Using a gear-driven system, power was taken from the 6-speed sequential gearbox forward to the half-shafts, which appeared to embrace the raucous 54 degree V6. By doing this Opel had cleverly avoided a nose-heavy car, giving them a significant handling advantage. Weighing in at 1040 kg (2292 lbs)m the car looked like a serious challenger for Alfa Romeo.
A rare "Sport" model was produced in 1985 to homologate for the sub 1,300 cc class of Group A for the British Rally Championship. These sport models were white and came with unique vinyl decals, a 13SB engine with twin Weber 40 DCOE carburettors, an optional bespoke camshaft, a replacement rear silencer, and few luxuries. This gave 93 hp and a top speed of 112 mph (180 km/h) with a 0–60 mph time of 8.9 seconds. These are by far the rarest models (500 produced) and thus acquire a high market price if one does become available.
Clever design tweaks set the KARL ROCKS apart from most of its A-segment rivals. The functional silver roof rails, rugged front and rear bumpers with integrated skid pads, front and rear wheelhouse moldings and unique 15-inch bi-color-look alloy wheels blend in perfectly with typical Opel design cues such as the Opel blade that sweeps dynamically up towards the rear. Combined with the sloping roofline this creates a dynamic, sporty appearance that links the KARL ROCKS to the KARL while simultaneously giving it a distinct rugged look.
Elsewhere, Opel’s wild child comes with all of the safety and comfort features available in the regular KARL. City mode reduces steering effort at the push of a button, greatly facilitating maneuvering in heavy city traffic. Park Assist is also available and assists the driver during parking by giving an acoustic warning as the car approaches obstacles when reversing. Cruise control with speed limiter regulates driving speeds, which is extremely helpful in busy urban traffic and in residential areas.
The Kadett A (above) finally appeared in 1962, and was a classic GM/Opel effort: highly pragmatic, conventional in every respect, reasonably stylish for its time, and designed to deliver a good bang for the buck. In just about every way possible, it was the antithesis of the VW: front-engine rwd, a rather tinny but roomy body, highly tossable but with a primitive suspension and ride, a very roomy trunk, and excellent visibility as well as economy. Oh, and a proper heater even! Its little 987 cc OHV four made 40 net/46 gross hp, six more than the VW 1200. Its trim fighting weight of 1475 lbs (670 kg), some two hundred pounds less than the VW, showed in both its acceleration and body integrity.