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Rover 75 1.8T

2003-07-11 11:06

Wilmer Muller

Rover 75 now available with a 1.8 turbo engine

This turbo-charged Rover will compete in the compact executive segment and it will take on the BMW 320i Mercedes C-Class 200 Kompressor and Audi A4 1.8T.

Since the 75's launch it has proved itself as a viable and very classy alternative to its German competitors. It has a unique identity and is an excellent example of British craftmanship.

This car has an exclusive look and feel to it and although it is considerably cheaper than any Bentley or Rolls Royce it could have just as well been one. Let us call it the "poor" man's Bentley.

The ambience of the 75's cabin offers a feeling of pure opulence. There are vast areas of leather and classy wood inserts and the plush leather seats are comfortable.

The dash, and especially the dials, are very classy but the plastic inserts around the radio and climate control spoils the overall exclusive look of it.

Its cabin also appears quite big for its class but rear legroom is limited when taller persons are sitting in the front.

So if you consider getting a chauffeur when you buy a 75 just make sure he isn't too tall. (You don't want the chauffeur to have all the comfort while you are sitting in a cramped position.)

Under the bonnet

Rover engineers have tapped into previously hidden development potential to produce a new 110kw turbo-charged version of its K Series 1.8-litre engine.

The Rover 75 1.8T takes advantage of Garrett's latest technology, using their new T100 turbine wheel design in a GT20 turbo-charger.

Associated with the turbo-charger installation are a number of important engineering changes.

A special exhaust manifold in cast stainless steel can reliably withstand temperatures in the region of 1000°C.

Uprated pistons and connecting rods are fitted, with the piston configured to give a 9.2:1 compression ratio.

An uprated oil pump provides a 12% higher oil flow rate to meet the turbine bearing lubrication requirements, while the modified main bearing ladder casting has an inlet for oil return from the turbo-charger.

The throttle body is of course sealed to retain turbo-charger boost pressure, with a suitably revised manifold pressure sensor, and the fuel system modified, with a returnless feed controlled by a pressure demand regulator, plus new fuel injectors with higher maximum flow rates.

Modifications to meet the extra cooling airflow demands of the engine and intercooler include a revised undertray for the engine compartment.

The philosophy behind the 1.8T was to use moderate boost pressure, so that the compression ratio could be kept fairly high, (at 9.2:1, compared with 10.5:1 on the normal 1.8 engine), for maximum efficiency at lower engine speeds when running off-boost.

Emphasis has also been placed on providing strong and even torque throughout the normal driving range - the curve is virtually flat between 2 100 r/min and 4 000 r/min with 215 Nm developed throughout.

Through the gears, the 1.8T leads the competition with a 0-100km/h dash achieved in 9.1 seconds. Top-speed is 210km/h.

On the road

On the road, the 1.8T engine refinement and response characteristics harmonise well with the Rover 75 chassis, making the car well balanced and enjoyable to drive at any speed.

The 75 is not a sports sedan but it is more than capable when driven hard and it feels very secure. But the turbo engine is perky and performance is smooth.

This four-cylinder engine does a good job of pulling quite a heavy car and the engine is very quiet. At higher speeds there is some wind noise, but it is not too irritating.

The new 75 1.8T opens up a new market for Rover and it also gives car buyers a chance to a taste a bit of British motoring aristocracy. Except for a small "1.8T" badge there is no difference in appearance from the bigger V6 models.

This model has a great deal to offer - it is real exclusivity you can afford.

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