Metro turbo and Rover Vitesse boost Austin Rover’s performance range
AUSTIN ROVER’S imreasingly performance orientated image was given a further boost this week with the introduction of specialist versions of two of the Group’s must popular models. The first is the 112 m.p.h. MG Metro turbo which, following a few months behind the normally aspirated MG Metro, seems certain to considerablyenhance BL’s small car range. The second is the 135 m.p.h. Rover Vitesse, an uprated version of the big 3.5-litre sports saloon, which will be available only on a built-to-order basis. Despite this. ahnost 2000 Rover Vitessses are expected to have been produced by the end of 1983, making it a convenient and obvious contender for Austin Rover’s Group A saloon racing aspirations.
The Metro turbo is the first turbocharged petrol engined car to be introduced within the BL organisation (there’s a Rover diesel turbo on offer, remember), and with 93 b.h.p. from its 1.275 c.c.. MG’s new baby has a claimed 0-60 m.p.h. time of 9.9 sec. with commendable docility and economy. We at MOTOR SPORT will be particularly interested to test Austin Rover’s claims that she Metro turbo betters the normally aspirated MG Metro’s fuel consumption figures in certain circumstances. A Garrett AirResearch turbocharger is employed in conjunction with a sophisticated electronic control systems which means that the turlxi’s effect doesn’t come in with a dramatic rush on full boost at 4.500 r.p.m. Complementing the turbocharged engine is a package of chassis modifications including ventilated disc brakes at the front. uprated Hydragas suspension with stiffer springing and damping, arose anti-roll bar and a thicker front anti-roll bar for improved handling. There’s a deep aerodynamic front spoiler in addition to the existing, distinctive MG Metro rear spoiler. and black wheel-arch extensions plus lavish “Turbo’. external identification to distinguish the car from its non-turbocharged stablemate. Internally. the Metro features a well-appointed, almost lavish. level of trim highlighted by the excellent high-backed sports seats. Initially. the MG Metro turbo will be available on a built-to-order basis with a tax paid price of 0.649.86.
The Rover Vitesse is billed as the fastest production car ever to carry that marques identification, its fuel-injected V8, 3.258 c.c. alloy engine developing 190 b.h., with the ability to streak from 0-60 m.p.h. in 7.1 sec., thereby making it probably the quickest production saloon currently available on the UK market. Externally distinguished by a large black polyurethane foam spoiler mounted on the tailgate, plus a deep front spoiler, the Vitesse sits one inch lower than the regular 3500 saloon on us race-bred suspension. Wide section. low profile tyres on 15-inch alloy wheels and ventilated front disc brakes complete the performance package and a very high level of interior trim is an additional appealing factor towards sustifYing a tax paid price tag of £14,950. MOTOR SPORT hopes to bring you more detailed assessments of these two exciting new machines when we have had a chance Ill drive them. — A.H.