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L.A. Auto Show: 2012 Buick Regal GS goes manual

A few short years ago, finding a manual transmission in a Buick would have been considered a sign of the apocalypse. The average age of a Buick owner was among the oldest in the industry, and parent company GM knew that if they were to keep Buick from avoiding the same calamitous fate as Oldsmobile, it needed to turn things around.

Regal Fast forward to this year’s L.A. Auto Show, and not only has GM introduced a hybrid version of Buick's   acclaimed LaCrosse sedan, but it also has introduced a sportier version of the smaller Regal sedan, the 2012 Regal GS.

This Regal GS is powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, putting out 255 horsepower and a stout 295 pound feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission will be available when the car goes on sale in the second half of 2011, with a six-speed automatic being made available later. Buick says the Regal GS will go from 0 to 60 in less than seven seconds.

Other highlights include a lower stance, Brembo calipers on the front brakes, 19-inch wheels standard with 20-inch wheels optional, and Buick’s Interactive Drive Control System, whereby drivers can choose among three suspension and steering settings.

Regal_back I asked Buick’s Roger McCormack why the company didn’t go full throttle with the GS variant and instead use the 325 horsepower, turbocharged V6 the Opel Insignia OPC uses in Europe (the Regal is basically a rebadged version of the Opel Insignia). He said that although the V6 may eventually find itself in a Regal, Buick preferred the GS’ turbocharged four cylinder because it is lighter, more fuel efficient and cheaper than the V6.

The cost of the Regal GS is expected to start in the mid-$30,000 range.

MORE L.A. AUTO SHOW

Audi moves into the luxury four-door coupe market with the A7 Sportback

Ford's Facebook competition -- your name on a performance Mustang

2011 Hyundai Elantra moves in a larger direction

-- David Undercoffler

Photos: David Undercoffler / Los Angeles Times

 
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