The History Of OPEL Omega

There was also an Oldsmobile Omega, an unrelated vehicle that was produced during the 1970s and 1980s

The Opel Omega was an executive car produced by the German automaker Opel between 1986 and 2003. Replacing the Opel Rekord, it was voted European Car of the Year for 1987. Like the Rekord, the Omega was produced at Rüsselsheim in Germany. There were two generations of the model, the latter (Omega B) debuted in 1993. The Omega was available as saloon or estate (Caravan).

In the United Kingdom, the Omega A was marketed as the second generation Vauxhall Carlton (the first generation Vauxhall Carlton having been a rebadged Opel Rekord) E2, and the Omega B generation as Vauxhall Omega. The Omega was also built and sold in Brazil badged as a Chevrolet Omega and Suprema (Caravan), but this name is now used for imported Holden Commodores. A badge engineered version of the Omega B MV6 was also sold in North America under the name of Cadillac Catera.

In the United Kingdom, the Benelux countries, Germany and Italy, the Omega was widely used as a police car and was once commonly used as a security vehicle to transport politicians etc. Following the cessation of production in 2003, the closest Vauxhall equivalent now used by police forces is the Opel Vectra. The car has also been converted into limousines and hearses.

Production of the Omega ceased in 2003. There was no direct replacement for it, as executive models from "non-prestige" manufacturers were proving less popular by the early 2000s; rival manufacturer Ford had pulled out of this sector in 1998 on the demise of its Scorpio.


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.

The Omega A was available in saloon and estate (Caravan) bodystyles as a competitor for the likes of the Ford Scorpio and Rover 800. Like the late Rekord, the Omega A adopted the Vauxhall Carlton nameplate for the British market. The Rekord-based Opel Senator A was also superseded by the Senator B, based on a similar concept - a stretched Omega platform and body along with some unique sheetmetal modifications.

Technical novelties

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 some 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 authorized service stations.


All Omegas 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 comprised of 1.8L, 2.0L and 2.4L four-cylinder units (2.0L and 2.3L Diesel, 2.3L turbodiesel) to 2.6L, 3.0L, 3.0L-24v six-cylinder units. In Brazil, the Chevrolet Omega/ Suprema was powered to 2.0/ 2.2 four cylinders and 3.0 straight-6 Opel engine until 1994. Since the Omega A (and its 3.0 straight-six engine) was discontinued in Germany, the Brazilian GM factory needed a new engine for 1995. The cheapest (but not the best) solution was to fit the old 4100cc (250 cid), Chevrolet Straight-6 engine, a heavy and lazy engine compared to the original high-winding 3000cc Opel unit.

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 not available to individual customers in some markets. The LS Caravan was also available as a panel van with rear side windows covered with body-colored 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 1.8L engine was dropped. The LS and GLS trim levels were also dropped, while the CD was joined by Club and CD Diamant.

Omega 3000 / Carlton GSi

The Omega 3000 was the sports version of the Omega. It featured a straight-6, 3.0 litre, 12-valve engine, which produced 177 bhp. 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 222 km/ h, 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, which increased top speed to 240 km/ h, and 0-100 km/ h time dropped to 7.6 seconds.

In countries where the car was sold as a Vauxhall, the 3000 was called the Carlton GSi.

Omega 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.

Omega Edition '88

This was an options package offered as a special edition in 1988. It included metallic paint, alloy wheels, leather trim in the interior as well as tinted windows.

Omega Series Sportive

This was an options package for four-cylinder saloons and 6 cylinder estates. It included special 5-spoke wheels as well as other luxury items. It was dropped with the facelift.

Omega Club

The Club package was available on estates, and included a ride height adjustment, special seats and other luxuries.

Omega 24V

Factory modifications

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. The car accelerated from 0-100 km/ h in 7.5 seconds and had a top speed of 249 km/ h. The racing version used on the track had 380 BHP, accelerated to 100 km/ h in about 5 seconds, and could reach nearly 300 km/ h. It did not achieve great success however.

Lotus Omega/ Carlton

See main article: Lotus Carlton

In 1989, a high performance version built in cooperation with Lotus was introduced. The car was named the Lotus Omega or Lotus Carlton, depending on whether the base car was sold as an Opel Omega or Vauxhall Carlton respectively. The car was built using a great variety of parts from other GM suppliers and car manufacturers. The engine was a 3,0 litre 24 valve item, and this was handed to Lotus for the tuneup. Lotus added a hardened and larger crankshaft, giving the engine its total size of 3,6 litres. Two Garrett T25 turbochargers were installed, along with a watercooled intercooler. The engine management was also changed and the ignition changed to an AC Delco type (same system as the Lotus Esprit uses). The result was a 377 bhp performance engine. The Omega also got a bigger differential from a Holden car with a 45% LSD, and the gearbox was changed to the 6-speed manual ZF gearbox from the Corvette ZR1. The tyres where custom made by Goodyear and can be recognized by the small Greek letter Ω (Omega) on the side. This was required as this car could reach 280 to 300km/ h. This was a fact not popular at the time, as most of the other German car manufacturers that produced fast and powerful cars had already begun putting in speed limiters to limit their cars to 250km/ h. The 1663 kg car accelerated from 0 to 100km/ h (0 to 60 mph) in 5.3 seconds, 0 to 160Km/ h (0 to 100 mph) in 11.5 seconds. The interior featured dark grey Connolly leather, and on the glove compartment lid is a small placard with the words "Lotus Omega Limited Edition", followed by a 4 digit number, starting with a 0. The number after 0 is the car's production number. A total of 950 cars were built, out of the 1100 cars initially planned. Sales weren't as good as hoped, although as a publicity stunt several cars were given to high profile people like politicians. "Specifications for engine and gearbox (Dutch)". Retrieved on 2007-09-11. </ ref>

Chevrolet Omega

See main article: Chevrolet Omega

Holden Commodore

See main article: Holden Commodore

The 1994 Vauxhall/ Opel Omega was an all-new car with a modern exterior design but a traditional rear-wheel drive chassis. The engine range was all-new:

Four cylinder engines were:

X20SE 2.0L petrol 8V with 115bhp (86kW; 117PS)

X20XEV 2.0L petrol 16V with 136bhp (101kW; 138PS) (replaced in 1999 by Y22XE 2.2L 16V with 144bhp (107kW; 146PS))

X20DTH 2.0L turbodiesel with 100bhp (75kW; 100PS) (replaced in 2000 by Y22DTH 2.2L turbodiesel with 120bhp (89kW; 120PS))

Six cylinder engines were:

X25XE 2.5L V6 with 170bhp (130kW; 170PS) (replaced in 2000 by Y26XE 2.6L V6 with 180bhp (130kW; 180PS))

X30XE 3.0L V6 with 211bhp (157kW; 214PS) (replaced in 2001 with Y32SE 3.2L V6 with 218bhp (163kW; 221PS))

X25TD 2.5L straight six with 131bhp (98kW; 133PS) (replaced in 2001 by Y25DT 2.5L I6 with 150bhp (110kW; 150PS))

The BMW-sourced X25TD turbodiesel was refined and gave acceptable performance (131bhp (98kW; 133PS)) and the V6 power plants were a far better bet than the acceptable, but slightly underpowered 4-cylinder engines. But after re-mapping Y25DT owners easily can make 200bhp (150kW; 200PS) and above 400N·m (295lb·ft) of tourque from this diesel engine from Munich.

The top of the range Omega, with the 3.0L V6, was the most expensive Vauxhall/ Opel on the market at £30,000. Transmission options were a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic (AR35) GM 4L30-E transmission.

From 1997 to 2001, the top 3.0L saloon was sold in the US as a captive import badged as the Cadillac Catera. This version of car featured a re-styled interior, modified damper ratings and external trim, in addition, the 3.0 power plant was modified to reduce the compression ratio and a different ECU setup used which supported OBDII ISO protocols and coil per plug ignition system. The engine changes resulted in a loss of around 10bhp (7kW; 10PS) from the unit.

The Omega platform was also heavily modified and enlarged as the basis of the Australian Holden Commodore (VT-VX) and Monaro.

Late in 1999, the Omega received a facelift and a 2.2L 16-valve engine was added to the range as an eventual replacement for the 2.0L. The following year, a 3.2L V6 engine replaced the 3.0L V6 unit, and a 2.6L V6 engine replaced the 2.5L V6 unit.

A V8 engined version was to be introduced in 2001 labeled the but was cancelled weeks before the official introduction. The reason was 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. The power plant used was a 5.7 L alloy GM LS engine.

Common Faults

The V6 engine is prone to cambelt failure, the initial 80,000-mile (130,000km) service interval for toothed belt replacement was revised down to 40,000miles (64,000km) early in the model's life. Due to the fact that the engine is an interference design, failure of this component can result in serious engine damage.

Photographs of a new Vauxhall/ Opel executive car appeared in the motoring press a year after the Omega's demise but the concept has been merged into the Vectra replacement, Insignia.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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