DETROIT, Dec. 21, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Imagine racing up a twisting mountain road, taking each turn as confidently as a rally champ, and then cruising comfortably down a suburban boulevard, ensconced in luxury without ever changing vehicles. Too much to ask of one car? Not if that car is the all-new 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo.
Regal Turbo, arriving at dealerships now, offers not one, not two, but three unique driving experiences, each selectable by a push of a button. The 2.0L turbocharged sedan features an exclusive chassis technology that allows the driver to choose between standard, touring and sport driving styles.
The Interactive Drive Control System changes the Regal Turbo's driving dynamics by altering suspension, shift pattern and steering sensitivity through the variable effort steering system. The touring setting offers a comfortable, relaxed driving experience for long journeys. The sport setting enhances road-holding capability. And the standard, or default, setting is optimized for all driving situations.
"Interactive Drive Control links vehicle systems together, changing perceivable vehicle characteristics as it adapts to driver inputs," said Bill Rietow, GM lead development engineer. "The driver can really feel the difference."
The driver also can personalize the sport setting through the vehicle's radio configuration menu to allow or disallow for any combination of the three features: steering, suspension or powertrain. If a driver likes the added steering effort but not the firmness of the suspension, he or she can simply turn off the suspension portion.
The other major benefit of Interactive Drive Control is that it intuitively adapts the vehicle's performance settings to individual driving styles. When a driver begins to drive more aggressively it will automatically tighten the suspension and increase steering effort. When the vehicle senses that the driver is cruising, it adjusts settings for rolling smoothness and comfort.
The system also offers enhanced vehicle stability and greater driving safety. All four dampers are electronically controlled and continuously adapt within milliseconds to the prevailing road conditions, vehicle movements and individual driving style. If an obstacle must be avoided when the car is in touring mode, various chassis sensors convey this to the driving mode control and the dampers are stiffened within milliseconds, delivering greater body control.
Interactive Drive Control helps place Regal at the forefront of an emerging trend for greater personalization of the driving experience, made possible by advances in electrification and computerization of onboard vehicle systems.
According to George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, a marketing research and consultancy firm, consumers now expect new vehicles to offer advanced capability in both dynamic driving performance and smart technologies such as voice activation, navigation and steering wheel controls.
"It used to be that cocktail conversation revolved around how much horsepower your car had or how fast you could go, but now it's evolved into a conversation about advanced technologies and what the vehicle can do for you that it couldn't do before," Peterson said. "Our data show that the amount of interaction a driver can have with a vehicle is stimulating anywhere from a quarter to a third of sales."
Regal's reinvention as a luxury sedan for the tech savvy isn't limited to the Turbo model. A modified version of Interactive Drive Control is coming next year to the all-new 2012 Regal GS, which is an even sportier expression of Regal line. Like the Regal Turbo, GS will offer three operating modes. But in the GS, the driver will select from standard, sport and GS.
Selecting GS mode optimizes the car for dynamic driving, tightening the suspension and steering response. "Standard," or the default mode, is the setting for all-around use. The sport mode provides a level of performance between standard and the GS modes.
"By enabling drivers to tune their vehicle to their driving situation and even their mood, we're better able to exceed their expectations and provide a more satisfying driving experience," said Robert Casparian, Regal product manager. "We fully expect to see this capability become more widely available in years to come."
Buick is a modern luxury brand offering vehicles with sculpted designs, luxurious interiors with thoughtful personal technologies, along with responsive-yet-efficient performance. Buick is attracting new customers with its portfolio of award-winning models, including the Enclave crossover, LaCrosse sedan and Regal sport sedan. The new Buick Verano compact sedan and a small crossover will join the portfolio in the next few years. Buick's sales continue to increase in North America, and it remains a best-selling brand in China, with continuing record growth. Learn more about Buick cars and crossovers at www.buick.com, on Twitter @buick or at www.facebook.com/buick.
SOURCE General Motors