Bowler, a British manufacturer of rally raid cars, is well known for its performance off-roaders. What it's not known for is street-legal cars. That all changes with the new EXR S, a road-engineered version of its EXR rally car. The car is the first fruits of a new partnership agreement with Land Rover.
The new agreement puts some official ink on a working relationship that's been in effect for more than 20 years. Bowler will get access to Land Rover components and technical support. In turn, it will recognize the help by designating its vehicles "Powered by Land Rover." Besides the advertising, the partnership will allow Land Rover engineers to hone their skills and expertise on Bowler's extreme off-roaders, bringing back insights to the Land Rover brand. The announcement mentions that Bowler will borrow powertrain and chassis components, specifically.
"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," Land Rover brand experience director Mark Cameron explains in a statement. "For over twenty years, Land Rover's technology has powered Bowlers on some of the toughest and most grueling off-road sporting events in the world."
Mentioned in conjunction with the partnership, the EXR S debuts as Bowler's first road-going model. Bowler says that it developed the model in response to consumer demand for a road version of the EXR rally car and claims that it offers the same handling, strength and weight distribution of the EXR. It's built atop the same hydro-formed base chassis as the EXR and includes an MSA-approved tubular roll cage. It also shares its composite body panels, body layout and some components with its burly older brother.
Thanks to the lack of FIA T1 regulations, the EXR S is considerably more powerful than the EXR. The supercharged Range Rover 5.0-liter V-8 engine spits out 550 bhp and 705 Nm (520 lb ft) of torque in EXR S tune. That engine is mated to the same six-speed ZF automatic transmission with E differential as is used in the Range Rover Sport 5.0-liter V-8 Supercharged. It can hit 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in 4.2 seconds and keep accelerating up to 155 mph (249.5 km/h).
As a road car, the EXR S gets a more civilized interior with leather seats, climate control and an entertainment system. Bowler is careful to point out, however, that the focus is on driving and performance, not luxury.
Bowler will debut the EXR S at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which gets underway on June 28. The gentrified rally rat will cost £155,000 (US$242,000 at publishing).
Gizmag will be making the rounds at Goodwood to deliver all the highlights.
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