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 fastback 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 gasoline, inline four cylinder of 1.4 or 1.5 liter. 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) range from 9.5 to 9.8 seconds depending on the engine and gearbox. Trim levels for the MG GT 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 airbags, dual side airbags, side curtain, ABS rear camera and other features. However, SAIC specs 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 43rd scale there is no indication what model company produces 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 seatbelt 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 on the MG GT 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 MG GT street car with silver alloys and the rallye car with large diameter black alloys. Both being the open spoke type, so brake discs of two different diameters are shown behind the wheels. Nice attention to detail here.