2014 Buick Regal GS AWD: Track Tested
Less Power, More Driven Wheels
Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Edmunds Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.
When the turbocharged Buick Regal GS was first announced, there were comparisons with Buick's famous Grand National. Ultimately, however, the GS fell a little flat. Its 270-horsepower four-cylinder didn't move the 3,700-pound sedan with much authority, and the car's front-drive nature had us longing not just for the Grand National, but for the all-wheel-drive Opel Insignia on which the GS is based.
With that in mind, Buick shuffled the deck a little. There is now just one turbocharged engine available in the Regal, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 259 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque. It comes standard on all models, but the GS gets a few performance tweaks to help it deliver improved performance. More noteworthy is the fact that the revised engine can be set up to send its power to all four wheels. Does the added traction make up for the loss of horsepower? We took it to the track to find out.
Vehicle: 2014 Buick Regal GS AWD
Driver: Chris Walton
Drive Type: Front engine, all-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic
Engine Type: Turbocharged, direct-injected inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,998/122
Redline (rpm): 6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 259 @ 5,300
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 295 @ 2,500
Brake Type (front): Ventilated discs with four-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): Ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type(front): Modified MacPherson strut
Suspension Type (rear): Multilink
Tire Size (front): 255/35ZR20 97Y
Tire Size (rear): 255/35ZR20 97Y
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: P Zero
Tire Type: Asymmetrical summer performance
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,000
0-30 (sec): 2.4 (3.0 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 4.4 (5.1 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 7.3 (8.0 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 7.0 (7.6 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 10.7 (11.4 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 15.3 @ 89.2 (15.8 @ 89.2 w/ TC on)
30-0 (ft): 28
60-0 (ft): 113
Slalom (mph): 66.1 (63.1 w/ESC on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.89 (0.89 w/ESC on)
RPM @ 70: 2,250
Acceleration: Unlike the Regal Turbo AWD with the low-rolling-resistance tires (versus these summer tires) there was no wheelspin at all in any mode. Still, there was a little hesitation from a standstill regardless of technique, and I sense the power is being "managed" until some point mid-1st gear. After this, the power feels reasonably linear (for a turbo-4) and one might even assume it's a V6 instead. Gear ratios work well with this engine and upshifts are smooth. Good, consistent trap speeds indicate ample engine/turbo cooling.
Braking: Medium-soft pedal with ample travel remained so from first to last stop, with straight and steady stability and little fade. First stop was the longest, second was shortest.
Slalom: There's a large difference between the electronic stability control's (ESC) intrusiveness with traction control enabled/disabled. Clearly, there's a "dynamic" mode here with a longer leash between full-on and full-off. With traction control disabled, I could predict and avoid the ESC's distinct and short-lived brake applications. With traction control back on, ESC would intervene earlier and for a prolonged period, where it would also disable the throttle. It deployed the proverbial "boat anchor" until the car had settled with the steering pointed more-or-less straight. Steering feel is distant but precise. The car was good in side-to-side transition (particularly in the firmest GS mode) unless done with too much haste or if it began to slide, where ESC would intervene.
Skid pad: With trac off, there's very little (if any) ESC intrusion here as the car began to drive wide of the circle without any brake or throttle interference. With ESC/TC on, it merely closed the throttle at the same point the car began to push wide, hence the nearly identical result. Steering feels more weighted here than in the slalom and almost spring-loaded rather than influenced by the tires.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.