The eagerly awaited 2013 Buick Verano Turbo has arrived and, equipped with the six-speed manual transmission, look quick, because this one flies.
Yes, I said a six-speed manual transmission in a Buick. With the turbo power plant, what is supposed to be the small entry level sedan in the luxury Buick line, suddenly becomes a very respectable performance sedan that looks like the traditional Buick sedan, but performs very close to its more expensive sports sedan sibling, the Buick Regal GS.
Earlier this year, we tested a 2012 Verano with the naturally aspirated 2.4L Ecotec with six-speed automatic delivering 180 hp and 171 lb.-ft. of torque. Though we liked the new Verano overall, our summary was that it was seriously short of “metal under the pedal”. We suggested Buick get a more robust power plant like the turbo into the Verano as quickly as possible.
In June Buick announced the 2013 Verano Turbo was coming in late 2012 and now it is here.
This late arriving 2013 Verano Turbo (Premium 1ST equipment group) comes equipped with the Ecotec 2.0L four-cylinder turbocharged engine with its continuously variable valve timing delivering a very robust 250 hp and a whopping 260 lb.-ft. of torque. Equipped with either the six-speed automatic or the manual transmission, this Verano can do 0-60 in a low six seconds.
It adds additional performance and appearance features like dual exhaust, sport pedals, rear spoiler and all the standard features from the Leather (1SL) and Convenience (1SG) models, including heated leather steering wheel and seats, premium nine-speaker Bose audio system plus the Buick QuietTuning and ride they are known for.
Buick IntelliLink is standard in all Verano models, including vehicles equipped with available GPS-enabled navigation system. Enhancements for 2013 integrate more functionality, including improved voice commands and additional SiriusXM Satellite Radio features.
On the safety side the rearview camera standard on all models and this Verano has Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.
Our test 2013 Verano Turbo was in the new Luxo Blue Metallic with a cashmere interior. The new color is bold and distinctive attracting attention on the road and serious attention when you spin up the turbo power and shift quickly through the gearbox. This new Verano Turbo, does not make a lot of noise as it moves out, but it does not need to. Action speaks louder than the words.
Though I was a bit unsure how I would feel driving a Buick with a “stick shift” and front wheel drive (FWD), the uncertainty passed on the very first day as I found this Buick Verano Turbo to be very nimble yet steady off the line. As I wound the RPM’s into the 4,000 to 4,500 range before shifting to the next higher gear, the torque was nicely matched to the drive train in each gear giving fast and smooth acceleration.
The only concern I had was the tendency of the power to want to overwhelm the front wheel drive traction (torque steer) if I was not careful. With only a bit of practice with each gear and the engine revs, I was able to eliminate that determining that it was probably a tire traction issue rather than torque steer.
The base 2013 Buick Verano Turbo with the 1ST package and manual transmission has an MSRP of $29,105. The test car had the power sun roof added for $900 plus the upgraded audio system with navigation included for $795.
With delivery, this 2013 Buick Verano Turbo with six-speed manual transmission is $30,800. Buick has a solid entry level luxury performance vehicle in the new Verano Turbo with a lot of value included for the, just over, $30,000 price.
For those considering moving to a Buick and able to look at a higher price point with some more features, the Buick Regal is the designated sport sedan of the Buick luxury line.
The Regal is about is about $36,000 for a similarly equipped model, but has some performance features more typical of a sports sedan like the Interactive Drive Control System which is available on the Regal Turbo (1SR). The Interactive Drive Control System adapts damping and other driving functions to drivers’ preferences. It includes 19-inch wheels (Verano has 18-inch).
While the Regal Turbo offers Interactive Drive Control with the choice of a standard adaptive setting, a more comfortable Tour mode and a Sport mode, moving up to the Regal GS gives a system deliberately tuned for those who enjoy a higher level of performance:
Standard : Delivers ideal all-round performance while maintaining comfort characteristics for everyday driving.
Sport : Features a firmer level of suspension damping and reduces body roll for more agility. The sport mode increases steering effort only on the Regal Turbo.
Tour (exclusive to Regal Turbo): Optimized for comfort and relaxed driving on longer journeys.
GS (exclusive to Regal GS): Readies the car for dynamic, enthusiast- level driving. Increased steering efforts provide more direct feedback to the driver, while increased damping levels ensure ultimate wheel control and reduced body roll for ultimate agility. GS mode will also alter the shift feel on an automatic transmission.
The Regal GS package also includes unique GS bodywork, GS interior, HiPer Strut front transmission, Brembo front brakes, front parking assist, 19-inch 5 twin-spoke alloy wheels.
Moving to the Regal GS, the delivered price will be in the $38,000 range.
Interestingly, though I am not sure it was intended, Buick now has two “sports sedans” in their line. One (Verano) at an entry level price point with most of the features and performance a sports sedan buyer would want and the other (Regal or Regal GS) with the rest of the features and features of a sports sedan with a bit higher price.