The Day-Glo mouth - set off nicely by any colour you want so long as it is British Racing green - rekindles Rover's association with BRM (British Racing Motors), who once celebrated success, after years of humiliating failure, by painting its nose cones orange. And the Rover connection? The gas-turbine Rover-BRM that twice completed the Le Mans 24 hours in the Sixties.
For Rover to cash in so long after the event may be stretching nostalgia a furlong too far. But who cares about such cynicism? It is only a car. What matters is that the young company dashabouts at the 200 BRM's will enjoy themselves - and I do not doubt that they will, even if the occasion the car commemorates eludes them.
The racing association must make the 200BRM LE faster than normal, right? Wrong. The engine is the same 1.8 twin-cam as that in the lesser 200Vi, a spirited car that holds its own against most rivals in the hot-hatch division. It is just a pity that the BRM LE is not quicker still, given the visual promise of sporting prowess, not to mention a premium price.
What it does have is a Toren differential, all the better for transferring power to tarmac, and a close-ratio gearbox which makes cog-swapping even more of an indulgence to those who like to be totally involved. With a gearchange as slick as the this car's, there is no excuse for lazy shifting, for hanging onto fifth when third will liberate more of the lively engine's top-end sparkle. Vi or BRM, the joie de vivre of the 200's drivetrain is truly intoxicating.
The ride is impressively smooth, too, as it is on all Rover's 200 and 400 models. For a car with sporting aspirations, the suppleness of the suspension is perhaps out of keeping with the character of the car. Not that it is a sloppy handler. The BRM LE scuttles through the bends on generous rubber and firmed-up suspension with terrific elan, even if the steering is on the mushy side of crisp. Ditto the brakes, though they anchor with poise and power.
As a family car, Rover's spatially-challenged 200 is nothing like so accommodating as, say, Ford's new Focus or the roomy Vauxhall Astra. As a sports saloon, though, the BRM LE is perhaps all the better for being of compact dimensions. Although cramped in the back, in front there is plenty of space to stretch a leg. Initially, the height-adjustable seats feel great. Exploit the car's cornering powers, though, and you soon discover deficient support.
Cosmetically, the BRM LE is out of the ordinary. Dynamically, it is not quite special enough. I would prefer fewer gewgaws and more shove.
Rover 200 BRM LE
Price: from pounds 18,000.
Engine: 1796cc, four cylinders, 16 valves, produces 143 bhp at 6,750 rpm. Transmission: five-speed manual gearbox, front-wheel drive. Performance: 0-60mph 7.9sec, top speed 127mph. Combined fuel consumption: 38mpg.
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