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Buick resurrects GS badge for turbo Regal

Gran tourer: The Buick Regal GS swaps the Aussie-made V6 used in the Opel Insignia OPC for a turbo four-cylinder engine.

GM borrows Opel’s Insignia OPC for a splash of stateside sex appeal in Regal

11 Jan 2010

GENERAL Motors has revived Buick’s long-standing GS (Gran Sport) badge for the high-performance version of its forthcoming 2011 Regal – a clone of Opel’s Insignia from Europe.

The Regal GS – previewed at this week’s Detroit motor show to drum up further interest in the American range after the more basic version was introduced at the recent Los Angeles motor show – is based on the German-designed Insignia OPC (Opel Performance Centre) flagship.

However, the Americanised concept exchanges the OPC’s Holden-made 240kW 2.8-litre turbo V6 for a 190kW 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder direct-injection petrol engine.

This engine delivers 400Nm of torque in US spec, driving through a Saab-derived part-time all-wheel drive system as well as an electronic limited slip differential.

It also is lower (thanks to a spot of suspension slamming) than more mundane Insignia/Regal models.

133 center imageThe result, GM says, will see the GS hit the 100km/h mark from standstill in about six seconds. Keeping things in check is four-wheel independent suspension employing Opel’s unique High Performance Strut front-end strut design that helps reduce torque steer and maintain negative camber during cornering while isolating negative road shock and impact through the steering wheel.

Brembo brakes using cross-drilled rotors, four-piston, aluminium callipers and high-performance pads are also fitted.

Like the OPC donor car, the federalised version includes a additional front air intakes, special rocker panels, a different rear spoiler, dual exhaust pipes, and 20-inch alloy wheels wearing a fat set of tyres. The paint job is a unique-to-the-series ‘Olympic White’ hue with satin metallic accents.

Inside the Buick boasts a jet-black interior, “racing-inspired” suede covered flat-bottomed sports steering wheel, the de rigueur metal pedals and a pair of Recaro seats featuring G-force quelling four-way lumbar support and cushion extensions.

Furthermore, the instrument panel glows ice blue when the driver engages the sport mode of the Interactive Drive Control System (IDCS), Buick says.

IDCS, by the way, allows the driver to alter the suspension settings, throttle response and steering sensitivity through the variable-effort steering system via a cabin-sited switch. Normal, Sport and Gran Sport modes are available.

According to Buick’s product marketing director Craig Bierley, the Americanised Insignia “… will reinvigorate Buick’s storied Gran Sport legacy”.

The last Regal GS was a supercharged 180kW 3.8-litre V6 version of the front-wheel drive family car line-up sold in North America from 1997 to 2004. This engine is a relative of the unit sold in the VT and VX Commodore of the time.

Buick first used the Gran Sport nameplate as an option pack for go-faster versions of the 1965 Skylark, a rear-wheel drive V8 reportedly producing about 242kW and 603Nm.

GS became a model variant in its own right from 1967.

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