In so many ways an MG car represents to me a British way of life that
In so many ways an MG car represents to me a British way of life that is as identifiable as our iconic red telephone boxes, writes Nigel Wigmore. Sure, it is a way of life that is slowly fading into the past — red telephone boxes have almost all gone the way of the Victorian British Empire.
Yet today some of those same red telephone boxes are cherished by communities in Britain, such as the one at the village of Daglingworth near to where I live in Gloucestershire.
But times do change and now the proud brand name of MG — which first produced cars in Britain in 1924 — is owned by the Chinese.
I’m sure that for many of the youngest drivers on the road today, the MG name will never have the resonance it has for me. In that sense we should be grateful that this grand old motoring marque still survives.
We should also give a cheer for Chinese ownership for keeping the name alive. MG cars are designed, engineered and finally assembled in Longbridge, Birmingham.
So admirers of the marque and what it stood for have to take a back seat when it comes to moving forward in the harshly competitive global car market.
And it has to be said this week’s drive, the new MG6, has all the attributes of a car that incorporates many 21st century production details — the startlingly smooth black plasticity of the interior, the new lighter body construction and a zippy engine that lifts this car off from a standing start with the kind of urgency that might draw admiration from MG fans.
It may be that the MG of old and all-new MG cars are separate universes in the world of cars, yet the MG6’s rasping new engine performs with gusto.
The MG6 is, on average, 75kg lighter than the outgoing car and is a tad quicker from 0 to 60mph. Now it takes 8.4 seconds compared to 8.9 seconds in the previous model.
For me there is an issue with this car with its key and ignition start-up. Too often on low revs pulling away from junctions the car stalled.
The restarting procedure needs, in my opinion, to be looked at. A few times I was stuck, embarrassingly, trying to restart after stalling in traffic. It may be my driving, but I don’t think so.
That aside, the car performed well, accelerating quickly up to speed on motorways and main roads, and I think the new lightness of the body of the car contributes in getting the car up to speed. The ride is surprisingly quiet and the interior of the car comfortable: instrument layout is clear and uncluttered. There is also a fair amount of room for rear -seat passengers. There is an excellent radio and satnav system on this new MG6 — and unlike some more sophisticated satnavs the voice instructions here were clear and well-timed.
Externally this MG6 looks good and is well up to speed on current trends in car design. The gleaming white livery of the test car gave it a smart, desirable appearance and of course for a fan such as myself the large MG badge up front keeps the name very much alive.
The 2015 DTi-TECH engine is the latest generation of MG’s own developed diesel engine. This version now produces reduced emissions of 119g/km of CO2 and gives 61.4mpg in combined driving.
So this engine has been significantly improved and the 10g reduction in emissions makes the car “cleaner” but with no loss of performance.
I think that with the new improved MG6, MG is showing good progress in a global market that is pretty merciless to newcomers. MG has more new models on the way, which bodes well for its future in Britain.