|More Information on the Opel Omega|
The Opel Omega is an executive car engineered and manufactured by the German automaker Opel between 1986 and 2003. The first generation, the Omega A (1986–1993), superseded the Opel Rekord, was voted European Car of the Year for 1987, and was available as a saloon or estate. The second generation, the Omega B, was manufactured from 1993 to 2003.
Rebadged variants of the Omega were marketed worldwide, including in North America as the Cadillac Catera, in Great Britain as the Vauxhall Omega and South America as the Chevrolet Omega. Re-engineered versions were manufactured in Australia since 1997 as the Holden Commodore (and its derivatives) since 1999, which were in turn exported to South America as the Chevrolet Omega and the Middle East as the Chevrolet Lumina.
Production of the Omega was discontinued in 2003 with no direct replacement, apart from the Australian re-engineered versions that carried on until 2006 as a sedan and 2007 in other guises. After vacating the executive car segment, Opel's tried to fill the market void with "expensive" versions of the then-existing Vectra and Signum ranges. Opel re-entered the market segment in 2008 with the Insignia.
Omega A (1986–1993)
The original Omega went into production in September 1986, as a replacement for the Opel Rekord, which had been in production since 1978. Sales began in November. The body was designed as an evolution of the previous Opel design theme engineered more towards aerodynamics in view of higher fuel prices and the general drive towards more fuel efficiency. The result was a remarkable drag coefficient of 0.28 (0.32 for the Caravan). The whole development program cost 2 billion Deutschmark.
It was voted European Car of the Year for 1987.
Compared to the Rekord, the Omega featured many modern technological advances, which were new to Opel in general, if not to the volume segment European automotive market. These included electronic engine management, ABS, on-board computer (which displayed parameters such as momentary fuel consumption or average speed), air-conditioned glove compartment and even the then-fashionable LCD instrument cluster (available in CD version from 1987 but dropped in 1991). More importantly, the Omega came with a self-diagnose system (which is now a standard feature in present-day cars), whose output could be read by appropriately equipped authorised service stations.
The Omega A's platform was also modified to form the basis of the Australian second generation Holden Commodore up to 1997, commencing with the 1988 VN series.
All of the Opel Omega models used a longitudinally-mounted engine with a rear-wheel drive setup, with a five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic transmission. The engine range consisted of 1.8 L, 2.0 L and 2.4 L four-cylinder units (as well as 2.0 L, 2.3 L Diesel, and 2.3 L turbodiesel) to 2.6 L, 3.0 L, and 3.0 L-24v six-cylinder units. The 1.8 L and 2.0 L four-cylinder petrol engines were all based on the Family II design, whilst the six-cylinder units and the 2.4 L four-cylinder were based on the older Opel CIH (Cam In Head) family.
In Brazil, car was sold as Chevrolet Omega and was powered by 2.0 L I4 or 3.0 L I6 Opel engines until 1994. Since the discontinuation of the Omega A in Germany, General Motors do Brasil needed new engines to continue production. The 2.0 L I4 was replaced by 2.2 L I4 engine (116 PS (85 kW; 114 hp), 197 N·m (145 lb·ft)), and the 3.0 L I6 was replaced by 4.1 L (250ci) Chevrolet Straight-6 engine (168 PS (124 kW; 166 hp), 285 N·m (210 lb·ft)), which was tuned by Lotus and equipped with multi-port fuel injection. Chevrolet Omega was produced until 1998.
Notable trim levels and special variants
The four basic trim levels were LS, GL, GLS and CD (from least to most expensive). The base LS was clearly intended for the fleet market, with the sedan unavailable to individual customers in some markets. The LS Caravan was also available as a panel van with rear side windows covered with body-coloured foil rather than replaced by solid panels.
For the 1991 year, the Omega A was afforded a facelift, which encompassed slight alterations to front and rear fascias, as well as interior materials and additional sound dampening. The until-then base 1.8 L engine was dropped. The LS and GLS trim levels were also dropped, while the CD was joined by Club and CD Diamant.
This options package was introduced in 1988 and could be added onto the GLS, LS and CD trim version. It included alloy wheels, metallic paint, tinted windows, stereo with cassette player, various leather trim in the interior, as well as a painted grille and door mirrors. It sold well and the package was kept after the facelift and a similar system with the same name was used for the Omega B.
The Omega 3000 was the sports version of the Omega A model range. It featured a straight-6, 3.0-litre, 12-valve engine, which produced 177 bhp (132 kW; 179 PS). Other modifications from the base model included a lowered suspension and limited slip differential, as well as different fascias and a rear spoiler. The car had a top speed of 220 km/h (137 mph), and accelerated from 0–100 km/h in 8.8 seconds.
In 1989, the Omega 3000 was upgraded. The engine now had 24 valves, two overhead camshafts, and a variable intake manifold (Opel Dual Ram system). It also used a more advanced engine control unit. Power increased to 204 bhp (152 kW; 207 PS), which increased top speed to 240 km/h (149 mph), and 0–100 km/h time dropped to 7.6 seconds. In countries where the car was sold as a Vauxhall, the Omega 3000 was called the Carlton GSi 3000.
Omega Evolution 500
This was limited series model produced together with Irmscher. It was built so Opel could compete in the DTM. The car had a 3-litre straight-6 producing 230 bhp (172 kW; 233 PS) . The car accelerated from 0–100 km/h in 7.5 seconds and had a top speed of 249 km/h (155 mph).
The racing version used on the track had 380 bhp (283 kW; 385 PS), accelerated to 100 km/h (62 mph) in about 5 seconds, and could reach nearly 300 km/h (186 mph) . It did not, however, achieve great success.
In 1989, Opel sanctioned a high performance version of the Omega built in cooperation with Lotus. This version was named the Lotus Omega or Lotus Carlton depending on whether the base car was sold as an Opel Omega or Vauxhall Carlton in their respective European markets. The car was built using a variety of parts from other GM suppliers and manufacturers. The engine was based on Opel's standard 3.0-litre 24-valve, which was handed to Lotus to modify. As a result, engine capacity rose to 3.6 litres; in addition, two Garrett T25 turbochargers were installed along with a water-cooled intercooler. The engine management was also modified and the ignition changed to an AC Delco type (same system as the Lotus Esprit uses). The result was a 377 bhp (281 kW; 382 PS) high performance engine. This Omega also inherited a larger differential from Holden's Commodore with a 45% LSD, whereas the gearbox was a 6-speed manual ZF gearbox fitted to the Corvette ZR1. The tyres were custom-made by Goodyear and can be recognised by the small Greek letter O (Omega) on the side. These were required as this car could reach 280 to 300 km/h (186 mph), which made this Omega the world's fastest production sedan at the time. This was a controversial fact given that the other major German manufacturers producing high performance cars had been fitting speed limiters to not allow maximum speeds higher than 250 km/h (155 mph). The 1,663 kg (3,666 lb) car accelerated from 0–100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.3 seconds, 0–160 km/h (99 mph) in 11.5 seconds.
Omega B1 (1994–1999)
The 1994 Omega B was an all-new car with a modern exterior design, but a traditional rear-wheel drive chassis. The engine range was all-new. Its MV6 model was rebadged and sold in the United States as Cadillac Catera between 1997 and 2001. The Omega B's platform was also modified to form the basis of the Australian third generation Holden Commodore up to 2006, commencing with the 1997 VT series.
This was 1995 Semperit Irish Car of the Year in Ireland.
Leaked images of a design studio mockup, featuring Opel badges and "D" plates, emerged in Europe in February 1990. The media at the time described the new saloon as coupé–like, speculating a release in 1992–1993. Meanwhile, the Cadillac Aurora presented by General Motors at the 1990 Chicago Auto Show in February, was the concept car that bore close resemblance to the Omega B's eventual design style.
Omega B2 (1999–2003)
The Omega B2 was launched in autumn 1999 as a facelift of the B. It was distinguished by relatively minor revisions to the front and rear styling, centre console and the introduction of electronic stability program (ESP).
Late in 1999, the Omega received a facelift and a 2.2 L 16-valve engine was added to the range as an eventual replacement for the 2.0 L.
The following year, a 3.2 L V6 engine replaced the 3.0 L V6 unit, and a 2.6 L V6 engine replaced the 2.5 L V6 unit. Year 2001 brought also brand new diesel 2.5 DTI engine from BMW, with "Common Rail" system.
Omega V8 (prototypes)
Opel was aiming to compete with the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, deciding to put the V8 engine into what was at the time, the flagship model Opel Omega. There were prototypes of sedan and station wagon version (equipped with multimedia systems, and named V8.com).
The V8.com concept car project was meant to be a "mobile office" it was built on Omega station wagon which was elongated by 130mm, to provide more space for the passengers and additional equipment; containing separate 9.5 inch LCD screens for all passengers, internet access and integrated video conference mobile phone system with separate cameras and microphones providing passengers hands-free operation. Additionally the car was equipped with Xenon headlights, and Advanced Frontlighting System (AFS), automatically adjustable to the road conditions.
Hence the name it was powered by a GM LS1 V8 engine.
The car debuted at Frankfurt Motor Show in 1999.
Opel was planning to upgrade its flagship Omega model with powerful GM LS1 V8 engine used in Chevrolet Corvette. Unlike V8.com which was the concept car, this model was intended to go into the serial production. Omega V8 was shown publicly for the first time at 70th Geneva Motor Show (March 2–12, 2000). The V8-engined version was to be put on sale autumn 2000.
The reasons for cancelling production plans were concerns about whether the engine was vollgasfest (German, "Full throttle resistant") - the engine might overheat and be damaged if driven flat out on the Autobahn for long periods of time, although Holden equipped its Commodore (which was a re-engineered Omega for Australian market) with the same engine. A version of this platform was used for the Holden Monaro which was marketed in the US as the fourth generation Pontiac GTO and in the UK as the Vauxhall Monaro.
End of the Omega
In the United Kingdom, the Vauxhall Omega proved to be a successful saloon despite being slated in many reviews for heavy depreciation and unreliability. Omegas were a regular sight on United Kingdom roads, sporting police livery and as covert traffic surveillance cars. However, just four years after introduction of its latest incarnation – Omega B2, and 17 years since introduction of Omega A, production of this model ended without a successor. On 25 June 2003, the last Omega rolled out of the factory in Rüsselsheim – it was a silver 3.2 L V6 Omega B2, number 797,011.
Following the demise of its direct rivals, the Ford Scorpio & Rover 800, Opel/Vauxhall found themselves competing against BMW's 5 Series, with minimal sales success. Apart from the Australian re-engineered Holden Commodore models that carried on until 2006 for the sedan (wagons and utilities until 2007), production of the Omega ended in 2003 with no direct replacement. In Europe, the gap in the range was indirectly filled by more "expensive" versions of the then–existing Vectra and Signum.
Stories and photographs of a "new" successor appeared in the motoring press a year later. However, in the case of Auto Express, its October 2004 article simply featured the Holden Torana TT36 concept car, which itself previewed the 2006 Holden Commodore. Nevertheless, Holden contributed in the Omega badge remaining alive by it, for the entry–level model of its new Commodore. Unlike prior models since 1978, this new Holden was no longer based on an Omega platform.
As of 2015, there are only 14,773 Vauxhall Omegas left in the UK.