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Vauxhall Carlton GSi 3000 (1986 - 1994)

Last updated 7 November 2013

 
4
Great steering and RWD handling, plenty of performance, capable of 150mph in 24V form
Styling didn't age well, still suffers from an unfortunate image

Introduction

The 1986 Vauxhall Carlton Mk2/Opel Omega A were an impressive leap into the 1980s. The slippery new car boasted an Audi-beating drag co-efficient of 0.28, and a well-sorted RWD chassis that challenged BMW's overall dominance in the sector. But although the standard saloon was little dull – the Carlton's image was bosted by the good men at Russelsheim, who shoehorned in the Senator's 3.0-litre straight-six into it, thus creating the thinking man's BMW 528i.

With 177bhp on tap, the original 1986 bespoilered Carlton GSi3000 was capable of topping 135mph, and doing it all day long. In 1990, power was increased by topping the 2969cc straight-six with a new  24-valve cylinder head, resulting in a maximum power of 204bhp. Performance was usefully boosted, with the 0-60mph time dropping to less than eight seconds, while maximum speed was up to an honest 150mph. Automatic transmission was also available, but few buyers opted for it. The GSI formed the basis of the legendary 177mph Lotus-Carlton. Rare and in demand today.

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