By 10 June 2011 Read More →

MG : MG6 Magnette launched at Goodwood

Words: Clive Goldthorp Photographs: Simon Davies/Pegasus Photographics

MG6 at Goodwood

MG6 Magnette at Goodwood

MG’s choice of the Goodwood Motor Circuit as the venue for the Media Launch of the new MG6 Magnette, the saloon version of the MG6 GT, was particularly apt – Lord March’s grandfather, Freddie, raced one of the original MG K-Type Magnettes back in the early 1930s and was the then MG Car Company Limited’s first Racing Manager.

However, the presence of a 1956 MG ZA Magnette and a 1958 MG ZB Magnette Varitone outside the circuit’s Old Control Tower sent a very clear message about how MG Motor UK intends to position the 6 Magnette in the marketplace when the car reaches UK showrooms next month – based on feedback from Customer Clinics held last year, the company sees the 6 Magnette as an affordable alternative to sports saloons such as the Alfa Romeo 159, Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series or, looking ahead, the mooted, next-generation Audi A3 Saloon. The key question then is: how realistic are MG Motor UK’s ambitions for the 6 Magnette?

In The Showroom

Like the MG6 GT, the 6 Magnette straddles the conventional C and D market segments and so has the advantage of being larger and more spacious than cars in the C-segment but more compact than most D-segment competitors – that, MG Motor UK claims, broadens the potential customer base and offers them a value for money proposition.

The three trim levels, S, SE and TSE, mirror the 6 GT’s but with several specification enhancements whilst metallic paint is the only optional extra. S and SE models run on 17in alloys while the range-topping TSE has 18in alloys. Standard S trim includes electronically controlled air conditioning, all round electric windows, ICE consisting of a radio with RDS, CD player, MP3, USB and aux-in capability and a rear, boot-mounted spoiler.

The SE trim adds satellite navigation, front and rear parking aides, cruise control and one-touch operation for the front windows. The TSE’s ‘class-leading’ features include Graphite Grey leather sports seats, a full colour satellite navigation system, a reverse parking camera, one-touch operation for all the electric windows, the addition of Bluetooth, electronic dual-zone climate control and an electric glass sunroof.

The MG6 Magnette will be available in seven external colours: Pitch Black, Regal Red, Union Blue, Granite Grey, Platinum Silver, Arctic White and Champagne, which is exclusive to the Magnette. The on the road prices at launch are: S – £15,995, SE – £17,495 and TSE – £19,995 – all three versions are scheduled to reach MG’s now expanding Dealer Network by mid-July.

Interestingly, both an Audi A4 1.8 TFSi and a BMW 320i SE Saloon would come out at around £33,000 on the road if ordered with the same level of equipment as the MG6 Magnette 1.8T TSE – those figures certainly do seem to give weight to MG Motor UK’s assertion that the 6 Magnette will be an affordable proposition.

On The Road

The Union Blue (why do we keep picking that colour at AROnline?!) MG6 Magnette 1.8T TSE which MG’s PR and Events Manager, Doug Wallace, allocated to us handled and rode as well as one would expect having read Keith Adams’, recent articles on the MG6 GT. See: First Drive: MG6 GT 1.8T TSE, AROnline, 15 March 2011 and My motoring week: AROnline and the MG6 GT, AROnline, 20 May 2011. That said, most of the A- and B-roads on the 40 mile route through West Sussex were impressively smooth and pothole free but the 6 Magnette still proved an engaging partner even if, perhaps, a tad less agile than the 6 GT. You would probably have to drive the two models round the same route back-to-back to discern any precise differences.

MG Motor UK claims that the 6 Magnette covers 0-60mph in 8.4 seconds and, while we were unable to verify that, the time does feel about right on a subjective level. However, the five-speed gearbox might preclude a spirited driver from achieving that time – admittedly our car had only done around 500 miles or so but the gearbox did feel rather notchy and that made finding a rhythm on some of the twistier B-roads difficult. Mind you, the gearbox in the 6 GT 1.8T SE which we borrowed from Chester-based MG Dealer, Graham Walker Limited, recently was much better so the problem was probably down to our particular car.

The design and operation of the MG6 GT’s handbrake has also come in for some criticism elsewhere in the motoring media. Unsurprisingly, given the short time between the two launches, that design has been carried over to the MG6 Magnette. However, anyone who can remember the Alfa Romeo 75’s palm-pinching affair would probably not have any problems with the operation of the handbrake in the MG6 – we reckon that most potential MG6 owners would soon adapt and become used to the procedure…

AROnline still plans to take a closer look at how both versions of the MG6 stack up against the competition in the showroom at some point during the coming weeks. However, given that both the 6 GT and 6 Magnette are, at least initially, being pitched primarily at retail customers, we still have concerns about both models’ likely real-world residual values.

MG can justifiably claim that the 6 Magnette does provide an affordable alternative to, say, an Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series with a similar specification but both those models have pretty rock-solid residuals. Depreciation data for the MG6 GT 1.8T TSE published by one of Britain’s leading motoring weeklies recently suggests that term might not apply to the MG6’s residuals…

A final point: Lord March, who joined the Journalists invited to the Media Launch for lunch, was asked whether or not he had driven an MG6 and replied: ‘No, I haven’t yet, but I’m looking forward to doing so.’ We rather think that the guys at MG Motor UK might just have missed a trick there!


Clive Goldthorp

About the Author:

Clive claims that his interest in the BMC>MG story dates back to his childhood in the 1960s when the family’s garage premises were leased to a tenant with an Austin agency. However, back in the 1920s and 1930s, his grandmother was one of the country’s first female Garage Proprietors so cars probably run in his genes! Admits to affairs with Alfa Romeos, but has more recently owned an 06/06 MG TF 135 and then a 15/64 MG3 Style… Clive, who was AROnline’s News Editor for nearly four years, stood down from that role in order to devote more time to various Motor Racing projects but still contributes articles on as regular basis as his other commitments permit.

116 Comments on "MG : MG6 Magnette launched at Goodwood"

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  1. Chris C says:

    I think that it’s a brilliant idea to reintroduce the Magnette name.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about residuals – private owners will probably keep them longer and look after them better rather than fleets offloading boatloads through auctions after 18 months.

    The idea of one in Police livery still seems appealing.

    Oh, and at least it’s not a Mercedes foot operated parking brake…

    Any chance of a Z/ZS version?

    When is the Magnette going on sale and how are the 6 GT’s sales/registrations going?

  2. Dr Bobby Love says:

    I’ve tried and tried and tried… However, I just can’t get past the horrendous amount of black plastic used in that bumper design! I really want to like this car and the 6 GT but it just makes it so difficult. Sorry…

    I therefore think it speaks volumes that they used a black MG6 in the TV adverts.

  3. Jemma says:

    I might be wrong – but wasn’t the original Magnette a breathed-on version of the Riley Ditchfinder?

    Apt – considering the probable residuals.

  4. Dolomitefan says:

    The MG6 Magnette is in no way an Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series competitor. Quality, price and TCO are some way off from the German opposition.

    I appreciate that MG are positioning the vehicles towards the top of the market but gunning after very well established and quality opposition will not work. It didn’t work before and won’t now.

    I want to like MG but am afraid that their product positioning and pricing strategy is wrong on this one. That said, as a retail sale, it would make more sense where the lack of a diesel is less of an issue. Looked at as a Ford Mondeo or Skoda Octavia competitor, it would be better positioned and competitively priced.

  5. @Chris C
    The MG6 Magnette should, as mentioned in the article, be in MG Dealers’ showrooms within a month or so.

    AROnline understands that the Dealer Network had ordered around 180 MG6s worth c. £3m as of the end of last week. Guy Jones, MG Motor UK Limited’s Sales and Marketing Director, certainly seemed to be pretty pleased with the start which the MG6 has made.

  6. @Dolomitefan
    MG Motor UK Limited is not, in fairness, positioning the MG6 Magnette as a direct competitor for the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series etc. but, simply, as a more affordable alternative.

    Actually, as Evo’s John Simister points out in his MG6 Magnette 1.8 TSE review, the car has no direct rival. Mr. Simister concludes: ‘MG says the Magnette is a sports saloon with much of the appeal of a BMW 3 Series at a much lower price. There’s something in that, with a taste of Subaru Impreza or Mitsubishi Lancer also thrown into the shopping basket. It has no direct rival.’

  7. Richard says:

    Surely this is what MG is and always was about: affordable sports (or, at the very least, sportier than the mainstream) models.

  8. Merlin Milner says:

    Jemma :I might be wrong – but wasn’t the original Magnette a breathed-on version of the Riley Ditchfinder?

    Apt – considering the probable residuals.

    No, the MG ZA/ZB Magnettes were effectively a lowered and restyled MG version of the Wolseley 4/44 -15/50 with a 1500cc B-Series engine built at Abingdon. A fine car sadly replaced by the inferior Farina Magnette.

    The Riley Pathfinder was also a fine car which was built at Abingdon as well. However, sadly, it was manufacturing problems (by a sub-contractor) with the chassis that caused early coil sprung cars to have some problems – hence the so funny I have never ever heard it before name Ditchfinder (I am being sarcastic). The last Pathfinders had leaf springs at the rear like their sister car the Wolseley 6/90 Mk3.

    I suggest that you read Gerald Palmer’s book in which these cars are dealt with in detail and many doom and gloom stories are shown to be myths.

  9. DaveH says:

    MG Motor UK seems to be postioning these models much as Ford does with the Mondeo in their press packs.

    I expect that, in these money-tight times, they are hoping people will trade down – £13,000 might not seem a lot when you look at residuals but, when you are a private buyer, it does look like a large saving.

  10. DaveH says:

    I think that the 6 Magnette is a much better looking design than the GT – the bulbous rear end has gone and it now looks like a Lexus.

    Dr. Love’s comments about the amount of black plastic used on the bumpers are funny – I can remember that people were moaning about the Focus’ bland non-detailed bumpers when it was first launched!

  11. Richard Kilpatrick Richard Kilpatrick says:

    Dolomitefan :
    The MG6 Magnette is in no way an Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series competitor. Quality, price and TCO are some way off from the German opposition.

    Ironically, in my recent banger hunting expeditions, I’ve discovered that late 1990s/early 2000s BMWs are becoming decidedly cheap and ratty. Being popular, and, more to the point, common, has cost the little repmobile dear – meanwhile rotten arches are giving the 3 Series a nice link back to the old ones.

    It’s only a matter of time before BMW’s name is worth much the same as Ford or Rover was a decade ago. The quality is vastly overstated, the dealer service is much better at resolving issues for those early, vocal owners.

  12. Jemma says:

    @Merlin Milner
    My point still stands – this thing’s going to be about as popular as a green Vel Satis.

    Commentators on this site have whaxed lyrical on the subject of retro in the past – yet they don’t seem to realise that naming this car after something that rusted in peace sometime in the 1970s is the worst sort of retro. A retro without a clue.

    It’s one thing doing a reboot of a car – like both Jaguar and Rover did – but this is nothing of the sort. It helps if you actually made the sodding thing in the first place when doing a reboot

    However, this is a cynical marketing exercise, no more no less, from a country that’s only link to anything made by BMC/BL/MGR and the rest – is that they fought on the opposite side in Korea.

    Oh, and as for the claim that the MG6 is the “first new MG in 16 years…” BS. Um, so we aren’t supposed to mention the fact that that engine is longer in the tooth than Katie Price’s breast implants…

    The most depressing thing is that, if this car had actually been sold as what it is, it would have probably done well because of its competent performance, competent styling and competent comfort – for a competent price.

    Instead, it’s been touted as something it isn’t and will never be. All the people who know, which means fleet managers and the like, will have to use cruel and unusual punishments to get salesmen into this thing. It’s charisntma par excellence.

    Oh, and by the way, MGR died courtesy of Mandy, to misquote Monty Python “It is deceased, it is a dead marque, it has gone unto the big showroom in the sky…”

    Plastering crappy i-lifestyle advertising with the MG name doth not make it an MG.

  13. Matt says:

    I don’t mind the Magnette name coming back. The saloon looks decent and, when the diesel arrives (asap, one hopes), MG should shift a few units. It’s far better than Peugeot sullying the Rapier name by using it as a trim level on assorted cars.

  14. It’s funny you should mention the Alfa Romeo 75’s handbrake – when I saw AROnline’s previous articles, the picture of the handbrake did remind me of my old 75.

    However, the Renault Megane actually had a closer handbrake design to the 75 than the MG6. Oh, and yes, you did pinch you hand most times you used the 75’s handbrake and it could be bloody painful.

    The Alfa Romeo 75 also had the power windows switches in the roof, inboard rear brakes, a gearbox on the back axle and a driving position that gave you serious cramp in you left leg after 30 minutes. The 75 was as awesome car to drive, though, for all it’s very strange ergonomics.

  15. @Jemma
    AROnline has gone to considerable lengths to report on both versions of the MG6 in a balanced and objective manner. All our readers are perfectly entitled to reach their own conclusions about the car but any who criticise the MG6 without actually having had a test drive in one must surely realise that their views will lack a degree of credibility…

  16. Marty B says:

    @Clive Goldthorp
    Sadly Clive, the MG6 will bomb because it is overpriced and the quality simply isn’t there and never, ever will be. It is a Kia rival and so needs to be priced as such. I cannot wait for Longbridge to reject a large chunk of the trim for quality reasons to prove my point.

    Shipping the car over via Felixtowe for a small handful of Brummies to screw it together does not make financial sense either. Just wait until the winter seas come in and nothing comes in or goes out of Felixtowe for sometimes as long as a week.

    Saloons don’t really sell nowadays either, so it boggles the mind as to why these clueless people have bothered to launch it here.

    The starting price needs to be at around £11,995 and top out at about £14,995 for it to stand even a remote chance. Private buyers won’t pay the stupid asking price that these deluded Chinese people want.

    I agree with Jemma when she says that MG is a dead brand and they should have been launched from day one as Roewes. Most firms have gone on to using six speed boxes now too to help with fuel economy and no doubt CO ratings. This car is basically ten years behind the competition. Sorry, but it is an EPIC FAIL waiting to happen.

  17. Simon Woodward says:

    I think the MG6 Magnette looks great. I reckon the saloon body style works well as does the name. How about a Tourer next with a KV6 under the bonnet?

    Anyway, from what I understand, the feedback on the MG6 GT to date from not just the motoring media but also from a fair few readers on this site seems to be positive. I am sure there will be the odd niggling fault a long the way but that can happen to anyone, just ask Toyota!

    Constructive criticism is a good thing but I think it’s best to try the product and its competition first hand in order to form an objective opinion. I am a little confused by some of the hate-filled criticisms of various cars featured on this site such as the MINI, the MG3, the MG6, the Evoque and the new XJ.

    I get confused by some of the comments about styling which, for example, compare the rear lights on the XJ to the rear clusters on a 1960’s Rapier.

    I also struggle with the assertion that the BMW MINI is not a real Mini and that it will only be a matter of time before it is built elsewhere rather than Britain. Fortunately, in the light of this week’s excellent news, that’s not going happen any time soon.

    I reckon that some of the MG6 bashing is beginning to sound a bit like those dreadful 1970s BL jokes from wannabe comedians on Opportunity Knocks !

  18. Jeff says:

    It will be a flop.

  19. David 3500 says:

    Well, on a more light-hearted note and to soften the atmosphere, I rather like the main photo of the MG outside Goodwood Motor Circuit. I particularly like its slightly muted tones – they give the shot an almost postcard-like appeal.

  20. @Marty B
    I should be really interested to know whether or not you have actually driven an MG6 yet…

  21. Simon Woodward says:

    @David 3500
    Psst! For God’s sake, please don’t mention that the number plates are British and not Chinese!!!

  22. @David 3500
    Yes, me too… Our Photographer, Simon Davies, was probably inspired by the presence of the two 1950s MG Magnettes and MG Motor UK’s decision to revive the name.

    Incidentally, Simon deserves a massive thank you – the mileage for last Tuesday’s round trip from our homes on the Wirral to West Sussex and back was just short of 600 miles and he did all the driving!

  23. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    Just a few points:

    1) MG Motor’s use of the Magnette name on the MG6 is no worse than BMW using the Clubman and Countryman names on the objects they have produced. It is also no worse than the Delta name now being attached to a Chrysler.

    2) Saloons do not lack popularity in other markets – on my recent trip to Canada, Ford Focus saloons outnumbered hatchbacks in a ratio of about 5:1 from what I could see. I was told that they don’t particularly like hatchbacks over the pond so if, MG tries to break into that market, the 6 Magnette will probably do very well.

    3) MG Motor is a new company, no matter how old the badge is. They have to start from somewhere. They can’t suddenly produce a five model range with about half a dozen variants within each.

    Despite being one of MG Motor’s harshest critics in the run-up to the MG6 launch, I am now of the opinion that too many people are running them down and condemning them to the scrapheap before they’ve had the chance to walk, never mind run.

    I haven’t driven a 6 yet but, from what I am reading, there is not a lot of negative feedback on the car. I might respectfully suggest those who hate it and don’t think it will succeed might, perhaps, be better reading and commenting on other cars rather than putting themselves through such discomfort when reading about the new MG cars.

  24. Alex Scott says:

    @Dr Bobby Love
    I quite like the black bits – they help break up the otherwise stark front and rear ends. 🙂


  25. Kev Davis says:

    MG Saloon residuals have not been good in recent years. I can’t see the trend changing.

  26. Marinast says:

    I think the MG6 is going to be a low volume product anyway – that is how SAIC Motor is re-entering the UK market.

    The MG6 is simply laying the ground for the MG3 and MG5, two models which, due to their lower price, might well be shipped in and sold almost direct from China with minimal fettling at Longbridge.

    I like the MG6 Magnette, though a badge on the car stating this name would be a nice feature, as would some further differences to distance it from the GT. I have in mind features like different alloys and perhaps that mass of black plastic grille painted gloss black like on the first red China show MG6 – that would ‘lift’ the cars look cheaply and effectively.

  27. Alex Scott says:

    I’ve often wondered what one of those old Magnettes would be like with an AJ6 engine in them…


  28. @Paul T
    I live in Northern Ireland, where you hardly see any saloon cars in the MG6’s size.

    However, thirty minutes from my house and you cross the border to Ireland and, there, saloons are everywhere for some reason – you will see loads of booted Nissans, Renaults and Toyotas.

    Toyota even still sell the long dead in the UK Corolla down there as it has a boot. See this page on Toyota Ireland’s website. You can also get the Renault Fluence four door there but I don’t think that will be introduced in the UK.

    I do, therefore, think there is a market from 6 Magnette, but it’s in Ireland.

  29. Luddite says:

    @Alex Scott
    …or an MGA Twin-Cam – that would be a lot lighter!

  30. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    The MG6 Magnette has a chance on the UK market – it really does look good. I keep looking for faults in the styling and instead being impressed by its elegance.

    This version of the MG6 evidently drives well and it has a name to die for. I reckon that, with only 2000 on the UK market this year, there is a chance that residuals will be okay. It would be a risk buying one, but there would also be scope for optimism and, at £15,995, it’s cheap for what it offers

    John Simister is right – the 6 Magnette has no rivals. That gives it a chance, surely?

  31. Bung Dittin says:

    It’s great that there are all these model variations but can we get the MG6 in the showroom first? Magnette – not much use seeing as it’s mostly plastic!

  32. Richard Moss says:

    @Merlin Milner
    The Magnette name is much older than either of you think – it goes back to the K-type and N-type MGs of the 1930s.

    The new Magnette does look rather better balanced than the oddly-proportioned GT but it’s still very generic in its styling and lacking anything to make it stand out. Both cars look good from the front but nondescript after that.

    By the way, do the “VX” numberplates give us a hint as to the platform to be used for the next generation MG and Roewe products?

  33. Hilton Davis says:

    What a good idea reviving the Magnette name… why didn’t I think of that? Anyhow, I hope it sells well and gets a diesel motor too. I still think depreciation will be a worry though so I won’t be amongst the first to buy.

  34. Marty B says:

    @Clive Goldthorp
    Clive, you don’t like what I say because, sadly, it is the truth about the MG range – it’s below average and there are no rivals simply because it is in a market sector that does not exist. Honestly, this car WILL bomb we all know that, but some people are so stuck in their ways and out of touch with reality that they think the MG brand is here to stay.

    I don’t think they will survive much past two years without some big corporation bailing them out and closing Longbridge because, for what it is worth, it is an unnecessary expense as the complete cars could easily be shipped here for a lot less and thus sold for a lower price.

    I’ve been to Kerridges and had a look at the 6 – quite simply the fit and finish is borderline dire and the plastic quality is very low. A colleague at work has also done the same (who is, by the way, a long time MG fan and owns two real Minis) and he agreed with me.

    The aged K-Series is a dead engine with pathetic emissions too – old technology dressed up in a very bland package. The trade already know it is a dressed up old cheap Chinese car, so residuals will be almost Lada-like. MG Dealers will be the only ones to touch them secondhand and they will falsely jack up the prices.

    The MG6 might, just might, have appealled to minicabbers if there had been a diesel from from the outset but, as the Chinese have failed to launch one straight away once again… There are just too many mistakes coming from this firm. They are a bunch of clueless people calling the shots, which is a recipe for disaster.

    Unfortunately, Clive, your article does sound like it has come straight from the MG PR machine, with a fair bit of cut and paste and you don’t seem to like it when people say exactly what they feel. Sadly, as a journalist you have to deal with it.

    I may have been tempted to ask for a test drive if I had felt the car was of resonable quality, but the 6 at Kerridges left me very, very unimpressed. The Octavia is looking tempting, even with the six month wait.

  35. David Wilkins says:

    I’ve driven the MG6 in both GT and Magnette forms – by the way, there is/will be no Magnette badge on the car itself – and I have to agree that Clive’s positive remarks and John Simister’s 4 stars out of 5 grading in his Evo review are thoroughly justified.

    It’s rather better to drive than most mainstream alternatives, and some of the criticisms about trim quality and so on have been heavily overdone. Apart from that, it’s just a more *interesting* car than the big sellers too.

    Really, anyone who is slagging the MG6 without having driven one hasn’t a clue!

  36. Peter-109 says:

    @Marty B
    Daaaammmn, Marty, if only MG had talked to you before they started all this you could have saved them so much time and money bothering seeing as “we all know it will bomb.”

    However, as stated several times above by people who are a lot more open-minded to the facts than you are, MG have released the MG6 as a low volume model, knowing full well that is what the initial versions will be – at least until there is a diesel model.

    They are a brand new company and can’t release 40 models at once right up to the quality of Audi or BMW hence them being spec for spec nearly half the price.

    I also thought that the 6 was built on a new platform and not ‘some old Chinese car.’ I didn’t realise you knew the opinion of every person in the trade as well…
    Clueless? Oh, so am I right to assume that you are going for MD of Audi this year if you know the “trade” so damn well? I’m sorry but that sort of ultimate non-conformist crap really gets to me.

    I agree with you that the plastics aren’t great and that the fit and finish isn’t heart stopping, but neither is it heart-breaking and for a first try with a new platform for a company that has never released a production car in a part of the world that is so spoilt for quality products they have done a good job.

    ANYWAY, I quite like it but am still not really sold on the name. Mind you, at least it’s a name not initials or a number.

  37. Johnos1984 says:

    I’m still waiting for any MG6 to arrive in Ireland but I have to agree with others here – this article and other articles about the new MG are becoming more biased by the day.

    AROnline seems to be becoming another wing of MG Motor UK’s advertising campaign. That’s sad really as the site used to be informative and objective.

  38. Johnos1984 says:

    Jonathan McCormack :
    @Paul T

    I do, therefore, think there is a market from 6 Magnette, but it’s in Ireland.

    That’s true – it’s the saloon in diesel form which needs to be launched here first. The MG6 GT should be next and then, finally, a petrol version (nobody will buy them though due to the tax).

  39. John says:

    A breath of fresh air… Thank you!

  40. @Marty B
    Well, as a matter of record, here are four points in response:-

    1) SAIC Motor UK Technical Centre Limited and MG Motor UK Limited are both subsidiaries of SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle Company Limited which is, in turn, a subsidiary of SAIC Motor Corporation Limited. The last-mentioned company is the largest OEM in China and the eighth biggest in the world with a sales volume of over 3.583m vehicles in 2010 (and projected sales of over 4.0m units this year) – to say that you ‘don’t think they will survive much past two years without some big corporation bailing them out and closing Longbridge’ really does fly in the face of those facts…

    2) The only information in the article above which was derived from the relevant Press Pack related to the MG6 Magnette’s market positioning, trim specifications and pricing but that, to the best of my knowledge, is normal journalistic practice nowadays.

    3) A number of Motoring Journalists with far longer track records than mine have written broadly positive First Drive articles about the MG6 – do the opinions of the likes of AROnline’s own Keith Adams, Tim Pollard of CAR Magazine, John Simister of Evo and David Wilkins of The Independent count for nothing?

    4) AROnline’s readers are, as stated in Post#15 above, clearly entitled to reach their own conclusions about the MG6 and, indeed, any other car or topic. However, those whose opinions are reached in the absence of all the material facts and so are not fully informed do make me question why we go to such efforts (at our own expense) to ascertain, where possible, verify and then present the relevant facts in a clear and objective manner…

  41. Simon Woodward says:

    @Clive Goldthorp
    Well put, Clive. Keep up the good work.

  42. Brian says:

    I actually think that, for some strange reason, the 6 Magnette looks better than the 6 GT. Stylistically, the wheel sizes could do with going up a notch or, at least, have a better design, but otherwise it looks alright. It won’t sell, though – MG is as good as buried and only an enthusiasts’ marque.

    However, SAIC Motor has shedloads of money from their home market so, if they want to keep the brand going, I’m sure they’ll get there. I can promise you, though, that it’ll be a very pale and distant relation of the MG we think of in years to come.

    Indeed, as far as I’m concerned, even the emotional ‘pull’ of it being a car from the Midlands has gone so, for your average ‘Joe’, it’s just another car. Any future MGs will need to be bloody good to pull it off.

  43. Jack Yan Jack Yan says:

    China fought on the same side as the UK in World War II, unlike the other mob who gave us the roots of the MG ZS. The development and design of this car were done by Britons, as opposed to the genesis of the HHR.

    SAIC Motor has, at least, bought the IP it needed, rather than duplicate it illegally like so many other Chinese car makers (BYD, Chery) and it’s more than conscious of the heritage of the MG marque.

    It’s a promising start, in my opinion, and MG’s Marketing Department is not the first to use an aspirational positioning for its products. Jaguar X-TYPE, anyone?

  44. I really do wish MG’s return to the UK well, but what worries me is that the only MG Dealer in Northern Ireland had a gorgeous MG TF in Orange sitting in their showroom for about five months before they could sell it – in the end they had to knock another few grand off the price.

    I wonder whether the MG brand is, perhaps, now “tainted” after the Phoenix Four debacle. Does anybody know how successful the SAIC MG TF sales have been?

    Saying that, if MG Motor UK is only aiming for 2000 a year they should, hopefully, be able to hit that target.

  45. Jonathan McCormack :
    Does anybody know how successful the SAIC MG TF sales have been?

    Yes, I exchanged emails with Doug Wallace, MG Motor UK Limited’s PR and Events Manager, back in January and he confirmed that MG TF production in China totalled 181 units while a total of 906 had been built in the UK – 791 of those UK-built cars had been registered here as at 31 January 2011.

    However, according to this recent post on the Forum by John Newey, the Dealer Principal of MG Dealers Summit Garage (Dudley) Limited, there may now only be around 20 unsold UK-built MG TFs in the Dealer Network.

  46. John Newey says:

    I keep seeing the debate about the MG6 and, quite frankly, I’m amazed – amazed there is so much criticism for what is a bloody good car… looks good… drives good… handles good… and is good!

    It’s hard for me because I am an MG nut but, if asked whether I would buy an MG6 GT or Magnette, then YES I WOULD!!! Go drive one you doubters, then tell me you don’t like it!!

  47. Hilton Davis says:

    The photo of the Magnette’s open boot seems to show that it has split fold rear seats – useful. The Magnette therefore has some versatility as a load carrier as well as a sports saloon.

    Only 181 MG TFs built in China? That seems very low to me. I’ve only seen a few UK-built ones here though.

  48. @Clive Goldthorp
    I’m glad to hear that. Actually, in hindsight, that MG TF might have just been sitting in the showroom for so long because only half the population here would consider buying an Orange car. 🙂

  49. Mark Pitchford says:

    Talking down the residuals on enthusiast websites probably won’t help a great deal…

  50. Mark Pitchford says:

    Jeff :
    It will be a flop.

    Ah, so that’s your informed, considered and insightful opinion, is it?

  51. Jon says:

    MG Motor UK are not using the Magnette name because the car is retro – it’s simply a name plate they own with historical significance to the brand. The last Farina Magnette was produced in 1968. There were no MG saloon cars in the 1970s.

  52. @Jonathan McCormack
    I wonder whether MG Motor UK ever thought about that… 🙂

  53. Simon Woodward says:

    @Jonathan McCormack
    Ha! I just got that, very good!

  54. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    Jon :

    There were no MG saloon cars in the 1970s.

    Actually, at the risk of a disparaging comment from Mr. Luddite, I have to point out that the MG 1300 survived until 1971!

  55. Johnos1984 says:

    Yes, there was, the MG 1300.

  56. John Newey says:

    I think the Magnette name makes the MG6 stand apart from other vehicles out there – it’s a classy name which will, I think, result in the MG6 attracting a lot of attention.

    Surely, if that translates into sales, which means the expansion of MG Birmingham at Longbridge which, in turn, creates more jobs and puts more money into the local economy, then that must be a good thing?

  57. Richard Moss says:

    Jack Yan :
    China fought on the same side as the UK in World War II, unlike the other mob who gave us the roots of the MG ZS.

    And the relevance of that would be…?

    You could just as easily cite China’s role as an aggressor in Korea, Vietnam etc, but let’s not get into that now. 🙂

  58. Tom Sinclair says:

    @Clive Goldthorp
    A great article, Clive. Don’t bother about the Marty B-style comments – not worth reading really. Just uninformed drivel… Oh, and as for Jemma, let’s not go there.

  59. Richard says:

    I have driven two different MG6s now and have been impressed by both cars. Fit and build seemed fine to me and the plastics, whilst not the greatest, are good. The MG6’s not perfect but it’s a damn sight better than I had expected. I think it will sell.

  60. arelbe says:

    “The site used to be informative and objective.” AROnline lost its way, for me, when OTHER CARS began to appear. That’s great on linked sites but not on AROnline. However, it still is informative and, in its journalism, objective – given the subject of the site.

    That said, the biggest problem with all of the Internet (hmm… and more) is when the great Joe Public gets to have his or her say. Bloody annoying, actually and I cheerfully include my own contribution. What needs to be remembered is that these comments are people’s opinions and everyone has their own. Why let opinion spoil the facts?

    It is great to be able to read the opinions of others but can that not be made an option that you have to choose? One idea might be that, if I want to read what other people are saying, then I need to click a button at the end of the article rather than just keep scrolling down. Was that not the way it used to be on AROnline?

    Maybe not, things have changed so much it’s hard to remember exactly. Apart from mild entertainment who cares what BigDriver or CamShaft are arguing about? The real meat is over there in AR CARS. Keep providing the meat.

    AROnline is still the best site.

  61. Gary says:

    I have to say that I agree with a lot of what you say here. I have seen one of these new MG6 models and would pass it by on the street – it looks like the last Nissan Primera which went out of production in 2009 (that started life in 2002 – almost 10 years ago).

    We wish MG all the best, of course, but, let’s be honest here, the rose-tinted comments about this model from some quarters are hard to take. The fact is there’s nothing ground breaking either looks-wise or mechanically (no diesel?? no hybrid??) which would woo new car buyers back to the MG fold.

  62. Keith Adams Keith Adams says:

    Chaps, chaps, chaps, you’re all getting into a lather about this aren’t you? It’s just a car, we’re not trying to change the world…

    I’ll answer a couple of points, if I may:

    – Clive hasn’t done a copy and paste on MG PR material – I don’t actually think they have put out any PR material about the saloon. I might be wrong, but I think he’s above all that.

    – Pro-MG bias in our reporting? Do me a favour. Did you read my report of the car after a week’s use? I spelled it out warts and all.

    Maybe you miseries out there (you know who you are) will only be happy when SAIC Motor packs up its bags and heads home to do nothing but import MGs from China. Maybe then BMW can concentrate on building MINIs in Austria/Germany and perhaps Tata can take the JLR empire home too?

    It’s an international business, get used to it.


  63. Ric says:

    Well said, Keith. A bit of realism never goes amiss!

  64. Ross A says:

    At last, some bloody sensible words. Interestingly, as sales still continue, anecdotal evidence from MG Dealers is suggesting that owners of Audis and Saabs are actually buying MG6 GT’s as a second car – particularly in TSE spec – since they want all the luxuries without the luxury price tag. The low insurance rating is also a key factor in this.

    Personally, I’m not so worried about MG at the moment. The Engineers know their stuff and, more importantly, they have the money and resources to do their job properly now.

    My only concern is reliability which is absolutely key and the highest priority for the brand – well above design right now. I am sure that, if MG get this right and secure a good reputation from the get go, then they should be fine. However, if they gain a bad reputation, then they may as well pack their bags now.

    I do wish everyone involved good luck.

  65. Diane says:

    A two year old MG Magnette should be excellent value in 2013 and well worth waiting for, so that’s when we will probably buy one!

  66. Ross A says:

    Good parts and servicing will still contribute… 🙂

  67. Taffy says:

    I know this is a subjective issue, but I can’t understand some of the comments you guys make about the MG6’s styling. To me, a Maestro driver, this car looks extremely modern – in fact, almost too modern. Anyone who can buy an Audi, BMW or Lexus saloon could appreciate the 6 Magnette.

  68. Mark Pitchford says:

    Clive Goldthorp :
    @Marty B

    I should be really interested to know whether or not you have actually driven an MG6 yet…

    I have – and I presently have a Chrvrolet Epica (bought at a bargain basement price to do a job at the time) so I am probably is a reasonable place to comment on the Kia/Chevrolet/Proton price bracket many of the wrist slashers want to see.

    I’ll grant you that the MG6’sinterior bears some resemblance, although actually mine seems pretty well put together so that’s not as negative a view as you might think.

    The big, big difference comes when you start to move. They’re probably similarly capable as a repmobile, plodding up and down the motorway – which my Epica spends a lot of time doing. Go quickly into a bend and there is simply no comparison.

    The MG6 handles like a really fine car – more Alfa Romeo than Kia. Maybe the people who are willing to condemn it without driving it will not be too bothered about that as the driving experience presumably doesn’t enter their equation. However, I think there are enough around who will want that and that alone will make it a success.

  69. Marcel from Holland says:

    I like the blue coloured one – it has nice alloys but the interior? Mind you, put a powerful diesel version and a more sportier petrol version on the road and maybe on the track in the BTCC? An MG 6 Magnette 180…

  70. Jemma says:

    I have no problem with SAIC Motor or the rest of them. No, what I have a problem with is flat out lying that even the worst pointy-haired-boss or carmuggle company car manager can see through.

    There is a verifiable historical connection between the MGA 1600 Twin Cam and the late departed ‘Z’ cars (and also a link between cooked engines to be fair).

    People whinged that the ‘M’ cars werent ‘true MGs’ – yet they are happy to accept something that is advertised by what amounts to pretty much outright lies.

    Oh, and if a smug git drove past me in an MG6 and I was in a MGB V8, I wouldn’t be grinning inanely, I’d be cogging down and flying past.

    Why on earth is it okay to cheapen the MG name in the desperation for a new ‘MG’. The car is attractive to look at and, as I have said before, it’s competent. However, what it isn’t is an MG and no harping on about globalisation will make it such.

    I believe that it would have been far better for an older marque to be resurrected (and as far as I know SAIC Motor has a few to choose from) than for MG be treated this way. It’s not so much hammering the last nail into the coffin as machine-gunning the entire undertakers.

    How about resurrecting Wolseley? 18/160 TSE has a nice enough ring to it or calling the car the Wolseley Hornet? After all, the car has pretensions to sporting prowess…

  71. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    I am the owner a classic Wolseley Hornet and would be interested to see the name revived. I assume SAIC Motor owns the Wolseley brand? I seriously hope it isn’t BMW because I would dread to see what monstrosity they would build around the name…

  72. @Jemma
    A quick check on the Intellectual Property Office’s website confirms that Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corporation (which is now, of course, a subsidiary of SAIC Motor Corporation Limited) owns the IPRs to the MG Magnette Trade Mark.

    MG Motor UK Limited is therefore perfectly entitled in law to use the name Magnette when referring to the saloon version of the MG6. Please check your facts before either directly or indirectly accusing the company of lying! 🙂

  73. @Paul T
    Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corporation owns the IPRs to the Wolseley marque. See this page of the Intellectual Property Office’s website.

  74. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Clive Goldthorp
    Thanks, Clive, that’s a relief.

  75. Ross A says:

    Haha! Listen to yourselves – Austin, Morris, Wolseley, that sounds like the cast of an old Vaudeville routine. Those names were dropped because they sounded too old-fashioned and unmarketable. Lose the rose-tints guys because those names are most certainly NOT coming back in a mainstream passenger car – I’d bet my house on that.

  76. Gary H says:

    @Ross A
    Well said, Ross. All these old names are dead in the water and/or long forgotten…

    The motor industry is, of course, more globalised now that’s not the point!! I think Jaguar and Vauxhall have made radical changes to their products in recent years but strip this so-called new MG6 down and you still have the same running gear (more or less) as the 1989 Rover 200!! Now that’s what I call progress.

    SAIC Motor are just basically continuing on where MG Rover left off except they’ve a bigger bankroll behind them…

    People aren’t interested in poor reliability these days – for this car to succeed pricewise, it’s going to have to sell at very keen low prices.

  77. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    I think some folk need to lighten up…

  78. David Dawson says:

    I’m liking the MG6 more and more. I can see this Magnette version being my next car, one day. I just have to find room and funds for it and the 75!!

  79. Ross A says:

    @Gary H
    That’s the reason why I have stated many times that safety then reliability, come well above styling in terms of priorities for any car.

    Rover 200? You are kidding me right? 85-90% of the MG6 is of a clean sheet SMTC UK (nee Ricardo 2010) design. Indeed, only the engine and front subframe are based on that which came from the Rover 75. Please read up on this! The engine has been upgraded to EU5 emissions since 2005 and even the gearbox is new!

    The engine is due for replacement soon and, again as I have said before, it takes a lot of money and the right amount of time to develop and produce a unit (properly) – hence the reason for the collaboration with GM. Indeed, such collaborations are becoming much less rare now as companies pursue reduced R&D and production costs.

    Actually, in MG’s case, until the murky situation between NAC and SAIC became more clearer, development of *any* powertrain was never going to be settled until the business end of things was sorted first, hence the massive delays.

    Some AROnline readers are screaming up and down about the fact that the car hasn’t got a new unit, or a diesel unit, from the get-go. All powertrain development was stalled from 2005 until the SAIC/NAC situation was resolved and what has been used was based on development work done by the Engineers in post when MG Rover went into administration.

    SAIC Motor/MG are going about this in the right way, although I’m sceptical as to whether the GT and Magnette names will last more than three years – very much how the ‘Mini’ was dropped from ‘MiniMETRO’. It’s the only annoyance I have – and many of the marketing decisions would have been taken in this country – NOT in China.

    Anyway, my bet is that MG will still be around and I, for one, will look forward to seeing more of their products.

  80. Dave S says:

    I don’t think MG are trying to directly pitch the 6 at the Audi and BMW equivalents at all, although they will attract a few from this Lemming like crowd for sure… No, I reckon that providing affordable and driveable value is where MG Motor are at.

    I can’t understand some of the comments that the pricing is wrong. £20k for a total spec car of this nature is about right and not many potential competitors out there offer that and the driveability too. The diesel will, when it arrives, attract many more customers too.

    Residuals are always damned as the motoring press and many of the public just talk down the image of these UK cars from the outset based on nothing but prejudice but only time will tell.

  81. Dave S says:

    …and thus spoke St Thomas – if only I could put my fingers in!!

    No, of course the 6’s not an original MG in so far as, even if MG Motor was totally UK-owned, things would have moved on anyway and there would still be multitudes (if there ever were multitudes)whingeing about the loss of original MG character…

    After all, look what happened every time BL or MGR badged a car as an MG even if they were good MG-style cars (and some were not I know!). Like it or not, modern marketing has to overstate the case to some extent to get some visibility in the market place…

    I am a B and ZT V8 owner and can more than see the downsides of this new car, but it also has much to redeem it given all the circumstances. The real world says that all our car industry is foreign owned. The real world says that totally UK-orientated designs are never going to happen again.

    Our eccentricities, or even our excellent standards, are not appreciated for a worldwide product. This is the reality of modern commerce – think Marathon, think Snickers (Yuck!). We are, at least, driving most of the design, which will gain more influence as the brand expands.

    Anyway, for many the heritage link is appropriate. Let’s face it the old Magnette, however desirable, was a barge compared to the new 6 but 95% of the population was either not alive during that era or never knew about it…

    A small hint to the past is therefore no damnation and is merely trying to build on the link with what is happening at Longbridge and the many potential buyers of a well-known UK brand.

    I’m sorry you don’t like the adverts either – many think otherwise…

  82. Jack Yan Jack Yan says:

    @Richard Moss
    Precisely – if you read Jemma’s comment, she brought up the relevance of China fighting Britain in Korea. Hence, I responded with mine. Might pay to read everything in context…

  83. Chris C says:

    Here’s a source of potentially endless minutes of amusement/time wasting – the MG Magnette page on the How Many Left? website.

    AROnline readers can also find perspective on the pedigree of the 1950s Magnette in this article about the car’s Designer, Gerald Palmer, on the MG Cars Enthusiasts’ Club’s website – given that SAIC Motor is now working with General Motors, it’s ironic how Palmer ended up at Vauxhall.

  84. Charles Bishop says:

    Can one of you MG buffs please give a literal definition of the word Magnette? No, it’s not French for magnet but it must mean something. Maybe to do with Magna? Oh, and no, Wikipedia is no help. No one seems to know. Thanks all.

  85. Richard says:

    I reckon that, if anyone wants a Wolseley, they should go and buy a secondhand 75. I always thought they were far closer in spirit to Wolseleys than any Rover I’ve ever seen.

  86. Chris C says:

    @Charles Bishop
    Actually, the Wikipedia page on the MG K-type suggests that its smaller engine size compared to the MG Magna (despite being wider) gave the original Magnette its name. Can anyone definitely confirm that?

  87. Gary H says:

    @Ross A
    You say that only the engine and the front subframe came from the 75. Surely the engine’s the main ingredient of any motor? The 75 was launched 13 years ago and used the same K-Series engines originally found in the late 1980s Rover 200/400.

    We all, of course, want MG to succeed again but the point I am making is: why is SAIC Motor launching this car with such a dinosaur of an engine? They say they are going to replace them shortly but, come on, how many times have we heard that before? Why not just launch the “fully-baked product” when you have the money to do so instead of the “we’re nearly ready half-baked” one?

    Sadly, this smacks of history repeating itself i.e. British Leyland launching the Allegro with a new body style but using the same engine which dated back for decades… It doesn’t work like that anymore.

  88. Ross A says:

    @Gary H
    Alternatively, think Jaguar with the AJV8 in the XK and XF – that didn’t do them any harm…

    You simply have no concept of how difficult it is to change an engine’s specification completely, to have it calibrated and type approved – and the sheer amounts of millions involved doing so.

    However, if you are making the petty accusation that they have deliberately cheated the car buying public – that is something I don’t buy… People are buying with their eyes wide open as SAIC/MG have made it plainly clear that the next, new generation of engines are coming soon.

    SAIC/MG may well, of course, have fully entrusted the UK engineers to come up with the proposals and that fully entrust them to deliver the goods. GM provides them with a stable platform with which to do it from, thus reducing costs and ensuring quality control.

    Anyway, the engine is not the be-all and end-all to the MG6. This chassis is all- new except for the subframe – without that, you could fit the most up-to-date engine in the world, from Japan or Italy, and it still couldn’t handle it. Besides, no-one, other than perhaps me and you, would want to look under the engine bay.

    It’s an engine. It works and will be even better if it’s reliable. People won’t buy the car if power is a major concern and it’s too low, but evidently people are.

  89. Gary H says:

    @Ross A
    Well, of course the engines are the be all and end all of any car – they’re what makes the thing tick!

    No, I am not making any “petty” accusations about SIAC/MG trying to cheat the public by disguising what’s under the bonnet etc. What I am saying is that the engine which is being used in this car was ultimately a major factor in the demise of MG Rover because its downright unreliability.

    Have SAIC Motor/MG solved the head gasket problem? When the buying public/dealers realise what the actual mechanicals are in this car they will walk away…

    Anyway, if SAIC Motor is so involved with General Motors, why don’t they use one of their engines? Don’t forget Rover’s most successful period was when the company was using Honda’s reliable engines.

  90. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Gary H
    Well, if the K-Series engine was responsible for the demise of MG Rover, how did Land Rover survive?

    This obsession with K-Series fallibility is absolute tosh – most examples of HGF which I read about on forums are usually the result of negligent servicing and maintenance. However, if you check the oil and water regularly, treat it properly and have it serviced it will go for over 100k miles on the same head gasket.

    Go find another thing to bleat about!

  91. Dennis says:

    I suppose a good example of how little an engine can mean to a car is this: the 1300 Marina used the same A-Series/A+ engine as the Mini, albeit mounted inline. The Mini is great fun to drive, the Marina, well, mmm…

    Hence, if one only ever drove a Marina, could you say the car was crap because of the engine any more than you could say the Mini was great for the same reason? No, it was down to the chassis. A Mini is still great to drive with a 3 cyl Daihatsu engine, while the Marina is still, mmm, with whatever engine is fitted in it!

    Incidentally, if you take a 1989 K-Series engine and a 2005 K-Series and try and swap parts about, you’ll find very few are interchangable. Twenty years isn’t really a long time for an engine though, Ford used the 1959 Kent engine up until about 2002, it had been renamed the Crossflow, the Valencia and, finally, the Endura-E but it was basically the same engine with various improvements. The A-Series ran from 1951 until 1990 in mainstream use, then carried on in the Mini until 2000. PSA’s HDi units have their roots in the early 1980s!

    Bear in mind too that, while the K-Series was introduced in 1989, it was ahead of its time – it was all alluminium for a start, when most manufacturers were still using heavy cast iron blocks with, at best, an alloy cylinder head, so it did have a head start.

    The only major reliability issue with the K-Series was the head gasket problem. It was a very drivable engine, smooth and willing. I understand that SAIC have re-engineered the headgasket to solve the issue. I suspect they’ve also modified the coolant capacity as one reason they used to fail was because of the minimal amount of coolant in them – you only needed to lose a little coolant from a minor hose leak and the engine cooked.

    Have SAIC really solved the problem? Only time will tell, but then the same can be said about whether Toyota have solved their sticking throttle problem…

  92. Ross A says:

    Actually, the only problem I see with the K-Series is that its development got throttled firstly by the lack of any continuous investment programme – certainly when BMW took over – and then the eventual stalling after 2005.

    Remember, the K-Series was never really supposed to go above its small car remit but it got pushed into an area that didn’t necessarily suit it too well. However, it seemed to work given the funds available but, over time, things came apart and in the end under the BMW stewardship, it was decided to replace it with the 1.8 common engine. The K-Series engine wasn’t developed further until 2000 when the Phoenix lot took over.

    Ricardo2010/SAIC took over the unit and, since then, it has had some development in order to rectify the issues and comply with EU5 regulations – a difficult but not impossible task.

    However, do you fully invest in an old engine to get it up to the very latest spec, only giving it a few years more life before getting rid of it and seeing little return, or would you rather spend that on developing a new unit and using the old one as a stop gap until the new one comes along to provide another 20 years of service?

    I know what I’d do from an economic standpoint – make sure that the old unit was as bulletproof as possible, develop the reliability, then launch the all-new engine when it can be fully signed off.

    Unfortnately, Gary, that’s the way it is. The money and timescales involved are enormous and if, in this case, they are out of sync with product, it’s no big disaster AS LONG AS nothing breaks down and goes wrong which would hurt the reputation when the new unit comes along.

    It happened to Jaguar with the AJV8, it happened to Ford with their TDi vs TDCi and it’s happening with K/N/TCI Tech etc, etc. SAIC Motor aren’t like the VW Group which can launch a new engine every five minutes but they are large enough to make sure things will get done.

  93. Doodle says:

    Would somebody please explain to me why SAIC Motor/MG are not importing the vehicles fully built from China?

    MG Motor are just doing the final 20 per cent of the assembly process and that, to me, seems such a waste of money. I’m not trying to alienate the current workforce at MG Birmingham but, talking to employees from manufacturing, they are currently bringing their own workers over from China and reworking parts to fit to MG6s. WHY? Is that cost-effective?

  94. Richard says:

    The point that Ross A makes at the end of his last contribution is, I think, a very good one: “SAIC Motor aren’t like VW Group which can launch a new engine every five minutes but they are large enough to make sure things will get done.”

    SAIC Motor is a big and ambitious company which will make whatever changes are necessary to increase MG’s appeal. Actually, the 2011 MG6 appears to be an improvement on the car which British motoring journalists first drove in China last year and I’ll bet they keep on making incremental changes to it as time goes by. This can only bode well for MG’s future.

  95. Gary H says:

    @Paul T
    Firstly, soon after its acqusition of Land Rover, Ford replaced the K-Series engine and that is why Land Rover has survived. Secondly, I used to work for a large MG Rover dealership and I can tell you straight that, on average, we had five or, maybe, six fully and properly serviced K-Series-powered cars – mainly 1.6-litre and 1.8-litre Rover 45s and 75s – come into us every week with failed head gaskets and this was across the board…

    Admittedly, the 1.1-litre and 1.4-litre versions weren’t as bad. Ross has made a very good point – the K-Series was never meant to go above the 1.4-litre segment. HGF is also a very costly job.

  96. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Gary H
    Well, to be honest, Gary, if what you are saying is true your dealership was either very unlucky or the mechanics were rubbish! 🙂

    Joking aside, there are many more examples of reliable K-Series engines going beyond 100K on the original gasket. I read regularly of head gaskets going on but, from what I can see, a lot of these failures are down to how they are maintained or driven rather than an inherent fault. Yes, the gasket may be weak but, if you let the coolant level drop, thrash it, or mistreat in any number of ways then it will go.

    I don’t deny that the point about engine size is valid and, if you fit VVC mechanisms to them, you are practically inviting owners to thrash them. It doesn’t help their case and, as Ross says, the engine was starved of development funding to try and deal with these ‘upgrades’.

    I think my frustration is that we have ‘experts’ putting into Buyers’ Guides that a K-Series head gasket is guaranteed to need replaced between 30k and 50k miles. Some people take this advice so seriously that they get the HG changed ‘just in case’, which is money down the drain. Furthermore, if the mechanics who do it aren’t up to it, then you are looking at another failure very soon thereafter.

    I am a member of the Caledonian MGCC and their expert made such a statement in a monthly newsletter. I took him to task on the content of his article and am still awaiting a reply. People will certainly be wary of the K/N/TCI Tech Series if people keep perpetuating the myth that the HG is ‘guaranteed’ to go and I just wish there was more emphasis on the positives of the engine rather than things that might happen.

    Just to give you the stats of my own personal experience:

    K-Series-engined cars owned – 7
    HGF – 1

    That failure was down to me letting the coolant drop and it overheated.

  97. Gary H says:

    @Paul T
    Yes, but, in all honesty, do people in this day and age really want to be forking out bundles of cash on such mundane things as a failed head gasket? You buy a car on its reliability…

    I think that a lot of former Rover Dealers would agree the HGF was that bad that the new cars which were arriving from Longbridge off the back of the delivery trucks had HGF. The problem was nothing to do with high mileages, thrashing the car or bad mechanics etc. These were brand new cars with no mileage on the clock and it was simply a manufacturer’s fault. Sadly, when we contacted the Rover powers that be, they simply didn’t want to know…

    The problem was the HG was far too weak for the pressure and this problem was made worse in the 1.6-litre and 1.8-litre engines with the 9 bolts that held the whole unit together distorting. Another problem (and I’m not bleating on) was the timing belt cracking at very low mileage. A nightmare really…

  98. David 3500 says:

    @Gary H
    I am afraid you are wrong to say that “soon after its acqusition of Land Rover, Ford replaced the K-Series engine.”

    The first generation Freelander continued to use this engine right up until the summer of 2005 when supplies had dried up following Powertrain Limited’s administration and the subsequent failure of attempts to restart engine production. The same scenario also affected supplies of the KV6 engine which was also used in the Freelander. This left just the BMW-supplied M47R diesel engine found in the TD4 variants which remained on sale.

    Ford’s intention was to continue to use the K-Series and KV6 engines up until the summer of 2006 when the first generation Freelander would be replaced by an all-new second generation model, powered by either a PSA-designed 2.2-litre turbo-diesel or a Volvo-designed 3.2-litre six-cylinder petrol engine.

  99. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Gary H
    I certainly agree with your first point and, even though this should be covered by the warranty on a new car, it is a pain having your car off the road for any length of time.

    Just one final word on the subject (from me anyway)… The Lotus Elise used the K-Series VVC engine for a while, yet you never hear anyone slagging this car for having a crap engine. However, all MGR cars with the K-Series seem to get the bad press and people are warned off solely due to the perceived HG issues.

    I still don’t think that is very fair and reckon that people are missing out on some special motors if they take that view.

  100. Gary H says:

    @David 3500
    The lack of supply may have been another factor which contributed to Ford’s decision to drop the K-Series.

    However, I suggest you look up the Freelander Head Gasket website re the cylinder liners dropping into the block – if you refer to Land Rover’s own Technical Bulletin 0036 issued on 18 June 2004 there’s a whole page dedicated to it.

    The truth is Ford thought they’d never get shut of the problem so it was replaced less than a year after the company acquired Land Rover by the PSA and Volvo units.

  101. Vava1 says:

    @Gary H
    Absolute twaddle!

  102. Gary H says:

    Another minimalistic, rose-tinted statement… You can believe what you want to believe but I ask you one question and that is this: have Ford and/orTata Motors had any major mechanical problems with their Land Rover range since they’ve used the PSA and Volvo units? The answer is no and the company’s gone from strength to strength.

  103. David Dawson says:

    @Paul T
    My 75 is a case in point – its head gasket failure was purely down to either the dealer or previous owner having filled it full of RadWeld or similar crap. I’ve done 11,000 miles in the car and, apart from that, it hasn’t missed a beat! Yes, I’ve spent a fair bit on it but what do you expect with any seven year old, £2,500 car which you want to bring up to standard?

  104. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @David Dawson
    Exactly… Mechanical components, like any machine or computer, have no organic content or capacity for logical thought – they only do what outside influences make them do. However, some people continually go on about the K-Series as if HGF is part of the factory spec.

  105. Roverman says:

    I’ve never ever had a headgasket go on a K-Series and I’ve owned a few.

    I had an eight year old Rover 45, which had done about 70k when I bought it, and then used it for my job as a rep to do up to 1000 miles a week – it never missed a beat.

    I know people keep going on about the K-Series but the engine in the MG6 is the TCI Tech or Kavachi which is quite an extensive re-design by SAIC of the K-Series built using new tooling and with a new head design.

    The N-Series was built by NAC and was only used in the TF and MG 3SW (Streetwise) but this is no longer in production.

  106. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    Another one in the ‘For’ camp..!

    Gary H :
    @Paul T

    I think that a lot of former Rover Dealers would agree the HGF was that bad that the new cars which were arriving from Longbridge off the back of the delivery trucks had HGF. The problem was nothing to do with high mileages, thrashing the car or bad mechanics etc. These were brand new cars with no mileage on the clock and it was simply a manufacturer’s fault. Sadly, when we contacted the Rover powers that be, they simply didn’t want to know…

    Sorry Gary, but I can’t take this seriously – if any dealer can come on here to back this up with hard facts and evidence, then maybe.

    I don’t believe ANY company could be this negligent and would have expected faulty engines to be detected BEFORE they left the factory, not when they arrived at the dealerships. I would also welcome evidence of the six or seven cars a week which suffered HGF in your micromarket – that would mean an exponential problem country-wide which would certainly have made headlines in the national news.

    Hopefully, this will draw a line under ‘Engine-gate’…

  107. Big Al says:

    The car you are thinking of is the Riley Pathfinder – that was a larger car than the MG Magnette/Wolesley 4/44 range. Don’t you just love badge-engineering!

  108. Gary H says:

    @Paul T
    Well, Paul, you can believe what you want and I am certainly not getting into a mud-slinging match but I am very much telling the truth here – the HGF issue was that bad.

    Maybe the reason there are no ex-Rover Dealers on here is because they are either bankrupt or simply don’t want to have anything to do with the said product.

    Incidentally, the 1.6-litre and 1.8-litre K-Series engines’ HGF problems did make the national media – BBC1’s Watchdog programme brought it to light back in 2005.

  109. Mark Pitchford says:

    @Gary H
    Well, as we all know, Watchdog never over dramatises anything…

  110. Phil McAvity says:

    Will MG rename the Union Blue colour Scotland Blue if Scotland (hopefully) leaves the United Kingdom? Mind you, perhaps ‘union’ is just an ironic nod to the unions of the Seventies which destroyed MG UK’s forebears?

  111. Ross A says:

    @Phil McAvity
    Add to that the combination of crap management, a stupid Government, ridiculous inflation and very high taxes… A great ‘Union’ that was… lol

  112. Paul T says:

    @Phil McAvity
    I find that offensive. Have a word with people in other countries and ask them who they prefer to entertain as visitors, especially at sporting events.

    Anyway, at least for next year’s Olympics, your thugs will only be trashing their own country…

  113. Tom Sinclair says:

    @Paul T
    I don’t think Phil was being offensive. It’s actually quite an interesting point and meant as a bit of fun. Is that just a wee chip on yer shoulder by any chance?!

  114. Mark Pitchford says:

    @Paul T
    Well, apart from the less than humourous name, I’m not sure why it’s offensive. Is it only the Scots who are allowed to express an opinion on the future of the Union?

  115. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Tom Sinclair
    @Mark Pitchford

    I can take banter, but I didn’t see any humour in it. However, maybe that’s just me. Oh, and I certainly don’t have a chip on my shoulder, being half English.

    Anyone can, of course, express an opinion on the Union but, obviously, Phil has a problem with Scotland and doesn’t want it in the Union.

    A lot of people in England belittle Scotland, but they’re quite happy to enjoy the multitude of inventions which that country has given the world – with this being a motoring site, then the pneumatic tyre is probably the most relevant.

    Anyway, I apologise for bringing poliitics and national sterotyping into a car debate and will watch my mouth in future.

  116. Peter-109 says:

    @Paul T
    Oh dear… Well, seeing your thoughts on us thugs at least shows the true reasoning behind the two pages of informed comments above… I think it’s a wee imp on his shoulder. 😉