RDX60 : 2005 facelift

The final remix

Five-door hatch was considered 'the designers' favourite', although its looks would take some getting used to. Truck-like front end is an RDX60 carry-over, but also proves necessary for upcoming pedestrian safety legislation.

Five-door hatch was considered 'the designers' favourite', although its looks would take some getting used to. Truck-like front end is an RDX60 carry-over, but also proves necessary for upcoming pedestrian safety legislation.

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.


Rover RDX60

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…

Rear view is interesting and almost Coupe like thanks to its sloping rear glass...

Rear view is interesting and almost Coupe like thanks to its sloping rear glass...

Interior prominently featured wood - and aluminium. It was an ultra-modern look, which managed to fuse traditional materials and progressive styling in order to convincingly move MG Rover away from its embedded image of relentless retro...

Interior prominently featured wood - and aluminium. It was an ultra-modern look, which managed to fuse traditional materials and progressive styling in order to convincingly move MG Rover away from its embedded image of relentless retro...


MG RDX60

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…

MG's styling differs from Rover's in only minor detailing. Miniature tailgate spoiler and octagonal wheel design were a cursory nod to MG's sporting heritage...

MG's styling differs from Rover's in only minor detailing. Miniature tailgate spoiler and octagonal wheel design were a cursory nod to MG's sporting heritage...

Cool blue: Another progressive interior design, but one that features extensive use of wood in the centre console.

Cool blue: Another progressive interior design, but one that features extensive use of wood in the centre console.

RDX60 Saloon

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 Chinese favoured saloons, so this proposal was drawn up to satisfy far-Eastern demand for three-box cars. Based on the same wheelbase as the RDX60, it would be a compact package, aimed at the Volkswagen Vento/Jetta...

The Chinese favoured saloons, so this proposal was drawn up to satisfy far-Eastern demand for three-box cars. Based on the same wheelbase as the RDX60, it would be a compact package, aimed at the Volkswagen Vento/Jetta...

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…

Profile and rear three-quarter views show a pleasingly progressive design, and one that would have fit in with the current Audi A4/Saab 9-3 market. Hopefully, the design would have been progressed in order to meet the demands of 2010...

Profile and rear three-quarter views show a pleasingly progressive design, and one that would have fit in with the current Audi A4/Saab 9-3 market. Hopefully, the design would have been progressed in order to meet the demands of 2010...

All photos courtesy of Autocar magazine.

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

Latest posts by Keith Adams (see all)

Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007. Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

2 Comments on "RDX60 : 2005 facelift"

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  1. ben says:

    says a lot it would fit in the saab 9-3 market.

  2. Roger S says:

    Remarkable looking at these in 2012. I can see so many similarities with current models of Ford, Jag, and of course the plethora of SUV’s. These are far sighted designs and are admirable.

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