Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Buick Makes eAssist Standard on Compact Regal

Also introduces automatic option on sporty GS.

by on Feb.07, 2012

The 2012 Buick Regal shown with Regals past.

Buick will drop the conventionally-powered I-4 version of its Regal model, making the “mild” hybrid eAssist the standard powertrain for the compact sedan starting in 2013.

That’s the same strategy that the maker has taken with the midsize Buick LaCrosse.  In the smaller Regal, the gas-electric driveline delivers as much as 36 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA.

Subscribe Now - It's Free!

Meanwhile, the mid-luxury General Motors brand has announced it will introduce a new automatic gearbox for the sporty, turbocharged version of the compact sedan, the Regal GS.  Until now, it has only been available with a six-speed stick, a sales-limiting factor in today’s U.S. market.

The eAssist system is a light, or mild hybrid, meaning it cannot be used to drive the Regal solely on electric power even for short distances – unlike “full” hybrids like the Toyota Prius or Ford Fusion Hybrid.  The basic powertrain pairs a 182-horsepower 2.4-liter naturally aspirated gasoline engine with a 15-kilowatt electric motor.  The EPA rates the system at 25 City/36 Highway.

The eAssist system is also available on both the Buick LaCrosse and the new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco.  The underlying system is likely to reappear on other General Motors products in the next few years, GM officials have hinted.

“By making the advanced eAssist powertrain standard on a second [Buick] vehicle, we are putting the spotlight on smart technology,” Buick marketing vice president Tony DiSalle said.

With the GS, the sportiest version of the Buick Regal, the six-speed automatic will be offered as a no-cost option.  The transmission, which will feature a manual shifting mode, is expected to significantly increase the appeal of the Regal GS by making it “even more accessible” to those who don’t like or don’t know how to drive a manual gearbox.

The current manual version makes 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.  The automatic is expected to match the stick’s performance, GM rating it at 6.7 seconds 0 to 60 – while the current GS model’s mileage numbers will also remain at 19/27 with the automatic.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.