AT GENEVA, ONE OF EUROPE’S MOST COSMOPOLITAN MOTOR SHOWS, ROVER REVEALED A UNIQUE NEW VEHICLE: A CAR TO TAKE THE COMPANY INTO EXCITING NEW SECTORS OF THE MARKET; A CAR THAT ADDS POWERFUL IMPETUS TO ROVER’S IMPRESSIVE PROGRESS AS A PRODUCER OF DISTINCTIVE AND DESIRABLE VEHICLES. NOT ONLY WILL THE NEW ROVER 800 COUPE ATTRACT ENTIRELY NEW GROUPS OP DISCERNING CAR-BUYERS TO THE ROVER RANGE, BUT ITS GLAMOUR AND PANACHE WILL ADD EXTRA LUSTRE TO AN ALREADY HIGHLY-REGARDED FAMILY OF NEW ROVER PRODUCTS.
You have to go back a long way in Rover’s distinguished history to find another model with quite the aura of the new Coupe. As a car with a special sense of occasion, a certain degree of indulgence, even a delicious hint of extravagance, the Coupe recalls such magnificent vehicles as the special-bodied Rover Meteors of the early 19305. Thanks to the traditional Rover Grille theme so successfully re-introduced by the new 800 series last November, the sleek lines of the Coupe have the real stamp of a horoughbred classic. A drag coefficient of 0.29 proves that there’s nothing deceptive about the streamlined elegance of the styling, which was created entirely in-house by Rover designers. Although it has a clear family link to the Rover 800 saloon, the Coupe has a number of unique style cues which emphasise its exclusive nature.
The frameless side windows, the body-coloured screen pillars sweeping into the roof and the rakish rear quarter treatment all contribute to the sophisticated and distinctive persona of the Coupe. In confidential design clinics held in Britain and mainland Europe, the Coupe has consistently scored the highest ratings that Rover’s market researchers have ever seen. Respondents saw the car as extremely attractive, impressive, sleek and robust, promising luxury and prestige. Those same people also delivered a very clear message that the interior of the car should be unique to the coupe, and this was interpreted as only Rover know how. Fine leather abounds, not only on the seats, but also on the door and rear quarter inserts and on other areas such as the grab handles and the lid of the cassette box. All the seating is in leather, and a traditional slim pleated stitch pattern is used for the centre panels along with stylish contrasting piping. At the rear, which offers genuine comfort for two adults, with provision for a third, the seating is sumptuously sculpted to provide individual location and support.
One car, one standard; that could be the credo of the new 800 Coupe. There is one model, equipped with every conceivable item of Rover luxury. It is powered by the delightful 2.7 litre 24-Valve V6 engine in catalyst, 169 PS form, that has such a formidable reputation for its silky but eager power. Coupe owners can take for granted such features as the efficient ATC air-conditioning, the new R990 sound system with cassette and CD player (a 6-disc autochanger is mounted in a corner of the huge 500 litre boot) and the prestigious 16 inch alloy wheels. Entry to the plush interior is easy and graceful, with generous doors, front seat belt presenters that tuck away to allow rear passengers unimpeded access, and even a driver’s side courtesy release to enable the driver to fold the front passenger seat backrest readily when collecting passengers. Safety features of the Coupe, in addition to the expected ABS anti-lock braking system, include a significant first for Rover: the option of a driver’s steering wheel mounted air-bag. This is designed to supplement the seat belt and to provide additional protection in frontal impacts. Of course, the standard Rover 800 steering wheel already has a large padded boss for safety, but the air bag (perhaps it should be called a nitrogen bag, as that is the gas used to inflate it in about 50 milliseconds following impact) can cushion the driver’s face and upper torso even more effectively. Inside the Coupe doors are special reinforcing beams to resist side intrusion, and the overall body structure, by its very nature, is particularly stiff and robust.
Because the Coupe is so fully appointed, with everything from cruise control to heated front seats included as standard, buyers do not have to concern themselves with a list of options: other than the air-bag, it really only remains to chose manual or automatic transmission, decide on one of the superb paint colours and Whether or not to specify the alternative interior trim colour that is offered alongside the recommended trim for the chosen paint colour. Since a Coupe buyer is quite likely to use the car for continental touring or business trips, the pan-European roadside assistance now standard on all Rovers will appeal, as will the fact that this cover is also included in the optional warranty programmes.