Classic Cars

Opel Calibra (1989-1997)

March 31, 2015

Opel Calibra 1990Opel Calibra premiered at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in 1989. Opel Calibra united exciting design with optimized aerodynamics and uncompromised everyday practicality.

The wide-opening tailgate gave easy access to a versatile, 980-liter luggage compartment. And despite its coupe format, the Opel Calibra’s long wheelbase ensured all four occupants had plenty of space and comfort. Generous standard equipment included power steering, a five-speed close-ration gearbox, a six-speaker audio system and tinted windows. Air conditioning, a four-speed automatic transmission and an electric tilt/slide sunroof were among the options.

The 2.0-liter entry-level engine with 85 kW/115 hp propelled Opel Calibra to a top speed of 203 km/h, while the 150 hp, four-valve version went on to 223 km/h. Despite such impressive performance, the Opel Calibra 16V was still able to return 7.7 l/100 km combined cycle fuel consumption. At market launch in 1990, all-wheel drive system was optionally available in addition to the standard front-wheel drive for both 2.0-liter gasoline engines. The starting price in Germany was 33,900 marks.

In March 1992 Opel made waves when Opel Calibra Turbo entered dealerships at a highly-competitive price of 49,800 marks. All-wheel drive, a six-speed gearbox, sports seats and 16-inch light alloy wheels with wide, 205/50 tires all came as standard. But the big story was the 2.0-liter turbo engine pumping out 204 hp (150 kW) with a massive torque.

The Calibra’s Keke Rosberg Edition is, of course, legendary. Just in time for its works debut in the German Touring Car Masters (1993/94), Opel introduced  the new 125 kW/170 hp, 2.5 V6 Calibra, together with 2.0-liter four-cylinder  variants in Opel’s white-yellow DTM look. Customers who chose a Calibra Cliff Motorsport Edition in May 1996 were way ahead of the game. Its paintwork was the same as the Class 1 racing car in which Manuel Reuter would win the ITC championship – successor series to the DTM with World Championship status – for Opel at the end of the season. The street-legal Cliff racer had a 20 mm lower sports chassis, BBS light alloy wheels (7J x 16).

Just one year after its ITC success, Opel Calibra entered another home stretch, this time towards the end of production. After 222,000 registrations since 1990, a special limited volume Last Edition was created as a final chapter in the Calibra story. It could be ordered until the end of April 1997 and came with a sports chassis, BBS wheels, leather trim and air conditioning to provide a luxurious experience. The engine choice comprised the 2.5-liter V6 or a 136 hp/100 kW, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder unit.

Opel Calibra’s biggest markets were Germany, the UK, Italy, Spain and France. The 115 hp entry-level model led the sales charts with production totaling more than 130,000 units, followed by the 150 hp, 2.0-liter version, of which more than 61,000 were built.

August 29, 1997 marked the official end of production. After seven years, 238,647 Calibras had been produced at the main plant in Rüsselsheim, and also at Valmet in Uusikaupunki, Finland. To meet high customer demand, the production run in 1990 was increased to 60,000 units from a planned volume of 20,000, with part of this being produced at Valmet Automotive.