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Rover 75 & amp; MG ZT (1999-2005): 20 years of BMW Brexit

Rover 75 & MG ZT (1999-2005)
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They were Rover's last hope, the death of two Avoiding British cult brands: The R over 75, pronounced' Seventy-Five 'by real Rover enthusiasts, of course, and its sporty corporate brother MG ZT. Two spacious mid-range limousines, which, under the management of Phoenix Venture Holdings, should finally drive the company into the profit zone - which, as is well known, unfortunately did not succeed.

BMW parted ways with Rover on March 16, 2000

The Rover 75 came out well at. It should replace the 600 and 800 series.

The development and introduction of the Rover 75 was still under the direction of BMW. The Munich-based company managed the fortunes of the Rover Group from 1994 to 2000 and invested more than ten billion marks in the then badly ailing automaker - money that BMW would never see again. In 2000 they smashed the Rover Group and sold Land Rover to Ford. MG and Rover went to the Phoenix Consortium for a token amount of £ 10 - about two servings of fish and chips. Only Mini stayed with BMW. Three board members lost their posts: 'Head of Sales Henrich Heitmann, Head of Development Wolfgang Ziebart and Head of Production Carl-Peter Forster have resigned from the board with immediate effect. The managers were only appointed a year ago when the Rover debacle BMW had already hit a severe management crisis collapsed, 'wrote' Der Spiegel 'on March 16, 2000. In the year before the separation, the newly developed mid-size sedan 75 had come onto the market. The car in the soft retro design was also well received in the test at auto motor und sport.

The Rover 75 should replace the aging series 600 and 800, where it were derivatives of the Honda Accord and Legend models. While the engineers used many BMW parts in the development of the 75 - the throttle valve actuator, for example, comes from the BMW E39 and the washer fluid pump and the multimedia system including television from the Dreier E46 - by and large, the influence of the Munich-based company was on the 75 low.

New era in retro look

auto motor und sport
The retro look is particularly evident on the inside.

In 1998 Rover presented the 75 to the general public at the British International Motor Show in Birmingham. The styling of the mid-range sedan, which competed with Ford Mondeo, VW Passat and Opel Vectra among others and was also intended to appeal to potential BMW three, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4 customers, is emphatically British. The days of sober Japanese lines should be over, and in the new Rover models, the designers came up with a retro look reminiscent of cars from the 1950s. Inside, dark root wood adorns the dashboard and door panels - or at least plastic that looks like wood. The oval instruments have a slightly yellowed touch, just like the beige leather in the top equipment Celeste, which gives the Rover a British club atmosphere. All that's missing is a scotch and a pipe.

The oval style runs through the entire interior. The door handles, ventilation outlets, many switches and decorative elements take up the shape. Everything looks soft, supple and noble - a very comfortable atmosphere. However, if you take a closer look, you will notice why the Seventy-Five could come up with such a low price of just 23,510 euros for the basic version with the 1.8-liter four-cylinder, despite what at first glance appears to be a classy interior. The buttons with their rough hard plastic shell and the thin plastic panels that make it look like wood are haptically different from the upper class.

Nevertheless, the deliberately old-fashioned one is refreshingStyle and gives the Rover character. Also on the outside: lots of chrome, soft lines and an emphatically British rear, as one would have expected from Jaguar or Rolls-Royce. At the front, four individual headlights give the car a serious look. In the auto motor und sport test of 1999, the colleagues certified that the car had 'good workmanship' and a 'stiff body'. The Rover comeback could have been a success with the 75.

MG ZT almost without chrome

D. Eisele
Dark window frames and wire mesh grill instead of chrome: the MG ZT was positioned more sportily.

The rustic British retro design is not necessarily everyone's cup of tea. Rover recognized this and launched the 75 in a sporty version for the sister brand MG: In 2001 the MG ZT was born. The bodies are identical, but the ZT got a new, more aggressive and sportier front. The trim strips, which shone in chrome on the 75, were now given the body color. In addition, the developers gave the ZT a firmer chassis, larger brakes and sportier rims.

In the interior, the wood look gave way to flat gray plastic. In general, everything inside is darker, grimmer and more matter-of-fact. While you sit in soft, comfortable club armchairs in the 75, the driver in the MG is surrounded by the cheeks of tight sports seats. The engines available were identical for the mid-range siblings. You could choose between a 1.8-liter petrol engine with 120 hp, a 2.5-liter V6 from the KV6 series with 160, 177 or 190 hp and the two-liter BMW diesel engine with either 115 or 131 hp . Only the two-liter V6 was reserved for the Rover. It makes 150 hp. Anyone looking for real power can try to get hold of one of the very rare Rover or MG with the 4.6-liter V8. The engine comes from the Ford Mustang and delivers 260 hp and a whopping 410 Nm.

Sporty: 2.5-liter V6 with 190 hp

D. Eisele
If you pay attention to the timing belt and cylinder head gasket, you can enjoy the V6 for a long time.

MG ZT are Rare. While around 210,000 copies of the Rover 75 were delivered, the number of MG is around 27,000. Matthias Bühler, the owner of our photo machine gun, was all the happier that he found his ZT-T 190 in good condition. 'Originally, I wanted the station wagon as a daily driver for my family, but we have taken the ZT so much to our hearts that it will now be spared,' reports Bühler. The 2.5-liter V6 with 190 hp works in its station wagon. The unit has a robust sound that is already apparent when idling. 'The clutch slip point comes quite early, and the pedal has a lot of resistance,' warns Bühler before the test lap.

In fact, a courageous step on the clutch pedal is necessary to separate the friction discs. You also have to use a lot of force to engage first gear. Everything feels firm and stable - even the seat, which seems to be pressing against the back. In the lower speed range, the engine is a bit sluggish. But if the tachometer passes the 3000 mark, the MG pushes forward with a robust grumble.

The stiff chassis provides excellent stability, but also passes every bump on to the spine. The steering benefits from this tough set-up and turns out to be a real precision tool. The braking system also requires a sensitive foot, everything together emphasizes the sporty character of the MG, which feels most comfortable on winding country roads.

Decelerating: 1.8-liter with automatic

D. Eisele
Editor Endreß would choose the MG ZT.

In contrast to his younger brotherthe Rover 75 is nowhere near as impetuous. In the copy in the photos, which was kindly made available to us by the British specialist Merz & Pabst from Nürtingen, a 1.8-liter four-cylinder works in conjunction with a five-speed automatic. This combination has a decelerating effect, to say the least. With the 1460 kg sedan, the 120 hp engine seems to be a bit overwhelmed. If it goes uphill on the country road, the transmission shifts gently into fourth, sometimes even third gear, and the engine roars.

This means that you tend to prefer the soft, comfortable car uses to glide along than to demand athletic performance. The soft seats do the rest to reinforce this impression. Driving is very pleasant, and you could imagine a long road trip with the 75, but one of the V6 engines is much more confident on the road.

Nevertheless, you feel comfortable and safe in both Britons. Rover has managed to set up and set up two almost identical cars so differently that they feel completely opposite. The MG is the aggressive and sporty one who wants to be driven and loves curves. The rover is more about the ambience. Its passengers should arrive at their destination safely, relaxed and in style. For both, however, the following applies: Anyone who buys such a car owns one of the last British mass-produced cars.


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