“I arrived at the Autobahn Country Club racetrack in the outskirts of Chicago not knowing what a day with the new Regal GS would bring —though I figured a Buick driving event would include lots of street driving and some good ole’ cruising. After all it’s a Buick, right?”
Wrong. I spent the next four and a half hours driving this more than capable (and gorgeous) sedan on a racetrack and autocross course, and in case you’re wondering—this Buick can certainly handle.
For 2016 the Buick Regal starts at $27,065 and is available in four trim levels, with the GS (Grand Sport) trim being the range-topping model. With a stylish and modern interior, muscular fenders, lowered ride-height and striking 20-inch wheels, it’s certainly the best looking Buick I’ve ever seen.
I spent the week following the Buick event traveling to multiple cities, and everyone I shared my Buick track experience with would give me weird look like—uhh, a Buick, on a racetrack? Yes, I know it sounds a bit silly, but that’s exactly what made it awesome, because it allowed me to experience what the GS is truly capable of.
After a few reconnaissance laps of the Autobahn circuit, we were finally given the green-light to kick speeds up a notch and experience what the 259-horsepower, 4-cylinder turbo-engine had to offer. After a quick adjustment of my seat position and helmet strap, I hit the GS sport button and off I went!
One would expect a luxurious and refined Buick to be rather sluggish and uninspiring on track, but it isn’t. The turbocharged engine does a good job at propelling with GS with ease and poise, while the sport-tuned suspension works some sort of sorcery to smoothly and effortlessly carry the GS through the turns and make driver feel much more skilled than in reality.
Acceleration isn’t all that breathtaking, but that’s not to say the GS isn’t fast—because it is, though what is breathtaking is the handling! I took my time to get to know the GS’s dynamics before really giving it the beans, as the last thing you ever want to do at any of these events is have a “moment”. It took me about 2 driving stints before I felt comfortable pushing the GS to its limit, but once I did I was very pleased.
At speed the GS is stable and sure-footed (and with the windows up remarkably quiet), and once I gained the confidence to push hard through the turns, I was rewarded with never-ending grip courtesy of its advanced all-wheel drive, which clearly showed it can enhance dynamics during spirited-driving in dry conditions, and not only during inclement weather. Seriously, this thing just glues to the road and allows you corner hard on the racing line, off the racing line, clean, sloppy… It just sticks.
A couple of hours and many many laps later, my mind and body were starting to get a bit frazzled… but the GS wasn’t, and in fact, I was truly impressed at the fact the front Brembo brakes were still performing brilliantly after being punished more in the last two hours, than they normally would in 6 months of street driving.
Toward the end of the event, I hopped into the passenger and rear seat of a fellow journalist’s GS to find out what such accommodations were like, and they didn’t disappoint. The passenger seat is comfortable, spacious and most definitely a nice place for a road-trip co-pilot to be. And speaking of road-trip, I had a bit of a hard time squeezing into the backseat with a racing helmet on, but putting that aside, the backseat of the GS is very comfortable and has a very plush and exquisite look and feel to it. I think the kids would totally approve of it.
I arrived to the Buick GS event thinking it would be a relaxed and slow-paced event, and I left hot, sweaty and with a unique upper body soreness that can only come from driving at high speeds for extended periods of time. Oh, and a big smile on my face!
The 2016 Buick GS can accelerate, brake and handle surprisingly well at speeds I never imagined possible, which begs to ask the question—when can I borrow one?