The 2011 Buick Regal is really little more than a thinly disguised Opel Insignia. That's not a bad thing--the Insignia is a knockout in the midsize segment, and the Buick treatment doesn't mess with that. But soon we're going to get a hotter GS version sporting a turbo--and a coupe may be on the table as well.
The Regal GS is go for production, according to the latest word on the street. That means the all-wheel drive, 2.0-liter, turbocharged 255-horsepower four-cylinder version previewed at this year's Detroit Auto Show should head more or less unchanged to dealerships sometime next year. Oh, and it's available with a six-speed manual. An enthusiast Buick? It's not unprecedented. It's just a distant memory.
The one change that is mentioned from the concept is that the production car may do away with the Recaro sport seats in favor of more luxurious, adjustable options. We'd like to see the Recaros remain an option at least, as they'd shave weight and are generally still very comfortable despite fewer adjustments.
Also on the Buick docket today, in rumors at least, is the possibility of a Regal coupe. Opel is reportedly working on a successor to its Calibra, meaning a two-door version of the Insignia. While we aren't getting the wagon version of the Insignia here in the U.S., a coupe could make sense, especially as Buick works to reshape its image in a younger, sexier light.
The Insignia/Calibra coupe isn't expected in Europe until 2013, however, meaning it would wait at least that long before coming to America. One thing that could bode well for its arrival on our shores is that Opel would need to sell 30,000 units each year to make a business case for the car. That would be tough to achieve in Europe alone, but exporting them to the U.S. could bolster their numbers significantly. The idea of sharing the car out to North American GM brands was even floated by the "mole" sourced for the report.
We'll obviously have to wait and see on the coupe, but the Regal GS appears to be good to go. Promised changes are definitely afoot at Buick, and we're excited to see it--and even more excited to see what comes next.
[Detroit News, CAR]