2010 Detroit: Buick Regal GS Concept

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The Regal GS is back, and yes, it's got boost.

The GS, which Buick introduced today as a concept, carries over much of the package Europeans know as the Opel Insignia OPC, with all-wheel-drive, Brembo brakes, and an aggressive interior and exterior appearance package replete with 20-inch wheels, Recaro bucket seats, and a unique front fascia. However, there is a key difference: whereas the Insignia OPC features a 325 hp, 2.8-liter turbocharged V-6, the GS concept gets a revised version of the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder available in regular Regals. With increased boost pressure supported by improved intake and exhaust flow, it's good for 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Like the OPC, the GS transmits its power through a six-speed manual.

The biggest reason for the smaller engine seems to be fuel economy -- we're told the 2.8-liter would likely be hit with a gas guzzler tax if it came here -- but there are dynamic advantages as well, as the lighter engine will address some of the nose-heaviness and reluctance to rev we noted on the OPC we sampled. And, with 35 more horsepower and two more drive wheels than the production Regal, the GS would add respectable straight-line performance (0-60 in less than six seconds, according to Buick) to what is already an engaging four-cylinder sedan.

Buick has not announced any plans to produce the GS. It's likely to gauge both the public reaction to the concept and the market's reception of the Regal before making a decision.

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