GM kills two of its own birds with one Buick

When the Buick Verano Turbo was announced, Jalopnik proclaimed “The Buick Verano Turbo just slapped your grandmother in the face.” While that was my favorite headline of the day by far, it is more accurate to say that GM is really slapping themselves. The Verano Turbo looks promising in every way, with 250hp, a manual transmission, a price likely to range from around 26k to 32k, all a little too promising for the likes of the Buick Regal GS and Cadillac ATS 2.5.

See, the Insignia OPC even looks the same as the Regal GS. The only difference is that it actually performs competently.

Starting with the Regal GS, the Verano has the same engine, is lighter, and is substantially cheaper. Claimed power and fuel economy are a little down on the Regal, but I suspect this is just on paper to try and preserve sales. The Verano Turbo essentially renders the current GS obsolete, and that is because GM gave us the wrong car to begin with. Everyone wanted the equivalent of the Opel Insignia OPC with its 325hp Turbo V6 and all wheel drive. It would have been a perfect competitor to the Audi S4, BMW 335xi, and maybe even the Subaru STI.Instead we got a front drive 2.0L turbo version, which has proved mediocre by all accounts. So, this marks the chance for GM to right its mistake and scrap the current GS for the all wheel drive monster we all want. Problem one fixed, on to problem two.

A single, awkward tailpipe marks the ATS that lives in the shadows of its unanimously acclaimed siblings. If you see someone driving one of these, know that they have made some serious compromises in their life, and that they probably aren’t happy……I know I wouldn’t be because that 2.0T would haunt my dreams.

In blunt terms there shouldn’t be a Cadillac ATS 2.5. It is a puny package unbefitting of the Cadillac brand, and it doesn’t even get really great fuel mileage as a consolation. I think a slightly beefed up version of the 1.4L turbo from the Cruze would have made a better option because at least then it could see 40mpg. I know they made it to compete with the lowest range of luxury sedans (Merc C250, G25, etc), but there were better ways to do it. Now people will be able to get a fully loaded Verano Turbo, with all of the luxury toys, for around the same price as the base ATS. Also, people who would buy the standard 2.5L ATS don’t care about rear wheel drive dynamics, so this decision will be a clear no-brainer to them…a loaded fast car, or a slow rental car?…hmm, decisions, decisions…

The point is, the Verano Turbo is a very good product at a very good price, and it is about to enter a lineup where some mistakes have been made. Hopefully GM will notice these mistakes and improve their product line accordingly. Overall they are really making progress these days. I like to criticize, sure, but I am really rooting for them to succeed deep down. I like what I have been seeing, and GM is definitely giving Americans something to be proud of again. Let’s all just hope they can keep it up…

UPDATE: Buick has announced that the Verano Turbo will start at $29,990, but that it will feature most of the top spec options from the normal Verano as standard. My base price estimate of 26k was assuming they would offer the same options structure as the normal version. In essence my argument here is still totally accurate despite GMs different optioning structure.

-Nick

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6 thoughts on “GM kills two of its own birds with one Buick”

  1. “Claimed power and fuel economy are a little down on the Regal, but I suspect this is just on paper to try and preserve sales.”

    Not too sure about that. Having lived and worked in both the USA & UK I have often seen identical cars from the likes of Ford sold in the USA with lower gas mileage than the UK car. I allowed for the difference between US & Imp Gals also.

    Perhaps this is GM doing the same and if it is, why?

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    1. I was referring to the Verano Turbo compared with the Regal GS. But as to your point I would suspect the reason for better fuel economy in Europe is the higher quality of gas over there. The best we have is 93oct, and most of our cars run on 87oct. I believe the lowest available in most of Europe is 95, with it climbing up to 98 or 99.

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    1. That may be, but this is about the Verano Turbo and Regal GS specifically. These buyers are concerned with performance and the simple fact is that the Verano turbo is faster, and nicer equipped, for a lower price than you can even get a Regal GS with no options on it. Bigger also is not always better, more weight usually means worse handling and mpgs.

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