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Ford Scorpio Mk2 and Opel Omega B driving report: the last of their kind

Dino Eisele
Ford Scorpio Mk2 and Opel Omega B driving report
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A ugsburg in the textile district, southeast of the city center . In the midst of abandoned factory halls and production buildings made of red-brown and beige-colored bricks, a narrow chimney stretches into the sky. Some windows and entrance gates are covered with chipboard. The Ford Scorpio 2.9i 24V and Opel Omega MV6 meet where the fabric, yarn and clothing industry was booming until the mid-1980s.

The Ford Scorpio is considered the successor to Consul and Granada. In Rüsselsheim the Omega inherited the Rekord and the Commodore, but also the upper-class Senator. It is undisputed among experts that Ford and Opel constructed trend-setting sedans of the upper middle class in the 1970s and early 1980s. An image that was put to the test in 1994 at the latest. The second Scorpio generation hardly received any applause when it was launched. It is not necessarily the coherent highlight of Ford's luxury class history. This was primarily due to the unusual, all-round design, unsuccessful marketing and an increasingly competitive environment for premium brands.

The last rear-wheel drive from 700 euros

The Opel Omega B, on the other hand, pleased with its restrained design. In 1994, however, it frightened many Opel fans with often lousy workmanship and many teething problems. It wasn't until late that the second Omega generation achieved the reputation of a reliable insider tip in the upper middle class - thanks to constant model maintenance measures.

For several years now, many buildings in Augsburg's textile district have been extensively renovated. Apartments and business premises are created. At the end of 2009, the State Textile and Industry Museum - an award-winning adventure museum - opened in a hall of the former Augsburg worsted spinning mill (AKS). While the quarter is being rediscovered and is waking up from its slumber, it remains to be seen whether the two top models from Ford and Opel will turn the corner. Either way: Cosworth V6 and Opel's MV6 are the last of their kind to drive up. With them, the tradition of front-engine plus rear-wheel drive as a vehicle platform ended for both manufacturers.

In the meantime, the two cars have become very cheap: They start at around 700 euros. For this you get an Opel Omega B in condition 4. According to classic analytics, the cost price for a used Ford is around 100 euros more expensiveScorpio Mk2. Well-preserved and well-maintained condition 2 copies are around 3,900 euros (Omega B) and 4,100 euros (Scorpio Mk2).

Ford Scorpio is 'one like no one'

'one like no one' is how the marketing strategists at Ford advertised the second generation of Scorpio. And they were right: two round, googly-eyed front lights stare at the asphalt. In between, an oval, chrome-decorated grille grins. Some see similarities with a shark's mouth. A continuous red strip of lights runs around the round, chunky rear. So the Scorpio looks like an American road cruiser from the 80s. The sidelines alone seem reserved. It was only changed in nuances compared to the first generation.

The designers showed a lot of courage in designing the body - perhaps a little too much for the taste of the more conservative clientele. Even the aero hatchback of the first Ford Scorpio had aroused critical looks from Ford fans. During the four-year construction period of the second generation, only 98,587 vehicles rolled off the assembly line. In June 1998 Ford stopped production of the Scorpio.

Scorpio with good chassis

Regardless of the experimental look the Ford Scorpio knows how to convince with inner values. As with the Mondeo, the newly developed chassis is suspended from individual subframes. The independent suspension with anti-roll bars comfortably ironed away long bumps. The Scorpio negotiates bends safely and neutrally. The electronic engine management system EEC5 controls the top engine with 24 valves. The control system was adapted from Formula 1 and improves the efficiency of the drive. A traction control system prevents the 24V motors from spinning when moving off. ABS is standard in all models. Driver and passenger airbags ensure passive safety.

Opel Omega finally with good safety equipment

A significantly improved one Safety equipment also attracted many Opel customers and Omega A drivers to the showrooms in 1994. Opel now installed two airbags, ABS, belt tensioners and side impact protection as standard in the new Omega B. There was also a stylistic change: the Omega dropped the angular lines familiar from the A-model. He acknowledged the trend of round shapes: corners and edges were now also found in the Omega in vain. Compared to the Scorpio, the slightly grinning face of the Opel with the front lights protruding into the fenders was appealing. Despite the same wheelbase, the feeling of space has improved significantly compared to its predecessor.

One reason: the 'cab forward design'. The designers moved the windshield forward 18.6 cm and raised the roof by 2.6 cm. Long journeys are not a problem: passengers can comfortably take theCross your legs.

A new multilink rear axle not only provides more suspension comfort, but also optimizes cornering safety and directional stability. Modern technology also worked under the hood. All petrol engines already met the exhaust emission limits of level 2 that came into force in 1996. Technical details that were well received by customers: In the first ten months, Opel produced more than 100,000 copies of the Omega B. But the trend was not likely to continue for long. Reports of technical problems, poor workmanship and a lack of series production maturity made the rounds among the first owners - an image problem for Opel. Because the competition in the upper middle class segment increased significantly. Intercepting customers from BMW and Mercedes-Benz became an increasingly difficult business.

Opel Omega with equipment that makes you happy

It could not have been due to a lack of equipment diversity. The top model MV6 in particular shines with almost full equipment: In the test car from the Faber Motor Show in Dachau, a four-stage automatic sorts the gears, and a two-zone automatic air conditioning regulates the temperature in the interior. Cruise control, all-round electric windows and electric seat adjustment also increase driving comfort. The fact that the dark green metallic paint and the light alloy rims are also part of the standard equipment was not a matter of course in the upper middle class in the first registration year 1998.

Since then, the MV6 from Bavaria has run 121,000 kilometers. The third-hand Omega stood idle for some time in the yard of dealer Josef Faber. 'I actually wanted to sell the MV6. But now I've invested a lot, including a new timing belt,' explains Faber. Since the six-cylinder is ideally suited as a towing vehicle for trailers, he would prefer to drive it himself. 'Maybe I'll convert it to a manual transmission,' says the Opel dealer.

211 hp, three liters of displacement and a torque of 270 Nm ensure a powerful start - with or without a trailer. The MV6 is elastic, the automatic shifts gently. The interior remains surprisingly quiet. The Opel Omega welcomes the driver in a beige ambience made of velor and light brown burl wood imitation. The large seats are comfortable, a suitable seating position can be found quickly - even for tall people. The interior is spacious and airy thanks to the front window, the light upholstery and fittings. Four round button units regulate the temperature. To the left of the cassette radio is a tiny navigation screen with an arrow display - the on-board computer next to the speedometer measures twice the size.

Scorpio has a narrower cut

In contrast to the generous Opel Omega, the Ford Scorpio interior appears somewhat subjectivelymore delicate. This is mainly due to the dark leather ambience. In the Ghia model, the passengers can sit in generously shaped and quilted leather armchairs if desired. The black-colored animal skin throws elegant folds in the somewhat bulky side cheeks. In keeping with the exterior, the cockpit also relies on flowing lines. It leans slightly towards the driver and is reminiscent of the mid-range Mondeo model. You will look in vain for digital displays such as on-board computers or navigation. After all, an analog clock provides information about the time.

The Opel Omega appears much more modern. The automatic climate control is also missing in the test car. And those who reside on the back seat with the huge footwell have to wind down the windows by hand. Somehow bizarre.

Scorpio drive beyond all doubt

But the drive of the Scorpio is beyond any doubt. 'The vehicle is first-hand and has only run 109,000 kilometers so far,' reports Michael Drechsler, Ford Service Partner from Königsbrunn. 'You won't find a copy like this any longer,' says Drechsler. The 2.9i Cosworth engine pushes the sedan, which is painted in Lugano blue metallic, effortlessly. The six-cylinder runs in a cultivated manner and is only noticeable in the interior by a low hum. Sporty corner robbery does not suit him. Smooth gliding over country roads is more likely. This is also good for consumption. Both test candidates are rarely satisfied with less than twelve liters per 100 kilometers.

Technically solid cars on the one hand, a design mix that is too contemporary and a lack of image on the other. After Scorpio and Omega, the volume manufacturers Ford and Opel lost the courage to poach in the upper middle class segment. With the purchase of Jaguar and Volvo at the end of the 90s, Ford presented itself with a new opportunity to gain a foothold in the premium segment. But from then on Jaguar models in particular suffered from the reputation of being not real British, but half Fords. Opel tried to make up for lost ground with the Signum. In the meantime, the Mondeo and Insignia mid-range models have almost similar external dimensions as the Scorpio and Omega - but the upper mid-range will probably remain a taboo.

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