wonderfully civilised 75 is Rover's first all-British
designed model for years and marks the dawn of a
new era for the company. Sweeping away decades of underachievement,
does the new car deliver all it
promises and restore the firms reputation to that enjoyed
in the days of its classic namesake of the '40s and
We check it out.
is a real stunner, but that is just part of the story.
Not only does this Rover cut a dash, it marks a re-discovered
sense of pride and direction for the BMW-owned manufacturer,
for this model with its blend of 'Britishness' and
subtle retro styling is being relied upon to rebuild
brand awareness and ensure the marque rises again
to relive past glories.
Sweeping away years of under achievement,
not to mention a somewhat tarnished image as a luxury
car producer over recent decades, the new 75 is proof
that Rover's bosses are no longer prepared to play
second fiddle, their aim now being to restore the
reputation of solidity, grace and comfort enjoyed
in earlier times when the P4 namesake was affectionately
known as 'Aunty' or 'the poor mans Rolls Royce'.
Its heritage is apparent straightaway.
The familiar shaped grille with the Viking emblem
to the extensive use of chrome and, of course, the
bulging waistline with the discreet badges and the
distinctive strips below the doors reminiscent of
the old P4 series and is an immediate give-away. But
it doesn't end there, the rear end is richly infused
with styling cues from its illustrious forebear and
narrows gradually like the original 75; unashamedly
retro, yes, but at the same time managing to look
modern and distinctive to give the car a strong road
than a BMW 3-Series, yet smaller than the 5 range,
the new model is the first Rover to be designed completely
in-house for generations, although the German masters
had an input. It will replace the ageing 600 and 800
ranges at a stroke.
The cabin is enormous for its class and
easily accommodates four adults in luxury with copious
head and leg room in the front, although not quite
so generous in the rear where the comfort of a third
occupant may be marred slightly by the presence of
the armrest and central hump, but that is a minor
observation. Attractive retro black
on white instrumentation, veneered wood trim, two
tone leather and plush carpeting, rear window blind,
etc., lend an air of opulence to the interior; all
traditional hallmarks of this classy British name.
Add up-to-the-minute audio, satellite navigation and
an efficient ventilation system, and you are in no
doubt this is a car designed very much for the 21st
the road the front-wheel-drive layout gives precise
and refined handling, helped by a structure that is
some 21/2 times
stiffer than the models it replaces. Always feeling
composed, the car rides bumps and tackles undulating
surfaces with an assured grace to give an extremely
comfortable and smooth ride.
Four engine options are available and
each can be specified with either a five-speed automatic
transmission or manual gearbox. At the lower end is
a modified version of Rover's well-proven four cylinder
1.8-litre K-Series petrol engine, followed by a heavily
reworked 2.0-litre clone of the superb KV6 power plant.
The latter is retained in substantially re-engineered
form as the 'full-size' 2.5-litre top-of-the-range
For devotees of oil burners, the fourth
engine in the line up is a 2.0-litre 16v version of
BMW's new four cylinder turbo diesel. Equipped with
common rail direct injection technology for maximum
refinement and economy; this unit is a derivative
of the motor used in the latest Bavarian 3-Series
Claimed top speed is in the order of
134 mph for the 2.5 V6 petrol engined car, with an
ability to attain 60 mph in a little under 9 seconds
in the same model. Expect an average fuel consumption
in the mid-30s for petrol variants with 50 mpg being
easily attainable if diesel powered.
start at £19,525 on-the-road for the 1.8 'Club' model,
whilst the top-of-the-range 2.5-litre V6 'Connoisseur'
retails for £25,625. A 'Classic' version, with prices
beginning at £18,250 is expected to go on sale towards
the end of the year.
In conclusion, we consider the new Rover
75 to be a fine looking car and a thoroughbred of
the highest order. Keenly priced, refined, well-equipped,
stacks of interior space, a flawless built quality
and you have the ingredients for the firm's most competent
package for many years. If Rover's flagging fortunes
are to be turned around and the glories of a past
era recaptured, we feel this is the car that can do