Product Type: Rover cars
Newest Review: ... all round. I never felt I was paying over the odds for my driving experience. Overall then the Rover 800 in any variant-and I've... more
Vitesse: Awesome performer
Member Name: Noonan McKane
Date: 08/08/07, updated on 13/01/08 (507 review reads)
Advantages: Awesome performance, well equipped, stunning looks
Disadvantages: fuel consumption, insurance premiums
Rover 820 Vitesse Sport
I've owned 3 of these cars. I'd have another any day; although I've no intention of ever getting rid of my current one-a 1998 saloon model in British Racing Green.
The Vitesse has been described as a poor man's Bentley (at least, the very scarce coupe version has) and while it's not quite as prestigous as a Bentley, a well kept Vitesse represents a far sounder investment than, say, a Jaguar XJ of around the same age. All cars depreciate, and big, thirsty cars do it best, so why buy a Jaguar that will cost you increasingly huge sums to run and maintain (and probably repair. A lot.) when less cash gets you something just as attractive, immeasurably rarer (How many Jags have you seen this week? How many Rover Vitesses?) and about a squillion times faster!! Fact is, and it's not broadly known, the 820 Vitesse is faster than just about everything!
The downside, of course, is the economy. These days, with petrol at £1 a litre, it probably seems a bit mental to even think about buying a car that will struggle to return any better than 22 mpg, but motoring in anything is pricey nowadays, and if this is the type of car you're after you can't get many better. Maintenence costs shouldn't be too high either, on a well kept Vitesse, as Rover cars are much better made than people seem to think. Potential buyers should, however, be prepared for the gearbox to need replacing at any mileage after 60000 (the differential bearings were sadly never up to the task of having up to 250 horsepower coursing through them), but any conscientious former keeper will have seen to this. For the same reason (sheer power!), the cooling system can cause head gasket failure, and hasty and improper attempts to rectify this (not having the cyl. head skimmed, pressure tested etc) effectively condemn the engine. Again, people who know and love these cars will have seen to this. Cambelt should be changed every 60000 miles, good quality 10w40 semi synthetic oil changed no more than every 8000.
The coolant temperature sensor, which can be bought for less than £20 & changed in 10 minutes is a common fault (manuf. by Lucas! Ask any auto electrician...)and may go unnoticed by many drivers, but it causes the ECU to richen the fuel mixture (sending fuel consumption into NASA territory!), so check the engine settles to an idle of about 850rpm once warmed. Also, be sure the turbocharger (a Garrett T25) is sound. Repair of it, even on an exchange basis is prohibitively expensive, replacement is astronomical money. This is why regular oil changes are essential.
Apart from that, the soundest buy you'll ever make. And you'll love how you're NEVER challenged to a 'race' by Imprezas, Cosworths, Golf GTis etc again!
Summary: Nigh on supercar performance for only around £1000