2014 Buick Regal GS AWD First Test
More Grip For Buick's Sporty Sedan
The refreshed 2014 Buick Regal GS can now be had with all-wheel drive, though the added grip does come at the expense of a few horsepower. We already sampled the 2014 Regal GS and walked away mostly impressed, but now it's time to verify how the sedan's powertrain changes affect its performance numbers.
As we've reported, the 2.0-liter turbo-four now makes 259 hp, which is 11 horses less than the 2013 Regal GS. In order to make room for the new all-wheel-drive components, engineers had to reconfigure the exhaust system, which increased back pressure. Torque is still rated at 295 lb-ft. Additionally, the GS is no longer the horsepower king in the Regal hierarchy, because its engine and power ratings are now shared with the base model. That said, the GS is essentially a sports package with revised looks and a number of performance-improving upgrades such as four-piston Brembo clamps up front and a beefier suspension setup with stiffer springs and adjustable shocks.
Buick also points out that the 2014 Regal GS reaches peak torque at 2500 rpm, which is 500 less than the standard Regal, and should make it just as fast, if not faster, than the pre-refreshed model. With a 0-60-mph time of 6.2 seconds, the 2014 Regal GS is one-tenth of a second faster than the 2012 model we last tested, though that front-drive car was equipped with the six-speed manual. A quarter mile was reached in 14.6 seconds, 0.3 second faster than the 2012 model. Its 60-0 mph stopping distance of 105 feet matches the pre-refreshed model, not surprising considering the Brembo brake package hasn't changed and both cars were running on the optional 20-inch wrapped in Pirelli P Zeros (19 inchers are standard). In case you're wondering, the base 2014 Regal AWD needed 6.4 and 14.7 seconds to run to 60 mph and reach a quarter mile, respectively.
Read the full 2014 Buick Regal Turbo AWD First Test HERE.
Read the full 2014 Buick Regal Turbo AWD First Test HERE.
The Haldex-based, on-demand all-wheel-drive system can send up to 95 percent of the engine's power to the rear wheels. Selecting between the various drive modes, Sport or GS, slightly changes the behavior of the rear differential, along with steering effort. With that in mind, the 2014 Regal GS with all-wheel drive needed 26 seconds to complete our figure-eight course, compared to 25.9 seconds for the front-drive, manual tranny car. Speaking of which, the six-speed automatic is the only gearbox available for the all-wheel-drive variant.
The Regal GS is still one of the most powerful cars in its segment, though it's not necessarily the quickest. For example, the most recent Audi A4 Quattro we tested needed 5.8 seconds to run from 0-60 mph and did so with 211 hp (power has since jumped to 220 hp). It is, however, quicker than the 2014 Lexus IS 250 AWD, which needed 7.8 seconds to get to 60 mph. There are a few culprits for the Regal GS' relatively meager performance. For starters, its 3991-pound curb weight is on the higher end of the segment's scale, and the six-speed auto is simply slower compared to the competition running with seven or eight cogs in the gearbox.
Otherwise, the Regal GS feels plenty powerful in most situations and the sedan is fairly entertaining through the twisties. This car carries 58 percent of its weight up front and certainly feels that way on the mountain roads, but overall the chassis is well-balanced and very solid. It's also surprisingly smooth and quiet on the highway considering its large wheels and beefed-up suspension. And thanks to a number of engine revisions, the 2014 Regal is more efficient, with an EPA rating of 19/27 mpg city/highway for all-wheel drive. The front-drive, manual transmission GS is rated at 20/31 mpg city/highway, compared to 19/27 mpg for the previous model year.
While the Regal GS might not be the fastest runner in the pack, it might be among the best-looking. In fact, style is the number one reason owners purchase the sedan, and Buick smartly didn't do too much to the 2014 Regal GS' sheetmetal. The grille is taller and the headlights are much more expressive and sharp compared to the 2013 Regal's frosty glazed look. Out back, Buick describes the new LED taillights as wing-shaped. The metallic trim piece now extends into the taillights and helps give the refreshed Regal a wider look than the 2013 model. The blocky exhaust tips haven't changed, and neither has the subtle rear spoiler.
Inside, the 2014 Regal GS gets some significant tech improvements. The climate control cluster has lost its intimidating button-palooza in favor of a simpler layout that includes touch-sensitive adjustments for the air temperature and the heated seats. The infotainment system is now a new generation of IntelliLink. The touch-screen-based system is quick and intuitive, and voice command is nearly flawless. Better still is the GS' exclusive 8-inch information screen in the instrument panel that can be configured to display audio, navigation, trip, and even performance stats such as a "friction bubble" that displays lateral and longitudinal g-force. This is what Cadillac's CUE system should've been.
The steering wheel has been restyled and loses most of the unattractive metallic trim pieces found in the pre-refreshed model. Unfortunately, the base of the gear shifter is still surrounded by shiny, chrome-like material that looks slightly out of place in the cabin. The only interior color choice available is black, which looks fine, but lighter shades would be nice for those who aren't fans of dark cabins.
With a base price of $40,195, the Regal GS AWD is more expensive than the BMW 328i xDrive and Audi A4, though its list of standard items is far more extensive and includes the IntelliLink infotainment system with navigation, HID headlights, premium sound, passive entry system, parking sensors, and a heated steering wheel. Our loaded tester topped out at $44,975, thanks to Crystal Red Tintcoat paint ($495), 20-inch rims ($700), moonroof ($1000), and the new-for-2014 Driver Confidence Package #1 and #2 ($890 and $1695, respectively). The first package includes driver memory seat, plus blind-zone, lane departure, rear cross-traffic, and forward collision monitoring. The second Driver Confidence package adds adaptive cruise control and automatic collision preparation with braking. All the advanced safety items worked as advertised, though we would skip it to lower the price.
When it comes to tech, safety, and style, the 2014 Buick Regal GS can definitely hold its own against the big sellers from Europe and Japan. But with a good old-fashioned diet plan and a few more powertrain refinements (specifically the transmission), the Regal GS just might have what it takes to be among the top offerings in the sport luxury-sedan crowd.
|2014 Buick Regal GS AWD|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$44,975|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||2.0L/259-hp/295-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3991 lb (58/42%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||190.2 x 73.1 x 58.4 in|
|0-60 MPH||6.2 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||14.6 sec @ 93.5 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||105 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.90 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.0 sec @ 0.72 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON||19/27 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||177/125 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||0.88 lb/mile|