great if you sit up straight like this, but sport sedans aren't really known for having huge backseats. I do like the fact that Buick gave the Regal a 60-40 split folding backseat instead of the customary just sort of center pass through for narrow, longer items. And the trunk, a little over 14 cubic feet, pretty decent for the segment. Some of that class will beat the 270 horsepower Regal GS from a stop. The turbo takes its time getting spooled up, so you don't really have a lot of fun until a few moments after mashing the pedal. That said, the stick shift has medium-controlled throws and a pretty light clutch. The steering is pretty well assisted, even when you press the GS mode here up on the dash, that is supposed to reduce power steering assist. It's also supposed to stiffen the ride. We couldn't really tell a huge difference in either area. Overall, the GS, pretty easy to drive and it rides in a firm, but again, sort of controlled manner. The GS doesn't exactly push the Regal into BMW 3 Series or Infiniti G37 territory, but it's a fun sensible addition to the lineup and a comparable matchup to cars like the Audi A4, or the V6 Acura TSX. The Regal has been selling pretty well so far this year and the GS just helped things out even more. For more car related news, go to Cars.com or our blog Kicking tires.net.