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Rover 75 LWB - Review by Auto Express

Howard (Auto Express) allow me to use their articles.

So: Pity those who hold positions of responsibility. On the one hand, they preach to their minions about the necessity of keeping costs down, but they also want to enjoy their own luxuries. Well, here's the answer to the transport problems of all coy city mayors and Government ministers – the stretched Rover 75, a discreet yet luxurious saloon car from coachbuilding specialist MacNeillie. Together with Rover, the company set out to produce the cheapest limo on the market.

The entry-level versions based on a £21,920 Rover 75 2.5-litre V6 cost £27,995, usefully undercutting rivals from the likes of Mercedes, *** and Volvo. And, of course, it's British.

To give the extra space that VIPs expect, an additional 20cm of metal slotted behind the B-pillar extends the wheelbase and increases the size of the rear cabin. Privilege has its price, though, and the cost of the modification works out at £300 a centimetre.

MacNeillie has been working on the car since before the 75 was launched in Britain, and its experience is evident. When finished each model is sent to Rover for inspection before being given approval for a full manufacturer's warranty. As a result, it's hardly a cut-and-shut bodge. In fact, from the outside most people think the LWB is no different to any other Rover 75.

Climb inside and it's obvious where the extra metal has been used. A bulbous roof panel, complete with extra lighting and a clock, indicates the spot. The longer doors have also had larger pockets added for more convenience. In front, the chauffeur will not notice much change, however. Apart from the bigger space needed to park it in, the LWB feels identical to a standard 75. You can expect to see more of the stretched versions on the roads in the next few months, too. Several councils as well as Government departments are about to buy them, while funeral directors will be another big market.

Flushed with this success, the firm is looking for more openings with a six-door model, due on sale later this year. It will have a tough act to follow, as the 75 LWB gets our vote as a suitable car for local dignitaries and MPs to be ferried about in – even those who are coy about their lifestyle. Gavin Ward


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