Friday, 24 May 2019

MG’s new owners are making their marque

MG’s new owners are making their marque

HOW far has the car brand MG come in the near-century since the famous marque proudly first made its distinctive presence felt in Britain?

The original MG marque was in continuous use, except for the duration of the Second World War, for 56 years following its inception in 1924.

The production of predominantly two-seater sports cars was concentrated at a factory in Abingdon.

Well, under the management of the new Chinese owners, the MG brand has come a long way — so far in fact that in the autumn of this year it plans to launch its first battery electric car.

Later this year sees the arrival of the MG ZS electric SUV (sport utility vehicle). With a full-sized boot and room for five people, the MG ZS EV, says the carmaker, is aimed at motorists who “want to go electric but also need the space and practicality of a compact SUV”.

The new MG3 I have been driving recently also sports much bigger MG badges front and rear.

There are three versions offered in the new MG3 line-up — the entry grade Explore, mid-grade Excite, and what is proposed to be its top-seller, the Exclusive. The MG3 range now comes with technology such as Bluetooth telephone and audio streaming and AUX/USB as standard.

Excite and Exclusive models have an eight-inch colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, DAB radio and steering wheel audio controls. The Exclusive adds a reversing camera.

MG now has in place a seven-year manufacturer’s warranty on all versions of the new MG3.

The MG3’s initial launch was in 2013. An updated version of the car was launched with Stop-Start technology in 2015.

A Dohc VTI-Tech four-cylinder engine powers the new MG3. Paired with a five-speed manual transmission, the car reaches 60mph in 10.4 seconds.

On the Excite and Exclusive versions there are 16in diamond-cut wheels and larger side sills.

The car’s interior has been updated with a new dashboard and new steering wheel, moving the super mini in line with the MG “family design” overall, as seen on the MG ZS compact-SUV and the
X-motion concept car.

The boot space provides 285 litres of capacity. The interior has black and grey highlights with matching red stitching and graphic highlights.

There are six distinctive colours in the range offering customers colour variation, including Hello Yellow, Spiced Orange and Laser Blue. Other colours in the range are Ruby Red, Arctic White and Aspen Silver.

The carmaker says the aim of the new MG3 is that it “will stand-up to all conditions”.

During the Seville-based hot weather testing, for example, the MG3 was driven extensively in city traffic conditions with temperatures reaching 43 degrees Celsius.

The stylish Supermini was also put through its paces in Britain, “ensuring the powertrain could perform under all the typical UK road conditions, from windy country lanes, to long straight motorway journeys”.

In addition, the car has been trialled under the new emissions testing protocol.

The new MG3 has been fine-tuned for British road conditions at the MG global design and engineering facility at Longbridge, Birmingham.

Opened in 1905, by the late 1960s Longbridge employed around 25,000 workers, building cars including the original Mini.

During the Second World War, the main plant produced munitions and tank parts, while the nearby East Works of Austin Aero Ltd at Cofton Hackett produced Short Stirling and the Hawker Hurricane aircraft.

So the MG name — one of the great marques of British motoring manufacturing — lives on, as does Longbridge in its design capacity.

The electric MG soon to be here heralds yet another milestone in the rise and rise of this distinguished carmaker’s new beginning.

Factfile

New MG3

Starts from £9,495 for the entry level Explore

Powered by a Dohc VTI-Tech four-cylinder rated engine

Paired with a five-speed manual transmission

Seven-year manufacturer’s warranty across all versions of new MG3

Low 7E/8E insurance group grading

Twin front, side and curtain airbags

Three versions offered in MG3 line-up

MG ZS electric SUV due this year

Motoring

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