Track Tested: 2012 Buick Regal GS


2012 Buick Regals GS

We've been waiting to track test this one for a long time: the 2012 Buick Regal GS.

After months of waiting, disappointment that it wouldn't be all-wheel drive like the Insignia OPC, first drives, and even a Buick LaCrosse CXS suspension walkaround to show you how the HiPer Strut works, the 270-horsepower, front-drive Buick sedan with a six-speed manual transmission is in our hands and on the track.

How'd it do?

Vehicle: 2012 Buick Regal GS
Odometer: 1,815
Date: 9-07-2011
Driver: Chris Walton

Price as tested: $38,350 (as tested)

Specifications:
Drive Type: Front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed manual
Engine Type: Turbocharged, direct-injected 2.0-liter inline-4
Redline (rpm): 6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 270 @ 5,300
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 295 @ 2,400
Brake Type (front): 14.0-inch ventilated discs with four-piston fixed aluminum calipers
Brake Type (rear): 12.4-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding aluminum calipers
Suspension Type (front) Independent modified MacPherson struts, coil springs, driver-adjustable three-mode variable dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, driver-adjustable three-mode variable dampers, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 255/35ZR20 (97Y)
Tire Size (rear): 255/35R20 (97Y)
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: P Zero
Tire Type: Summer Performance
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,721

Test Results:

Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 2.8 (3.2 w/TC on)
0-45 (sec): 4.9 (5.9 w/TC on)
0-60 (sec): 6.9 (8.1 w/TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.6 (7.8 w/TC on)
0-75 (sec): 10.5 (12.0 w/TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 15.2 @ 94.4 (16.2 @ 91.5)
(All TC on runs are in normal mode, not GS mode.)

Braking:
30-0 (ft): 28
60-0 (ft): 110

Handling
Slalom (mph): 68.6 (65.3 w/TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.92 (0.90 w/TC on)

Db @ Idle: 46.8
Db @ Full Throttle: 73.7
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 65.3

Acceleration:The traction control is pretty heavy-handed, and I might've been able to manage a less intrusive launch, but I doubt it. With traction control off, it's hard to hang the revs where I wanted them because the electronics would slowly bring the revs down to 3,000. Had to "zing" the engine up on the first throttle stab, then drop the clutch. Smooth wheelspin is allowed, but any axle hop would cause traction control to reawaken. Shifter has long throws and hates a hurried 1-2 shift where it would refuse to slow-in. Gear ratios feel too far apart because it felt like it fell out of boost with each upshift. Real power only begins above 3,250 rpm.

Braking: Firm pedal until the car is at a standstill, then goes to the floor. Excellent fade resistance.

Handling

Skid pad: Geez, does this car have a set of tires or what? With ESC on, it'd bleed off throttle as understeer approached. With ESC off, it'd creep up to understeer but I could drive slightly beyond it by lifting/pushing the throttle to coax a little rotation -- good balance, especially for a FWD car. Steering weight is good, as is "traditional" return to center resistance. So-so feel for ebbing grip.

Slalom: Because this car has so much grip but so little tire howl (and little steering feel) it's one of those "you gotta have faith" cars. Everything says this shouldn't work and yet it does. Steering is very precise and car is neutral so I could use drop-throttle to rotate around each cone. Even went WOT at exit with all that bite.

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