Bowler and Land Rover tie-up
The car that turns you into a ‘driving god’ is now part of the ‘King of the Hill’ brand
By Shahzad Sheikh
You all know the Bowler from its starring appearance in Top Gear some years ago when driving it seemed to turn Richard Hammond into a self-professed ‘driving god,’ you may also have seen it taking part in the Desert Challenge in 2008.
Bowlers, the UK-made super high-performance all-terrain cars and rally raid vehicles have been loosely based on Land Rovers since the mid-1980s, but have always been independent. Now Land Rover and Bowler have formalised a brand partnership with ‘Powered by Land Rover’ badging to appear on all Bowler cars from now on.
This also means Bowler will have direct access to the technical and development team at Land Rover including ensuring parts availability for the vehicles.
Bowler’s current models – the EXR rally raid competition car and the road-going EXR S – both use modified engines, chassis and other components from the Range Rover Sport. These followed on from the Bowler Wildcat (produced from 1997 to 2007) and Nemesis (2006-2011).
The EXR rally-raid competition car – on sale from $226k plus local taxes – fully conforms to FIA T1 specifications and uses a modified version of the naturally-aspirated 5.0-litre V8 in the Range Rover Sport but limited to 300bhp in line with FIA restrictions. The EXR is fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox and Ricardo front, centre and rear differentials.
The new EXR S is the first Bowler engineered for road use and shares the EXR’s hydroformed base chassis (with the engine moved 300mm rearward) and various switchgear, light clusters and grilles, all from the Range Rover Sport. The EXR S also shares the same strong and lightweight composite body panels with its competition-bred stablemate.
It also gets the 5.0-litre V8 but this time with a ZF automatic and the Sport’s E-diff along with 550bhp meaning (with only 1800kg) it hits 96kph from standstill in just 4.2 seconds (estimate about 4.5 for 0-100kph) and had a limited top speed of 250kph. This one’s priced from $242k, but no word yet on whether this will go on sale officially in the region, through Land Rover dealers.
Mark Cameron, Land Rover Brand Experience Director, Global Marketing, said: “Bowler vehicles demonstrate the kind of performance, ride, handling and chassis dynamics that a vehicle powered by Land Rover is capable of when taken to the extreme and liberated of most practical constraints.
“For over twenty years, Land Rover’s technology has powered Bowlers on some of the toughest and most gruelling off-road sporting events in the world. We’re proud to have been part of Bowler’s success and, just as its latest models come to market, this new formal partnership will fully acknowledge the role of Land Rover technology in Bowler’s high performance all terrain cars.”
Drew Bowler, Managing Director of Bowler, said: “It is Land Rover’s support as well as its technology that has helped Bowler to gain an incredibly strong reputation for extreme off-road performance over the last two decades. And as we embark on a new era for the business – introducing our first model engineered for use outside competition racing – I’m very pleased that the relationship has been formalised.
“With the extra confidence that comes from this brand partnership, I look forward to working with Land Rover to ensure that both parties realise the full potential of our collaboration. With bold and ambitious plans, I’m sure that there are exciting times ahead in which both parties will enjoy positive benefits for our respective brands.”