Lotus Carlton/Omega

The Lotus Carlton was an extraordinary project that was born out of the enthusiasm of some senior executives at General Motors (Bob Eaton, president of GM Europe)  and Lotus (Mike Kimberly, MD of Lotus). Lotus was acquired by GM in 1986 some time after Colin Chapman died, and this amazing project was started in 1988. The original concept was to create a compound-charged (turbo-charged and super-charged) Senator. For whatever reason this idea evolved into the Lotus Carlton, which to this day is, still, the fastest production saloon car in the world. Only 950 cars were produced, although the original plan was to produce 1100 (440 for the UK and the rest for Europe). Of the 950 produced, only 250 came to the UK in RHD layout although there are an increasing number of LHD cars appearing in the UK badged as Lotus Omegas (the Opel equivalent). The Lotus Carlton hit the streets in September 1990 and was available until early 1994. Despite the phenomenal performance of these cars, sales were slow with a hefty price tag of £48000.

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Interior Features Exterior Features
Colours & Trims Technical Specifications

Interior Features

All of the Lotus Carltons/Omegas were produced over a two year period and the specification was standard across the production window.


  • Connolly leather trim.
  • Open-type adjustable front & rear head restraints
  • Fully reclining sports style front seats with valances
  • Height adjustable driver's seat
  • Height adjustable front passenger's seat
  • Front seats with two-way lumbar adjustment
  • Height adjustable inertia reel front/rear seat belts and centre static lap belt
  • Front seat centre armrest trimmed in connolly leather
  • Split-folding rear seat back
  • Fold-down rear seat centre armrest with load-through facility

Facia, Instruments and Controls

  • Rev counter, trip odometer, water temperature gauge, low fuel level warning light
  • Multi-function check control warning panel
  • Leather covered 4-spoke sports steering wheel with Lotus badging

  • Leather covered gear knob and gaiter
  • Tiltable steering column. Steering column lock
  • Lockable, illuminated glovebox. Instrument panel light dimmer
  • Quartz clock and cigar lighter

Heating and Ventilation

  • Air blend heater with 5-speed fan and illuminated controls
  • Side window demist vents and adjustable face-level air vents
  • Rear passenger compartment heating ducts
  • Full air conditioning, including glovebox, with push button operation

Audio Equipment

  • Blaupunkt Memphis stereo radio/stereo cassette player with 6 speakers (UK models upto build no. 800)
  • Blaupunkt CPD09 compact disc player (UK models upto build no. 800)
  • 4870 stereo radio/stereo cassette/compact disc (CD) player with removable display, boot mounted 10 disc autochanger & 6 speakers (UK models later than build no. 800)
  • Security code protection for audio equipment
  • Radio data system (RDS EON) with Travel Programme (4870 only)
  • Cassette storage area
  • 'Bee sting' roof mounted aerial

Interior Lighting

  • Interior courtesy light operated by front and rear door switches
  • Courtesy light with delay cut-off and integral, adjustable map reading lights
  • Illuminated glovebox, load area and engine compartment

Additional Interior Features

  • Tiltable front and rear assist handles with rear coat hooks
  • Carpeted rear parcel shelf. One piece soft touch moulded headlining
  • Fully carpeted boot/load area with sill protection. Carpeted rear seat back
  • Spare wheel cover. Provision for luggage retention straps in boot
  • Connolly leather and suede door trim panels, front door pockets, continental-style front and rear door armrests
  • Wood veneer inserts on door trim panels and gear stick surround on centre console
  • Front ashtray with one touch opening and two rear ashtrays
  • Height adjustable dipping rear view mirror, passenger vanity mirror, twin sun visors
  • Illuminated passenger vanity mirror with cover
  • Illuminated driver's vanity mirror with cover
  • Cut-pile velour carpet

Exterior Features


  • 6-speed gearbox
  • Speed sensitive power assisted steering
  • Twin metallic catalytic converters
  • Electronic anti-lock braking system (ABS)
  • Limited-slip differential
  • Semi-trailing arm independent rear suspension
  • Pneumatic automatic rear suspension levelling system

Exterior Lighting

  • Halogen headlamps
  • Lights-on warning buzzer
  • Twin reversing lights
  • Twin rear fog lamps
  • Dark style rear lamps
  • Hazard warning lights and parking lights
  • Side repeat indicators
  • Long range halogen driving lights with headlamps
  • Headlamp wash/wipe

Exterior Styling

  • Boot pushlock with handle
  • Body colour door handles
  • Body colour fibreglass front air dam incorporating air scoops, bodyside panels, wheel arch extensions and rear valance.
  • Body colour door mirror housings
  • Body colour sill mouldings, specific front grille and rear aerofoil
  • Twin symetrically mounted body colour bonnet ventilation grilles
  • Dual square exhaust tailpipes

Wheels & Tyres

  • 235/45 ZR 17 low profile front tyres
  • 8.5J x 17 5-spoke front alloy road wheels
  • 265/40 ZR 17 low profile rear tyres
  • 9.5J x 17 5-spoke rear alloy road wheels

Additional Exterior Features

  • Laminated windscreen with graduated tint shadeband
  • Green tinted glass all round
  • Electrically operated front and rear windows with one touch operation
  • Auto-reverse safety facility for electrically operated windows
  • Central locking (doors, boot/tailgate, fuel flap) with security deadlock and torch key
  • Electrically operated sliding/tiltable glass sunroof with interior blind
  • Ultrasonic security alarm with immobiliser
  • Heated rear window with automatic timed cut-off and manual override
  • Heated twin jet windscreen washer nozzles
  • Twin electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors
  • 2-speed windscreen wipers plus intermittent and flick wipe. Electric screenwash
  • 2-tone horn

Colours & Trims

The Lotus Carlton was only available in one colour and trim combination.

Two-coat Pearlescent Colours
Imperial Green Anthracite Connolly Leather

Technical Specifications


3.6i 24V (3615cc) Cat generating 377 PS (281kW) @ 5200 rpm and 419.0 lb.ft. (568Nm) of torque @ 4200 rpm. 6-cylinder, dual overhead camshaft, 24 valve alloy cylinder head, twin turbo intake system, hydraulic tappets, 12 crankshaft counterbalance weights and twin thermostatically controlled engine oil coolers. Two Garrett T25 turbochargers providing to 0.7bar boost. Delco distributorless engine management system. Activated charcoal evaporation control canister. Two metallic monolith 3-way catlytic converters and Lambda sensor. Compression ratio 8.2:1.





1 2 3 4 5 6 Rev
Manual 240 mm 2.68:1 1.80:1 1.29:1 1.00:1 075:1 0.50:1 2.50:1 3.45:1

Hydraulically operated mechanical asbestos-free single plate clutch. Rear wheel drive.


Front: Independent. MacPherson struts with damper cartridge, coil springs. Anti-roll bar. Negative scrub. Gas pressure dampers.

Rear: Independent. Semi-trailing arms and progressive rate miniblock coil springs with telescopic gas pressure dampers. Anti-roll bar. Lowered and uprated suspension with multi-link system at rear. Automatic rear suspension levelling system


Dual circuit, servo assisted.

Front: 13.2 inch (330 mm) diameter discs

Rear: 12 inch (300 mm) diameter discs

Ventilated front and rear discs. 4-piston AP Racing calipers on front and 2-piston AP Racing calipers at rear. Asbestos-free brake pads. Handbrake-on and low brake fluid warning light. Front brake pad wear warning light. Electronic antilock braking system (ABS).


90 amp alternator

66 Ah maintenance-free battery

Load Capacities (VDA method)

litres (cu.ft.) Seat up Seat down
Saloon 520 (18.4) 870 (30.7)

Performance & Fuel Economy




FUEL ECONOMY mpg (litres/100km)

Maximum Speed (mph) Acceleration 0-62mph (s) Simulated urban driving Constant 56mph Constant 75mph
3.6i 24V Cat. Saloon 6-speed manual 176 5.1 17.6 (16.1) 34.9 (8.1) 27.5 (10.3)

Weights & Towing Data

The Lotus Carlton was not designed with towing in mind and no GM parts were manufactured for this purpose. No data was made available for towing.


8.5J x 17 five-spoke front alloy wheels

9.5J x 17 five-spoke rear alloy wheels

Alloy space saver spare wheel


235/45 ZR 17 low profile front tyres (Goodyear Eagles with omega symbol)

265/40 ZR 17 low profile rear tyres (Goodyear Eagles with omega symbol)

115 TR 18 spare tyre

Fuel Capacities

Saloon - 16.5 Imperial Gallons (75 litres)


Speed sensitive power assisted recirculating ball system.

Energy absorbing steering column.

3.0 turns lock-to-lock.

Turning circle - 10.15m (33.3 ft)


All steel body with extensive anti-corrosion protection. Safety crumple zones, front and rear. Rigid passenger safety cell. Concealed windscreen wipers. Flush fitting glass all-round. Flush door handles. Concealed rear towing eye. Single two-way key operated locks and ignition. Burst proof door locks. Child-proof rear door locks. Fibreglass front bumper/valance and rear bumper capable of withstanding impacts up to 2.5mph without permanent damage.

Anti-Corrosion Protection

Partial use of zinc-coated sheet metal, zinc phosphated bodyshell primered electrostatically (cathodic). All weld seams and joints sealed with special compound. Areas prone to stone damage on underbody coated with stone-impact primer. Anti-corrosion primers used extensively on bonnet, boot lid, doors, wings and other panels. Paint finish applied electrostatically. PVC coating applied to wheelarches and other underbody areas. Polymer reinforced anti-corrosion wax pumped into door sills and other underbody cavities. Plastic front wheelarch liners.


Blaupunkt Memphis stereo radio/stereo cassette (UK models, up to build no 800)

  • 4-digit security ID code and car registration number storage facility
  • Microprocessor-controlled quartz digital tuning
  • Bass and treble controls
  • Front/rear fader control, stereo balance control
  • Dynamic noise reduction (DNR)
  • Single button station storage
  • Electronic waveband switching with 'last station' memory
  • Preset station scan (PSS) on all wavebands
  • Waveband scan system, automatically tunes to the next station offering good quality reception
  • LCD display for frequency, waveband, preset number, FM stereo mode, Dolby noise reduction, scan mode, cassette programme search, Dynamic noise reduction and left/right volume control
  • Auto reverse stereo cassette deck
  • Manual cassette track selection
  • Autostop 'tape salad' protection
  • Dolby noise reduction with cassette operation
  • Auto-replay after fast wind to the end of the tape
  • Cassette programme search (CPS) enabling skip or replay of individual tracks
  • Cassette scan facility

Blaupunkt CDP09 compact disc player (UK models, up to build no 800)

  • Track programme memory (TPM) enables 16 tracks to be stored for up to 18 different CDs
  • Manual and automatic track selection
  • Automatic track scanning
  • Sequencer skip, repeat and track search facility
  • Front/rear fader control, stereo balance control
  • Loudness switch
  • Pause/playback control
  • LCD display for scan mode, track display, track programme memory, playing time and operating mode
  • CD cartridge system reduces on-the-road vibration - three cartridges supplied with each system

4870 stereo system (UK models, build no 800 onwards)

  • 4 figure security burnt in memory chip
  • Fader & balance controls
  • Maximum output 20 watts per channel
  • Microprocessor-controlled quartz tuning
  • FM, MW, LW and SW reception
  • 6 preset buttons
  • Automatic search tuning on all wavebands
  • Autostore function for FM and LW
  • Cassette standby facility
  • Radio reception during fast forward and rewind
  • Removable display for added security
  • Separate treble and bass controls
  • Radio Data System (RDS EON)/Traffic Programme
  • Autoreverse function
  • Cassette programme search
  • Dolby B and C noise reduction
  • Automatic volume control
  • Soft touch cassette controls
  • Compact disc player with boot mounted 10-disc autochanger
  • Loudness control