The Opel Omega is 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 sedan or estate (Caravan).
In the United Kingdom, the Omega A was marketed as Vauxhall Carlton, 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 UK, the Omega is best known as a police car. Following the ending of production the direct Vauxhall equivalent which is used by police forces is the Vauxhall Vectra (the post-2003 «C» model). The car also been converted into limousines and hearses for use at funerals.
Production of the Omega ceased in 2003. There was no direct replacement for it, but the Vectra Caravan and Signum can be said to have partially taken over the role of the Caravan and the limousine, respectively.
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 a 2.0 L petrol and a 2.5 L BMW-sourced turbo-diesel which were reasonably refined and gave acceptable performance. But the V6 engines (2.5 L and 3.0 L) were a far better bet. The top of the range Omega, with the 3.0 L V6, was the most expensive Vauxhall/Opel on the market at £30,000. Transmission options were a 5 speed manual or 4 speed automatic GM 4L30-E transmission.
From 1997 to 2001, the top three L saloon was sold in the US as a captive import badged as the Cadillac Catera. The Omega platform was also heavily modified and enlarged as the basis of the Australian Holden Commodore (from 1997).
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 ‘MV6’ engine replaced the 3.0 L V6 unit, and a 2.6 L engine replaced the 2.5 L V6 unit.
During this time, the Omega found itself without any real competition. The demise of the Ford Scorpio (the Omega’s biggest rival) left Vauxhall unable to decide where to focus the Omega. Other brands that had competed in this area had largely left the market, leaving the Omega to take on the likes of the BMW 5 Series.
Despite a strong showing, the Omega was never a serious rival to the 5 Series. Production of the Omega B finally ceased in 2003, with no direct successor, although the gap in the Vauxhall/Opel range was effectively filled by more expensive versions of the existing Vectra and Signum ranges.
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