Car Reviews

2018 Buick Regal GS First Look: A V-6 Powers the Sporty Hatchback

Buick makes AWD and other features standard to give the GS more value

Buick makes AWD and other features standard to give the GS more value

We knew it was coming. Today Buick unveiled the 2018 Regal GS, the performance version of the midsize Regal Sportback hatchback, which goes on sale later this year. The GS gets a new V-6 and a starting price of $39,990 USD.

For 2018, Buick drops the Regal sedan for two new body types: the Regal Sportback hatchback styled to look like a coupe and the Regal TourX wagon. The new Regal is based on the Opel Insignia and will be imported from Rüsselsheim, Germany, with the decision to stop making Regals in Oshawa, Canada.

Like the regular Regal (which starts at $25,915 USD), the GS has GM’s new nine-speed automatic transmission. But the GS discards the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine for a 3.6-liter direct-injection V-6 that generates 310 horsepower and 282 lb-ft of torque. It has cylinder deactivation and start/stop technology.

The GS also has standard all-wheel drive with an active twin clutch. For a smoother ride, the car has second-generation Continuous Damping Control and Interactive Drive Control to tailor the dynamics by choosing the standard setting or ramping up response with the GS and Sport modes.

Fronting the GS is the trademark Buick waterfall grille, but it is also distinguished by unique front and rear fascias, side skirts, a special rear spoiler, and optional full LED headlights. There are standard Brembo brakes, a sport-tuned exhaust, standard 19-inch wheels, a flat-bottom heated steering wheel, and metal pedals.

Inside are new heated and cooled massaging performance seats. A color head-up display is optional. For infotainment, there is an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and an 8.0-inch reconfigurable instrument cluster as standard equipment.

On the safety side, the optional Driver Confidence II package includes front pedestrian braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, forward collision alert, and adaptive cruise control with forward automatic braking.

“The new Regal GS is in the sweet spot of the market,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president, Global Buick and GMC. He called it more refined and luxurious while still offering value with features such as all-wheel drive.

The TourX wagon launches with a small volume of high-end trims later this year. The full range will be in showrooms in February 2018 with a starting price of $29,995 USD, making it at the low end of our estimates based on the few competitors when it comes to wagons in the U.S. It would go up against the Subaru Outback, the Volvo V60 Cross Country, the Audi A4 Allroad, and the BMW 3 Series Sport Wagon. The wagon will be sold in the U.S. but not Canada or Mexico. Unlike the hatch, it has an eight-speed transmission. All-wheel drive is standard.