The Rover 3500 Vanden Plas was introduced in September 1980 to replace the V8-S in the SD1 model range. It was powered by the Rover 3528cc V8 engine with twin SU carburettors and electronic ignition which produced 155bhp at 5250rpm
The Vanden Plas had as standard 3-speed automatic transmission (5-speed manual was available as a no-cost option), 6 inch rim, machined and painted alloy wheels, Connolly leather upholstery (hairline woven velvet available as a no-cost option), cruise control, central door locking, electric windows, electrically operated steel sunroof, electric remote control door mirrors, headlamp washers, bronze tinted glass and zone tinted laminated windscreen, twin foglights and front and rear inertia seat belts. Air-conditioning was available as an extra cost option.
On 20th January 1982 the body was restyled with a deeper rear window now fitted with a wash/wipe system. New moulded bumpers were fitted with a deep front spoiler and flush fitting headlamps. Inside the instrument binnacle and console were changed, a new steering wheel design and new door casings were added. Burr walnut facia and door inserts were added as were a rear cigar lighter, reading lamps and a courtesy light delay. A 5-speed manual gearbox became standard with automatic now an extra cost option. A 9-function trip computer was fitted and standard upholstery remained leather with velvet a no-cost option. July 1982 saw automatic once again as the standard transmission.
In May 1984 the 2600 6-cylinder Vanden Plas was added to the range together with a new lower specification 3500 Vanden Plas. The existing 3500 Vanden Plas was renamed the 3500 Vanden Plas EFi and was now powered by a fuel injected 190bhp version of the V8 engine with automatic transmission as standard. The 2600/3500 Vanden Plas models were trimmed as the earlier 3500 Vanden Plas except that Raschelle upholstery was fitted as standard and the previously fitted headrest cushions were deleted. Both models had automatic transmission as standard, leather upholstery became an extra cost option as did cruise control and electric operation of the sunroof. The 3500 Vanden Plas EFi received new 15-inch alloy wheels with low profile tyres and ventilated disc brakes. All of the items deleted on the 3500 Vanden Plas were fitted as standard on the 3500 EFi. The only quoted extra remained air-conditioning.
From October 1984 electronic fuel control was fitted to the 2600/3500 models. New box and plain velvet trim replaced Raschelle and electric operation of the sunroof became standard on all 3 models.
July 1986 saw the end of the 3500 and 3500 EFi models. The 2600 Vanden Plas remained on sale until the end of that year.