1995 Rover - Austin 800 Vitesse Sport Saloon 2.0 turbo 16v 220PS from UK and Ireland


Flawed, but completely wonderful!!


Three replacement gearboxes early on. Third unit (modified) fitted at 20k and still going strong at 120k!

A few electrical gremlins.

Not much else.

General Comments:

Thanks to a dodgy image, constant press slatings and tragic depreciation, this car was one of the best kept secrets in motoring, in my opinion. Even though it only had a 2.0 engine and was absolutely huge, it truly went like stink and would wipe the smile off any hot hatch driver who took it on. The turbo engine was a peach, revving sweetly and providing massive mid range clout. Turbo lag was virtually non existent and everyone who went in or drove this car commented on how incredibly quick it was.

The biggest surprise as far as I was concerned though, was that it handled pretty well too. OK, it didn't have the poise and finesse of a BMW, but it wasn't too nose heavy, and turned in nicely. Reasonable feel and feedback too, and pleasantly devoid of the mush that often interferes in the fun when caning cars of this size.

Interior looked cheap and dated, and rattled badly from about 20,000 miles on, but with a set of gorgeous half leather Recaros and a good driving position, I wasn't too bothered.

The hardest thing to live with day to day were the running costs. Fuel consumption never bettered 30 mpg, and averaged around 23! Equally worrying was the fact that it would munch through a £500 set of front tyres in around 10,000 miles. Depreciation was sickening as well - the car was nigh on worthless (£2,500) when we sold it on.

The fact that you can pick up mint, 30,000 mile examples of this car for less than £4,000 means all the whinges of the contemporary reviews have become irrelevant. This car is subtle, rare and understated in a way that no BMW could ever be, as well as being rapid, well appointed and surprisingly reliable.

Or to put it another way, it's probably the most car you can buy for 4 grand!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th August, 2001

9th Apr 2004, 15:13

The Vitesse Sport had much improved suspension to the rest of the range, but by the time it was launched the cars reputation for poor handling was already there. A shame that Rover didn't make these improvements to all 800s and publicised the improvements.

1995 Rover - Austin 800 Vitesse 2.0 turbo from UK and Ireland


A real steal, go and get one!


Head gasket.

ABS sensor.

Wiper relay.

Brake discs.

Other minor electrical problems.

Overheating in traffic.

General Comments:

For the money, secondhand, you will find this prestigious car hard to beat. It doesn't quite match the M535 I owned prior to this but it is seriously fast especially when chipped, although the chassis can't handle too much power.

Well worth a look at the right price.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th April, 2001

1995 Rover - Austin 800 Vitesse 2.0 turbo from UK and Ireland


So cheap, so fast, just lovely


Minor electrical faults ie. lights, hazards, etc needed fixing first.

Does burn a little oil.

So far.......

General Comments:

Wow.... nice fast comfortable motor.

Bought it from my employers for only 800 quid. An N reg car, He He He.

Goes like nothing I had before. Specially after letting the turbo boost up to 12 psi instead of 6 psi, taking the power up to 245bhp from the standard 180bhp. So easy to do and only costs £3.00 quid.

Seriously love this car and will definitely buy a newer one when I blow this one up.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th September, 2000

21st Jul 2007, 20:19

I find it hard to believe that raising the boost to 12psi gives you that kind of output!

25th Sep 2007, 17:16

It'll blow up. The standard (cheapo) pistons and rods Rover fitted to the T16 can't cope with that kind of boost increase.

It'll be pretty spectacular when it goes. The oil and conrod shrapnel goes everywhere. Good bang too!