MG6 : New metal for the New Journey!

Words: Keith Adams Photography: Dan Strong 

MG 6 at Shanghai (picture: Dan Strong)

MG6 at Shanghai (Picture: Dan Strong)

A new MG at last! The MG6 might be billed as a concept but the production version will be on sale in China later this year and at a dealer near you here in the UK during 2010. 

The wraps came off a new MG hot hatch for the first time since 2001 when the British marque’s Chinese owners, SAIC Motor, chose Auto Shanghai to reveal the latest product to wear the famous octagon badge. 

The new sporting fastback shares its underpinnings with the Roewe 550, which is based on the proven platform from the Rover 75. The MG6 is shorter and lighter than the Roewe 550 and, in 1.8-litre turbocharged form (likely to be the biggest seller in China), should crack 0-60mph in 8.5 seconds before reaching a top speed of around 130mph. 

The MG6 was styled and engineered in the UK by the team at SAIC Motor UK Technical Centre Limited which recently moved from Leamington Spa to Longbridge. 

Although we did not have a chance to look under the MG’s shapely bonnet, we know that it’s powered by a slightly reworked version of Rover’s K-Series engine, now known as the N-Series. SAIC Motor is believed to be in talks with various European partners over a diesel engine supply deal – the company has Joint Venture Agreements with both General Motors and Volkswagen Group and both companies are rumoured to be in negotiation with SAIC Motor. 

The MG6’s announcement marks a potentially major breakthrough for China’s Automotive Industry because the car has been specifically designed for export markets. Chinese buyers are notoriously conservative in their tastes – most choose saloons in preference to hatchbacks. However, the MG6 was styled and engineered in the UK by the team at SAIC Motor UK Technical Centre Limited which recently moved from Leamington Spa to Longbridge. 

[Editor’s Note: Ash Sutcliffe of China Car Times has now visited Auto Shanghai and any AROnline readers wishing to view his Gallery of MG6 photographs should click on this link to his MG6: The Verdict article.] 

MG 6 at Shanghai

MG6 at Shanghai

MG 6 at Shanghai

MG6 at Shanghai

Posted in: AROnline News, MG
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.

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  1. Greg says:

    There’s no identity to it. It sits there like a fridge, a microwave or a toaster.

    The rear end does hark back to the 200/ZR but there’s no flair, no MG immediately identifiable Britishness. It could be a Vauxhall VXR8 with a Ford Mondeo stuck on the back.

    It won’t sell.

  2. Jenna Jameson says:

    It looks like a Proton!

  3. Phil says:

    Only takes one word to describe it – Cheap!

  4. Tony says:

    I agree, the original designs of this new car were much prettier and instantly recognisable as MG, I suppose its the follow on to the new Jaguar front looking like a Hyundai?

    It will probably sell as well as the “New” MG TF?

  5. Paul Dixon says:

    Ok, so it’s s bit Proton Gen 2. However, if priced right and with the right engine options, this could do OK.

    NAC MG, or Roewe or whatever they’re called this week need to act quickly though. All those MG Rover customers, and believe me as a former Rover Salesman, there were plenty of them, are all trading in for something else. All those Rover dealers that took on other franchises, have been actively marketing their MG Rover database. All the brand loyalty (and it did exist) is eroding fast.

    If the Chinese ever want the brand to be a player in Europe again, launch this and the 550 and 750 quickly (or the MG5 and 7 whatever they are called – it’s all too confusing!) – with diesel options!!

    If they’d launch something new, even if it is a bit Proton, and price it right, it may sell. Much more likely to succeed with cheap new designs than a tired MG TF for MX5 money!!

  6. Mark says:

    What a bunch of whingebags we are. As a proud ZS owner I will happily be trading my 05 model in for one.

    What makes anyone think that the old hatch models had much to do with MG ‘heritage’ anyway? Honda – duh.

    I think it’ll go down a storm and the sooner they start assembling them at Longbridge the better.

    Good on you SAIC.

  7. Richard says:

    Agree with Mark. Perhaps it looks like a Proton because Protons look more up to date than previous MG’s! If you want to see beautiful old-fashioned cars there are plenty at the Heritage Centre at Gaydon, made in factories that are now closed. Refit your heads so they face forward please.

  8. Andrew says:

    I think it looks rather good. The rear angle reminds me of 60’s Italian exotica. Well done to them I say.

  9. DrBobbyLove says:

    Ummm, no one else think it looks like VW’a current offerings at the front.. the new Golf / Scirocco? (2 cars I really don’t like, which is sad – I really liked the Mk5 Golf)

  10. Dougie says:

    SAIC Motor looking for a diesel engine supply? What have they done with G-Series 16V that was just about production-ready at the time of MGR’s collapse?

  11. Jörg says:

    OMG – the copy shop strikes back.

    To be honest… the front looks like the Golf VI, the back is a mix of the BMW E60 (rear lights) and the new Vauxhall Insignia. Poor!

    Good that they call it “Modern Gentleman” now.

    Best regards from Germany and a sad ZR Mk2 driver. :o(

  12. DaveH says:

    The comments on here make me laugh! If you look at all the manufacturers they are going for bland or ugly motors – it either looks the same or is so ghastly the designers should be shot. Only Volvo and Citroen have a good looking range – though even these are changing (XC60!). Until we get past the current oversized lights, creases at different angles and the missmatch of square and round lines we will get more of these. Roll up the new XJ.

  13. Hilton Davis says:

    It looks a bit like a hatchback Lexus IS200 from the rear and the front looks like an earlier rendering of the ROEWE 550. Yes, most car designs are looking too similar these days. Perhaps it might look more at home to us if it had UK plates on and RH drive. When it arrives and gets established we may grow to like it? Let’s wait and see…

  14. charles says:

    I think it looks quite fab, although a little underwheeled perhaps. I’m sure it’d look even better in the flesh as well. I’m a bit fed up with my V6 ZT so would happyly trade in, especially if it’s at chinese takeaway prices. I dread to think what I’d get for mine! 2006, 18000 miles, X Power Grey, etc, any offers chaps?

  15. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    I think it looks ok. If MG-Rover had still been in business and were launching this, we’d be singing it’s praises from the rooftops as the replacement for the ZS at long long last. I think we should give it a chance to prove itself against the competition. Price is important, but so is the value of the brand – this is an interesting test of whether the MG brand has been damaged. Sales of the relaunched MG TF don’t augur well, but this is a new design and may get a different reception. Well marketed, it should certainly stimulate interest in the UK, especially if it gets built here.

  16. ian says:

    It’s fine. Designed in Leamington-Spa. Let’s hope it is eventually produced in Longbridge.

  17. AndrewP says:

    I quite like it however the ‘look at me’ orange is not a flattering colour. Be good to see the interior as this, to me, makes or breaks a car.

    Lets hope it gets made in the UK eventually

  18. Richard says:

    I’m not keen on that rear three quarter view at the top of the page. Other than that it doesn’t look too bad, I’ll admit. I’d like to see one in the flesh before I make any sort of firm commitment though…

  19. Tim Burgess says:

    I like the look of that. I’d like it even more if it was built at Longbridge. It would be nice to see some interior pics though.

    As for comments about Protons, Lotus designed the Gen 2 and I currently run a Gen 2 Ecologic in a similar shade of orange. It’s a bloody good drive too.

  20. David says:

    I like it and it’s good to see new metal. I hope they sell a ton of them!

  21. Alex Mathias says:

    Neat, stylish and contemporary, MG6 only needs to perform well, have good marketing and dealers – it’ll fly out of the showrooms.

  22. Herbie Glock says:

    Lotus tweaked the ride and handling of the Gen 2, they certainly didn’t design it…

  23. Thomas says:

    This looks really rather good, much better than the designs from the final days of MG Rover. It’s not that RDX60 was ugly, just plain weird. If they get the quality and performance right, they may be onto a winner.
    Good luck to them!

  24. Stuart says:

    The thing everyone has bypassed isn’t just the styling, or brand equity. It’s quality. Are there enough people out there willing to take a punt these days on a Chinese developed & British built car? Neither concept has much cachet! What’s the USP? Will it be cheap, in which case the residual snob appeal of an MG will soon be wiped out. Or if they price it higher, why would someone buy this & not a proven Focus? The Heritage card? I doubt it as it has none, only a tenuous link to a past it knows nothing about. Modern Gentleman…what a crock!

  25. sammo says:

    I hope that the new MG range is going to be built at Longbridge. It has been a testing time for the employees at Longbridge and they have, as well as the temporary staff [former MG Rover employees], achieved so much in such a short time. They have all worked extremely hard in difficult conditions to put MG back onto the map and I feel it is time for the Chinese owners to put the cards on the table and tell the remaining employees one way or the other that the new model is coming to longbidge or not. The uncertainty is unfair to the workforce when you consider what some gave up to return to Longbridge to be part of the MG story again.

  26. sammo says:

    The actual models look really exciting and I have to congratulate SAIC for maintaining the MG brand and trying to keep a legacy alive – with the right marketing, it should stimulate interest from around the globe and hopefully be very successful. Good luck!

  27. Charles says:

    A spiritual successor to the Maestro. From the enthusiasts’ view this is great and bold design, with a mix of old and new, VW style front end, Mazda profile, Rover rear quarters and BMW E60 rear end with the lights and boot lip. The BMW has the better rear end of cars at present. The 6 even harks back to the SD1 with the rear screen window. So why should it not sell in healthy numbers when it may come euro ward if the quality is on par with Ford say and undercut the middle brands price? (Put a better quality rear wiper blade too) Hopefully lessons on price and quality are being learned from the TF LE500. And what’s wrong with Proton’s image I ask as a new Jag driver?

  28. Tim Burgess says:

    Herbie Glock : Lotus tweaked the ride and handling of the Gen 2, they certainly didn’t design it…

    Just going by what’s inferred in the brochure. Anyway, the point I was trying to make is don’t underestimate how good the Proton is just because of its badge or where it’s made. The same applies to the MG 6.

    Looking at some of the comments on here I just wish some of you would quit the negativity and whining, wait until you see one in the metal and hope to God that it’s a success and gets to be built at Longbridge.

  29. Charles says:

    @Tim Burgess
    Spot on there but do you imagine it built from scratch or rather assembled together in Blighty?

  30. Tim Burgess says:

    I have no illusions there, although it would be nice to imagine that the reverse of what happened in 2005 / 06 came to pass and some tooling made its way to UK.

  31. James says:

    Same difference. Built from scratch? I don’t think the steel will be pressed at Longbridge on any cars that come out of there. All the parts came from all over the world for the old MGR cars, and that will be no different with any new MG’s.

    I have a feeling the Chinese will produce the pressings in a country that doesn’t have tight emission standards (funnily enough China springs to mind). The rest is just bolting it all together, paint treatments and then interior exterior bolt ons. I think some upgrades to the robots will be required, but the set-up is in Longbridge ready to roll. They left one of the productions lines in there and modified it to fit the downscaled buildings that are left.

    I like the look of the MG6, I’d like to see the interior. But so far so good. I’m sure there will be some changes for a UK/European offering.

  32. Mark Pitchford says:

    Well, I like in general, and the rear three quarters view in particular. The worst criticism I hear is that it’s a bit bland and derivative. Well, no-one ever accused the Maestro, Allegro, Montego, 1800 or Maxi of those things – and worthy though they might have been, they were no beauties so maybe safe is best at the moment. On the more positive side, we might end up with the best of both worlds here – a modern design at budget prices with MG characteristics, designed in Britain.

  33. T Coley says:

    Let’s face facts, if it had been launched by MG Rover as the Rover 45 replacement, we’d all probably have loved it. As others have said, I don’t think its any more bland and derivative than the average car these days.

    If it’s decently made, and made here (to whatever token extent that may be), I reckon there could be a lot of interest. Yes, the warmed-up TF is out of date and overpriced, but it’s blatantly only a stop-gap model anyway- now let’s give the Chinese (and British designers) a fair chance to show us what they can do.

  34. Jon T Pierce says:

    Modern gentleman – disgrace really MG stood for MORRIS GARAGES. THIS IS A CORE PART OF BRITISH HERITAGE

  35. Tim Burgess says:

    Jon T Pierce : Modern gentleman – disgrace really MG stood for MORRIS GARAGES. THIS IS A CORE PART OF BRITISH HERITAGE

    Bentley – British – owned by the Germans
    Rolls Royce – British – owned by the Germans
    Lotus – British – owned by the Malaysians
    TVR – British – buggered up by the Russians
    Rover – British – buggered up by the British (and the Germans)
    MG – British – owned by the Chinese

    Anyone see a common thread here. Put down the pipe, take off the slippers, suspend the pseudo patriotism and be grateful for what we can get

  36. Ross Armstrong says:

    Simply speaking, from a design point of view, this car marks a radical departure from that which came before and the oriental influence is very plain to see – from the sharp looks of the face and the fully defined body style, it looks like something that came from a Manga comic, which in my opinion is no bad thing.

    But there is something the MG6 has that doesn’t quite look right with the MG badge placed there. I was having a discussion about this a couple of days ago with a Transport Design student friend at Cov Uni and he said that perhaps the styling is too overtly aggresive – and, on the face of it, I’d have to agree.

    There is a difference between assertive styling for a brand that needs to noticed and aggressive styling which can often detract from the brand. Jaguar is treading a fine line with the XF and the recently (partly) revealed XJ, but they seem to have got it just right – and the interior more than makes up for what goes on outside the car.

    With the MG6, I’m a little concerned that consumers are going to see the car before the badge and in that case they could slap any brand on it, not necessarily MG. It’s a pity that little attention has been paid to the heritage in the same way that the XF, XK and new XJ have, whilst trying to inject that sense of radicalism.

    In a sense, the Communist country has again started to re-write the history book – this time they’ve done it with the MG design DNA.

  37. Ross Armstrong says:


    So you’re saying that all the Toyotas, Hondas, and recently awarded Jaguars are a piece of crap because they are built here??? Wake up and smell the coffee you small minded individual. Is it any wonder why engineers over here are treated like the shit you stepped in when people like you give us a bad name?

    Poor management and under investment are ultimately to blame, the union problem is not an issue anymore and there are still plenty of good people out there who actually do take pride in their work.

  38. Tim Burgess says:

    @Ross Armstrong

    Well said!!

  39. Chris Kirman says:

    When you get marketing men and CAD involved in the production of vehicles, you end up with a bland uniform product tailored to a world market. It’s no wonder that all recent offerings from the world’s manufacturers look similar.

    What we need is more human drawn designs (NOT using CAD) and the foresight of manufacturers to buck the trend and produce individual design concepts, not based around a common theme.

    It seems to me that the only difference between some manufacturers’ models is size; with a few tweeks to give a slightly different impression when viewed.

    As has be said above, at least some manufacturers have attempted to introduce differences in their model range – this needs to be adopted throughout this industry to simulate an appathetic buying public.

  40. paul says:

    I rather like it. Certainly better than the previous renditions of how the 5 door car would look. Particularly like the back end. As for those who think it looks like a Hyundai or Proton – they should have gone to Specsavers!

  41. phil says:

    @Paul Dixon
    Sorry to wee on your bbq,mg/rover/austin/bl produced re-cycled rubbish which this is…i mean the k-series rubbish now being called the n-series..laughable!!! the engine with the worst reputation which still manifests today,blown head gaskets a plenty.I work in the motor trade and can remebmber such rubbish as the marina followed on by the real piece de resitance maestro and montego…pure cheap badly put together rubbish.£10 sale by bmw who must be laughing all the way to the mini adventure bank.Hope this remanufactured load of old toot does not make it to production as already enough rebadged rover 200 and 400 poop still cluttering the roads,still the new scrappage scheme should adress that.

  42. john gossip says:

    If they build it in Longbridge (from CKD), establish a reliable service and secure a diesel-engine deal I will buy one.

  43. Peter says:

    Well Phil you can stick your BMW or any other sausage eating car as far up your hoop as you can get. Sorry if I sound a tad irate, but I am sick of knobs slagging of MG. I have a ZT 260 and love it. Rule Britannia!

  44. James says:

    Don’t rise to it Peter. If he hates our cars so much, why on earth is he reading about them. I like many other manufacturers cars. I love what Ford have done with the Focus ST and RS. Shame the re-engineered Volvo can’t do any better at the pumps. I’d consider an ST if it did more than 20mpg in the real world. Anyway, I want to see a UK spec MG 6 before making a real judgement.

  45. Peter says:

    I know but, it gets my back up.

  46. Anthony Henning says:

    Whatever it looks like, and personally it’s more ok than wow, at least it’s keeping one of the last surviving classic British marques alive. Too bad the rest of the old names are being held ‘hostage’ by the likes of BMW and others.

  47. Tim Burgess says:


    Why are you even here other than to sh1t stir? Another whinging know it all who needs to learn how to spell and professes a tenuous link to the motor trade.

    You can find fault with any car if you look hard enough. As for Marinas being bad; look at some of the lamentable crap that Volkswagen, Renault and even BMW were producing at the same time (Volkswagen K70 anyone?), hell most of them were nearly bankrupt back in the ’70s and were only saved by the fact that their fellow countrymen were still patriotic to buy the national product, unlike whining Brits who went out and bought Japanese. Then wondered why we don’t have any industry of our own anymore.

    Bet you stick a plastic England flag on your foreign car for Football internationals too.

  48. DaveH says:

    Funny thing about the idiot Phil is that 38% of all car designers in the world are British. F1 is dominated by British designers and manufacturing.

  49. Andy M says:

    Its no design classic, in fact it looks a little dated in my opinion. But design is subjective so, as long as it sells well, my views count for little. Sadly, I won’t be one of those who buy it.

    I wonder what the interior is like?

  50. Peter says:

    Well said Tim.

  51. didierz65 didier ziane says:

    The back is Primera-ish, the overall design blends in well with what’s on offer today, whether by Euro, Asian or American car makers. Diesel’s an issue in Europe, so is using the K *(N-series) engine more than the country it’s built in. I hope that the KV6 will slot nicely in soon, boosted by turbo(S) as the hot hatches are nearing 250-270 bhp, these days..ZS180 was good 5 years ago, not now.
    * heard that one about MG-F rebadged HG-F (Head Gasket-Failure)

    This car will be the real start for re-born MG, TF failed… maybe it should have been better not to bother with a re-launch or, at least, not to have waited so long to re-launch it, but like for any “new” product from BMC, BLMC, BL, MGR…. NOTHING GOES ACCORDING TO PLAN. Hope the curse won’t affect MG in China… just my thoughts. Like the car tho’.

  52. Eirug Evans says:

    I think it looks fantastic and I would buy one regardless of where its built. I live in Wales and we don’t make cars here so, if it looks good and is well built, that’s all that really matters.

  53. dicko says:

    Every now and again all cars appear to take the very same shape. If this reaches manufacture, you could badge swap with the Vauxhall Insignia. Whatever happened to motor cars having their own identity!

  54. Jack Yan Jack Yan says:

    Given the hard points they had to work with, shared with the Roewe 550, I think SAIC did a very good job. Yes, it’s derivative, but considering the junk that comes out of Geely, BYD, Landwind, Great Wall and others (where the design process consists of Control-C and Control-V), I applaud SAIC for paying designers to design. I prefer its looks to the 550 and the front shows a bit of aggression. Of all the Chinese firms, this is probably the only one that even comes close to understanding what brands mean.

  55. Alix says:

    I don’t care what it looks like. It’s based on the 75 platform; that’s now over 10 years old i.e. in modern model cycle terms absolutely completely ancient. Just think about it, manufacturers like Kia and Hyundai have significantly younger model ranges – there have been 3 versions of the VW Golf since the 75 was launched!!!!!

    Still want one? No matter how inexpensive it might be, or how it might look, would I ever even think about buying a car that was based on a platform/engineering that was that old.

    It may well look good and sell well in China and, for that, I applaud them. In Europe it’s nothing more than old technology dressed up in some cheap plastic and body. It looks like what it is, cheap, nasty, old hat, rubbish and hence it will probably sell very well in its native China.

  56. Jack Yan Jack Yan says:

    The platform argument is partly persuasive but bear in mind that the Opel Astra H is on the platform of the G, which was launched in 1998; the Peugeot 308 is on that of the 307, which dates from 2001. (Other classes show even older platforms, and I hasten to add that the original Jaguar XK and Aston DB7 could trace things back to the XJ-S.) I will concede that the Golf and Focus are more modern, as are some of the MG 6’s Asian rivals. What is important is how well SAIC has kept things modern and competitive.

  57. Pete says:

    Well, Alix, I’m not sure on that one as the MG ZT has the same floorpan – true it sits lower and is stiffer. And mine has a thumping 4.6 V8, but it still feels fresh to me and corners very flat, handles great – I wouldn’t part with it.

  58. Chris says:

    Personally I like this and good luck to MG for relaunching in the UK. One hopes that it will be produced at Longbridge (probably in a kit form).

    Certainly looks different to the normal fare on offer from Ford etc etc.

  59. phil says:

    In reply to


    I was actually looking for porn and when I typed “large twats” into Google it sent me here. Speak to anyone in the motor trade and mention “K-16 or Rover 200/400/75” you will get the same response my good fellow: RUBBISH.

    I appreciate certain models were not bad just very badly engineered and put together but mud does stick and unfortunately the Rover/MG brand has become very tainted and would need a miracle to be successful in the UK again.

  60. Ant says:

    Brilliant car – I can’t wait to own one. I already own a Rover 200 MK 3 which is an excellent car and much better by far than a Ford Fiesta (which I have driven and experienced many mechanical faults with) which are cheap and nasty looking.

    Would be a big loss if pre ’99 Rovers and Austins are scrapped but would be no big loss at all if the Scrappage Scheme wipes out all pre ’99 Ford Mondeos, Focus and Fiestas because they are rubbish and the roads would be a much better looking place with out them.

    Well done Peter: this Phil is obviously a moron and I think he should get another job as he obviously knows nothing about cars.

  61. Rob says:

    That’s all very well but, as Jack states, the Aston Martin DB7 was based on the Jaguar XJS platform. I don’t think anybody would call the Aston for being old and out of date. As you say the Golf has been redeveloped 3 times since the 75 was made but does it actually look any flamin’ different? The German engineers are the laziest bunch of designers but people still rave about them. I wish people would stop slagging off MG – they need our support, not our scorn.

  62. Roverman says:

    Superb modern design with hints from the past – 800 Fastback anyone?

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