When Rover launched its 800 Series executive saloon in 1986, its engine range consisted of 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre petrol engines.
In 1988, along came a far more performance-oriented version – the 827 SLi, complete with a 2.7-litre Honda V6, “the engine it always deserved, giving the Rover 177bhp of power, 168lb ft of torque, a top speed of 131mph, and a 0-60mph time of 8.4sec.
Along with the new engine, the car had a four-speed automatic gearbox, while its aforementioned rivals were manuals. This gave the 827 SLi Sport and Normal shift settings.
“The new electronically controlled gearbox has closer ratios than before and at the same time, Rover has lowered the overall gearing from 25mph per 1000rpm to 21.3mph,” we said.
“Combined with the bigger engine this has made the car very quick off the mark for an automatic in this class – the 827 will spin its wheels easily on the throttle in the dry and reach 30mph in only 3.3sec.
“In the gears the acceleration is equally impressive, 60-80mph in third, taking 6.3sec against 8.9 for the [six cylinder, 2.5-litre-engined Rover] 825.”
It was just a shame that this knocked down fuel economy to an average of 17.9mpg in our test.
The gearbox was smooth shifting too, even when changing down, and gave “reasonable engine braking on the overrun.”
The Rover’s front-ventilated disc brakes, meanwhile, were also top notch. “They provide progressive and powerful retardation up to a 1.1g before the optional anti-lock comes into effect.” They came through fade tests with “flying colours,” too.