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 1663kg 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 Connolley 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. But what Opel hadn’t realized was that they had given the world the most powerful full-size saloon ever built. Even today it is considered one of the fastest four-door cars ever produced.
The Opel Tigra is a small coupe produced by Opel (a subsidiary of General Motors Corporation) based on its Corsa supermini. It was originally available as a small coupé, produced from 1994 to 2000, with a new roadster model introduced in 2004. The Opel Tigra is sold in the UK as the Vauxhall Tigra, in Australia as the Holden Tigra, and was sold in Brazil and Mexico as the Chevrolet Tigra.
The Tigra was based on the concept car of the same name and built on the platform of the second generation Opel Corsa. However, it shared no body panels with the model it was based on, and the interior layout was different too, with a 2+2 seating arrangement. The production vehicle was introduced at the 1993 Frankfurt Motor Show, with production starting in early 1994.
The Tigra was available with two petrol engines options, both from the Ecotec family, a more affordable 1.4 L with 90 PS (66 kW), and a larger sportier version, powered by the 1.6 L engine with 106 PS (78 kW), sourced from the Corsa GSi. Both wereDOHC 16 valve engines with electronic fuel injection. The smaller engine was available with an optional 4-speed automatic gearbox.
Added to the mass-market underpinnings was a suspension tweaked by Lotus. However, the car was overweight, with 150 kg (330 lb) over the equivalent engined Corsa models. Acceleration on the 1.6 L model was 10.5 seconds, one second slower than the Corsa GSi. However, a higher top speed of 203 km/h (126 mph) compensated for its acceleration troubles. This speed increase was obtained thanks to the higher gear ratios, a lower drag coefficient of 0.31, and standard 15″ wheels on the more powerful model.
The car was imported by Chevrolet and sold as the Chevrolet Tigra in Brazil and Mexico, and as the Vauxhall Tigra in the United Kingdom. Due to its extremely high price when compared to similar competitors, and much lower performance, the car was a failure in Mexico. Very few copies survive.
The Brazilian Chevrolet Tigra was imported only for a few months, between late 1998 to early 1999, due to a sudden depreciation of the Real, which forced General Motors do Brasil to end importation. Only the 1.6 L model was imported, detuned to 99 PS (73 kW) for tax purposes. The 15″ wheels were also exchanged for more affordable 14″ wheels.
After an absence of a four years, Opel resurrected the Tigra nameplate in 2004 for a new sports car based on the Corsa C. The Tigra Twin Top, as it was called, is a 2-seater coupé convertible with a retractable hardtop in the fashion of the Peugeot 206 CC. The Tigra is produced by French coachworks Heuliez.
Like its predecessor, the Tigra Twin Top is available with two petrol-powered engines. The base model uses the 1.4 L engine with 90 PS (66 kW), but now from the Twinport family, different from the previous generation’s 1.4, while the top of the range uses the Ecotec 1.8 L from the Corsa GSi, with 125 PS (92 kW). An economic version, using Fiat’s Multijet 1.3 Diesel engine, was introduced in 2005. The second generation is marketed in Australasia as the XC-series Holden Tigra, only with the 1.8 L engine.
The 306 underwent the only major revamp of its life in May 1997, with the launch of the “Phase 2″ version (N5 in Australia). The basic shape remained the same, but lights, grille and bumpers were redesigned in an effort to bring the styling into line with the new, more rounded, Peugeot family look established with the Peugeot 406. Indicator lamps were now incorporated into the headlamp unit and the new style “block filled” Peugeot lion logo was adopted. A new-style typeface for the car’s model number was adopted on the tailgate. There were also some changes to the dashboard layout and trim quality which freshened up the car in the face of increasingly stiff competition from other manufacturers. New engines were also offered, with both 1.8 and 2.0 petrol engines gaining 16-valve cylinder heads together with modest power increases. In 1998 the popular but ageing XUD series diesel engines were phased out and replaced with Peugeot’s first generation 2.0 HDi common rail diesel in a turbocharged form only. Although power output remained unchanged, and outright performance remained similar, the new unit brought significant benefits in terms of economy, emissions and refinement.
Cars from 1998 onwards received further enhancements, including an aluminium-effect centre console on certain versions and a chrome Peugeot logo on the steering wheel. Other updates included a slight tweaking of the “306″ badge on the bootlid – now without a black plastic backing – and new upholstery in the cabin.
New models also appeared in Phase 2 trim. The Rallye was launched using the mechanicals from the GTI-6, but with less standard equipment. The Rallye was 65kg lighter than the GTI-6, which meant better performance. It only came in three colours – black, cherry red and white. There were only 500 Rallyes produced, which makes them hard to find. The only drawback is the insurance costs as the Rallye is in group 16.
The Meridian model (originally a special edition) was also re-launched in 1999 and boasted a generous equipment list including new half-leather seats, and further cosmetic upgrades to the interior. Cars for the 2000 model year had further exterior modifications, including clear lenses on the headlamps, complete colour-coding of the exterior trim, removal of the black plastic strip on the lower edge of the tailgate and new paint colours.
Although the 306′s reputation for dynamic excellence was attracting buyers, its growing reputation for high maintenance costs, lacklustre dealers, and suspect build quality were earning it some bad press.
Despite Peugeot’s efforts, the car placed poorly in a variety of ownership and customer satisfaction surveys of the time, such as the annual JD Power survey which was run in association with the BBC Top Gear television programme. Nevertheless the car featured in Britain’s top 10 best selling cars from 1994 to 1998, and only narrowly missing out on the top 10 during its final three years on sale.
The hatchback 306 was discontinued in 2001 to make way for its replacement, the Peugeot 307. The cabriolet and estate variants both remained on sale until 2002. The slow-selling and questionably-styled saloon was axed from the UK in 1999, however was still available in the rest of europe until 2002.
In the 2006 Australian Used Car Safety Ratings, the Peugeot 306 manufactured between 1994-2001 was rated “significantly better than average” in its ability to protect its occupants in the event of a crash. This was one of the highest results achieved in the 2006 ratings.
The Peugeot 106 was introduced in the autumn of 1991, as the French marque’s entry level car slotting in beneath the 205. It was a substantial development of the Citroën AX. It was heavier, safer, more solid feeling than the AX or 205. It was aimed directly at the Renault Clio which had gone into production a year earlier, and as a more modern alternative to the slightly larger 205 which had been a massive success for Peugeot and was still proving popular almost a decade after its launch. Winning praise for its modern styling, comfortable ride, excellent handling and cheap running costs, the 106 quickly became popular. Going against the appeal were limited interior space and low-rent interior plastics.
Its power came from 1.0-litre and 1.1-litre carburettor petrol engines and a 1.4-litre fuel injection unit, as well as a 1.5 L Diesel engine. A 1.6-litre fuel injected engine was introduced on the 1995 XSi model, with 120 mph (193 km/h) top speed.
In the UK trim levels were basic XN, mid-range XR, top-spec XT, and the sporty XSi model mentioned above. In addition, from 1994 onwards there was a “Rallye” model offered. This was basically a “stripped out” XSi model with the TU2 series 1.3 litre petrol injection engine (100 bhp). This was designed for clubman rallying and the sporting driver, and had little in the way of creature comforts, such as electric windows, power assisted steering etc. On the phase 1 model, a sunroof and anti lock brakes were the only options available from the factory, although many came with foglights or spoilers from the XSi models. From 1997-1998 the Phase 2 Rallye was offered, and these combined the light, nimble chassis of the Phase 1 Rallye, with a 1.6 litre petrol injection engine (TU5J2, 103 bhp) and updated looks and safety features of the later models (1996-1999). Optional Extras on the Phase 2 Rallye were; Power assisted steering, Anti-Lock brakes and a sunroof. From 1996-1999 trim levels were XN, XL, XR, XT, XS and GTi. In France a five-door version of both XS and GTi versions were offered.
In early 1996 the Peugeot 106 also formed the basis for the near identical Citroën Saxo, and at this time the 106 received a facelift which saw all engines get fuel injection and equipment levels raised. The XSi was dropped in favour of a basically similar new GTi model added to the range.
At the end of 1998, the Peugeot 106 range was slimmed down to the sparsely-equipped 1.1 L petrol and 1.5 L diesel models as well as the 1.6 GTi. This was due to the launch of the larger 206, which stole many sales from the 106. Peugeot initially intended to phase the 106 out and market the 206 as its replacement, but later decided to replace the 106 with another all-new model.
After 12 years in production, the last Peugeot 106 rolled off the production line late in 2003. Its replacement, the 107, has been available since early 2005. By the time production ceased, the Peugeot 106 was one of the longest running production cars still made in Europe but it was still proving fairly popular, especially in its home market of France.
Although it was being left behind by more modern cars with more in the way of quality, refinement, space and comfort, it was still considered one of the best drivers’ cars on the European mini-car market.
Imagine for a moment you had to picture the average Peugeot 206 CC (Coupe Cabrio) driver. Mid to late twenties, reasonably well off with an eye for style. Peugeot have targeted them with a model that hits the prospective market head on, complete with the kind of extras intended to clinch the average showroom deal. Enter the 206 CC Allure range.
So what do you get for prices starting from £15,145? Well, Lama leather for a start, together with metallic/pearlescent paint, alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a sports pack including aluminium trim for the gear knob, pedals and doorsills, plus black dials with a chrome surround. There are also front side airbags, an ultrasonic alarm (Thatcham approved) and a transponder immobiliser. Oh, and ABS with EBFD, a remote control radio/mono CD player and on the 2.0-litre petrol version, the Electronic Stability Programme (ESP).
1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines are also on offer. An inexpensive way then, to make a quietly cool statement. Whilst its still not the sort of price sticker that will sell to the masses, the Peugeot 206CC Allure has entered a market sector that seems to have suddenly become tightly contested.
Whereas budget roadsters were once seen as the poor relation of their higher-powered brethren, buyers are increasingly turning to the 1.6-litre entry level models, perhaps realising that out and out performance isnt the forte of cars like the 206CC and 1.6-litre versions of cars like the Mazda MX-5. Whilst roadsters like the Mazda boast a clean sheet of paper roadster profile, the 206 suffers the handicap of having been adapted from the familiar 206 hatchback shape.
The problem with most hatchback-based cabriolets is that theyve always had an inescapable pram-like quality about them. The stubby proportions, untidy hood mechanisms and inelegant rollover bars made them look about as graceful as an industrial dumpster. Thats one accusation that you could certainly never level at the 206 CC. Even with the roof up, it has a cheeky coupe appeal and with the hood down the long rear deck ensures the little Peugeot is svelte enough to avoid any pram-like connotations.
Operating the roof is simplicity itself. Behind the sun visors are a couple of latches that youll need to unclip before pressing the button next to the handbrake. At this point, a set of electronically controlled hydraulic motors will go to work, lowering the windows, popping up the rear deck before collapsing and folding the roof in on itself. Its then swallowed by the rear bootlid.
Its not the quickest operation, taking around 20 seconds, but Peugeot have cleverly let the mechanism continue with the car crawling forwards at up to 7mph. This makes the embarrassment of getting caught hood-down in a cloudburst whilst negotiating a slow moving traffic queue a thing of the past. Despite the appeal of the roof, dont get the impression that its the only aspect of the 206 CC worthy of note. If youre used to fixed-roof 206s, you might find the interior of the 206CC a fair bit more pleasant.
One of the complaints regarding the 206 GTi for example, has always been that with the upright seating position and distant screen, at standstill it feels about as sporty as your average school-run MPV. The 206 CC redresses this somewhat by lowering the seating position, making for a sportier feel. The seats themselves have firm side supports and feel good during hard cornering. The rear seat story isnt quite so good: theyre moulded into the back of the car, and whilst attractively styled, havent much leg and headroom to offer. Best to use them as additional luggage space. Youll probably end up using it as well, because with the roof folded down, it eats into boot space quite disastrously. Theres still room for a couple of soft bags, but anything more than that will emerge from the boot looking like its been in a junkyard crusher.
Still, you dont buy a car like the 206 CC for load carrying youll want to ditch the excess baggage, travel light and get a little bit closer to the elements. The £15,870 2.0-litre model justifies a price tag increase of £700 with a top speed of 126mph and 0-60mph capability of 8.9s.
Theres also a similarly priced 1.6-litre 110bhp HDi diesel version. In the 1.6, youll account for the 60mph sprint in a mere 11.7 seconds en route to a top speed of 115mph, but these figures really are quite academic. Blatting about with the roof down, the stereo up and the shades on is what this cars all about. Early problems with sticking roof mechanisms now appear to have been fixed, and the 206 CC is becoming a popular sight on our roads. That 1.
6-litre engine is a willing unit, pumping out 110bhp at a heady 5800rpm, enough to qualify it as a respectable warm hatch. Whereas many cabriolets have the sort of body rigidity that generates noises like a dropped sack of typewriters every time you hit a bump in the road, Peugeot have worked hard to ensure the 206 CC is reassuringly composed, although major ripples in the road will generate a certain degree of body flex. Overall? Well, if youre looking for a value coupe cabriolet, the 206 CC Allure offers a compelling argument.
The Subaru Impreza WRX, is a turbocharged version of the Subaru Impreza, an all-wheel drive automobile. It is available as a sedan or wagon. The WRX has become a popular choice for automobile enthusiasts wherever it is sold for its performance and handling.
Originally introduced in 1992 in Japan, then shortly afterwards in Australia and Europe, the WRX had a turbocharged flat-4 2.0L (then later a 2.5L), Subaru Boxer engine. Compared to the base Impreza, the WRX has wider low-profile tires, larger brakes, and firmer, higher quality suspension components.