Engine:2.0L I4 16V GDI DOHC Turbo
VIN (Vehicle Identification Number): 1G4PT5SV1E4102057
Stock Num: BE044
Model: Verano Premium Group
Exterior Color: White Diamond
Options: Drive Type: FWD
Number of Doors: 4 Doors
24314 State Road 54, Lutz, Florida, United States
110% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE!!! WE ACCEPT ALL CREDIT!!! Ferman @ Cypress Creek is part of the Ferman Automotive Group. 112 Years in business!
"This is just silly," I said as I laughed my way sideways around the icy track at Circuit ICAR, a racecourse, drag strip and kart track at the Montreal-Mirabel International Airport in Quebec. It wasn't the activity that had me cracking up, though. After all, winter driving experiences aren't uncommon in this business.
No, in this particular case, it was the car that had me chuckling. I wasn't in a mad hot hatch or a rally-derived rocket - I was in a Buick. The 2014 Regal GS, to be more precise. Somehow, despite its recent product renaissance (not to mention its distant - yet storied - history of performance models), I was having a hard time believing that this attractive, turbocharged, all-wheel-drive sedan sliding around the Great White North could possibly be wearing a Tri-Shield badge on its nose.
But it was, and slide about it did. While having access to a vehicle in this setting is fairly rare, what's rarer is the fact that I've had so much exposure to it. In Mr. Ewing's recent Volkswagen Golf R drive story, for instance, his ice capades were his first experience with the new model. In my case, though, I was lucky enough to first test the refreshed Regal GS for a week back in December before flying to Quebec to drive it on the snowy, icy, winding roads of Canada's most fiercely independent province and on the track at Mirabel.
Drive down the Autobahn and there's any number of vehicles likely to pass you, and most of them are produced locally. But if you're wondering how that Opel left you in its dust, look closely (and quickly) enough and you might make out the letters OPC on the back.
They stand for Opel Performance Center (the German counterpart to Vauxhall's VXR line) and they adorn performance versions of the Corsa, Astra and Insignia. The latter is undergoing a bit of a refresh and is expected to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in a couple of weeks, but you don't have to wait that long as our intrepid spy photographers have caught it in the flesh outside an Opel facility in Germany.
Spied here completely undisguised in Sports Tourer (read: wagon) form, the Insignia has had a few nips and tucks performed, but we'll be more intrigued to see what it's got under the hood. The current model packs a 2.8-liter twin-turbo V6 driving 325 horsepower to all four wheels, but rumors suggest that the OPC (yeah you know me!) could have as much as 400 hp up its sleeve. That would make this one heck of a sleeper - especially in wagon form - and only make us pine for a more potent version of its twin Buick Regal to roam our highways, too.
There are many vehicles we'd consider taking racing. Even on a cross-country rally as punishing as the Dakar. But a Buick Encore? That's not one that would enter our motorsports-based consciousness. Yet it's basically what General Motors is entering in the South American rally raid this year, and you're looking at it.
Unveiled at the Moscow Motor Show, this rally machine is based on (or at least billed as) an Opel Mokka - the name that GM's European brand applies to the vehicle Americans know as the Encore, Buick's subcompact crossover. Only it's obviously been extensively modified. It's got a ten-inch raised suspension, a 137-gallon fuel tank, carbon-fiber bodywork and... hold on, we're sure we're missing something here. Oh, right: a 6.2-liter V8 kicking out 340 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox.
In other words, this is not the same Encore (or Mokka) you can pick up at your local Buick, Opel or Vauxhall dealership. It's not even close. It's not even recognizable as such, really. It was unveiled alongside a more sedate Opel Mokka Moscow Edition and a slew of other local debuts for the Opel brand that you can read more about in the (translated and original) Russian press release below.