UK CAR 
Used car review
Rover 75 Connoisseur 
2.0 CDT Turbo D

 Movie Clips of this Car

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When BMW was still interested in Rover they had a real problem, Rover had an ageing range of cars based pretty much around Honda Technology. 
In the all-important medium sector the under-rated 600 nice as it may have been was only a subtly disguised Accord.
BMW set about producing a new Rover but the job was a big one. Sales of 3 and 5 series had to be protected but the car would be pivotal in Rovers survival so it had to be good. 
It had to kill all notions of the cars that had gone before yet be unmistakably British not German.

It had to ooze British ness, it had to be a cup of tea and a cucumber sandwich. 
Rover has never been a name associated with cutting edge and Retro had a certain fashionable cachet at the time. So BMW gave us a super retro Rover. A car that harked back to the glory days of British Motoring. They had to go a long way back.

Sitting in the car for the first time I could imagine my string backed driving gloves hiding my sweating palms, as I waited for two large geezers in combat jackets carrying, sawn off shotguns, faces covered and distorted by the leg of a ladies stocking, jumping into the rear shouting go, go, move it as a Ford Granada squeals around a corner sideways and looms large into the mirror. 
Yep BMW dug deep into Rovers long history and brought back a sixties S-type Jaguar. 
YOUR Nicked shouts the Copper it’s the last job you’re going to be doing for a long time. And BMW were nicked, their final attempt to revive the Frankenstein that was the British car industry did not quite pull it off and BMW execs retired quietly to the Costa Del Sol and left Rover to die.

I am not the first to find the 75 more reminiscent of a Jaguar than a Rover but frankly that’s okay do you really want a Retro Car that reminds you of the 50’s tank like Rovers, or the technically able but less than picturesque 3500/2000 or as 70’s chic and abortive build quality of the SD1. 
No did not think so. But everybody loves the S-Type Jag the Ultimate 60’s Saloon, And Rover, Austin Rover, Austin Morris, British Leyland, BMC did own Jaguar at one time (though not when the S-type was about).

Still it looks oh so British with its brutish yet graceful curves. Not quite sure about all that chrome which festoons the Car that’s a bit much of a reminder of the chrome trims which rotted off Leyland cars. 
Sat atop its large Alloy wheels the car has an air of graceful serenity. It does shout class at you it is a world away from Vectra and Mondeo. 
This is not a car that will take easily to the Taxi plate.

BMW did a lot of work to get the 75 just so, and the large heavy door swings wide to present an internal view that is pretty much exactly what the exterior suggests. Swathes of Velour and Wood greet the eye, capping the swooping lines of the high quality door and console trims. Curves and ovals abound, Wood trim is scattered everywhere not just in a stripe across the dash. There is no room here for Carbon or Aluminium that’s not the message it is trying to get across. Little chrome highlights streak the inside, not in a mockery of Retro like the Mini Cooper more in a real attempt at homage.

 

The clock in the centre of the dash stays oddly round in juxtaposition to the ovals of the dash and air vents. Its set so deeply you cannot see 4 and 5 o’clock. It’s flanked by two big oval air vents; though I think they missed a trick here it should be flanked by two and preferably 4 over dials.

The Dials are white or is that sort of cream ringed in chrome. Flashy if irrelevant stuff indeed. The dials themselves show more original thought than Rovers entire car production for the last 30 Years. Some one described them as Macintosh like, that is beyond my sphere but I think he meant the designer rather than the computer.
They do look Ye Olde Worlde Motoring yet supremely elegant at the same time.

The seats may only be velour covered in some models. Here though the obligatory Leather hide is fitted, and they are supremely well done. No funky fabrics to spoil the looks only a neat colour co-ordinated pinstripe seem to set them off.

They are also good to sit on and you settle in immediately. Grasping the big thick-rimmed Steering wheel you finger feel the surface give just the right amount. The wheels styling is simple but covers the style killing air bag satisfactorily.

 


It is well equipped , it had to be, just to live up to the promise of the exterior. Little touches like remote release for boot and fuel, rear reading lamps armrests and headrests all round shout thought like never before seem on a Rover. You will find it difficult to find some area and point at it shouting cost cutting. 
The seat adjusts up and down the steering wheel adjust the seat belts adjust. All windows and powered and both mirrors are powered. This car had to be right and there are no obvious letups even small ones.

The front arm rest is however not very ergonomic. It is too far back to use and you find yourself on long journeys holding the gear stick instead.

 

BMW’s smaller diesel provides the impetus for this motor. 
Which is a shame. Not because the CDT is lacking in anyway, 114bhp from a 2-litre diesel is no bad figure. But the 75 is no lightweight. 1500 kilos takes some shifting though it does imply some heavy-duty engineering. Still all in all an 11 second sprint to sixty is respectable for a small Diesel and the superfluous 120mph top end quite remarkable. It just would have been so nice with BeeMs 6 pot oil burner on board.

Never mind the CDT does a respectable job it has seamless power from tick over to red line and keeps the clatter pretty much at bay though I suspect this is down to some heavy duty soundproofing. 
It certainly does not need constant stirring of the box to keep it moving.

There is a CDT pay off , 37, 63,50 may sound like terrible figures for a women, but they are pretty good when they relate to a big cars economy.

Not that stirring presents any real difficultly. The box gives a change, which suggest this is another BMW derived part. Firm and Mechanical yet solid in engagement, quite different from the Honda derived snickety snick items of the 600 models.

The Clutch is a little on the he man side of firm though at first use. Though you get used to it very quickly. Maybe I am becoming a wimp pampered by too many lightswitch clutches. Either way its take up is smooth and faultless.

 

Wishbone front and modified Z axel rear. The suspension will surprise no BMW fan though may lead to a little head scratching from devout Rover Honda Philes. 
What looks pretty much like a BMW rear wheel drive chassis transformed to front driver. Again probably protection for BMW’s own market. Though the character of the Rover and a BMW are like chalk and cheese both classy but both worlds apart.

Front wheel drive is bound to take a little sensitivity out of the steering and granted the 75 is not as dexterous as you would expect a BMW’s helm to be. But given that this is probably BMW’s first go at a real Front driver installation and how others can still muck it up, it works remarkably well. 
I did have a few reservations about the rear end to start with. It does seem a complex way to control two lightly loaded rear wheels and I was afraid it may out perform the front end. I need not have worried the front is engineered to equally high standards and grips and steers very well. The steering is weighted more toward a Merc like stability, though without the vagueness that can sometimes give. 
The Steering is light enough at slow speeds and solid enough at speed, giving the driver plenty of confidence.

It was never meant to give sportster like response, instead in gives calm unflustered serenity to this gentlemans carriage.

The suspension is well worked out and balanced the ride is smooth yet the suspension keeps body roll and movement well in check allowing you to barrel through corners in comfort without undue geometry deforming tilt

 

 

Remote central locking, Alarm, Immobilisor, deadlocks, VIN, remote fuel and boot release, okay its meant to be British, and live in this theft ridden land, but this you suspect that Rover BMW suspected it may be quite desirable with the level of protection they built into it.

The Occupants are equally well protected too. Pre-tentioners, side impact bars, ABS, three point rear seatbelts high level brake lights, powerful discs all round, and a plethora of Air bags it almost sounds like they are having a crack at Volvo and Saab as well.

Despite the fuss and press acclaim when the 75 arrived, it was sort of overshadowed by BMW’s retreat from Britain and it seems to have become a forgotten car. 
Now under the Phoenix group without the shadow of the BMW logo behind it many seem to have forgotten how good it is. 
It remains to be seen whether the now tiny MG Rover can develop it further. Or how long they can source German bits. Whether a company that has to import and re-badge Tatas as the new metro city car, has the power and the kudos to sell into the Volvo, Saab, BMW market sector is questionable.

But all this does not mean the 75 is any less of a car. Indeed it is a really nice elegant piece of engineering behind all that retro gubbins. Perhaps Rover could stick a new modern body over it like VW constantly do with the Golf chassis.

 

The car it self is comfortable well equipped and has a decent boot (though the lip is quite high) The standard of trimming even in the hidden boot shows how far removed this car was from previous Rovers. For the second hand buyer in the market for a mid range saloon the 75 is a real classy alternative to your average Vectra Mondeo 406 Xantia type stuff and a real competitor to your Saabs and Volvos, though not really in the BMW driver appeal sector.

Rover may have been abandoned by BMW after the Germans had pilfered lots of taxpayer’s money to keep it going. But its not because the Rover 75 is a bad car. On the contrary the 75 is a lovely car. But one car does not a mainstream manufacturer make.

It’s a little shame that BMW could not have had a little more confidence in their branding to make the 75 a little more sporty. After all which BMW nut is really going to buy a Rover no matter how good it is.

 

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