Rover 75 V8

Mustang power aims to pump up flagship 75

Evo rating
Price
from £31,995
  • Still a pliant, flickable chassis
  • Throttle, steering, brakes, price

You're looking at a centenary flagship - a showcase for Rover's self-proclaimed brand cues of 'Value, power-in-reserve and attractive design'. It's not an unappetising plan, promising the kind of smooth, powerful charm that epitomised 'old Rover' and makes us occasionally misty eyed when watching reruns of The Sweeney.

On paper, too, there's cause for optimism. Behind the bold new grille is the same Ford-sourced 256bhp 4.6-litre V8, mated to rear-wheel drive, that we've already experienced in the MG ZT 260, though the Rover has a four-speed auto where the MG has a five-speed manual.

Optimism, however, is a double-edged sword, and the expectation it fosters drains away, sand-like, when you get down to driving. The throttle is so lacking in feel and progression that it's hard to get the V8 spinning, and you need leaden boots to get into the cream of the powerband. The band is wide enough once you're up there, but still it never feels like you're getting the promised 302lb ft of torque, while the auto-box is frustratingly unresponsive.

Driving enjoyment isn't enhanced by the steering either, which is lifeless and uncommunicative (and hampered by the rock-hard, 'light-oak veneer' rim of the steering wheel on this car). And don't get me started on the brakes, which demand another great bootful of pedal pressure before they'll agree to get any stopping done.

Thank heavens for the chassis, which is keen to pitch you into the corner and throw you out of the exit like an irritated bouncer, the fine line between humdrum understeer and edgy oversteer being treadable without trepidation. Two or three corners like this leave you both breathless and disappointed. It could have been so much better.

Rover wants £32K for the V8, and nearly £36K for the spec you see here, which includes a £3K sat-nav/TV pack among other trinkets. It would not be a high price to pay for a worthy flagship, but this isn't one. Shame. After 100 years of effort, rewards should be sweeter than this.

Find used Rover 75's for sale on the Classic and Performance Car site here.

Specifications

EngineV8, 4595cc, 16v
Max power256bhp @ 5000rpm
Max torque302lb ft @ 4000rpm
0-606.8sec (claimed)
Top speed151mph (claimed)
On saleNow

Most Popular

Lotus Emira makes world debut – all-new coupe to rival Alpine A110
Lotus Emira
Lotus

Lotus Emira makes world debut – all-new coupe to rival Alpine A110

Lotus's first all-new car for a quarter of a century comes AMG power and sub-£60,000 price tag
13 Jul 2021
New Audi RS3 revealed – AMG’s A45 S rival returns fitter and faster
2021 Audi RS3 Sportback – front tracking
Audi RS3

New Audi RS3 revealed – AMG’s A45 S rival returns fitter and faster

After months of tech insights, we now finally get to see the all-new Audi RS3 in its finished form
19 Jul 2021
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring 2021 review – pairing the magnificent 992 GT3 experience to a more subtle audience
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring 992 review
Porsche 911 GT3

Porsche 911 GT3 Touring 2021 review – pairing the magnificent 992 GT3 experience to a more subtle audience

There are few, if any, more rewarding, engaging or intense experiences for those in pursuit of the thrill of driving
14 Jul 2021