On the Buick website, the brand suggests you “Make an impression without saying a word.” It even offers a vehicle in which to do that: the 2016 Regal. In base form, that leaves the impression of an attractive sedan with useful standard equipment and a long list of available safety and convenience features. To say the 2016 Buick Regal GS sport sedan left an impression on us is an understatement. Over the course of a week of driving it around Austin, Texas, it just outright impressed us – inside and out.
2016 Buick Regal GS Exterior
Even before we drove the GS, we liked it. Just look at our Quicksilver Metallic tester. That sleek, blacked-out waterfall grille made the chrome tri-shield badge in the middle of it shine even brighter. We called the air inlets directly below the high-intensity discharge headlights “vampire teeth” and were eager to give them wind to bite into as we blasted down curvy roads.
As attractive as the front end was, it was a distant second to our tester’s optional 20-inch aluminum wheels. It’s not hyperbole to say they can be included among the best wheel designs on the market today. Each of the five smooth-edged split spokes had our undivided attention. They combined to make the GS’s wheels look more like metal sculptures than mere attachment points for hubs and tires. In fact, they were more than just functionally important; they were the most distinctive part of the GS’s exterior.
Behind those, a metallic strip spanned the distance between the wing-shape LED tailights. Despite being at the bottom of the rear bumper, the large quasi-parallelogram stainless-steel exhaust outlets finished the GS’s design on a high note.
2016 Buick Regal GS Interior
Performance is a serious business and the inside of the GS was dressed in the suit for that business. The steering wheel had a flat bottom which made sliding into the proper driving position quick and easy. There were no bright colors to distract our eyes from the road. The Ebony color scheme was accented with Ebony touches and a few bits of metallic trim here and there, such as on the door handles and around the shifter.
Our review vehicle came standard with leather seats, which were power-adjustable eight ways and heated up front, sporty alloy pedals, a nine-speaker Bose audio system, keyless start, and ice blue ambient lighting. It also came out of the box with built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity, OnStar, navigation, Bluetooth audio streaming capability, and satellite radio. Apple CarPlay compatibility is new for all Regals for 2016.
During our week with the GS, we made sure to use its wealth of gagdets. We made sure to do nothing except drive and listen, too – not to the speakers on the inside, but to the mirrors on the outside. We didn’t hear much from them other than a whisper of wind noise.
2016 Buick Regal GS Performance
Just like in the cabin, there were a lot of things to like inside the GS’s engine bay. Two-hundred and 59, to be exact. That’s how many horsepower the GS’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine generates. It cranks out a healthy 295 lbft of torque, just as it does in non-GS Regals. The difference is that the GS produces that peak twist starting 500 rpm lower in the rev range – 2,500-4,000 rpm – than other Regals. Once it does, you feel it. We certainly did.
In fact, we felt it often. However, if we resisted the temptation to mash the right pedal, we were capable of getting 19 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined**.
Officially, there are three ways in which to drive the Regal GS: normal, Sport, and GS. To us, there was only one. The one with two letters. All we had to do to engage GS mode through the Interactive Drive Control system was push a button above the eight-inch touchscreen. Buick says doing that increases the damping levels and reduces body roll. We believe them. The GS felt totally composed – and we felt calm – when we took it into high-speed curves, such as those that are part of some highway flyovers.
Clearly, the Regal GS is a sporty sedan that behaves itself in turns, but it wouldn’t be a Buick if it didn’t ride well, too. Trust us, those tri-shield emblems are on the body for a reason. The Computer Damping Control, which continuously changed the car’s damping characteristics to strike a balance between ride comfort and handling capabilities, kept the ride quality appropriately stiff for a car that’s meant to be driven harder than the average Buick without punishing our spines when we passed over rough pavement.
When the road in front of us got twisty, the GS’s belt-driven electric power steering was quick to help. It was responsive off-center yet not twitchy. Separating ourselves from our slower fellow drivers was just a matter of pointing the GS’s power in the right direction. The smooth-shifting six-speed automatic was happy to oblige.
2016 Buick Regal GS Safety
Our Regal GS review special had a short list of cosmetic options that was dwarfed by the list of optional safety features that Buick stuffed into it. Driver Confidence Package #1 included Forward Collision Alert for when we were moving ahead, Rear Cross Traffic Alert for when we were backing up, and Lane Departure Warning and Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert for when we were moving left or right. Driver Confidence Package #2 made our lives easier with Adaptive Cruise Control and set our minds at ease with the presence of Front Automatic Braking. Luckily, we didn’t need its help. We kept our eyes open and used the brake pedal to make the calipers – aluminum Brembos up front – clamp down on the rotors in time, every time another vehicle happened to dart in front of us. The brakes engaged in a linear, predictable fashion – even when what was happening around us was anything but.
2016 Buick Regal GS Overall
The 2016 Buick Regal GS was a good-looking sporty sedan with a tech-heavy cockpit, a balanced suspension, responsive steering, and a variety of software safety nets in place. In other words, it was impressive.
Prices for the 2016 Regal start at $27,065*; our all-wheel-drive GS tester, after a $925 destination charge, had an as-tested price of $41,745. You can learn more about the 2016 Regal GS AWD at an AutoNation-affiliated Buick dealer.
*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2016 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.