Lotus Carlton

The Carlton was a sports sedan in the AMG Hammer vein in that it allowed four adults and a trunk full of luggage to cruise in sumptuous comfort at 170 mph on the autobahn--a rarity when the Carlton debuted in 1990. Unlike the Hammer, which evolved from a blue-blooded Mercedes-Benz, the Carlton started as a lowly General Motors family sedan--namely, the Vauxhall Carlton.

Lotus Carlton-1Lotus Carlton-2Despite the humble GM origins, anybody assuming the Carlton was a lightly-massaged civilian like the "Handling by Lotus" Isuzus would be tragically mistaken. the Carlton was and is a true world-class sports sedan. Smooth, muscular, and understated, the Lotus looked the part of a deadly serious super sedan. Under the skin, though, things got even more lethal.

Besides the inevitable handling tweaks, Lotus married the Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1's six-speed manual transmission with a twin-turbocharged 24-valve DOHC inline six pumping out 377 horsepower and 419 pound-feed of torque. That's stunning output today, and 18 years ago that was more than all but the top supercars could produce. The result was a comfortable sedan that still ranks as one of the fastest Loti ever made.

The Carlton could accelerate from 0-60 in 5 seconds flat and top out at 176 mph. It could accelerate to 60 and brake to a stop again in only 8.5 seconds--faster than most cars at the time could even finish their acceleration.

Just for perspective, take a moment and ponder the 2008 Audi S4 and 2008 BMW M3. They're fantastic cars, super sedans in every sense of the word, blending jaw-dropping power with a sophisticated chassis and no compromises and usability. But consider this--the 1990 Carlton could run stride for stride with both cars, just as it did with the Ferrari Testarossa, Lamborghini Countach, and Porsche 911 Turbo back in its day. Among its sports sedan peers, the Carlton's performance was unparalleled.

The Carlton was only offered across the pond, and even then in very limited quantities. It's a shame Americans never had a crack at it, but then again I suppose forbidden fruit tastes all the sweeter.

© Source: carlustblog
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