Regular readers will have seen last week I drove the new Vauxhall Insignia – or Insignia Grand Sport to more specific. Whilst I was there, I also had the opportunity to test a 1999 Vauxhall Omega.
Well that’s what I was thinking when I first saw the car parked up against the new, sleek Insignia. From the outside it looks like a standard repsmobile from the 90s, with some faux wood and leather thrown in for good measure. Nothing about how this car looks really reveals what is under the bonnet, and that is what makes this car worthwhile.
That’s because underneath lurks a 3.0 litre V6 engine. Yes, that’s right – a V6. In a car that normally spends it’s life on the motorway with many carpet samples in the boot. 207bhp and and 270Nm of torque are on offer here, and although that’s modest by today’s standards, it makes a decent noise when your turn the key.
What’s It Like To Drive?
It burbled in to life in a muscular fashion, one that I was honestly not expecting. It even made a few crackles. The car’s rather plush – albeit dated – interior make the surprise even larger – it’s like taking a swing at a businessman, only to find he’s fully trained in martial arts. I set off and soon realised that the throttle was rather firm, but the rest of the controls seemed pretty ordinary.
Mind you, the first dab of the brake pedal revealed of high level of sponginess, so I made sure my right foot was a bit heavier when I was required to stop. The steering was also rather lifeless if I’m honest, but it doesn’t matter as this has a V6. Speaking of which, let’s talk some performance figures. 0-60 comes in 8.0 seconds and this will hit a top speed of 151mph, so it’s not a slouch.
Ok, so it’s not as fast as its modern day equivalent, or indeed the legendary Lotus Carlton, but it has enough to get getting on with. This power is fed through to the 5-speed manual gearbox which was pleasant to use, with smooth accurate throws on offer. Don’t expect too much in the way of handling though, it’s not overly bad, but it’s not great either. Because of its size, it does wallow about somewhat and the brakes don’t help either.
As you’d expect, MPG is not the car’s strong point either – 25.7 is the combined MPG figure you can expect and polar bears are not going to particularly like this either. 262g/km are the CO2 emissions, so it’s unlikely to be the next company car for Greenpeace. It has got a fair sized boot, so it’s not all bad…
So although it was a short blast in the car – about 30 minutes or so – I was glad to have taken it out. The performance on tap was so surprising given it’s rather Plain Jane styling and it’s rather good fun in a straight line. The engine note has a nice deep burble to it and it really adds so needed character to this hum drum businessman’s saloon.
Fancy Getting Your Hands On One?
Well you won’t be able to find many on the used car market, but you should find it easy to get one under £3,000 – I found an example that had covered just 58,000 miles, for a price of £2,490. It may not be the most desirable car going, but if you’re looking to get an Omega, surely it’s the one to get?