MG6 : A brief encounter leaves a lasting impression

Clive Goldthorp

MG6

MG6

Our Editor, Keith Adams, normally undertakes AROnline’s Test Drive duties – I do not really have the driving skills necessary to push new models to their limits and provide informed feedback to our readers.

However, when Keith’s Octane commitments precluded him from joining me at MG Birmingham last week and MG Motor UK’s new PR and Events Manager, Doug Wallace, offered me the chance to take a Chinese-built MG6 1.8 Fastback for a quick spin around the facility, that was too good an opportunity for even me to miss.

The MG6 does look a tad smaller in the metal than in most of the recent photographs but, based on an admittedly quick appraisal, build quality would appear to be a match for that of, say, the current Honda Civic. However, the interior of this “Sino-spec” car was rather on the dark side but Doug informed me that UK-built, “Euro-spec” cars will feature a different instrument pack and carbonfibre trim – that should make the interior considerably more attractive.

MG Motor UK’s Sales and Marketing Director, Guy Jones, says that the MG6 will be pitched as a C/D-segment contender combining a space/interior package close to the D-segment norm with ride and handling benchmarked against the current, C-segment-leading Ford Focus. The MG6’s interior certainly does appear to be pretty roomy – rear legroom seems to be an essential for success in the Chinese market – and the car, which was fitted with 16in alloys, rode the speed bumps on MG Birmingham’s access roads in a competent manner.

The “Euro-spec” MG6, which the Head of Chassis Development, Andy Kitson, and his colleagues were busy honing in Spain last week, will feature 18in alloys so a definitive judgement on ride and handling would be premature. However, as Guy Jones has previously pointed out, “the MG6 was designed right here in the UK by the team here in Birmingham and designed for Europe – China, in fact, got a European car and adapted it for China, not the other way round.”

Guy Jones and his colleagues at MG Birmingham certainly seem to have a very clear steer on the dynamic qualities which the “Euro-spec” MG6 will have to possess in order to better the C/D-segment opposition and we reckon that, on the basis of the evidence to date, they are more than likely to be on the money.

A final point: Keith had a chance to drive the new C-segment Alfa Romeo Giulietta whilst on a visit to Milan last week – he maintains that supersedes the Ford Focus as the current C-segment benchmark for ride and handling. We therefore wonder whether Andy Kitson and his colleagues will be able to get their hands on a Giulietta before they sign-off on the “Euro-spec” MG6’s suspension settings…

Alfa Romeo Giulietta

Alfa Romeo Giulietta

Clive Goldthorp

Clive Goldthorp

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.
Clive Goldthorp
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.

8 Comments on "MG6 : A brief encounter leaves a lasting impression"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. DaveH says:

    Hi Clive,
    I’m not sure if the Alfa is the right benchmark. I know you said Keith rates it but most other motoring journalists have given the Giulietta a luke warm reception.

  2. Adam Sloman says:

    I drove the MG6 for MG Enthusiast last month and came away very impressed – it heralds a promising future for MG.

  3. Rusty says:

    The MG6 shown does not do itself any favours by looking ridiculously slab sided. I mean, it’s rolling on f**king 16s and they look like sofa castors!

    I’ve seen several Roewe 550s in China and I have to say they looked under-wheeled and over-tyred, but I put that down to the fact that their road network has only recently been subjected to any kind of formal maintenance programme, so everyone runs van tyres to counter the pot-holes.

    However, if MG Motor UK try and release the MG6 looking like that here (despite the fact that our roads are in an even worse state than those of our Chinese brethren), they’ll be laughed out of town.

  4. @Rusty
    I suggest that you re-read the fifth paragraph of the article – if you do, you will see that the “Euro-spec” cars are to have 18in alloys.

    Incidentally, I am not too sure how your use of the F-word adds anything to your point…

  5. @DaveH
    I have read three “First Drive” articles on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and all of them were pretty positive about the car’s ride and handling…

    However, I have only just had a chance to locate them again and so, with apologies for the delay, here are the relevant links:

    Steve Cropley, Autocar, 9th April, 2010

    Chris Chilton, Car, 12th April, 2010

    Andrew English, Telegraph Motoring, 17th April, 2010

    All three of the above gentlemen are well-respected Motoring Journalists and each of them rated the Giulietta…

    I do, though, admit to being a little biased about Alfa Romeos – I have owned a total of nine of them and still get to play with a friend’s much-loved 147 GTA on occasion.

  6. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    @Clive Goldthorp
    168bhp from 1.4 litres is pretty phenomenal. Cropley calls it the best Alfa in 25 years (since the ‘Sud?), which seems to me to be high praise indeed. Incidentally, it’s nice to see the old fella in video since I’ve enjoyed reading his stuff for longer than that. The MG6 will be a very major achievement for a new manufacturer if it can get anywhere near the Alfa.

  7. @Jonathan Carling
    I had four Alfasuds in the late 70s/early 80s – the distinctive exhaust note from the Flat 4 Boxer engine can still make me quite emotional today…

    Ironically, I received an email from the Alfa Romeo Dealer which sold me the ‘Suds back in the day (they are still, amazingly, selling Alfas!) this afternoon and have been invited to take a “sneak peek” at the Giulietta next Tuesday.

    I guess that might just merit another Blog…

  8. David Dawson says:

    Finally saw the MG6 in the flesh for the first time today at the local dealer, Graham Walker Ltd in Chester. Don’t know why it’s taken me so long but still not having seen an MG6 on the street, today I decided to travel 20 miles to Chester just to see one.
    Having seen numerous pictures and read several reports I was even more impressed when I viewed the car on the showroom floor. Liked the interior too, despite negative comments I’ve read regarding the quality of some of the materials used.
    It’s a ‘Yes’ from me and my daughter!!!

Have your say...