China Watch : MG5 Concept sketches emerge ahead of Auto Shanghai

Adam Sloman

These official SAIC Design MG5 Concept sketches have emerged online ahead of the car’s unveiling at Auto Shanghai 2011 later this month.

Official MG5 Concept sketches

The sketches show a small five door hatch, similar in size to the Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf, blending elements from the larger MG6 and the recently launched MG3 supermini.

Camoflaged developement mules have been spotted undergoing testing, as well as computer-generated mockups, though now it seems the next MG, the 5, is ready to make its show-circuit debut.

Beneath the sporty skin, the MG5 shares its underpinnings with the Roewe 350 saloon, which is offered with the same 1.5-litre petrol engine as the MG3.

The 350 is a somewhat conservative car both in styling and roadmanners and has, to an extent, slipped under the radar in the PRC. However, the car has garnered wider media attention, thanks to its use of Google’s Android operating system, more commonly found on smart-phones  to power its In-car Entertainment – known as ‘Inkanet’, it’s caused quite a buzz in technology circles.

The design work is once again courtesy of Tony Williams-Kenny and the UK-lead Design Team based at MG Birmingham. The 5 will likely feature the same engine, although the possibility remains for either a smaller 1.3-litre or larger 1.8-litre, as well as a diesel to be fitted for European markets. The 350 has different underpinnings to those of its bigger brother, with simpler, semi-independent rear suspension using a torsion beam similar to that of the MG3, though the suspension and handling set-up will receive the same attention as that of the 6 for the UK market.

MG5 rear profile

The release of these sketches apes the show launch of the MG6 when SAIC Motor chose to ‘leak’ drawings prior to its launch which gave a fairly accurate representation of the production version of the car. Now, almost two years on, the MG5 is set to follow in its tyre-tracks .

Auto Shanghai 2011 is scheduled for 21-28 April.


  1. This is a sharp looking replacement for the old MG ZR. However, instead of competing against the Volkswagen Golf, the new MG5 could more of a car to rival the alternative/sportier C-Segment hatchbacks like the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, SEAT Leon and, possibly, the Fiat Bravo.

  2. This MG5 Concept has hints of Alfa Romeo at the rear. However, I’m not too sure where this will sit with the MG6 – won’t they rival each other?

  3. The MG5 will not work as there is no way it can take on the Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf as the engines are under-powered. The new Ford Focus RS looks set to have around 250bhp and, when the new Vauxhall Astra GTC comes out in VXR spec, that’s set to have over 270bhp. However, on the basis of the information so far available, MG’s engine range will not have anything to rival that.

    Mind you, on the other hand, this concept looks good and will make a nice MG ZS replacement. However, it’s not a hot hatch but more of a Astra SXi rival.

    I say good luck to it if it comes and good luck to all the new MGs coming out but, unless we get 2.0 16v Turbo engines, I don’t see MG taking on the likes of Ford, Renault and Volkswagen – the list goes on – so let’s hope we get a nice fire-breathing engine to give the Volkswagen Golf GTi a run for its money.

  4. Well, if the production version looks like this, the first bump/pothole the car hits and the tyres shred on the wheelearches…

    Oh, and as with most concept sketches, where do the numberplates go? The rear wiper could prove interesting to engineer, too…

  5. Thanks for letting us see these images… The MG5 Concept’s front end looks like a space trooper’s helmet from Star Wars (1977). However, the car does look sharp and sporty though. Overall, the body profile looks like a Volkswagen Scirocco but with five doors combined with a Scirocco rear end.

    Mind you, as ever, these sketches usually look quite different to the real thing when it gets built. Eighteen months ago, I saw a colour sketch of the new Focus which I preferred to the actual car as now just launched.

  6. Go on the official MG Motor UK Facebook page from about two weeks ago and you will find a scoop photograph of the MG5 from a Chinese website. It’s not the best quality picture but you will get the idea if you match it with the sketches above.

    I think that, on just looks alone, the MG5 is a winner – it reminds me of SEAT Cupra Sport and should be a perfect replacement for the MG ZS.

  7. The MG5 looks good and should be a very good replacement for the MG ZS. Let’s hope that MG Motor has a top spec engine to complement the 1.3, 1.5 and 1.8-litre units.

    A turbo-diesel is, of course, a must and it would be nice to have a car that can give the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Ford Focus, Seat Leon and Volkswagen Golf etc. a good run for their money.

  8. Well, given how long it has taken the MG6 to come to market – you still can’t buy one yet – and given that this car is now being unveiled in Concept sketch form, I doubt I’ll see it in my lifetime!

  9. I have recently been car shopping for my next new model and been massively underwhelmed by the dull-as-ditchwater Golf and hideously overcooked Focus so this car could just fit the bill.

    Sadly, with the current SAIC Motor model launch plan of around 28 years from show car to sales floor that seems doubtful. I have to say though, the new Focus is awful, a plethora of styles and sharp edges in the interior that is akin to trying to see your way to the bar in a strobe-lit gay nightclub without coming a cropper either on a sweaty Village People wannabe or the sharp edge of a greased up pole atop a dry ice laden stage.

    Just as I’d hoped the Alfa Romeo Giulietta would comprehensively attack the dominance of the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra (sadly that failed on quality and sheer dourness), I also hope this new MG5 could break the cycle of endless horrid incarnations of C-segment cars. I have my fingers crossed and await ever patiently to be impressed.

  10. Interesting stuff – but does this MG5 Concept suffer from the Alfa Romeo design problem of nowhere to stick the front registration plate?

    Mind you, at least you’d never get a puncture with tyres that are just a 5mm band of rubber around the wheel.

  11. I know sketches are always exaggerated, but those rear doors look different enough to the Roewe 350’s to give me some hope that the MG5 will have a bit more unique sheetmetal.

  12. This looks promising. I hope its translation into the real world works.

  13. Shouldn’t MG Motor UK be thinking about releasing cars that extend the range, not models which will compete with each other like the 5 and 6?

  14. @Bob
    The dimensions of both the MG6 Fastback and Saloon are, in fact, more akin to those of the D-segment than the C-segment – the MG6 Saloon is actually longer than the new Volvo S60…

    Nick Gibbs of Auto Express has already reported that MY13 versions of the MG6 will be available with not only the 1.9-litre diesel but also a 2.0-litre petrol engine and a six-speed gearbox. MG Motor UK Limited has indicated that the MG6’s current prices will be increased after the initial launch period (from the 1st June, 2011?) and, in view of the improvements to the range, those prices are likely to be increased again with the introduction of the MY13 models.

    The UK/European-spec versions of the MG5 will probably hit the showrooms at around the same time and be priced below the MY13 MG6 range in order to compete directly in terms of price and size with the key C-segment contenders such as the Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Mazda 3, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf.

    AROnline therefore reckons that, by the time the MG5 and MY13 MG6 are both on sale in the UK and Europe, MG Motor UK will have effectively moved the latter upmarket to compete more closely on price with D-segment models such as the Ford Mondeo, Honda Accord, Mazda 6, Vauxhall Insignia and Volkswagen Passat.

  15. Chris C :

    Oh, and as with most concept sketches, where do the numberplates go? The rear wiper could prove interesting to engineer, too…

    There seem to be two convenient flat areas front and rear for number plates. The rear wiper would be similar to the one on the Rover 25/MG ZR…

  16. Ayd :

    Interesting stuff – but does this MG5 Concept suffer from the Alfa Romeo design problem of nowhere to stick the front registration plate?

    Well, as I have just commented above, there is a conveniently placed flat area above the front air intake…

    I’m not sure that locating a UK-spec, DVLA-compliant number plate on the car was of top priority to the Designer who produced this sketch.

    Anyway, if the only comments are about tyre thickness and where the numberplates and rear wiper are to go, then surely the consensus must be a thumbs-up? More constructive comments in future please!!

  17. I reckon that, if the production version of the MG5 looks like this concept at launch, it will definitely put MG on the map.

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