Buick continues to try to convince everyone that its cars are cool, but we still haven’t seen much evidence of this working. However, the 2019 Buick Regal GS is exactly the car that can help change people’s minds about Buick in 2019. It has big red Brembos sitting inside superbly stylish wheels, bright red GS emblems everywhere, aggressive bodywork and some of the best sport seats in any car today. Buick truly made the GS look the part, and if you can get past the brand’s Wal-Mart greeter personality, you’re going to like the way it drives, too.
The GS’s throttle response is a little numb from the get-go, but put any revs to it and the car is ready to leap forward at any speed. This immediacy is increased when you put it into “GS” mode, which sharpens up the throttle, quickens shifts, stiffens the suspension, sends more power to the rear wheels and makes the steering heavier.
The nine-speed is seamless and unobtrusive in traffic, but offers up surprisingly quick shifts when you’re flat-out. Most of the time I end up ignoring the paddle shifters on cars with torque converter automatics, so I wasn’t exactly missing them here. You can select the gears via the gear lever’s slapstick function if you really want to, but it’s hardly more engaging than just letting the car go at it. In GS mode it holds gears long enough and resists shifting out of the power band.
We’ll chalk some of that up to the Continuous Damping Control (CDC) shocks that are able to make 500 adjustments per second. In normal mode, the ride is buttery smooth, as I’m cocooned in the soft sport seat. Switch it into GS mode and the shocks stiffen up considerably, bringing about a distinct harshness on rough roads. All of a sudden, your supple ride turns into a comparably agitating one, unless you happen to find yourself on smooth, curvy roads.
In its stiffest setting, there’s still a bit of body roll, but it’s kept in check enough to never get sloppy. The 4,270-pound curb weight is hefty but not unmanageable as it does a fine impression of a German sport sedan when pushed on a backroad. We had mixed feelings about the steering in GS mode, though.