When we tried out the 2018 Buick Regal Sportback, that sleek, streamlined sedan overshot our expectations so much that we decided we had to give the sportier GS (Gran Sport) version a whirl as well.
The GS version of the Regal Sportback comes with a fairly muscular 3.6L V6 engine, which combines with a 9-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive system to produce up to 310 hp and 282 lb-ft of torque. This edition also gets Brembo calipers on the performance brakes, a sport-tuned exhaust system and adaptive dampers. The setup gives the car quite gripping acceleration off the line – 0-100 km/h officially takes the GS about 5.6 seconds.
Drivers can choose from three drive modes to raise or lower the emotion level, depending on mood or the situation, going from Normal (normal) to Sport (uh, sportier) to GS (where you want to be). The last two of these give the car a firmer suspension and tighten up the transmission coming down through the gears.
What we liked:
+ Beautiful, winsome exterior shape
+ Visual add-ons for GS add sporty pizzazz without going crazy about it
+ Great big sportback hatch makes for a huge opening to the roomy trunk
+ Good acceleration, both off the line and when passing on the highway
+ Surprisingly nimble in city traffic
+ Sharp-looking and comfortable sport seats in the front (that are heated, ventilated and massaging)
+ Flat-bottomed steering wheel great to the grip
+ All-wheel drive is standard
What we liked less:
- A sedan of this size shouldn’t really offer combined fuel consumption of 11.3L/100 km, even with a V6
- Visibility out the back is pretty bad (the price you pay for that winsome shape)
- Back seats comfortable but headroom is lacking (another price you pay for that winsome shape)
- Overall the drive is muscular and sporty…ish, but it’s not as thrilling as Buick would have you believe
- Underwhelming engine sound
- Adaptive cruise control and head-up display only available with optional package ($1,995 extra)