The 5-door Austin Maestro was introduced on 1st March 1983. At launch the top of the range, Maestro Vanden Plas was powered by the transverse 'R' series 1598cc engine with a traditional 'end-on' Volkswagen 5-speed manual transmission. With its single SU carburettor power was stated as 81bhp at 5500rpm. Suspension was by Macpherson struts at the front and trailing arms at the rear with coil springs all round. Rack and pinion steering and servo assisted front disc and rear drum brakes were fitted.
Innovations were the fitting as standard of plastic body coloured front and rear bumpers and inside a solid-state all electronic dashboard display featuring a voice-synthesis unit programmed in 15 different languages providing a 32 word vocabulary warning system operating through the drivers side radio speaker. The Vanden Plas was upholstered in Raschelle including the front seat headrest pads. The 60/40 split rear seat had a central folding armrest and burr walnut door capping's added to the air of luxury. Central locking, electric front windows, manual tilt/slide metal sunroof, laminated windscreen, bronze tinted glass, internal manual adjustment of both door mirrors, bright bumper inserts, door handles, mirror capping's and radiator grille, coachline with 'VP' motifs on each rear wing and special wheel covers were all fitted as standard. Alloy wheels were specified on the extra cost options list.
Automatic 3-speed transmission became available from October 1983. In July 1984 the new 'S' series 1.6 litre engine replaced the 'R' series. With its fully programmed electronic ignition and other improvements power rose to 86bhp which gave a top speed of 104mph. October 1984 saw the upholstery changed to box and plain velvet and the front seats were redesigned with new style adjustable headrests. Power steering became an optional extra in July 1985. January 1986 saw the deletion of the electronic facia to be replaced with a new one-piece panel as fitted to the Montego range. Leather trim was fitted as standard with velvet a no-cost option. A new style 3- spoke steering wheel was now fitted together with a courtesy light delay. For 1987 a screened glass sunroof replaced the earlier metal one. The door mirrors became electrically operated and heated and new style wheel trims were fitted. Alloy wheels were no longer on the options list.
In October 1987 a 2-tone paint scheme became available as a no-cost option.
Whilst Maestro production continued until 1994, with the demise of the 'Austin' name and model changes, the Maestro Vanden Plas ceased production in 1988 after some 15,552 had been made.