Could We Get a 325-Horsepower Buick Regal GSX? Maybe.

By Jacob Brown | November 07, 2012
You might not believe it, but there's a 325-horsepower, all-wheel-drive version of the Buick Regal GS sold abroad that we're probably never going to get in the U.S. But we wouldn't say it's impossible—not by a long shot. Abroad, GM's U.K. brand Vauxhall sells the Regal as the Insignia. And beyond the high-performance Regal GS we have in the U.S., there's the Insignia VXR SuperSport, an incredible piece of machinery that's able to shoot to 60 mph from standstill in 5.6 seconds on its way up to 170 mph. Your neighbor's 270-horsepower Buick Regal GS isn't nearly that quick, despite sharing many of the same technologies. And at nearly $48,000 for the Insignia VXR SuperSport at current exchange rates, your neighbor's Regal isn't nearly as expensive, either. But it lends some food for thought to the Buick Regal equation, especially with the midsize sedan becoming a niche model after the introduction of the entry-level Buick Verano and subsequent price hike for the Regal: Where does Buick take the model from here?
The Vauxhall Insignia would be a good indicator, but the turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6 hasn't been seen in the U.S. since Cadillac stopped selling it in its second-generation SRX crossover in 2010. The Regal has never been sold in the U.S. with all-wheel-drive, largely because that would start stepping on the toes of the larger and more profitable LaCrosse. And there's wonder if Buick could pull off bumping horsepower above 300 horsepower in the Regal GS from its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, as not even Cadillac is getting that sort of attention in the similarly priced ATS sports sedan.
Both the Buick Regal GS and Vauxhall Insignia VXR SuperSport use GM's HiPerStrut technology that mitigates the negative effects that might come with pushing huge amounts of power through the wheels that also steer the car. They also share their adjustable suspensions, which can change from pillowy soft to race car-like at the push of a button. We liked both systems in the 2012 Buick Regal GS we drove but felt the car lacking, especially at a price nearing $40,000. A $32,000 Honda Accord V-6 has more power, and more passenger space. The new Insignia VXR SuperSport rectifies much of that and gives the world a car that's cheaper than the European-market BMW 135i M Sport—what would be a roughly $45,000 car in the U.S. But we likely won't be getting it. Not here. Not now. Not with a 321-horsepower Cadillac ATS lingering so closely above the current Regal GS. The Regal already is a niche sedan in the U.S., and the Regal GS is Buick's halo car until something else better comes around. An extensive refresh of it is coming for the 2014 model year. With that in mind, we can't help but think something akin to the Insignia VXR SuperSport would be ideal for Buick to add to its lineup, perhaps even bringing back the recently re-trademarked GSX name for a higher-performance model. And despite its unlikeliness to happen in the GM portfolio, we can't help but think that might be just the kick in the butt the already growing Buick brand might need to truly connect with a younger generation of buyers. Source: Vauxhall/GM Europe