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A Grand Monday: Rover 25 GTI

Published 28 June 2016

Here’s a curiosity for not a huge amount of cash… Britain’s best kept hot hatch secret, the Rover 25 GTi, was introduced in 2000 as a performance range-topper for the brand, but was only on sale for 10 months before the MG ZR came on the scene and stole its thunder.

The GTi was, in many ways, far more tasteful than the lairy ZR. Offered in a fairly subtle colour range (blue, black, red or gold), it had the ZR’s ‘Hairpin’ alloys, but was otherwise pretty discreet. It sat slightly lower than a standard 25, had a roof spoiler, bumper-mounted fog lamps and a sports exhaust.

Under the bonnet, it had the 143bhp 1.8-litre VVC engine from the MGF, giving it a sub-eight second 0-60 time and great mid-range performance, while inside it got half-leather bucket seats and a chunky sports steering wheel, but in all other respects was little different to a standard 25.

It wasn’t hugely popular – around 1,200 were built, and only 10 per cent of those survive to this day, making it something of a rarity. They’re fun little cars, too – lively, sweet handling and somehow much better made than early ZRs, which had something of a thrown-together feel. It’s not known conclusively, but rumours abound that the GTi only existed so Rover’s engineers could experiment with the chassis set-up ahead of the ZR’s debut. The GTi has a slightly softer ride, and those in the know go as far as to suggest it has better all-round grip.

Rover 25 GTI (5)

This example is finished in Tahiti Blue, arguably the best colour, and is in very straight and tidy condition, despite having covered a six-figure mileage. There’s no mention of Rover’s infamous head gasket being changed, though at this mileage it’s more than likely – best to check first before you part with any cash, though.

Otherwise, it’s enthusiast owned, has a good service history, and has all the hallmarks of a cherished and well looked after car. It has a long MoT and comes with the original dealer stickers, book pack and Rover floor mats, all of which will go a long way to making it the future classic that it probably is.

For £700, then, this is a great example of a rare but entertaining little car, and one that will, one day, be recognised as a classic in its own right. If, indeed, that day hasn’t already come – given the upsurge of interest in Rovers and MGs from the 1990s onwards, we reckon it might be there already…


anglebox    on 29 June 2016

Great car - fantastic to drive and still very affordable. Buy it now!

Datsun Dave    on 29 June 2016

What a bargain. Will defo be a classic given its rarity.

Lord Brasic    on 2 July 2016

I drove one of these when they first came out, it was a fun little car. This is a bargain buy in anyones books. This really proves that not all Rovers are old dog. Take car if it and watch the value rise.

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