It was a long term plan of BMW to replace its Honda Civic based 200/400 series cars. At that time the MG Rover Group was very much ticking and the BMW group was dreaming of the new line up. The old model was called 25/45 also at a later stage and was lined up with the 75 in the Rover’s listing of cars.
People from “Aronline” were able to get hold some pictures of a clay model which is exclusive for no one was even aware of this model ever being in the making. This model in clay though was named the R55 and it seemed to have a design of a compact sedan and yet slightly larger than the BMW’s 3-series which is said to have been completed in 1997.
From the British blog we got the following comments of Richard Woolley, “Yes, I think it was shaping up well. Considering it went from sketch to clay to model in one shot, I think it still looks pretty good nearly 13 years on. But, of course, I may be a bit biased!” The car sat on a long wheelbase (c.2800mm), giving maximum rear accommodation, but with an overall length less than R75 – the North South installation enabled a much shorter front overhang. The clay model was completed in Gaydon, spring of 1997, and the composite model build was contracted out to Futura in Birmingham with completion that summer.”
The R55 had very short overhangs thereby giving it a very dynamic design. It also had a bonnet shaped like a clamshell as also the relatively low roof giving it a similar look to the Chrysler 300. The Chrylser was launched only as a concept model in the 2003 NY Auto Show.
The styling is fresh and especially when compared to the current offerings of the same genre of cars.
The R55 project was however ditched and other Rovers came into the production line since then.
Tags: rover 55 , rover r55 , MG ROVER , concept cars never built , rover 55 concept