Dear MG Rover, can we have the following, please?
1) Please, please, please, no more overt retro, no more fake wood – we want modern and chic, not twee.
2) Plenty of head- and legroom in the front and the rear – and for goodness sake, how about nice slim A-posts, so we can see out…
3) A usable boot with a nice split floor (as shown on TCV).
4) Multi-adjustable seats front and rear, and MPV-style adaptability.
5) Work surfaces for laptop users (but don’t call them picnic trays!), integrated hands-free, Bluetooth networking.
6) Looms pre-installed for in-car video to facilitate retro-fitting of gadgets as and when they are needed.
7) The option for an iDrive-style system (but one that works), as well as touch screen capability on the sat/nav screen.
8) MP3/DVD – no more cassette decks!
Options and trim levels:
1) Do away with the silly trim levels such as Connoisseur, Classic, etc… the Rover RD60 and MG X60 should come in one model only, which is pret a conduire, and it could then be specified (from an extensive options list) to the owner’s requirements. Rover only build in small numbers now, so why not capitalize on an (as yet) untapped demand for “bespoke” cars?
2) No more low powered versions – start the range at 2 litres/1.8-litre turbo (with at least 160PS) and top it with the KV6 in normally aspirated and Sprintex forms.
3) Diesel versions should be offered in the same way VAG’s are: three states of tune for the same engine, with the entry-level model being at least 110PS.
4) Saloon and hatch models marketed in the same way – no trying to market the saloon as an upmarket hatch, please!
1) Chassis settings should be available in three variations, “Optimal”, “Plus” and “Minus”. The former being the default version with a compliant set-up with keen turn-in, with the latter being harder and softer versions. “Minus” – the softest – should be roughly similar to the current 75, with Optimal comparable to the ZT.
2) Shell stiffness should be at least as good as the 75/ZT, and if possible, even better. Please do not design down to a price, but build the quality in. This is not going to be a volume car, so engineer it to match (and beat) the standards set by BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
3) Performance and braking should also exceed the expectations of the class – ensure that even the entry level model (in petrol and diesel form) easily beats 9-seconds for the 0-60 dash and a 120mph maximum speed.
Sounds like a tall order doesn’t it? But remember how the R8 absolutely blitzed the opposition back in 1989 by being able to offer performance, advanced engineering and classy packaging at a price not too far out of reach. Now, with the RD/X60, the company has no real need to meet the demands of the rental market, so why not go for that classy angle again? It is possible, and with this car, it now has the opportunity to build the Rover that Rover needs, and not one to fit in with the corporate plans of another manufacturer (i.e., Honda or BMW).
Rover was considered a bit twee up to the point of the R8’s introduction, and with one competent car, people’s perception of the company changed overnight. The company is in a worse situation than that now, but if it produces a classy, bespoke and advanced car, it is possible to turn things around. So MG Rover, please don’t rush the car, hold your nerve and build a car that is truly worthy of the nameplate. After all, if this is to be the “Last Chance Saloon”, then it needs to be one with masses of style panache and intrigue.
So, please, please, please ditch the retro. But I think we can take that as read…
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.