2011 Buick Regal Turbo: Blown be four

2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo

2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo

When Buick originally announced the all-new 2011 Buick Regal, two things were promised: All Regals would be powered by four cylinder engines, and the Regal would have a full range of models. The 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo would meet both qualifications.

So far so good. The 2011 Buick Regal, developed alongside the Opel Insignia, made by General Motors’ German subsidiary and winner of the European Car of the Year, arrived in the U.S. in the premium CXL trim only. Even as the top of the line, the Regal CXL was powered by a four.

That was hardly a handicap. The four cylinder engine under the hood of the 2011 Regal CXL is GM’s 2.4-liter Ecotec, a sophisticated engine with direct injection and a smooth and powerful personality.

2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine

The 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

Next up is the the2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo. Released this spring, the Turbo lives up to its name with a 2.0-liter turbocharged version GM’s Ecotec four, and as one might expect, the Regal Turbo’s four makes more power than the 2.4-liter naturally-aspirated engine, 220  horsepower versus 182 horses. More importantly from a performance standpoint, the turbo trumps the standard engine in torque, 258 versus 172 lb-ft.

That’s a big difference, and what’s more, the standard engine’s torque peak doesn’t come until a lofty 4900 rpm while the Turbo is at its max at 2000 rpm. What that means is an engine that’s more energetic around town, with more response from the throttle pedal and less need to press it harder to keep up with traffic.

Actually, keeping up was not a problem we experienced during a recent weeklong sojourn with a Quicksilver Metallic 2011 Buick Regal Turbo. Indeed, it was other cars that seemed always to be lagging behind driving away from traffic lights, and that without us really trying very hard.

Pressed, the Buick Regal CXL Turbo did not have any problem with a high-speed merge and didn’t feel stressed doing it. Traditionally GM four-cylinder engines featured all-out thrashiness as revs approach redline. Not so with the Ecotec Turbo. Our notes say that the engine “likes revs,” that it’s “smooth at high revs” and that it’s “a neat sounding engine.”

Are we talking about a General Motors’ four?

Indeed we are.

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John is a veteran auto writer, first published in Custom Rodder magazine in 1980. Since then, he has been published in all the big car magazines, including Car and Driver, Road & Track, Motor Trend, Auto Week, Automobile, plus a variety of others, including but certainly not limited to Automobile Quarterly, Collectible Automobile, and Special Interest Automobiles. John’s work has also been featured in a number of consumer and general interest magazines such as Consumers Digest, Popular Science and others. John has written four books, including a history of the Mazda RX-7 (selling for more out-of-print than it did new), buyers’ guides for Mazda, Datsun/Nissan and Volvo cars, and is co-author of 365 Cars You Must Drive with Motor Trend editor Matt Stone, and his work has been translated into Italian, Estonian, Portuguese, Russian, and Bulgarian. John is recipient of the prestigious Ken Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism, awarded by the International Motor Press Association, and the Golden Quill from the Washington Automotive Press Association. John has three adult daughters and has been married for more that four decades to Mary Ann, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.