May 7, 2016, 11:30 PM
The MG marque has a history almost as long as the auto industry, having begun making cars back in the 1920s, and producing some of the most beloved models in history. Now, it also has a sport utility vehicle.
The GS became the first SUV in the company’s history when it was unveiled in China last year, and is now ready to hit UK roads. It will also be the first MG fitted with an automatic transmission, with the top trim level (of three) having the option of a dual clutch automatic.
MG’s history has been interrupted a couple times, when it shut down in 1980 following the demise of British Leyland, then resurrected as by the Austin Rover Group in 1982 only to be shut down again in 1990 a couple years after the acquisition by BMW. It was resold by BMW in 2000 to a British Consortium called Phoenix and the company was relaunched as MG Rover. It collapsed in 2005 and assets were bought up by Shanghai-based SAIC Motor, and has produced three new products since then, as well as re-entering and winning the British Touring Car Championships (in 2012 and 2014, respectively).
One of the things MG does to maintain its operations, is that it doesn’t try to sell every car in every market in the world. Rather it markets select vehicles in select markets — China, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica, South Africa and the UK. Not all models are available in all markets.
In addition to the new GS, the company also makes the MG 6 (a mid-size sedan and 5-door fastback), MG 5 (compact 4-door hatchback that is not marketed in the UK) and MG 3 (sub-compact 5-door or supermini). All cars are produced in China (with Chinese branded equivalents) and shipped to England for assembly.
Power to the compact sport ute comes from a 160-hp turbocharged 1.5-litre 4-cylinder developed in conjunction with General Motors. A 217-hp 2.0 turbo “four” is also available in China, and there are rumours of the availability of a 1.9-litre diesel 4-cylinder, but no confirmation. The standard transmission is a 6-speed manual, with the 6-speed dual clutch auto optional (7-speed with the bigger engine).
“When considering transmissions and engine choices, we listened to our customers and looked at market trends,” said Matthew Cheyne, MG’s Head of Sales and Marketing. “It’s not only a momentous occasion to unveil our first SUV, it is also a significant moment to announce our first automatic – something many of our customers have been waiting for, and so we’re thrilled to be offering it to them.”
Not much other information is available, not even a price, as the company prepares to start taking orders. More info on trims and equipment levels will be available in about a month’s time when the pricing is announced.
“When we officially launch the GS next month, people will be able to find out more about the car’s performance and when they can get behind the wheel of one,” added Cheyne. “Regarding how much this fantastic new car will cost; it will be consistent with our other models. We’re proud of the fact our prices are transparent. When we say our cars are affordable, we mean it. The price structures are easy to understand and have no surprise additions.”
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