RDX60 : 2005 facelift
The final remix
As the RDX60 had been in development (in terms of styling) between 2000 and 2004, it came as no surprise that MG Rover had come under pressure from the Chinese to restyle the car.
These images, as revealed in Autocar magazine April 2005, came from an oficial source and revealed a project that had reached a crossroads. The SAIC/MG Rover Joint Venture Company needed fresh new product, and a rebody of the RDX60 was the answer. As can be seen, the RDX60 MPV/Tourer and three-door had been dropped by this time, leaving just the saloon and five-door hatchback.
At this stage, the RDX60 had received an 80mm chop in its wheelbase, and dropped much of the 75’s bulkhead. This was set to push the project further back – possibly to a 2007/2008 launch.
These would be available in MG and Rover forms.
Styling schemes also appeared for a proposed Rover 75 rebody/restyle – this car would have been based on the current 75’s wheelbase, and not the stretched version currently being developed by SAIC.
The RDX60 needed to move on. There was no doubt about that following the lukewarm reception which greeted the October 2004 model by the Chinese. It was time for a re-design, and perhaps a re-grouping. These cars were the beginning of that process – and although they would share much of the existing RDX60 architecture, there would be a change in direction, too…
As can be seen, the designers liked thiis chunky proposal, which in these renderings, at least, look almost one-box. The then current idea of offering distinct MG and Rover versions would be continued, with both cars being unique in detail only. It was a policy that had worked well in the ‘Zed’ cars, but whether it would still be valid at the time of this car’s launch remained to be seen…
It might look like an off-roader, but this was to be the brave new face of MG. As it was, it certainly looked different – and that counts for a lot in today’s competitive market. It is a strategy that would have probably served MG Rover/SAIC equallt well for years to come. Looking at the bonnet profile, there would have been more than enough room for a supercharged KV6…
One for the Chinese market perhaps, but there is no reason to think that this stylish car wouldn’t have done the business in the UK and Europe, too…
The next 75?
These sketches show a softer more conservative four-door saloon aimed at satisfying Chinese tastes (see above). This car would have been built in Shanghai and would have been based on the standard wheelbase of the 75. Unlike the RDX60 Joint Venture car, it would have needed unique doors and would have pushed up costs. The Chinese-built Rover was mooted for a European launch in 2010, and would have served as the replacement for the 75…
All photos courtesy of Autocar magazine.