Launched as the V6 825i saloon in June 1986, the 800 was soon joined by 2.0-litre four-cylinder models. Build quality was not the best, and unsurprisingly, few of these cars survive.
After criticism of poor performance, in 1988 an enlarged Honda 2.7-litre V6 replaced the original Honda-designed 2.5 - the new models were called '827'. At the same time, a five-door hatchback was released, available with all engines. In this guise, there was also a sporty flagship Vitesse model, though it was powered by the same 2.7-litre V6. In 1990, a 2.5-litre turbo diesel version was added. Best of these is the 827 Vitesse.
The make-over for the 1992 model year brought Rover's flagship greater credibility as a BMW alternative and included the introduction of a 2.0-litre turbo Vitesse version. It also made pricey top-spec variants like the Sterling more realistic options. These cars continued until early 1996 when cosmetic changes were made to denote the new KV6 engine. The range then continued almost unchanged. Revisions for 1997 were centred around the standard fitment of air conditioning to all saloon and Coupe models
Several low-volume models are worth looking out for - the turbocharged (post-1992) Vitesse, the 2.5 litre turbo diesel hatchback and the two-door Coupe. These are rare enough to be sought after by discerning buyers wanting something a little bit special, and British to boot. The 800 was finally replaced by the all-new 75 in June 1999.