News : European spec MG3 shown at Auto Shanghai

MG3 in Shanghai

MG unveiled the European version of the MG3 supermini. It’s said to be inspired by the MG Zero concept car, although it’s little more than a light refresh of the original MG3, which was unveiled at the 2010 Beijing auto show.

Both the original and the latest Euro MG3 are the work of the design and engineering team at the SMTC at the company’s Birmingham site in Longbridge, UK. At the front, the headlights have been slightly changed, with the  new hockey stick daytime running lights being a visual departure – as well as a nod to fashion.

MG says the 4015mm (158in) long hatchback offers enough room for four six foot passengers. On the technical side, the MG3 will be powered by the 1.5-litre four-cylinder VTi-TECH petrol engine producing 105bhp mated to a five-speed manual transmission.

Following the MG6, the MG3 will be the second in a new generation of MG vehicles to go through final assembly at the Birmingham factory – and will launch in the UK later this year, probably around August.

MG3 Euro in Shanghai

Keith Adams


  1. It’s a shame that they are not offering the Turbo’d version of the VTi engine straight off the bat. That would have made a good initial warm hatch offering.

  2. well lets face it, its no secret that i despise the MG3 it looks horrible!
    however on this occasion i will admit that this euro spec car is a lot better!
    it looks less slab sided than before thanks to the kink, the redesigned bumpers look A LOT better than before and the grill treatment is a bit better as well. thank god! something had to be done and it has been. the styling is still not right though. the lights remain ugly as before! it just doesn’t work and looks dated.
    although now, i only mildly dislike it. so its a step in the right direction i guess.

  3. HI think the MG 3 styling looks sensible for the most part where as the MG6 has some odd quirks like the toyota styled tail lights and the body kit not being level with the ground from the side view. not so sure about the granny blue colour, but on the whole If I was after a small car I would be tempted.alex

  4. Gorgeous: a perfect line, very elegant and pretty and probably goes like the clappers.

    The car’s just cheap Asiatic tat, tho.

  5. Like the blonde:)

    an 1,5 VTi-TECH with 105 hp…..what???? a poor not really tuned 1,6 type K engine (and I know all your comments gentelmans) had 115 hp….so the 0,1 in displacement make all this diference (for me 10 hp are noteble but also want to see the other engine data)
    as already told somewhere the Chinese MG upset me with the design and with the engines

  6. The 3 has got to be priced cheaply to make any inroad into the market. If not it will be as big a failure as the MG6.

    Surely someone at MG Motor(s) must realise this?

  7. @8 Simon, re the engine output. I had a 1.6 K series R45 and the power output was quoted at 109ps – and 117ps on my 1.8 MG ZS. My original 1.4 R400 put out 103ps. I agree the 1.5 litre MG3 @105ps doesn’t sound that powerful.

  8. The K series 1.6 though is decades old, was unreliable and had no torque unless you went for the 1.8. I imagine this engine is better in every way. I don’t understand why people get so hung up on the K series. Yes it was good in 1989 but it’s now 2013.

  9. @ Hilton D- i have a F VVC and want to do only a precisation-a PS is 0.98632 hp…..but still the numbers are impressive low for the new engine considering that is written that use a VTi technology…..

    @dolimitefan I and someother consider the k one of the milestones of engine engeneering and still today some solutions are notable. But I give you right is a 30 years old project, so you can say unreliable, old and whatso ever, BUT with the use of a classial head (no VTi or VVC or any kind of variator) puts out more power than the simlar displacment “new” MG engine…..and have a similar torque -135 vs 138 Nm
    So i can be doubtfull about the new MG3 engine……

  10. I quite like it. The chinese spec looks crap but congrats to the UK design team for the spectacular improvement. MG needs to mass product it in the UK to have bigger profits, to start selling on continental Europe and to build it with as much UK made ingredients as possible to sell it more easily. It also needs a real advertisement campain, a low price and the MG3 should be able to become a big seller.

  11. @12 – Could it be that 20 years ago a smaller-capacity K-Series was producing more grunt than what we have here. With absolutely no valve-timing trickery?

    It can’t be all bad for the ‘K’ and I’m sure that the early units didn’t blow their heads.

    It’s good that it can still be seen as a benchmark, it couldn’t be that bad if it is still referred to.

    As to the ‘3? Totally undecided, but I’m not it’s intended market. Pink roves (or should that be roofs?) and red-highlighted wheels aren’t my scene.

  12. @13 Simon – thanks for the conversion factor from PS to BHP – most useful. As you say, the 1.5 VTi on the MG3 doesnt appear to be that powerful.

  13. Well, I wondered what I’ve been seeing wearing a disguise on the motorway down here, between Bristol and Taunton. Last week one of these passed me twice in the same day – once going down, and once coming back up.
    Also, over last week end, one put in a disguised appearence at the Somerset Stages down in Minehead. Looked rather incongruous sat on the side of the seafront.
    As they’re already running around, I’m surprised that the estimated launch isn’t until August. Still, best of luck I say; I think they’re going to need it!

  14. I think the output will be for insurance friendly purposes,not that the engine is ancient or anything.
    What perceptible difference does anyone feel with vvti technology in a small shopping car? You feel any in a Yaris,Fiesta or Clio or whatever,being anoil pressure controlled pulley that moves a couple of degrees means nothing,only problems in later life.

  15. In this market low co2 and fuel consumption is everything. That more than price will dictate the success of this product. If they can sell a version that gets 60mpg and 30 ved then fine. Any more and most small car buyers will look elsewhere whatever the price and spec. I understand they are going down the personalised route with leather trim and different coloured roofs etc. Thats fine if the basic figures look good. I am hoping they get this right!!

  16. Why unveil the Euro spec MG3 in Shanghai? Why not do a bit of viral marketing in the UK to get the word out and unveil it over here. At least people in the market it’s trying to get into would know about it then…

  17. I know for one thing CO2 and fuel consumption mean zero to me,its pointless having a car if you think like that, we would all be driving washing machines. Fair enough each to thier own,but i would feel a zombie if that bollocks dictated what car i would buy,i even use my own car for work,despite having a 120d dangled my way,i do my job,pay me.
    This is going to be a price sensitive car,and what the car mags say will also have an impact.And unavoidably,its emissions.

  18. “…1.5-litre four-cylinder VTi-TECH petrol engine producing 105bhp mated to a five-speed manual transmission.” Nothing much “tech” about this then. Sounds distinctly late 80s. Does it have a cassette player too or maybe an 8-track?

    I’m with the blonde & Simon on this one! Utterly carp and has nothing to recommend it. Weedy engine, anodyne styling, poor build quality. Lousy CO2 emissions (and it does matter when you buy your own fuel!!!)

    A Hyundai Pony for the 2010s. Just looks like a cross between a Citroen and a Hyundai i10 / Kia Washing Machine. I severely doubt (actually I’m totally certain) that this will NOT be on our shopping list when Mrs CE chops in her Golf.

    I want to like it because it’s built in the UK, but it just doesn’t stack up against the competition.

  19. Oh dear, I was enjoying reading the comments until I got to 23 and 24, then I remembered that I was on this site and that it wouldnt be long until negative comments and cynical viewpoints become the norm.

    Before I leave this page though I would just like to say that Ive just done a quick googling of 0-60 times for the MG3’s main rivals and they are all very similar. In fact, the MG3 seems to be one of the quicker cars. Certainly than the 90bhp Vauxhall Adam or the 1.6 version of the DS3.

  20. The more I look at it the more I like it , it’s just the sort of car to attract young people to the brand hopefully MG have learned lessons from the MG6 launch and advertise the bloody thing this time.

  21. @25,Its a snapshot of what has become,obviously they have drove it,sat in the thing and tested it,or just read auto express or agreed with what someone else says.Oh, its chinese too,forgot that one,must be a death trap.

  22. What do you want to hear from a man who is engineering cars! I am talking about cars and not such small plastic parts which will be on the scrap in four years. (remember the Cityrover).

  23. Seems quite a distinctive, attractive car.
    In the flesh I could like it a lot (same goes for her!!)

  24. @28 yes them cityrovers that are still on the roads with bombproof engines and simple mechanicals? i dont really understand what you have said in your response really,you been drinking?

  25. Also, how much of it is actually built in the UK? And other than the fancy lights and bumpers how much else was designed in the UK?

  26. The MG3 was styled and engineered in the UK by the engineers based in SMTC Longbridge. Final assembly as with the MG6 will be in the UK at Longbridge.

  27. Big improvement but still no zero, needs bigger wheels.

    “Available in dealers late summer 2013”

    Inspires confidence doesn’t it?

    1. Will there be many dealers left by late summer?
    2. and what are the actual chances that this thing will be available to drive off a fore court ‘late summer’

    SAIC need to stop being so vague its doing them no favours.

  28. Potential new MG owners and older MG enthusiasts are only really interested in the brands sports car heritage, a modern replacement for the MGF is needed sooner rather than later…not a ‘long game’ strategy. A bland Kia/Hyundai look-alike supermini like this is not going to help MG regain any brand loyalty or following in the UK.
    A MINI, 500 or DS3 buyer would not seriously consider an MG3 either…..should they really want to trade down market a current Ford Fiesta is far more likely to fit the bill. Ford raised their game with the Mk7 when their marketing surveys showed most previous Fiesta owners really wanted a MINI if they had the extra cash. Even Vauxhall will struggle with their Adam and far better marketing, judging by reaction on the MINI/500 forums/magazine tests…despite the cheaper price point.

  29. Sigh. You can polish a t*** all you like but you won’t change its inherent nature. Its going to sell like its bigger brother. None. I gotta agree with Trisha, it was crap before and its twice as crap now..

    As to the guys having happy thoughts about the red number? Rather you than me. Either they’re borderline nympho-anything-with-a-pulse or they’ve got emotional issues beyond the dreams of analysts. Both stem ironically from their beauty (for a example read terry pratchetts novel Thud). Think I’m being too harsh as usual? I talk from bitter personal experience. For some real irony watch the House episode skin deep… Talk about mind welding experience. As americans would put it “not with the crazy” and its a good rule.

  30. How large is SMTC Longbridge, do they really have the resources to develop a decent car by themselves, when you consider that their European rivals have teams 10 or 20 or 50 times as large?

  31. SMTC Longbridge is a satellite operation. There’s a larger technical centre in China, too – with a healthy complement of British engineers.

    It’s such a shame MG Motor UK can’t be bothered telling people this…

  32. What I want to know is why the union flag in the background. This sites strap line is “built in Britain” not put on the Chinese wheels, bumper and fit the Chinese made engine…. baffling @38 too right its baffling. Siac need to get serious and actually assemble here before they wave our flag. Stop pretending to be British Siac until you are British (JLR Tata) then I and others wouldn’t moan and accept it good or bad…its insulting… Sticking MG on its bonnet doesn’t cut the mustard.If you want to do things like that put “Roewe” on the front and take out our flag = Welcome from Britain dear friends from China!

  33. Keith, that’s interesting, a quick Google suggested last year SMTC Longbridge employed 300 people, and that they were recruiting.

    By comparison, JLR employ 3000 at Gaydon and 2000 at Whitley. Not all of these will be techical staff, but it gives an interesting comparison.

  34. I saw an MGF outside a hotel earlier, and was taken aback at just how classy at looked just there.

    A real successor to MG roadsters of old.

    SAIC need to tie up with Lotus, rebadge some Elises – still a good platform all these years, being licenced out to some electric car manufacturers.

  35. Anybody else think that it is strange that the windows are black and there are no picture anywhere of the interior.Apart from that it looks better than I expected.

  36. To be brutally honest, they (small hatches) are all starting to look the same to me. Can’t tell from 50 yards whether it’s a Hyundai Washing Machine, Kia Toaster, Citroen Dishwasher MG Oven or a Ford Fryer. Except for the small Peugeot which is so ugly it makes me want to vomit.

    None of them have any attraction whatsoever. I may have to drive one of these when I am old and losing the will to live but until then….

    PS, you can polish the MG3 as much as you like but it will still be brown and smelly and most definitely NOT a real MG.

  37. Anyone seen the ‘fun’ website yet…?

    Someone over on PH reckons it looks like a SniffPetrol spoof advert and I have to agree. The taglines are like Chinglish.

    Another marketing own goal.

  38. I clicked on Live Chat for the craic, and got

    “We’re not around, but we’d love to chat another time.”

    If that happened on Keith’s site there’d be an uproar!

    As a QA tester of websites in a previous life, it should support a minimum of 1280 or 1024 width resolution.

    Errors all over the place

    [17:59:54.669] Expected end of value but found ‘!’. Error in parsing value for ‘right’. Declaration dropped. @
    [17:59:54.669] Expected end of value but found ‘!’. Error in parsing value for ‘bottom’. Declaration dropped. @
    [17:59:55.760] Error in parsing value for ‘background’. Declaration dropped. @

    The naming is confusing. Is it the 3? The MG3?

    Why is everything FUN?

    Be seen and envied!
    with FUN front LED daytime running lights

    Choice of super stylish alloy wheels, from FUN dual colour to Jet Black

    Hear the FUN
    roar and see it


    with the chrome

    exhaust finisher

    Share the fun with friends with this spacious 5 door/seater supermini

    Sign up to be part of the FUN

  39. Chicken and egg scenario, full scale production is not cost affective until the cars are selling in their thousands.

    So SAIC spend millions of pounds needed to fully manufacture the cars here and production ramps up, more production staff needed, hundreds of cars being completed every week.

    Then what? Fill empty fields full of the things like in the good old final years of the MGR days?

    SAIC would close Longbridge in a heartbeat with that much investment with no return. A real recipe for disaster.

    MG have to walk before they can run.


    oh no, it’s going to happen again isn’t it…

  41. posting that last comment made me feel guilty for some inexplicable reason. So I just surfed Kia and Hyundai’s websites. They’re so dull! Hyundai is almost monochrome- every single car is silver. Got me thinking- Maybe MG could make a ‘thing’ of the cheesy ‘badly translated’ taglines? Everyone likes a car manufacturer with a bit of humour? Could be just what this relentlessly sensible sector needs?

  42. @46, I was just wondering what you would consider to be a ‘real MG’?

    How do you feel about the MGR MGs? Or the older M series? Or would you only consider a soft top, two seater a real MG?

  43. @51

    I just had a look on those websites too.

    The Hyundai one is really dreary, one of the worst Ive seen, well – most boring anyway.

    The Kia one is a bit better and the shots of that pro-ceed gt thing look great.

  44. @50

    Because SAIC should show some commitment to UK manufacturing.

    Did TATA import evoques before realising they had a hit and so were able to justify starting UK production? No of course not, TATA know what their doing and have the confidence to put a product into mass production.

    Its a shame SAIC can’t follow TATA’s lead.

  45. @55,For decades the firm was run by idiots,spivs and bolshies,it went under because they was not selling in numbers to pay the wages never mind the overheads,the chinese do busines differently to us,thats why it has the biggest industrial output on earth,Longbridge is still open,thats commitment isnt it?

  46. @55 JLR has never had to start again from a bankrupt company with a poor reputation, vastly out of date models which all needed replacing and an unloved marque have they?

  47. I completely agree with you about the management that longbridge has suffered with over the years, but Solihull and halewood had to put up with the same.

    The difference now is they have management that know what they’re doing.

    To show commitmentSAIC need to get behind longbridge and make a car there. It only has to be one for now they can import the rest but it would give them credibility.

    At the minute to the Chinese longbridge is a trophy to be brought out and polished occasionally to show how clever they have been and to put on a show for the cameras.

  48. I think there are now more comments abbout the new MG3 as MG will sell cars of tht type in one month! Much more!

  49. Sorry but rewind abit, JLR’s products up until recently weren’t all that. Investment, good management and new quality products have changed all that.

    SAIC didn’t have to start again, they chose to. For whatever silly political games they were playing they were blinded by their prize and went in the wrong direction.

  50. @61 – Oliver.

    Why did you feel the need to write that?

    I’m not being funny or anything,

    I honestly just wondered what makes people comment such useless nonsense.

  51. @62

    Im not quite sure what you mean by that but Im sure MG are in a better situation now than if SAIC had bought the same outdated range of cars for more money but with all of MGR’s debts too!

  52. The MG 3 reminds of a Vauxhall Astra. Let’s hope keen pricing, a shedload of equipment and a big promotional campaign will help it sell. Also MG need to get a dealer in every county, the nearest one to me is 100 miles away.

  53. I wish the car well, but it all looks a bit south of the market with the main European brands sophisticated two and three cylinder turbo engines in super mini’s now.

    They need to be in with aggressive price and spec levels from day one if they do not want a repeat of the MG6.

    Given the way the European economy is and the success of Dacia, are SAIC barking up the wrong tree trying to sell MG as a main stream European product?

    Rather than spend money with a facelift for the European market, bring in a simple basic model under the Morris brand with a 6K entry price. Start shifting some metal in Europe so you can get a decent dealer structure and then look to bring in more mid market stuff under the MG brand.

  54. @42 SMTC employs about 300 people in Longbridge and I believe 3,000 people across two sites in China. It’s run as a single operation so I don’t think we can say any one car is 100% designed or engineered in either country. The website states:

    “The total number of engineers now in the global team is well over 2,000, with approved plans to expand to 3,600 in the foreseeable future. Virtually all of this expansion is at Anting, where the buildings and facilities on site continue to develop. Among the most recent facilities to be completed is a large Design Studio which will operate in collaboration with the smaller but expanding Design Studio in the UK. The growing capacity of the global technical team reflects the ambition of the company for global volume and market growth.”

    “The Company’s global engineering team (SMTC) comprises:
    SAIC Motor Technical Centre China, based in Anting, just outside Shanghai
    SAIC Motor Technical Centre Nanjing, based in Nanjing
    SMTC UK, based in Birmingham

    These three Technical Centres operate as one family, with fully integrated management structures, organisations, planning processes and common global IT systems, software, and strategies to ensure seamless technical operations across 6,000 miles and 8 hours time difference.”


  55. @66 If you did this you would probably want to use the Austin brand instead of Morris as SAIC uses Morris Garages in its MG advertising.

    There is some logic to the approach but I think there is a concern that SAIC would be pushed in too many different directions if it went down this route.

  56. @67

    So the ‘British designed’ MG3 is probably less British than a Ford Fiesta.

    I agree it would be sensible to market such a car as a budget car, but if you’re going to do that
    a) Why have a pointless European factory, instead of importing cars direct from low cost China
    b) Why not give it a Chinese name as well, after all Hyundai and Kia are doing nicely enough

  57. @69 Why do they need to do something as absurd as you suggest? Why is Longbridge pointless do you know something SAIC dont?
    Why give it a Chinese name? would it make any difference?
    Why would anyone baulk at buying a chinese built MG but would happily buy a Malaysian or Indonesian built Dyson vac? after all the car and the vac was designed in the U.K?

  58. @43, Will M thats a great idea about the lotus elise, that might keep both companies out of trouble. Probably not talking huge numbers but enough to keep the profile up. Honda provided SUV’s in the 90s useing a variety of sources (LR Disco 1 + Izusu Big Horn Izuzu Mu). nothing wrong with badge engineering in my view as long as the outcome is right. does the lotus still use a k series engine or did they swiith over to toyota? perhaps SAIC could do a deal on engines . alex

  59. @69 I wouldn’t call any MG now British-designed as that infers 100% which is not the case for the brand. In SAIC’s word, “As part of SAIC’s global engineering team, the UK’s normal scope of work is the concept and initial engineering phases of new vehicle and PT programmes and the engineering, development, sign-off and certification of products for European markets. Significant support is expected from the UK for the production phases of programmes to be launched in China.

    In Design, SMTC UK is responsible for MG brand development and identity, and acts as an internal competitor for Roewe products destined for the Chinese market.”

    I’m pleased that we have the 300 high-quality design and enginerring jobs in the UK. The Ford Fiesta is not made in the UK but it’s designed here, according to Wikipedia.

    @69 Cars imported from outside the EU are liable to a 9.7% tax so I suspect this is another good reason, alongside heritage, for keeping assembly in Longbridge.

  60. Whatever the price, the looks or the spec, MG will not sell in Europe, including the UK.
    Everybody knows the cars are like it or not Chinese made autoparts and engines coming off ckd packages that will be assembled in UK.
    BMW New MINI does the same but with French autoparts and engines, everybody knows that works and sells because people in Europe and western countries do not trust Chinese car makers yet.

  61. @72 I was wondering about this, are there exemptions for Turkey, seeing that Ford has moved all Transit production there? And is the Duty on the components or the finished product, as a tax inspector looking at the MG6 production line would consider it a 99% imported car!

    @73 The engines are made at Hams Hall and pressings come from Swindon, it’s in no way comparable to MG.

    @70 Using a faded British brand, still most famous in the public eye for 2 seater sports cars, is hardly ideal for selling cheap hatchbacks. And Longbridge is a bare minimum screwdriver plant, that has fooled nobody into thinking that the MG6 is a British car. You can hardly compare Mg to Dyson, which is a top of the range, premium, design led product.

  62. @72 Yes, since 1995, Turkey has had a customs union with the EU so is exempt from this tax. This helps makes it a popular location for manufacturing products sold across Europe like motor vehicles, televisions and fridges.
    I don’t think a tax inspector would consider an MG6 an imported car or MG would just import the cars fully assembles, so it probably just pays import duty on the components.

  63. @alex scott

    Lotus switched to Toyota engines, mostly for emissions due to the US market.

    However, as it was designed to accept a K series, an MG engine should slot right in, and as these have been reengineered for EU emissions, shouldn’t be a problem selling in the UK/Europe and China (if not the US just yet).


    They also export Transits from Turkey to the US.

    To get around high import tariffs in the US (Chicken Tax ironically championed by Ford when Japanese van imports were undercutting their domestic items) they import them as passenger vans, and then strip and shred the rear seats before selling them as vans.

  64. Great to see some real positivity on this thread, and support for MGUK. The MG3 represents excellent progress, and it is fantastic to see a Metro successor all these years after we all gave up hope following the unpleasantness.

    Well done to SAIC and MGUK, thanks to companiea like them and BMW and Tata – there are real jobs still in the UK car industry.

  65. As a former owner of two excellent Rover 25’s I’d like to support MG, but at four metres long it’s too big, and it needs a few extra HP as well. Not good.

  66. Engine too big. And only 1 offering?
    Where is the smaller extra low emission offering? Say a 1.1 with a turbo?
    1.5 litre only? Thats as bad as the MG6 being 1.8 only.

  67. Saw an MG3 in Brum on Sunday, it had chequered tape all over the front and rear bumpers – but ignoring that, it looked a lot better in the metal than in pictures.
    Are you listening, MG Motor UK? Visibility is everything! Product placement in soap operas, maybe?

  68. Word on the street is the engine is a bit of a lemon. Would never have happened in my day.

  69. read the article about the turbo chinese engines….first of all hope that this is not just an ecoboost clone (or a pure copy) with some odd components

    and im not really fully convinced that the little turbine engines are long standing especially in big cars….. but the time will show whos right

  70. Truly believe this is the gamechanger. After all the comments on this site, there is some evidence that SAIC are listening. Go MG!

  71. Building on the success of the MG6 (quality and ride), this car will demonstrate SAICs intentions to become a major world brand. The car is good enough to stand on it’s on merits and doesn’t really need the MG badge to be a sales success. However, we should be grateful that SAIC have chosen to use the MG badge on such a brilliant little car.

    Go SAIC!

  72. SAIC have said off the bat that they WONT go the old Zed route and offer a ‘hot’ version initially. Three reasons cited… 1) they need to build some sales up on the standard car to repay the design and build costs before ploughing money into niche ‘hot’ sales 2) the competition is stiff in that sector…. there is no point being a bear unless you intend to be a grizzly or you just look foolish, which means they would be looking at something like a 2.0lt turbo with 1800BHP at least or there is no point and 3) Insurance Group. They have gone the sensible (if boring) route of “we will outdo the low to mid supermini market, with low insurance and for less money…. what’s not to like”. The low insurance is the key here for young buyers and older patrons on a budget.

    I am a senior marketing exec for a multi-national (and I own one of the last ZS180’s so I’m a fan).

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