News : MG lifts the lid on the Icon Concept

Keith Adams

The wraps come off the MG Icon...
The wraps come off the MG Icon...

MG’s exciting new Icon Concept was officially unveiled at the Auto China Show 2012 to rapturous applause from the assembled – mainly Chinese – media. The exciting new concept was penned by Chief Designer Stephen Harper from a brief laid out by Global Design Director for SAIC Design, Tony Williams-Kenny, and is a toe-in-the-water exercise into the possibility of MG building a new mini-SUV to take on the likes of the Nissan Juke and MINI Countryman.

Based on the MG3 platform, the new car was designed to evoke as many design cues from previous – classic – MGs as possible, but without reverting to retro design philosophy. It’s a compact design, measuring 4.00 metres in length, boasting a four-door layout with ‘suicide’ rears (like the Mazda RX8). There’s been much speculation about whether this car would go into production, but the official line is that it’s down to the media reaction primarily in China. SAIC Motor is a conservative company and won’t make a leap into new markets without being assured that the demand will be there.

‘The target of the car was to try to bring the strength and essence of the MG brand to a modern audience,’ said Tony Williams-Kenny. ‘So we’ve gone for a sports SUV feel to give this modern feel, in order to take the brand in a new direction, but also to show that MG  can handle more modern products – as well as keeping the heritage and history intact. But we’re testing the reaction for the product – my feeling is that, for a car of this sector, it’s styled in a way that gives the customer something different.’

We’ll see how the press reacts to the MG Icon, but a straw poll of a few pundits suggests that it is indeed something different, but maybe there’s a little bit more work to do in places. More reaction and a Q&A with its creator, Stephen Harper, to follow.


Keith Adams


  1. ‘…but a straw poll of a few pundits is that it is indeed something different…’ It certainly is that! I doubt anyone will call it bland in the same way as the MG6 though. If it were a BMW-ised version of MG I expect it would sell like hot cakes. Awareness is the key, so a shame that so few people outside of car anorak circles in UK seem to have heard of ‘new’ MG…

  2. The new MGB GT cross over. Please take MG in this direction. A new MG 1100 please to follow to really take on Golf class. MG3,5 and 6 do not cu it for me at all. My next car to replace my ZT if it goes into production.

  3. I think it looks great. MG should be congratulated on such a daring concept, they have managed to have an MG which has a nod at the past but isn’t overtally retro! Very clever indeed….I hope this is a sign of things to come

  4. I have cash ready and waiting…………….. Build it and bring it here, you will have one sale if nothing else, i want one just like that (maybe without the slitty lights front an rear)

  5. Love it! Very very impressed with this, the chance to see it from more angles and in the flesh confirms this is one good looking car. Where do I sign up? Finally something to break the now boring MINI/500/BEETLE stranglehold on the market. I think this evoque’s the MGB-GT far better than the MINI does the Mini, because this is a modern twist rather than just being an oversized carbon copy.

  6. Oh, and MG build this in Britain and they might just get similar positive press that Nissan do by building the Juke here. If there is a car to firmly put MG back in the public consciousness then this is surely it.

  7. Build it please. Where you physically build it (or at least how much of it is built where) is less critical to me personally – I suggest the plants in China build it for the markets they already service, and the UK gets to do more of the final build allowing more bespoke specifications (look at how many options MINI offer) and think about setting up a plant in the USA. My daughter already wants one (and for me to pay for it, of course). I also want to see a genuine FERWD small sports car using the best bits of those styling cues.

  8. fantastic just whats needed, something to take on the germans!!! would be a bonus if it was built at longbridge aswell…

  9. Sadly where it is built is more critical for me as I am not that much of fanatic of the octagon badge to buy one regardless to where it is assembled. The same sentiments also apply to other British marques.

    I genuinely want to be supporting skilled workers employed in British car assembly plants rather than people employed abroad. Therefore, please build it in the UK, SAIC and give a much needed boost to the manufacturing success and economy of Longbridge in the West Midlands.

  10. This vehicle should definitely be produced… Do tone it down from the concept model if necessary – but please do not lose the essence that makes this uniquely MG!

  11. Unique? maybe, but not for me. Nice try though MG and good to see they are interested in promoting the brand

  12. I like it from its ground-breaking design. There is a healthy market for crossovers (Nissan Juke, MINI Countryman, Citroen DS4, etc etc) as they are the rage at the moment. Which is why I’m convinced the MG Icon would sell should it become a production car.

    Personally, I don’t think this should wear the Octagon emblem – even if it looks like an MGB. Based on the fact that MG should build sports car and hot hatches/saloons. Mind you, Porsche build the Cayenne and they sell like hot cakes. But if you want an MG, you want a sports/performance car – the same reason for wanting a Porsche.

  13. another Nissan Juke, only relatively more attractive. It’s an interesting concept and it has a lot more of a European design language to it. I’m certainly impressed but would like to see the design language pushed in this direction for future models.. They’ll get there in the end but they still need to establish their product base across all global markets – MG 1,3,5,6,7, SUV, sports coupe, and a halo car perhaps. Then from then on they can really move forward with the next generations.

  14. Not convinced by the vertical strip lights but the rest of that front screams MGB – I’m interested!

  15. Ugly Ugly Ugly, Too Much like BMW mini, Too Big and bulky, it’s just Gaudy like the Cayenne and the Juke , if your going to do it at all take a look at the Evoque.

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