From today, dealers are taking orders for the Magnette, the four door saloon version of the MG6 that has re-launched the MG brand in the UK.
Based on the previously released MG6 GT family hatch, which sits between the Ford Focus and Mondeo in size, both four and five door models use a version of the MG ZT/Rover 75 underpinnings which MG’s Chinese parent SAIC acquired when the British manufacturer hit the wall in 2005.
The MG6 Magnette revives a name plate that has been used on MG saloons before, last time round in the 1960s, and is unique in body from the B-pillars backwards with new rear doors and a traditional notchback boot. It also gets distinct rear lights and bumper. Both MG6 variants were styled by Brit Tony Williams-Kenny (pictured above with the Magnette).
The single available engine on launch is shared with the MG6 GT — a name which, again, revives an association with models of old, this time the MGB GT fastback coupe of the 60s-70s — and is a four cylinder 1.8 turbo petrol with 158bhp. Fascinatingly, it has been restricted to a 120mph top speed to bring its insurance rating down — we’re struggling to think of another manufacturer that has done such a thing, putting aside the electronic limit of 155mph applied by German manufacturers. The 0-60mph sprint is covered in 8.4 seconds, with 35.6mph on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 184g/km — high for the sector, but then this engine is an evolution of the old K-Series unit first introduced in 1988 rather than a newly developed, leading edge power unit.
Many will be waiting on the diesel, being developed in-house right now by engineers at Longbridge, Birmingham. Expected to be a four cylinder 1.9 common rail oil burner, it will provide much more competitive fuel consumption and emissions figures; expect it early 2012.
Longbridge, the old BL/MG Rover plant that SAIC took over (and now a fraction of its former size), is also where all new MGs are being developed and where the MG6 will be assembled by a small team completing kits shipped over from China.