1 Mar 2001
THE Rover 75, launched in Europe in late 1998, was hailed as one of the most beautiful sedans of recent times.
Also it could almost be described as the first front-wheel drive BMW.
Much of the Brit's suspension was based on the 1995-2003 BMW E39 5 Series – which is no surprise considering BMW owned Rover from 1994 to 2000 – while its overall dimensions are also those of the rear-drive German sedan.
And the BMW influence was everywhere, including the detail work right down to the switchgear and the general fit and finish of the interior.
Initially two versions arrived from Mar ’01: the base 75 Club and the Connoisseur, with the Club model offering the choice of five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmissions.
The engine is a 2.5-litre V6, mounted transversely and driving the front wheels. It uses quad camshafts and 16 valves for power and torque figures of 130kW and 240Nm respectively.
The suspension uses MacPherson struts at the front, with a coil spring independent multi-link layout at the rear and braking is by four-wheel discs with four-channel anti-lock as well as electronic brake force distribution.
Equipment levels include dual front airbags, front side airbags, cruise control, climate control air-conditioning and a six-disc CD changer.
The Connoisseur picks up electric seat adjustment, trip computer, glass sunroof, 16-inch alloy wheels and parking sensors.
From October 2001 a four-door wagon called the Tourer arrived, in all three model specifications, including the newly introduced and full featured Connoisseur SE,A base 75 Classic sedan arrived from early ’03, while two limited edition models were marketed: SE (2002) and LE (2004).