2011 Buick Regal
While most buyers think of Buick as a posh, premium brand, their performance car history actually dates back to the legendary straight-8s of the 1930s. In more recent decades, the Regal nameplate carried the best of Buick’s performance intensions. So it makes sense that when Buick planned an all-new, mid-size sports sedan that the Regal name would once again appear. But this Regal is not like any Buick we’ve driven before.
After a six-year absence, the Buick Regal returns for 2011 as an all-new Euro-bred, front-drive sports sedan. Developed at Germany’s famed Nurburgring, the new Regal is a near doppelganger to the Opel Insignia â€“ Europe’s 2009 Car of the Year, and the most promising entry from GM’s tri-shield division since the Grand Nationals of the 1980’s. To that end, the Regal will compete with premium-level sports sedan like the Audi A4, Acura TSX, Volkswagen CC, and Volvo’s new S60.
Initially imported in premium CXL trim only, the Regal touts the same sleek and upscale design language, but adds a healthy dose of frontal aggression from the LaCrosse and Enclave - an oversized Buick waterfall grille, flanked by prominent, swept-back, non-HID headlamps.
The Regal’s sculpted coupe-like profile features a fast, flowing roofline, sharp body creases, and flared fenders, exuding a performance-oriented spirit. The tapered rear wears an abbreviated deck and bold tail lamps, both hallmarks of the contemporary sports sedan. Standard alloy wheels are 18-inch, with 19s optional.
Power will be a surprise to some, four cylinder direct-injected powertrains only from GM’s Ecotec family. The standard 2.4-liter, shared with the Lacrosse and Chevy Equinox, delivers 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque.
Optional is a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbo with 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. An even higher-performance turbo GS arrives next year. The 2.4 is mated to a self-shift six-speed automatic, while the 2.0 turbo offers a proper six-speed manual as standard and automatic as option. Unfortunately, for our test runs only a 2.4 automatic was available.
And while it felt pretty peppy off the line, it was only adequate overall; taking a longish 9.4 seconds to get to 60, and 17 seconds to complete the quarter mile at 84 miles per hour. We’d definitely opt for the 2.0 turbo. But, it is taking corners where this Regal shines brightest. The Epsilon II chassis, with its strut-type front, and four-link rear suspension, both with a hollow stabilizer bar, delivered an impressive level of agility and nimbleness.
Turbo models add a fine Interactive Drive Control System. Its three modes - Standard, Tour, or Sport - alter suspension settings, steering sensitivity, throttle response, and shift pattern. Stopping hardware is all disc ABS brakes. Our car met hard stops with a 60 to 0 average of 129 feet, all straight and smooth.
This Regal meets all the European sports sedan cliches. It handles like it’s on rails. It feels bolted to the road. But you’ve got to remember, this is a Buick and it’s made in Germany, and that puts this Regal in a whole new light. The Regal’s spacious and well-appointed cabin combines classic Buick styling with modern sports sedan cues.
Fit and finish are on par with anything in the premium segment, although the dash is mostly hard plastics. On the other hand, gauges and controls exude a decidedly upscale quality.
Seats are well-positioned, firm, and nicely-bolstered. Leather upholstery and seat heat come standard. Enhancing occupant comfort is standard auto climate with humidity sensor. For piping in your favorite driving music, there’s a seven-speaker stereo or an upgraded nine-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.
But oh-so European is the absence of an available rear view camera. As is the console mounted, multi-function central controller for Stereo, Nav, Bluetooth, and even OnStar. The rear seat is comfortable for two adults, but tight for three. And the 60/40 split-folding feature adds length to the already very usable 14.3 cubic foot trunk.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the Regal 2.4 are 19 city/30 highway. We achieved a fine 27.1 on regular in real-world driving. The Energy Impact Score is 14.9 barrels of oil consumed per year. The Carbon Footprint is a relatively modest 8.1 annual tons of CO2 emitted.
Pricewise, the new Regal is very competitive. The 2.4 CXL has a base sticker of $26,995. The CXL Turbo starts at $29,495. More models and a lower entry price will follow when Regal production moves to the U.S. next year.
Despite its stodgy name, the 2011 Buick Regal made a great impression on us. Yes, it needs the 2.0 turbo manual to be truly competitive to its European rivals. But even the standard car we tested was a revelation. We just hope the Regal is not a one-off effort, and that Buick performance is back for real.
- Engine: 2.4-Liter
- Horsepower: 182
- Torque: 172 Lb Feet
- 0-60 MPH: 9.4 Seconds
- 1/4 Mile: 17.0 Seconds @ 84 MPH
- 60-0 MPH: 129 Feet
- EPA: 19 MPG City/ 30 MPG Highway
- Mixed Loop: 27.1 MPG
- Energy Impact 14.9 Barrels Oil/Yr:
- CO2 Emissions: 8.1 Tons/Yr
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Bringing Supercar Performance To The Street…American Style
What happens when you let enthusiasts and engineers worry less about tradition and allow them to do what they do best? You get cars like this Chevrolet Corvette Z06. What happens when GM let’s us borrow one for a few days? That’s what we’re about to find out!
While the Z06 package first became an option for the Chevrolet Corvette back in 1963, it wasn’t until the C5 that it describe the ultimate track-focused ‘Vette. And while since then every Z06 has gotten more extreme, if we were plotting things out on a graph, this is where the line of performance progression goes from a steady incline to almost vertical. Yes, the latest C8 Z06 is all that.
It starts with a brand new LT6 5.5-liter DOHC V8 that outputs 670-horsepower and delivers 460 lb-ft. of torque. It sounds great too, the very aggressive nature of its flat-plane crank design has it sounding, and feeling like it’s trying to shake its way out of the engine bay unless you unleash some of its furry.
This dual-cammer featured a dry-sump design from the get-go and is more racing engine than souped-up small block, being developed originally for the C8.R race car.
It made short work of Roebling Road Raceway’s long front straight, able to reach 160 by the end of it. With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.
But, as you can imagine, Chevy has done much more than just plop a bigger motor into its rear-midship engine bay, which was easier to do since they didn’t have to worry about anyone seeing over it. They’ve addressed just about every part of the car to ensure it puts that power to best use for coming out of corners like few other cars on the street.
That includes upgrades for the short/long arm double wishbone suspension setup that can be further enhanced with an available Z07 Performance Package that adds more aggressive tuning for Magnetic Ride Control, and Michelin Sport Cup 2R tires. Which can be mounted on 20 and 21-inch carbon fiber wheels with carbon ceramic brakes nestled behind.
It all translated into more grip than a semi’s worth of industrial strength Velcro through Roebling’s 9-turns.
With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.
Like most Corvettes, the Z06 can be as wild or mild of an experience as you care to make it but will most likely be the fastest car to show up at most track days. Yet, the same magnetic dampers that void all body roll on the track, provide an almost plush ride quality for the drive home, though not quite as plush as the standard Corvette.
We’re struggling to find something non-fan boy to say; sure the 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox doesn’t deliver shifts with the brutality of some exotics, but really, they’re just as fast, and the shifts are much smoother.
Believe it or not, almost all the body is unique. So, rather than just tacking on some fender flares, Chevy made the entire car wider to cover the 345 rear tires, yet keep the same uniform look in place.
The optional Carbon Fiber Aero Package adds a front splitter, rocker extensions, front dive planes, and a huge rear wing. We’re not sure if the multi-level nature of that rear wing was done for functional or aesthetic reasons, but it doesn’t block your rearview, and that is much appreciated.
We always talk about torque being more important than horsepower when it comes to acceleration, and the Z06 works with almost 200 fewer lb-ft. of torque than horsepower, but you sure wouldn’t know it when you mash the throttle.
Easy to use programmable launch control allows you to dial in your preferred RPM for launching; we found 4,500 was just about perfect for Roebling’s front straight, allowing for just a tiny bit of slip before rocketing us to 60 on a 40 degree day in just 2.6-seconds.
Power continues to pour on hard as the engine quickly hits its 8,600 RPM redline, and gear changes happen often. The sound inside the cabin in intense, and when the ¼-mile came to an end in 10.7-seconds at 130 miles-per-hour, it felt like it was just getting started.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are a low 12-City, 19-Highway, and 14-Combined.
For the Z06 there are 3 LZ pricing points to land on, starting at $114,395; but you can go with the top-of-the-line Z06, add 50-grand worth of options, and still come out half the price of anything you can compare it to.
Call us home teamers all you want, but America’s only exotic does it yet again, not only is it the best Corvette ever, but it is also easily one of the greatest American cars of all time, arriving at a particularly poignant time culturally as we mourn the potential loss of internal combustion engines altogether. So, come for the spectacular engine and stay for the complete performance package, and experience, that is the Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
- Engine: 5.5-liter V8
- Horsepower: 670
- 0-60 mph: 2.6 seconds
- EPA: 12 City | 19 Highway | 14 Combined
- Transmission: 8-speed dual clutch auto
- Torque: 460 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 10.7-seconds at 130 mph