But could Buick make it even better with a hardcore Grand National version?
The Buick Regal GS was an intriguing entry into the luxury sport sedan market, but no one really seemed to take notice of it. The car went completely unloved, even though it was offered with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo with 260 hp and an available six-speed manual. The 2018 Regal GS bucks the trend of going with a smaller, turbocharged engine. This 2018 model will now use the 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V6 from the Camaro. The engine will be detuned, but will still produce a healthy 310 hp and 282 lb-ft of torque.
Unfortunately, the GS will lose its manual option in favor of a nine-speed automatic that sends power to an intelligent AWD system. The Regal is actually down on power compared to the new Ford Fusion Sport's 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 with 325 hp, but we know how good the Camaro V6 sounds.
The Regal GS will compete in an interesting category at $39,990. As we mentioned before, the Regal GS has similar power to the Fusion Sport, but that car starts at under $34,000. The Regal does come with a luxury badge, but that really depends on where you stand on Buick being a true luxury brand. The Regal does come with more luxury features than the Fusion, including performance seats with heating, ventilation and massage. The GS also has performance features such as adjustable dampers, Brembo brakes, 19-inch wheels and a GS drive mode that tightens steering, improves throttle response and sends more torque to the rear wheels.
We think that Buick's approach is a bit more oriented towards performance than Ford's. The Regal GS really seems more like a true modern performance sedan, whereas the Fusion Sport seems like a more powerful sedan that is tuned for comfort. The Regal GS is also unique because it has the sportback bodystyle as the new Regal. This means that the car has a liftback hatch that retains the lines of a sedan. The bodystyle first became popular on the Audi A7, and is the perfect midway style to make Americans embrace hatchbacks. We would absolutely love to see Buick build a Regal GS wagon, but that may have to remain a hopeful dream.
With its newfound power, the 2018 Regal GS plays in a category that loosely includes the Audi S3, Subaru WRX STI, Volkswagen Golf R, Ford Focus RS and Honda Civic Type R. The Audi S3 is probably the most similar of the bunch because it is a four-door sedan with around 300 hp that costs $42,900. The Regal GS is larger than the S3 and comes with more luxury features at a lower price. It is still hard to contend with the Audi badge, and the lower cost and high performance of the other cars in this price segment. It is very difficult to pinpoint exactly where the Regal GS will settle in this segment, but we think that it will offer some unique benefits over the competition at a bargain price.
The Regal GS is a handsome looking car that is more mature than models like the Civic, WRX and Focus. It is also a bit more stylish than the plain-looking Golf and Audi S3. The person looking to buy a the Buick wants to be able to keep up with the other cars on this list, but doesn't want the same attention. The Regal GS will sit in a school pickup without drawing dirty looks from jealous parents, but the car guys will know that you bought something cool. We are happy with the new GS and really can't wait to drive it. However, there are two things that would make it perfect in our eyes: the aforementioned wagon model, and the return of the fabled Grand National.
Now that the Regal GS is powered by a V6 engine, we think that it may finally be the right time to revive the Grand National. GM could take the 3.6-liter V6 and add two turbos like it does in the Cadillac CTS V-Sport and ATS-V. Those cars produce 420 hp and 464 hp respectively and start at just over $60,000. We think that Buick could offer a 400 hp AWD Regal Grand National that would fit perfectly in the $50,000 price range. That would put it right between the ATS-V/CTS V-Sport and the GS in both price and performance. GM really needs to make this happen, and cement the Buick brand as a true option for enthusiasts.