In his review of the Buick Regal Turbo, GM Authority’s Manoli Katakis wrote that the Interactive Drive Control System is “perhaps the most overlooked” feature of the car. We’re here to shed some light on this marvel of engineering.
On the surface, the Interactive Drive Control System (IDCS) offers a choice of different driving experiences. But for the purpose of enthusiasts such as ourselves, IDCS is capable of changing the personality of the Regal based on the piloting mood of the driver.
The Driving Control Module
It all begins with an intricate computer sensing mechanism called the Driving Control Module, which continually monitors driving characteristics and form, including yaw rate, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, steering wheel motion, throttle application, and vehicle speed. Monitoring and analyzing this data in a matter of milliseconds (yes, milliseconds!), the Driving Control Module (DCM) defines the vehicle’s dynamic state, including acceleration, braking, and cornering — all in an effort to optimize chassis reactions and improve driving experience.
The DCM has the ability to electronically control all four dampers and continuously adapt the vehicle’s chassis to differing road conditions, vehicle movements, and driving style. And when the driver selects one of the Regal’s three different operating modes — Normal, Tour, or Sport — the DCM goes on to adjust such settings as throttle response, the shift pattern of the automatic transmission, and steering sensitivity. So what of the three driving modes?
The Normal mode is just that — the default setting that provides a balanced driving experience optimized for all driving situations. It is primarily used for daily commuting and city traffic and is active when neither of the two following modes is selected.
Optimized for comfort and a relaxed driving experience on long journeys, Tour mode is the perfect setting for long-distance cruising or rough road conditions. It offers increased comfort and a softer ride. And although most official Regal literature doesn’t mention it, Tour is also great for those in the market for a cushy ride on short trips, not just the lengthy kind.
Most likely the mode many GM Authority readers will enable on a frequent basis, Sport is optimized for spirited driving. It optimizes the car for dynamic piloting by tightening the suspension, speeding up the reaction of the auto tranny, and tuning the chassis for a firmer ride — all resulting in better road holding ability.
Smart, Safe, Sporty
The IDCS isn’t only about offering preset driving modes, however, as it also applies certain settings to individual driving styles on the fly. For instance, if the driver begins to motor in a more aggressive fashion while in Normal mode, the IDCS will tighten the suspension and increase steering and throttle response. Alternatively, if the system perceives relaxed cruising, it will adjust for smoothness and comfort — all on the fly.
That kind of instantaneous capability allows the Regal to be a safer vehicle in emergency situations, as well. Driving in Tour mode, for example, the sensors comprehend a sudden movement — such as that to avoid another car — and the IDCS will stiffen the dampers within milliseconds, thereby delivering greater control to the driver to make the sudden maneuver.
Did we mention this happens automatically and in a matter of milliseconds? We don’t mean to drool, but we find that to simply be remarkable.
The GM Authority Take
If you haven’t yet experienced the Interactive Drive Control System for yourself, you’re missing out. In fact, we’re of the opinion that all Buick sedans — not just the Regal — should be equipped with IDCS, since the brand seems to be straddling a fine line between performance and comfort. If that is indeed the case, then IDCS certainly goes a long way towards achieving the feat. Oh, and the fact that the Regal GS has its own version of the IDCS makes us giggle that much more frequently.