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Although the Regal name has been used before, it's being brought back for an entirely new sedan that has very little in common with the previous vehicles of the same name. The Buick Regal is a sporty, internationally tuned luxury sedan that will go on sale for 2011. It is an all-new mid-size sedan, to be powered by a new generation of powerful and economical 4-cylinder engines. <p><p>Regal models will only be offered as mid-range CXL and sporty GS models for 2011, though a base CX is on the way for late in the model year.
GM will offer the 2011 Buick Regal with two different engines: a 182-horsepower, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder on the CXL and a 220-hp, 2.0-liter four on the sporty GS model, set to go on sale later this summer. Both variants are hooked up to a 6-speed automatic transmission in this front-wheel-drive sedan.
The turbocharged engine in the GS is intended to perform like a V6, producing low-rev torque that's comparable thanks to a quick-response twin-scroll turbocharger. Estimated fuel economy figures for the base engine are be 20 mpg city, 30 highway, while the turbo is almost as good at 18 mpg city and 29 mpg highway.
On the outside, the Regal has a curvier, more aggressive and performance-oriented look, and that carries over to the inside, where the Regal includes firmly bolstered sport seats and has an instrument panel that flows uninterrupted through to the door panels. Ice-blue lighting and a thick-rim steering wheel set a sportier mood than that of Buicks of the recent past.
With an overall length of about 190 inches and a wheelbase of about 108 inches, the Regal is sized slightly smaller than today's larger mid-size sedans like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord--it promises to be a bit more maneuverable than those--yet it's just large enough to promise real backseat space for adults. Trunk space is also respectable for this class, at more than 14 cubic feet.
Among the safety features included with all Regal models are electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and a full roster of airbags (rear-seat thorax bags will be available); the Regal's stiffer, more rigid body structure is a safety asset while helping with ride and handling. The Regal follows the same layout as the European-market Opel Insignia and its suspension (MacPherson struts in front, 4-link independent in back) was developed in Germany; it has been tuned for responsive handling while allowing a reasonably absorbent, though quite firm, ride. Hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering provides the right level of assist for high-performance driving, while 4-wheel disc brakes back it up with strong stopping power.
One of the breakthrough features available on the Regal GS is the Interactive Drive Control System (IDCS), which integrates the stability control system with electronically controlled dampers, to allow a soft, comfortable ride when cruising but tighten up the suspension within milliseconds when needed for emergency maneuvers. The system comes with three modes: Normal, Tour and Sport, with the latter sustaining the sharper setting.
Standard features on the CXL will be generous, including a power driver's seat, heated front seats, leather upholstery, a Bluetooth hands-free system, XM satellite radio and the OnStar security and assistance system. Top options on the Regal will include a navigation system and a Harman Kardon sound system with hard-drive storage for up to 10 GB for music, along with a USB port. GS models will include a host of extra appearance and performance features, including larger 19-inch wheels packaged with the IDCS system.