1990s / British / Rover / Sunday classic

Sunday classic: Rover 200 BRM

rover-200-brm-1The Rover 200 BRM was presented as a concept car at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show and added to the automaker’s lineup as a limited edition in October of 1998.  Based on the range-topping 200vi model, it was inspired by Rover’s successful partnership with British Racing Motors in the 1960s.

The 200 BRM was exclusively offered as a three-door hatchback. It was instantly distinguishable from a regular 200vi because it was finished in Brooklands Green with a contrasting orange air intake and it was fitted with silver mirrors. While some appreciated the race-inspired livery, others mused that it made the car look like a newt.

16-inch six-spoke alloy wheels mounted on low profile tires helped give the BRM a dynamic stance, and model-specific badges on the front fenders and on the trunk lid finished off the look.

Inside, the 200 BRM was significantly better appointed than a regular 200-Series. Dark red was the order of the day: The seatbelts, the carpet and the diamond-stitched leather upholstery found on the seats were all red. Brushed aluminum trim on the center console, the dashboard, and the door panels added a subtle track-inspired touch.

Unfortunately, BMW-owned Rover opted to not make any changes under the hood and the BRM was fitted with the 200vi’s 1.8-liter K-Series four-cylinder engine. Bolted to a five-speed close-ratio transmission, the engine made 145 horsepower and 128 lb-ft. of torque, enabling the BRM to sprint from zero to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 7.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 127 mph (205 km/h).

Rover axed the 200 BRM after 795 examples rolled off the Longbridge assembly line, including 300 that are believed to have been sold outside of the United Kingdom. Discouraged by slow sales, the car had no direct successor in the Rover lineup but it passed the hot hatch flame to the MG ZR in 2001.

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