By Frank S. Washington
DETROIT – The 2014 Buick Regal AWD GS was a snappy compact sedan with a lot of pep for a car equipped with a four-cylinder engine. Fun started under the hood with the Regal’s 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that made 259 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. It was mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. In GS trim, a six-speed manual is available.
For 2014, the four-cylinder engine generated 18 percent more power than it did for the 2013 model year and the torque was enhanced, delivering 90 percent of its pound-feet between 1,700 and 5,500 RPMs. This translated into oomph from just about any speed. The test car, which weighed in at 3,981 lbs., could get from zero to 60 mph in a fleet 6.8 seconds. Of course, nothing of the sort was tried on city streets.
Still, the Regal seemed awfully light on its treads. Normal driving revealed that the 2014 Regal AWD GS was quick, it handled with rifle shot accuracy and it could get off the mark when needed at traffic lights and move forward with authority on the expressway.
Its all-wheel-drive system offered a psychological security blanket when a light dusting of snow fell here and in places it created some really slick road surfaces. What’s more, the temperatures plunged to well below freezing and stayed that way for much of the week-long test drive. That meant the heated steering wheel, the heated front seats and the remote start all were used on a daily basis.
A new eight-inch configurable navigation screen was standard on the Regal GS. And the car had the latest IntelliLink infotainment system with the capacity to hold 60 favorites, including radio stations, contacts, destinations, music and other media. The instrument cluster was also new for 2014, with a high-resolution, 4.2-inch color display that delivered vehicle information, navigation, audio system functions, phone features and more.
The interior was spacious, the car was quiet and the materials were excellent. It was what you’d expect of the reinvigorated Buick. The Regal GS’ all-wheel-drive system had a 50-50 torque split and the wheels didn’t slip once under normal driving conditions. The system was capable of sending 90 percent of the car’s torque fore or aft.
The GS is the sport package for the Buick Regal and it was more than just an appearance kit. It had three drive modes – Normal, Sport and GS. In the latter, the steering ratio changed, shift mapping quickened and damping was stiffened.
The car had a unique front fascia with large vertical air intake slots. In the rear, the fascia had a pair of integrated trapezoidal exhausts. There were also rocker panel extensions and a rear spoiler. The car was also lower than a normal Regal and it sported 19-inch alloy wheels.
Restyled headlamps and a revised grille showed the revamped face of Regal. Wing-shaped LED tail lamps evoked Buick Enclave styling and gave the car a family look in the rear; not just at the waterfall grille. A new chrome accent that bridged the tail lamps enhanced the car’s wider stance.
Brembo four piston calipers and larger rotors in the front bolstered braking power. A sophisticated suspension ensured that the Regal GS had a smooth ride, it handled bumps and undulating pavement with ease and the suspension reduced torque steer. The electronic power steering system was responsive, reaction to driver input was smart and it did have a little feedback.
The test vehicle featured two option packages. The driver confidence package No. 1 featured a sensor that continuously computed the distance and the speed both of the vehicle in front and calculated whether there was enough stopping distance. It was coupled with forward collision alert that sounded once when morning rush hour traffic abruptly slowed to a crawl.
There was also rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning that could be easily turned off and blind side alert. Adaptive cruise control and automatic collision preparation comprised package No. 2. A sunroof and white diamond coat paint were standalone options costing $1,000 and $995 respectively.
The Regal AWD GS had a base price of $39,270. Add on the options and the freight charges and the sticker totaled $44,775.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com