The Lotus Omega is a car based on the Opel/Vauxhall Carlton that is still impressive today. Launched in 1990, this sports saloon was one of the fastest saloons in the world and offered a level of performance that was then more in line with Porsches and Ferraris. It had an engine more powerful than the 5.7-litre V8 in the most powerful Corvette ZR-1 developed by Lotus.
The car was much acclaimed, particularly for its outstanding aerodynamic properties, with a particularly low drag coefficient of 0.28, which allowed it to achieve high speeds with better fuel consumption. It cost twice as much as the top-of-the-range Opel Omega 3000, which cost almost twice as much as a standard Opel Omega.
The only 4-door saloon car to carry the Lotus badge. Lotus completely redesigned the car’s suspension, including the rear self-aligning suspension, as Lotus was concerned that the semi-trailing arm rear suspension showed too much roll angle variation at full load to operate safely at full speed all the time. If you’re a Lotus engineer, this is the sort of thing that keeps you awake at night.
In Britain, the Lotus Omega (Lotus Carlton) has been used extensively by criminals as a getaway car. It was so “recklessly” fast that the British government asked its own manufacturer to condemn the car. One of the 950 examples produced was stolen by a few petty criminals to steal cigarettes and alcohol. The twist in the story is that they were never caught…because they had nothing on them. The British police used Rover Metros, which didn’t stand a chance of catching the muscular Omega. The officers’ account backs this up: they said that the small car, which had a top speed of around 150 km/h, was virtually unable to get near the Omega in any situation. The car had a top speed of 284 km/h, making it the fastest production sedan in the world.

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