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…
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