Detroit 2010: Buick Regal GS concept

, Posted by Sports Cars Fans at 11:04 AM

Buick Regal GS concept

Is the Buick Regal GS the most important "maybe" of the 2010 Detroit Auto Show? It's been more than two decades since performance enthusiasts cared about Buick in any meaningful way. The car at that time was the now legendary Buick GNX. Even if the proposed Regal GS makes production – a big if – it's not going to be a GNX replacement, at least not in the hearts and minds of power-mad Buick enthusiasts. However, at this chapter in Buick's story, every little performance bit counts.

That stated, here's what we might get: Power comes from a beefed-up version of the direct-injected 2.0-liter turbocharged Ecotec four-cylinder making 255 horsepower and a walloping 295 pound-feet or torque. Compare that to the regular 2.0-liter DI Ecotec that we know and love in cars like the Pontiac Solstice GXP and Chevrolet Cobalt SS: 260 hp, 260 lb-ft of twist. Five horsepower less, sure (your lawnmower makes five horsepower), but we'll gladly trade those ponies for the 35 extra torques. All that grunt gets routed through a six-speed manual before being kicked out to all four wheels. Speaking of wheels, the Regal GS rides on gorgeous 20-inch alloys that are hauled to a halt by big Brembos squeezing 14-inch cross-drilled and vented rotors.

One of the more interesting aspects of the Regal GS is its traction control system that Buick has dubbed "Interactive Drive Control." There's a Normal mode, a Sport mode and most enticing, a GS mode. That final setting changes the default torque split, routing most of the power to the rear wheels. Color us curious, excitedly so. The Regal GS also sits 10mm lower than the standard car and is further visually differentiated by twin intakes on the front clip and two through-fascia tailpipes. It's even got sporty Recaros and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.

Are they going to build it? Our gut says "yes," or something very close to it. As a brand, Buick needs a shot in the arm of something hot and bothered. Why not a hopped-up Regal? And will we eventually see an even more muscular version of the Regal GS, fitted with a 325-hp turbocharged 2.8-liter V6 from the Opel Insignia OPC, possibly called the Regal GSX? Maybe GNX fans will have something to look forward to after all.