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AutoRAI 1999: the new cars

Rover

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Rover_75.jpg (42843 bytes)Another British car manufacturer that got a new dose of inspiration out of a takeover is Rover. After being bought by BMW they set out to design a car that would stress the qualities that Rover always had stand for in the past, but were somehow forgotten since the seventies. Alas BMW didn't do their math as well as Ford with Jaguar and they lost a lot of money in the Rover deal and subsequently some of their top managers.
The result of all the effort is the new 75. And it's a nice car, but it didn't turn out as well as the Jaguar S-type. Here also a lot of retro details and a big rummage about in the Rover history. In this case it didn't all work out in favor of the car, in some aspects it now seems a bit out of date.

Rover_75_int.jpg (31642 bytes)The interior is luxurious and classic but also a bit too much. It has lots of colors and details, like as if the box with samples from British interior design history fell over on the design table. A simple case of trying too hard...
The exterior looks a lot more solid that we've become used to from British cars in the past, but also a bit static. It doesn't convey any dynamic associations and in that way it's maybe a bit too much retro.

Rover_75_back.jpg (35242 bytes)Prices are reasonable though, far better than those of the Jaguar. They're on the level of the BMW 3 series, while it's only about 10 cm shorter than the Jaguar S-type.
There's quite a wide range of engines available in the 75, starting with the K-series 1.8 litre 120 hp unit and topped by the 2.5 litre KV6 175 hp unit, which is of course far less than the Jaguar S-type range starts with. Top speeds vary from 190 to 215 kph and 0 to 100 kph acceleration from 13.2 to 9.5 seconds. All petrol engines are Rover designs; the only diesel in the range is the 1.9 litre turbo unit out of the BMW 320d (producing 115 hp).
So will this car be the one to put Rover up with the big boys again? Hard to say, I think mostly elderly men will be attracted to this car because of its static and robust looks and its romanticized associations with the past. But that can be a big market after all, who knows, maybe Rover found a niche for itself...

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