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Opel Calibra

Quite frequently cars, which have already been discontinued, keep on ringing the bell with the public. Of course, this happens only with the chosen ones. By looking through Opel Calibra review, it becomes apparent that the model deserves to be reckoned among the most reliable and efficient vehicles ever made. The statement is true, even though the coupe has been out of production since 1997!


Opel Calibra was put into production in 1989 but 8 years later it was phased out. Throughout the years of existence it has been entitled different names (depending on the market): Vauxhall Calibra in the UK, Chevrolet Calibra in the South America, Holden Calibra in Australia & New Zealand. Besides, the coupe model was introduced in various powertrain and drivetrain versions (front-wheel and full-wheel).

The Calibra was based on Vectra A platform, employing identical engineering solutions. However, it was distinguished by a number of peculiarities. For instance, it used a more complicated independent suspension, a sport-like silhouette, east-west engine mounting, narrow headlights with eclipse lenses, base 15-inch alloy wheels, power steering-wheel, power windows, and sporty OEM Recaro seats.

Yet, the most outstanding feature was the best-in-class airflow resistance index – 0.26. By the by, not so many contemporary vehicles can boast such record-breaking aerodynamics. All modifications teased an improved braking system that consisted of front ventilated disks and rear disk brakes.

Irrespective of the trim line, the coupe featured the following dimensions: 4491x1689x1321 mm (L x W x H), 2601 mm wheelbase, 300-liter boot.

Powertrain & Drivetrain Updates

Initially, Opel Calibra was equipped with one of two available engines: base 2.0-liter 8-valve C20NE (115 horsepower) and 16-valve C20XE (150 horsepower). The latter boasted the implementation of DOHC technology that provided for an additional boost in performance by 37%.

Thus, the car could accelerate up to 100 km/h for 8.5 seconds. Moreover, ideal aerodynamics served for the reduction of gasoline consumption – 9.5 liters/100 km in a combined driving mode. The base engine came paired with 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission, whereas C20XE modification came only with manual gearbox.

Later on, the manufacturer decided to add three more engines to the line. Those were 2.0-liter Turbo with 204 horsepower & 280 nm of torque, 2.0i with 169 nm of torque and 2.5-liter V6 with 226 nm of torque. The turbo version was mated with a full-wheel drive and a 6-speed manual transmission, called Getrag. Calibras with this engine could accelerate maximum up to 204 km/h and it took them only 6.8 seconds to gain 100 km/h speed. The drivetrain operated in automatic mode; on normal road conditions the engine transmitted power to the front wheels; although when the wheels were slipping, the torque was partially given to the rear wheels.

Trim Levels

It’s impossible to omit a range of trim levels in this Opel Calibra review. The coupe was shipped in different modifications which offered a lot of facilities for the customers. It should be mentioned that the base version equipment differed a bit, depending on the powertrain selection.

Hence, vehicles based on C20NE engine came with manual window lifters, a clock instead of a trip computer, belts with pretensioners, and a pair of safety bags. Standard trims equipped with other powertrains included power window lifters, power hatch, air conditioner as well as leather upholstery. Turbo-version modifications were replenished with a trip computer. Optionally, the customer could mount seat heating system & fog lights.

Furthermore, Calibra Classic and Classic II - the top trims – were differentiated by a more sophisticated audio system, leather upholstery, metallic paintwork, and some other facilities.

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