By John Quilter
Please note all photographs of the real cars are from ChinaAutoWeb.com. The Author has sought permission to use the pictures but has had no reply as yet. The photographs of the models are by the Author.
Some may not realize that the MG brand and logo are now in the hands of a Chinese firm, SAIC Motor Corporation Limited, a state owned firm based in Shanghai. They are the largest Chinese automaker by sales with over 5 million units sold in 2014. Brand names that are exclusive to SAIC are Maxus, MG and Roewe, but they have joint production with such brands as Baojun, Buick, Chevrolet, Iveco, Skoda, VW, and Wuling. The MG that is the subject of this article is known as the MG GT a medium sized four door fast back sedan which was launched in 2014 and produced in China. SAIC maintains a UK facility that does engineering work for its MG branded products and until recently did some low volume assembly of MGs there for the UK market.
The subject of this article, MG GT It is powered by either of two engines, both petrol, inline four cylinder of 1.4 or 1.5 litre. The smaller one being a direct injection unit producing 110KW at 5600 RPM and the larger one 95KW at 5500 RPM. Gearboxes are manual six speeds, automatic six speeds or a seven speed dual clutch unit. Zero to 100 KMH (62 MPH) ranges from 9.5 to 9.8 seconds depending on the engine and gearbox. Trim levels include names such as Fashion, Elite, Luxury, and Flagship. Equipment puts these modern cars a long, long way from our “classic” MGs with such things as a start stop system, smart charging regenerative braking, cruise control, power windows, door locks, something called, InkaNet 4.0 Telematics , GPS, Voice Control, Mirrorlink connection and Blue tooth connectivity. A dual zone auto air conditioner or in lesser versions, a manual air conditioner with a pollen filter. For safety there are dual front air bags, dual side air bags, side curtain, ABS rear camera and other features. However SAIC specifies some of these features only on the top of the line version. Classic MG folks will relate to the leather seats or leather/cloths seats and the “Sports Instrument Panel” So these cars at least in the non-base line version are right up there with current automotive technology and features.
The models of this MG GT come in a pair mounted on a fancy decorative raised plinth with a clear cover. Unlike most models in 1:43 scale there is no indication what model company produce this pair except for the chassis of the cars that states “SAIC Motor” in English and some Chinese characters which are presumably a translation.
The cars and the box they come in, unlike most all models, have absolutely no indication of the maker of the actual model. The MG logo is prominent on the outer box and the mounting plinth so presumably the car maker SAIC have “licensed” this model product but normal licensing rules and regulations in China may be much different than in the rest of the world as the Chinese are well known for unapproved knockoffs and clones. Of the two cars the red one is quite stock and the white one is a sort of rallye or race version, having an internal roll cage, only the driver’s seat which is a sort of Recaro style bucket seat with a four point seat belt evident.
Both are left hand drive as suitable for China where most of the real car are sold. The red car has a sunroof in a dark tinted glass, an all-black interior and chrome allow style wheels. There is even a tiny grid replicating a heated the rear window. MG octagon logos are prominently displayed on the front edge of the bonnet and hatchback. In the modern style there is minimal chrome trim, most being black. Interestingly the front and rear license plates state “Morris Garages” so somebody has done their MG history homework.
Looking closer at the rallye version which is in white with a non-sunroof flat black roof with a very large MG logo picked out in gloss black. There is black and red decorative striping on the flanks, a black wing on the rear somewhat like what might be found on some Subaru WRX cars. The rear tail pipes are different than the red street car in that they are well separated instead of being side by side but in both cases they are chrome plated. The chassis shows a fair amount of detail such as the full exhaust system, front and rear suspensions, transverse engine sump, end on gearbox and some floor sheet metal detail.
Judging by weight all indications are that both of these replicas are diecast, not the now more common resin material used in Asian made 43rd scale miniatures. The metal diecast medium is an indication that these models will be made in relatively high production numbers compared to the resin issues. The model maker has taken the trouble to create two wheel styles, the street car with silver alloys and the rallye car with large diameter black alloys. Both being the open spoke type so a brake discs of two different diameters are show behind the wheels. Nice attention to detail here.
Editor: These cars seem to be known in the UK as the MG5 which appeared on Top Gear and in publicity but do not seem to have been sold here though the credit for the design seems to go to Tony Williams-Kenny who presumably worked at the design centre that SAIC maintain in the UK. The MG6 which was similar but with larger engines was sold in the UK mid-2016 when SAIC decided to stop development of its diesel engine to meet the latest Euro standards, a decision that lead to the MG6 being withdrawn from the UK market and effectively mean that SAIC cannot compete in the mid-sized car market in Europe unless they “buy in” modern diesels from another manufacturer.
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