Detroit Preview: Buick Regal GS Show Car Unveiled With 255-hp, 295 Ft-lbs of Torque

Colum Wood
by Colum Wood

***See AutoGuide’s LIVE 2010 Detroit Auto Show Coverage Here***

Just ahead of the Detroit Auto Show, Buick has decided to give us the goods on a pre-production (or concept) high-performance version of the new Regal. Called the Regal GS Show Car, it’s goal is to see if there really is a market for such a model in the U.S.

We have to say we’re a little disappointed… and confused. Based on the Opel Insignia, instead of that car’s turbocharged 2.8-liter V6 engine and 325-hp, this Regal GS Show Car uses a high-output version of the 2.0-liter Ecotec 4-cylinder engine that will normally be offered in the Regal, with 220-hp and 258 ft-lbs of torque. In this car, says GM, the same engine will produce 255-hp and 295 ft-lbs of torque – significantly less than the high-performance Opel model.

What has us confused is that at a live showing of the car, under the hood there is no such 2.0-liter Ecotec motor, but the Opel Insignia OPC’s 325-hp mill. Sadly, GM probably just didn’t bother to swap engines as this show car likely started its life as an Insignia and was just rebadged.

In other words, expect the Turbo 2.0-liter in the production version of this car, which hasn’t been confirmed yet, but is most certainly coming.

Still, we can’t really complain too much about the power ratings and Buick says the Regal GS will hit 60 mph in under six seconds! It also gets a six-speed manual transmission, AWD, 20-inch wheels with low profile rubber, four-pot Brembo brakes and a rear electronic limited slip differential! And to make the driving experience even more dynamic it features Buick’s new Interactive Drive Control System (IDCS), which will be offered on the CXL models, letting the driver adjust suspension settings, throttle response, shift points (automatic only) and steering sensitivity by selecting one of three driving modes: Normal, Sport and GS.

And along with a sporty exterior, the Regal GS has an amazing interior, including some highly-bolstered Recaro seats.

We’ll be sure to bring you more on this car with live coverage of the Detroit Auto Show starting January 1th.

GALLERY: Buick Regal GS Show Car

Official release after the jump:



  • 21st-century successor to Buick’s Gran Sport heritage
  • Bold, sporty design with unique exterior details and an aggressive stance
  • High-output Ecotec 2.0L turbocharged engine and six-speed manual transmission
  • Adaptive all-wheel-drive system and electronic limited-slip rear differential
  • 0-60 in less than 6.0 seconds
  • Buick’s class-exclusive Interactive Drive Control System

DETROIT – With an estimated 255 turbocharged horsepower (190 kW), a six-speed manual transmission and an advanced, adaptive all-wheel-drive system, the Buick Regal GS show car is a high-tech, high-performance version of the brand’s newest sport sedan. It was introduced at the 2010 North American International Auto Show.

The mechanical elements were developed with the aim of delivering a driving experience that is sporting, confidence-inspiring and refined. It has a performance-oriented drivetrain, a lowered body and lower center of gravity. Exterior and interior cues include two additional vertical front air intakes; large, forged aluminum 20-inch wheels and performance tires; a racing-inspired sport steering wheel and metal pedals. Recaro high-performance front seats feature four-way lumbar support and cushion extensions.

“We designed the Regal GS to explore the appeal of a high-performance variant of the Regal,” said Craig Bierley, product marketing director for Buick. “Like the Regal, the Regal GS is based on the award-winning Opel Insignia, and we believe it will reinvigorate Buick’s storied Gran Sport legacy.”

The Regal GS exterior is distinguished by vertical air inlets in the front fascia, as well as unique rocker panels, an integrated rear spoiler, dual exhaust outlets, Olympic White paint and satin metallic accents.

“The idea behind the Regal GS was taking the production model in a more aggressive direction to appeal to performance enthusiasts,” said John Cafaro, Buick design director. “But along with its aggressive stance, there’s sophisticated style in the design that complements the driving experience.”

Inside, the Regal GS varies from the standard Regal by featuring a completely jet black interior, including the pillars and headliner, sport shifter for the six-speed manual transmission and a suede-covered, flat-bottom steering wheel reminiscent of those used in international racing series. The instrument panel glows ice blue when the driver engages the sport mode of the Interactive Drive Control System (IDCS).

Turbocharged AWD performance
Power for the Regal GS comes from a high-output 2.0L Ecotec turbocharged engine with direct-injection technology. It is based on the engine that will be offered on Regal CXL models later this summer, but the engine and turbocharger are tuned to deliver greater boost pressure in the GS. The output is estimated at 255 horsepower (190 kW) and 295 lb.-ft. of torque (400 Nm).

The engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission that directs torque to an adaptive all-wheel-drive system calibrated for performance driving. An electronic, limited-slip rear differential helps ensure the engine’s power is distributed effectively during cornering.

The high-performance drivetrain is expected to enable the Regal GS to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds. That performance is complemented by a four-wheel-independent suspension, with a unique High Performance Strut (HiPerStrut) design in front. The HiPerStrut system helps reduce torque steer and maintain negative camber during cornering. This improves ultimate grip levels in dry and wet conditions, as well as improves the direct feel of the road, while isolating undesirable feedback. Behind the wheel the driver experiences reduced torque steer, improved grip and increased cornering power, along with crisper handling, steering precision and feedback.

The Regal GS features a high-performance Brembo brake system with 14 x 1.2-inch (355 x 32 mm) cross-drilled rotors; four-piston, high-strength aluminum calipers, and high-performance pads.

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). It delivers enhanced vehicle stability and greater driving safety, while also adapting the driving characteristics of the car to the driver’s preferences. The driver selects among three operating modes – normal, sport and GS – that change the suspension settings, throttle response, shift pattern and steering sensitivity through the variable-effort steering system.

Colum Wood
Colum Wood

With AutoGuide from its launch, Colum previously acted as Editor-in-Chief of Modified Luxury & Exotics magazine where he became a certifiable car snob driving supercars like the Koenigsegg CCX and racing down the autobahn in anything over 500 hp. He has won numerous automotive journalism awards including the Best Video Journalism Award in 2014 and 2015 from the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Colum founded Geared Content Studios, VerticalScope's in-house branded content division and works to find ways to integrate brands organically into content.

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2 of 4 comments
  • Joe Yoman Joe Yoman on Jan 20, 2010

    Ok looking car but definately the wrong engine. Is Gm trying to turn stodgy old Buick into Saab with tiny 4 cylinder turbo engines, stiff suspensions and BMW wannabe exterior styling?

  • Donlevy Donlevy on Aug 30, 2010

    As a plus 55 year old BMW car purchaser ( 4 since 1989 ), I want to express my maturing feelings about balanced ride and handling in the car I drive. I do not need blacked out grills, black or metallic grey interiors or 35 series sidewalls and 20" wheels. I want a quick off the line car that gives you the push in the pants entrance to an interstate. I don't appreciate struggling with front wheel drive torque steer. A high 5's,low 6's 0 to 60 would be a comfortable performance zone. As we age we do appreciate some comfort. Jaw rattling suspension is not at the top of our list. We do like smart colors, other than golden tans or anthracite coal. Ingress and egress become more important as we climb the ladder of age. I want a comfortable, performance car like the GS Regal, but without the stereotypical appendages that shout performance. Remember, the grey haired dude in the car next to you at the light, just may like surprising you when the light changes. Also, when there is alot of eighteen wheeler traffic on the interstate, a punch of the accelerator helps you feel like the drivemaster.