M.G. has come back home, albeit with a rich foreign patron. The marque has been laying on its Britishness with a trowel at international motor-shows, but the Company is owned by the vast Chinese conglomerate SAIC — Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (Group). SAIC is involved in collaborative ventures with the Volkswagen Group, G.M. and Ssang Yong, as well as building Roewe cars, most of which were engineered by a British team.
The mid-engined T.F. was re-introduced onto the British market three years ago with no real changes. In a sad irony, it was built from CKD kits imported from China. Since then, all of the activity around the M.G. brand has been in China — until now.
And so we come to the M.G. 6. It is an all-new family car straddling the C and D categories — rather, dare we say it, as the Maestro and Montego once did. Its wheelbase of 2705mm compares with the Renault Megane’s 2640mm and the Laguna’s 2756mm; four- and five-door versions are available. The M.G. 6 is known in China as the Roewe 550.
As if this weren’t enough, the smaller Roewe 350 will go into production at Longbridge soon and will be marketed as an M.G. We don’t have any details at present, except that atmospheric and turbocharged 1.5-litre engines are available in China; neither currently meets Euro 5 emissions. Additionally, the M.G. 3 — the production version of the Zero concept — will find its way to Britain: this car has a 2500mm wheelbase and rather humdrum 1.3- and 1.5-litre petrol engines. That’s all we know at the moment.
The M.G. 6 was designed by a team led by Tony Williams-Kenny and the engineering and development team was led by David Lindley. They are both based at the M.G. Birmingham site where final assembly takes place. A design and engineering staff of rather more than 300 people is based at Birmingham.
The M.G. 6’s running-gear consists of McPherson struts at the front and a compact multi-link set-up at the back. Early reports from China suggest that the 6 has a good chassis. The braking system comes with anti-lock and electronic brake force distribution (EBD); a traction control system and hill-hold control are also standard. Better-specified models have a tyre-pressure monitoring system.
The single power-unit offered initially is a new but technically rather conservative 1.8-litre petrol engine; it is indirectly fuelled and turbocharged, and complies with Euro 5 emission standards.
The only transmission available is a five-speed manual unit. Unusually for a mass-market car, the maximum speed is electronically limited: in this case, to 120mph. According to M.G., this is for insurance reasons.
Maximum speed *
Urban MPG (l/100km)
Kerb mass †
* Electronically limited.
† Depending on standard of equipment.
†† Including mirrors.