Opel Omega B. A reliable, sporty, rear-wheel-drive luxury Opel designed to take on the mid-class barge segment? Yes, there really was such an Opel at some point in time. But will there still be an Opel Omega B worth it in 2022? Probably in someone’s backyard, rusting away.
Opel Omega B. Cadillac Catera. Vauxhall Omega. Lotus Carlton. You wouldn’t think that Opel was once a brand that was battling it out with the big names in the industry, and you’d certainly think that the Opel Omega B is just another Opel-branded piece of future junk. Coming with a classic rear-wheel drive but coupe-like looks, the Opel Omega went straight into battle with the Audi A6 C5, BMW 5 Series E39, or Mercedes W210 E Class. It had an old-fashioned leather interior with acres of leather. You had decent navigation that was somewhere on par with Audi and BMW, you had GPS, you had ESP, and you had engines for everyone.
And yet, why didn’t it work?
Simple. First of all the Opel Omega B is an Opel and that never appealed to luxury enthusiasts. Too expensive for the average Opel buyer and with the wrong logo for the average premium car buyer, it was easy to see why the Omega wasn’t doing very well in sales. I mean, an Opel Omega B cost between 16750 – 31700 pounds back in 1994, that’s between 33400 and 63500 pounds in today’s money, that’s between 36700 and 69800 euros adjusted to 2020 prices. To spend 70000 euros on an Opel, that’s how it feels not taking your pills. I don’t have to explain further that not much has been thrown at the Opel Omega B, even if it was a genuine competitor to the German trio.
Then came the reliability issue. Even though we are in a period when cars were still made with chisels and hammers, cars made on the logic of “nothing breaks because there is nothing to break”, the Opel Omega B still succeeded and came with numerous reliability issues. And the irony of fate is that the very engines most sought after aka the 2-liter ones are the worst in terms of reliability and the top of the range engines are harder than various body parts when I think of Bill Cosby.
Opel Omega B Engines
- 2.0 MPI with 114 and 134 horsepower – The smallest engine on the list is 2-liter petrol that could be reasonably reliable. Some oil consumption here, an electrical cable there, plus an ECU, but the bigger issue is that the Opel Omega B is a car bigger than Trump’s self-esteem and this engine is going to be more trouble than an employee in Italy on minimum wage. That’s for anyone who thinks it’s bread and beer in other countries.
- 2.2 MPI of 145 horsepower – We started with a lot of enthusiasm and guts and we’re getting to the main garbage. You have to keep an eye on the coolant and oil levels, and at night you have to sleep with at least one eye open to make sure it doesn’t rain. Anyway, whatever you do, the engine block will crack, the oil seal will crack and the coil packs will crack. All that’s left is the PCV valve, which is recommended to be cleaned annually (haha, annually).
- 2.5 V6 of 170 horsepower – No more junk and say welcome to an absolutely decent engine. Just needs quality oil, and changed on time. The only real concern is that it’s getting old and the seals on the engine will need changing, but that’s about it. A fabulous, reliable, and sporty engine. The Opel Omega B is starting to recover.
- 2.6 V6 of 180 horsepower – Introduced by GM for Europe to satisfy the physical, mental, financial, and environmental pollution rule makers. In any case, it has 2597 cubic centimeters so it’s just 2 cc short of the 2000 – 2599 cc tax limit so you might aswell go big or go home.
- 3.0 V6 of 208 horsepower – From the same family as the 2.5 V6, its only real issue is overheating. While it’s unlikely to forge a 3.0 V6 petrol enough that there’s a danger of overheating, it’s good to keep an eye on the antifreeze level lest the Cove pops out of your hood and tells you’re invited to Surprises, Surprises!
- 3.2 V6 of 211 horsepower – Much more durable than the microscopic 3.0 V6, but at an annual tax ( haha, annual ) exceeding 1000 euros I find it hard to believe that the second hand buyers will flock to buy something like this.
- 2.0 DTI of 101 horsepower – Lacking power or reliability, the smallest diesel on the Opel Omega B has ECU, EGR, and PCV valve issues.
- 2.2 DTI of 118 horsepower – We’re at the bottom of the barrel in terms of reliability. Injection pump issues, ECU issues, EGR issues, and bolt seal issues.
- 2.5 TDI of 129 and 148 horsepower – The 129 horsepower version was GM’s own recipe and was fitted to the Omega until 2000. From there they switched to a BMW 2.5 engine in the 6 cylinders, then used on the BMW E39 525d. Seal issues are common for BMW engines of that period, and with the M51 engine, you just have to be careful not to stop the engine when parking and not to leave the pedal as soon as you start the engine, otherwise the turbo doesn’t stand a chance as I don’t have a chance with Sasha Grey to leave me a comment on this article.
Opel Omega B General Issues
- All engines with timing belts need timing and water pump changes every 60,000 km, not 90,000 km as GM initially said. And that was a major reason why Opel and Alfa Romeo have the reputation they do.
- Besides the fact that they get hot, most engines have ECU issues so you have to keep one in the boot at all times.
- Automatic transmissions are of Chinesium quality so I’d avoid that.
- It’s a heavier car than the average car so it will put huge stress on the tires, suspension, and brakes. A lot of people rave online that their cars weigh 2 tons when in reality they weigh 1.5 tons, but in the Opel Omega B, you really do get down to 2 tons.
- All the electronics were bought at a discount from the Chinatown where they bought the automatic gearboxes. Except that they paid full price for the automatic boxes and got the electronics for free. That’s how good they are. I’d rather choose to grow a testicle in my sole than put wires and plugs on a 2000s Opel.
Opel Omega B Verdict
It’s hard to believe that Opel ever made a premium car that could compete with the Audi A6 and 5 Series. But lo and behold, they succeeded. They didn’t succeed with reliability, but if you go with the BMW engine or the 2.5 V6 petrol then you really do have a cheap-to-buy, reliable, and damn relaxing car. But will the kind of person who can afford a 2.5 engine (diesel or petrol) look at an Opel Omega B?
Which engines do I recommend? The Opel Omega B was not a low-cost car so don’t come to me with small engines. For petrol, I definitely recommend the 170hp 2.5 V6 and for diesel, you will have to make friends with the 2.5 and 148hp diesel from BMW.