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Carlton
Carlton
Lotus
Lotus logo
19,000 CR
Model year: 1990
Performance Index: B 458
Drive Type: RWD
Engine Placement: Front
Basic Performance
SPEED
7.1
HANDLING
4.6
ACCELERATION
7.3
LAUNCH
6.7
BRAKING
4.5
Advanced Performance
Power: 377 HP (281 kW)
Torque: 419 lb ft (568 N·m)
Weight: 3641 lbs (1651 Kg)
Front: 55%
Displ: 3.6 L
Power/weight: 228 HP per ton

170 kW per ton


From an automaker best known for their elfin racers and commitment to lightness, the large Carlton seems a bizarre vehicle to emerge wearing a Lotus badge. An executive sedan tweaked within an inch of its life, Lotus’ engineering expertise allowed the Lotus Carlton to be the fastest sedan in the world for a period of time. Born at a time when General Motors owned both Lotus and Vauxhall/Opel, the idea was to build a halo car wearing the Lotus badge to generate some attention to the brand. By boring out and then twin-turbocharging the Vauxhall inline six, the 377 horsepower Carlton got a bit too much attention—the 180 mph-capable sedan became so wildly controversial in Britain that law enforcement sometimes spoke of banning it from the road. Perhaps the police were simply jealous, as no cruiser in the UK could catch a Carlton on a clear motorway. In an era where traction control devices weren’t even a glimmer in a safety-conscious engineer’s eye, there are no nannies to turn off, meaning the Carlton can engage in smile-inducing tail slides on command. And lest you think that it’s merely an unruly straight-line ruffian, Lotus did also tune the suspension; it’s no Elise, but you’d be surprised what the big Carlton is capable of.

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