In the past week, the first shipments of all new 2010 Buick Regal have been coming into New Jersey from Germany. And we're pleased to hear that starting this fall, the Regal will be available with flex-fuel compatibility. Although the first several months of Regal production will all be powered by a gasoline-only version of General Motors' normally aspirated 2.4-liter inline four.
Once the 2.0-liter direct injected turbo four cylinder starts arriving in late August, both engines will be able to run on either gasoline or E85 ethanol. The turbocharged variant will be GM's first production E85-capable turbocharged and direct injected engine. The engine was originally developed for the new Saab 9-5, which uses the same Epsilon II platform as the Regal, and GM decided to install it in the U.S.-spec Buick as well.
According Jim Federico, vehicle line executive for the global mid size platform, combining direct injection and turbo charging will allow the new engine to get much closer to the volumetric fuel efficiency of gasoline while running on ethanol. Until now, normally aspirated flex-fuel engines typically have gotten about 15 percent worse fuel efficiency while on ethanol. The Regal engine should cut that deficit to the mid-single digits and future versions should be just about even.