NEW ON WHEELS – BUICK REGAL TURBO

On its path to completing the modern-day transformation of the Buick brand, General Motors’ premium division gets a turbocharged sport sedan added to the portfolio for 2011.
The 2011 Buick Regal CXL is now offered with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine that runs on regular unleaded gasoline. Having a turbocharged engine in the midsize sport sedan segment is considered being equipped with the competitive advantage by today’s automakers. Turbo, plus driving dynamics and great styling, can push a carmaker in front of the pack. That’s what Buick is aiming to do with its 2011 Regal CXL turbo model.
Our Buick Regal CXL turbo tester, painted in Quicksilver Metallic, showed a base price of $28,745, with a destination delivery charge of $750. One single option — a package group — was an added expense of $5,690. That’s a big ticket, but we were impressed with the high-level content of this optional package. Among these features were 19-inch alloy wheels, rear-seat-mounted side airbags, power sunroof, navigation with premium sound system, plus Buick’s all-new driver selectable suspension system called, Interactive Drive Control.
The Interactive Drive Control is a chassis technology system that expands the appeal of the 2011 Buick Regal to a wider group of buyers since it gives the driver more complete control over the drivability of the car. The drive system regulates gearshift timing, stability and suspension settings, steering sensitivity and throttle response.
The Regal CXL turbo’s default setting is “Standard,” which promotes a balanced ride. The driver can also push console buttons to activate “Tour” or “Sport” driving. The Tour mode is well designed for long journeys and provides passengers with a softer ride experience, while the selection of the Sport mode will tighten the suspension and steering response for road-holding, enthusiastic driving. Even in local driving around town we preferred the Tour mode to the Standard mode because it smoothed out the roads surfaces and gave the Regal the refined drive we were seeking.
The Regal’s 2.0-liter turbocharged engine generates 200 horsepower at 5,300 rpms and 258 lb.-ft. of torque starting from 2,000 rpms. The engine is coupled to an Aisin six-speed automatic transmission with driver-shift control. Buick intends to put a six-speed manual transmission in the lineup later, along with other trim models. The EPA has rated the front-wheel-drive Regal turbo’s fuel economy at 18 miles per gallon city and 28 mpg highway.
Buick got the seating right in the Regal for the type of driving dynamics the sedan is capable of delivering. The driver’s seat is firm and bolstered for support, as well as comfort. The seats are leather, heated (front row) and have standard 12-way power controls for the driver.
Interior treatments Buick now provides on the Regal are satin metallic, piano black and dark grained wood. Buick designers added duplicate controls on the center console, as well as on the dashboard console, for operating the radio and nav system, which results in just a lot of busy buttons that’s an overkill.
It’s always a design achievement however when something as ordinary as a four-door sedan can look desirable. The Regal’s body is swept with progressive lines that are smooth, conveying a feeling of fast coupe-like forward motion. Exterior stylists accomplished a great task of harmonizing the performance-oriented personality of the Regal turbo with its sleek and sculpted body. — Connie Keane, Motor Matters

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