The Austin Metro was introduced in October 1980 with the Vanden Plas being added to the range in April 1982. It was powered by the 'A' series 1275cc 60bhp engine with either a 4-speed all-synchromesh manual or optional 4-speed automatic transmission.
Hydragas suspension, rack and pinion steering and servo assisted front disc and rear drum brakes were fitted. Externally the Vanden Plas received bronze tinted glass, laminated windscreen, bright inserts to the front and rear screen rubbers, black wrap around bumpers, bright finished front grille surround with grey central bars, bright finished door and tailgate handles twin door mirrors, coachlines with 'VP' motifs on each rear wing, glass tilting/removeable sunroof, locking fuel filler cap and special black hubcaps with VP motifs and bright trim rings.
Internally the Vanden Plas received 'Raschelle' woven velvet upholstery, door casings, rear quarter cases, front headrest pads and rear armrests, a leather steering wheel, 60/40 split folding rear seat, deep cut-pile carpets, cloth headlining and wood door capping's. Instrumentation included a rev counter and digital clock.
In 1983 the front seats and headrests were redesigned, a new boot lamp was fitted and the rear side windows could now be opened. Engine power was now quoted at 62bhp. To celebrate the building of the half millionth Metro, a special series of 500 'Vanden Plas 500' limited edition models were built in late 1983. They were each painted black with a gold coachline and 'VP500' motifs on each rear wing. 'Pepperpot' style alloy wheels with VP centre badges, a stereo radio/cassette player and seats trimmed in 'Biscuit' leather with matching vinyl door casings were also standard. Each car was individually numbered with its number 1 to 500 etched on the front drivers door window. A bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne was supplied with each vehicle.
January 1984 saw a leather trim option on the Austin Metro Vanden Plas, a push button tailgate release, remote control for passenger side door mirror and new full diameter styled wheel trims. In late 1984 the Metro Vanden Plas 3-door was replaced by a 5-door version. The front of the car was also restyled and body-coloured moulded bumpers fitted front and back. Central locking became standard as did front electric windows. Box and Plain velvet trim replaced Raschelle and burr walnut inserts were fitted to the redesigned facia and door covers. The MG Metro 71bhp 1275cc engine gave added power to manual cars, the original 62bhp engine remaining for the automatic. October 1987 saw the introduction of three duo-tone metallic paint finishes.
The Metro Vanden Plas was discontinued in 1988 after 15,739 3-door (1982-1984) and 19,700 5-door (1984-1988) had been manufactured.