Gallery : Rover 200/400

1989 Rover 200-Series

In 1989, the 200 range appeared with the Rover K-Series engine (intially in 95PS form), with the upper range 216 models featuring the single-cam Honda D-Series engine. Initial range looked like this: 214Si, 214SLi, 214GSi, 216SLi, 216GSi (oh, how simple it looked back then…) The classy five-door soon picked up a following with buyers looking for something more appealing than the run of the mill Escorts and Astras…

1989 214SLi 16V.

1989 214SLi 16V.


1990 Rover 400-Series

In 1990, Rover announced the four-door version of the R8 200, which they called the 400 range. Initially with the 1.4-litre K-Series engine and the 1.6-litre Honda D-Series in single cam (114PS) and twin-cam (130PS) guise. The twin-cam engine used in the Honda CRX debuted in the Rover range, in the outwardly sadate looking 416GTi…

 1990 Rover 416GTi 16V

1990 Rover 416GTi 16V


1990 200-Series range additions

The 200-Series also received the Honda twin-cam in 1990, to create the 216GTi 16V. This five door model looked similar to the 416GTi 16V, but it featured a sports interior with part leather upholstory and uprated springs and dampers.

1990 Rover 216GTi 16V.

1990 Rover 216GTi 16V.


1990 200-Series 3-door

At the end of 1990, the three-door version of the 200-Series was launched. Featuring an unusual C-post arrangement, it looked somewhat different to the opposition offerings. The introduction of the 214 three-door saw the introduction of the 8-Valve SPi version of the K-Series engine (first used in the Metro) in a new entry-level model called the 214i. This engine was introduced in the five-door model at the same time.

Higher powered versions of the three-door would soon follow – with GTi badged single-cam and twin-cam 1.6-litre models (September 1990). More would follow later…

1990 Rover 214i

1990 Rover 214i

1990 Rover 216GTi 16V

1990 Rover 216GTi 16V


1991 Rover 200/400-Series

A new season saw the introduction of the PSA 1.8-litre turbodiesel and 1.9-litre diesel engined 218SD, SLD, 418SLD, GSD in normally aspirated and turbocharged forms. The 400 also became available in all-over body colour, as opposed to the duotones previously available. Later in the year (September), the 220 GTi 16V sports hatchback was launched in three-door form – initially, these were fitted with M16 engines…

1991 Rover 418 GSD.

1991 Rover 418 GSD.

1991 Rover 220GTi 16V.

1991 Rover 220GTi 16V.

M16 engine: it didn't last long in the R8.

M16 engine: it didn't last long in the R8.


1991 Rover 200-Series cabriolet

The fourth R8 body variation was devised to compete with the Ford Escort and Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet, and proved popular with buyers looking for a home-grown alternative. Initially available with the Honda D-Series twin-cam engine, it received further engine options later in its life.

1991 Rover 216 Cabriolet

1991 Rover 216 Cabriolet


1992 Rover 200/400-Series

In 1992, the 200 and 400 ranges received a light facelift. Model range was expanded to include the two-litre T16 engine in 136PS form (to replace the shortlived M16 version that appeared earlier in the year in the first 220GTi models), and a slight realignment of the trim and model designations. 214 models received an uprated version of the K-Series engine, which upped power slightly. The 400 outwardly looked the most different because it received the company’s new corporate chrome plated grille and deeper front bumper – and on the 400 only, smoked rear lenses. Both ranges also sported new wraparound front indicator
lights.

1992 Rover 214Si - note the new indicators...

1992 Rover 214Si - note the new indicators...

The three-door GTi received the 136PS Rover T16 engine to create the 220GTi 16V.

The three-door GTi received the 136PS Rover T16 engine to create the 220GTi 16V.

1992 Rover 420SLi 16V - as can be seen, the new grille and bumper arrangment distanced it from the 200-Series, although these would eventually find their way onto the hatchback car...

1992 Rover 420SLi 16V - as can be seen, the new grille and bumper arrangment distanced it from the 200-Series, although these would eventually find their way onto the hatchback car...


1992 Rover 200 Coupe

At the end of 1992, the popular coupe version of the 200-Series appeared, cashing in on the burgeoning popularity of this style of car. Known by all as the Tomcat (after its development codename), the Coupe version was a two-door car, and shared its bootlid and smooth numberplate surround panel with the recently-launched cabriolet. At the time of its launch, it allied to the 200, meaning it didn’t get the chrome radiator grille, although it had smoked rear lenses from the start.

Engine choices were limited to the Honda D-Series 1.6-litre engine and the T-Series two-litre engine in normally aspirated and (new to the R8) 200PS turbocharged form. The 220 Coupe Turbo remains quick, even today…

1992 Rover 220 Turbo Coupe.

1992 Rover 220 Turbo Coupe.


1993 Rover 200-Series range alterations.

A year after the 400 was grilled-up, the 200-Series followed suit,
seeing the addition of the nasal appendage on three- and five-door 200-Series
cars, the cabriolet and the Coupe.

1993 Rover 214SLi - new grille gives the car more presence.

1993 Rover 214SLi - new grille gives the car more presence.

Tomcat with the grille...

Tomcat with the grille...


Sports and Turbos added…

1993 also saw more 200- and 400-Series models receiving the turbo engine from the 220 Turbo Coupe. Very few actually escaped from the showrooms, and they are now very rare models indeed. 220 and 420 Sport models also appeared, and although they featured standard T-Series engines, they came with sports interiors and side-skirts.

1993 Rover 220 GSi Turbo

1993 Rover 220 GSi Turbo

1993 Rover 420 GSi Turbo

1993 Rover 420 GSi Turbo


1994 Rover 400 Tourer

The Sixth and final R8 derivative arrives, and proves to be a popular addition to the fleet. Although it is not a load lugger in the true sense of the word, it is capacious enough to compete with the likes of the 3-Series Touring and Audi 80 Avant. No lowly 1.4-litre cars are offered, underling the fact this is a lifestyle accessory, not a rival for the Escort Estate.

1994 Rover 420 GSi Tourer - offered all the trappings of the Sport models (apart from side skirts) in a practical package.

1994 Rover 420 GSi Tourer - offered all the trappings of the Sport models (apart from side skirts) in a practical package.


1994 Rover 214 SEi

A run-out model, which saw all of the nicer bits of trim being fitted to the lower models in the 200-Series range. The 400/Tourer/Cabriolet front bumper was added, as were higher levels of interior trim. It proved popular – with many finding homes in the UK.

 The SEi looked good, was well-priced and proved popular.

The SEi looked good, was well-priced and proved popular.


1996 R8 range gets stuck in a niche…

With the arrival of the R3 and HH-R models as replacements, the Cabriolet, Tourer and Tomcat remained in production until 1998, as no new-generation replacements were planned. These cars received the later R3 style dash (which remains largely unchanged into 2005) and a mainly K-Series engine lineup (1.6-litre automatics maintained the Honda engine and gearbox). The 1.6-litre models were supplemented by the 1.8-litre K-Series VVC – only to be found in the later Tomcat as a replacement for the brawny T-Series Turbo…


…and here’s the Honda version

Honda didn’t exploit the Concerto in anywhere near the same way, and as a result, didn’t sell in the numbers the R8 did in the UK.

They seemed to lack the classy colour/trim combinations of the Rover version. Today, they seemed to have survived in better shape, and most of them seem to be the Twin Cam version!


All pictures from TODAY’S CARS, page contributed by Matthew Hayward.
With clarifications from Alistair Quigley and Alexander Boucke.


Posted in: 200/400 (R8), Gallery
Keith Adams

About the Author:

AROnlineholic between 2001 and 2014 - editor of Classic Car Weekly, and all round car nut...

6 Comments on "Gallery : Rover 200/400"

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  1. Hilton Davis says:

    The 200/400 series with K engines really moved Rover along in the 80s & 90s. Great choice of bodystyles from a 3 door hatch to an Estate, Coupe and Cabriolet The later addition of a Rover grille helped distance it from it’s Honda cousin too. It was going so well till the sale to BMW and what happened next.

  2. David Dawson says:

    It’s incredible really! Just how could the early 90’s high of good image, high volume niche producer, been so messed up. The BMW takeover should have resulted in the next step on the road to recovery. It should have seen the positive image being reinforced and backed by more ground up Rovers as opposed to Honda based cars. They were so close. If the government had been more long sighted and injected a last shot of aid BMW would have stayed at the helm and just think…….

    If VW could make Skoda a success…..

  3. Jason18tc says:

    Great car at the time, really different from the Escort and Astra, genuinely a class act….the last, truly great Rover product?

  4. David 3500 says:

    I am sorry to be pernickety here, but there are a number of errors in this article that do need correcting.

    Firstly, the entry level 3-door version of the 200 Series (announced September 1990) was called the 214S not 214i. The 214i did not arrive until May 1993.

    Secondly, The monotone finish to the 400 Series was announced in November 1991 and coincided with the launch of the 2-litre M16i engine in the SLi, GSi, GSi Executive and GSi Sport derivatives. The 220 GTi 3-door was actually launched in June 1991, making it the first R8 derivative to feature the 2-litre M16i engine.

    Thirdly, the 200 Cabriolet was announced in March 1992 and went on sale in the UK market the following month. At launch it featured either the 103Ps 1.4-litre 16-valve K Series or 120Ps 1.6-litre single-cam Honda petrol engine.

    Fourth, The 2-litre T Series engine replaced the M16i unit in the 220 GTi 3-door and 420 models in September 1992. This coincided with the launch of the 200Ps turbocharged version of this engine which, aside from featuring in the new 220 Coupe Turbo, would also feature in the 220 GTi Turbo 3-door and 420 GSi Sport Turbo saloon announced at the same time. In November 1993, the 2-litre T Series engine in normally aspirated form was introduced in the flagship 220 SLi derivative for the 5-door range.

    Finally, the launch of the monotone 214 SEi special edition in December 1994 also coincided with the monotone finish and deeper front bumper from the 400 Series being introduced on all derivatives in the 200 Series 3 and 5- door ranges. This was done as part of the phase out programme.

  5. mark hayman says:

    The range of cars produced in this period really helped to move Rover Group along, and it seemed to have a complete range of vechicles made available for the buying public. The range of models, engines and specs available made the 200/400 very flexible for all tastes. I did work on a few 200/400 whilst working for the Met Police and found that they were well put together. Its a shame that Rover were sold to BMW, I feel that the company was better placed with Honda, with the support and help from Honda, Rover were producing high quality products at that time.

  6. Will says:

    A classy midrange car. A friends parents traded their Montego in for a 214SLi in white/grey, and then a 216 with the chrome grille in a nice shade of blue w/grey.

    Always thought it was a cut above the usual, compared to my dad’s BXs which where quite Gallic and functionally styled.
    Wood on the dash and a cream interior really gave it a nice ambience.

    Shame it was replaced with the Daewoo Lanos-shaped 200/25. Real spiritual successor was the 400/45 hatchback which didn’t quite carry off the same level of classiness.

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