In October, DailyXY was invited to try the newly redesigned Buick Regal and Regal GS in rural Kentucky. The weather was unseasonably warm and the curved and hilly roads were bone dry. I praised the Regal, a tightly tuned entry-luxury sedan with real performance savvy.
Last month, we were invited to test the same vehicles, focusing on the available all-wheel drive. The weather was seasonably miserable and the ‘roads’ were a rain-soaked suite of exercises on winter ice tracks at Montreal’s fabulous ICAR facility. I’m praising the Regal again for the same reasons, plus one: magnificent oversteer capabilities. More on that soon.
The event began with a 125km drive from YUL to Chateau Montebello, the world’s biggest log cabin, along both sides of the Ottawa River, which we forded (apologies to the sponsors) on an ice bridge.
How very Canadian! The ‘bridge’ was slightly beveled which, we learned, were frigid waves created by overly aggressive drivers. So we were discouraged from testing the Regal’s performance there.
However, just down the road was another ice bridge whose owner was a hoon. Partnered with a writer who races in his spare time, I got a first taste of the all-wheel drive’s donut magic, sugaring it gently at first with kicked up snow, before dipping it completely into a snowbank. Wicked fun.
The next day, at ICAR we truly tested it.
The session culminated with thirty minutes of laps around a slushy and thoroughly entertaining 1.6km winter racecourse. (Just a half hour was exhausting stuff. Spirited driving always reminds me just how fit real racers must be.) Fun as that was, the highlight came earlier on the circular ice pad.
The Regal’s AWD system’s maximum power split is 90% rear and 10%, which offered some superb oversteer opportunities. With in-car direction from racing instructors, it was surprisingly easy to put the Regal AWD into oversteer slide sideways for several 360o rotations before, once again, spinning out into a (different) snowbank.
Donuts and winter? The Regal AWD is definitely a good choice for winter.
Though a co-owner and former editor of DailyXY, Steven Bochenek is actually an advertising writer who does some journalism on the side. In 2011 he was accepted into the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. His other interests include playing music, long-distance running, skiing and writing in the third person.
Photo courtesy of the author.