Shanghai Automobile Industry Corporation (SAIC) is set to revive the famed Morris Garages (MG) name when it reveals a production version of the MG 6 at this month’s Guangzhou motor show.
The five door fastback, previewed in concept car guise at the Shanghai motor show last April, is the first new MG model to appear since the sale of the former British car maker to Nanjing Automobile in 2005 prior to a subsequent takeover by SAIC two years ago.
Up until now, Nanjing Automobile and SAIC have been content to sell re-badged versions of former Rover models as well as a lightly re-fettled version of the TF roadster in a bid to keep MG afloat.
However, the planned appearance of the MG 6 at Guangzhou signals a new beginning for the company founded in Oxford in 1924.
According to SAIC president, Chen Hong, it is the first of range of contemporary new MG models, including a new entry level model based on SAIC’s Roewe 350 which is also planned to get its first public airing in Guangzhou, with the objective of re-establishing the once highly regarded British marque.
Initial sales of the MG 6 will be restricted to China, says Hong, but SAIC officials contacted by Autocar confirm it has been engineered to comply with European and US safety regulations. Still, no official announcement on export plans is expected to be made until its unveiling on 23 November.
Styled at SAIC’s UK headquarters in Warwickshire, the MG 6 represents a clear break from earlier MG models with a fresh looking exterior and modern interior – all aimed at appealing to a much younger audience than recent MG models.
At 4653mm in length, 1827mm in width and 1478mm in height, it is marginally longer and wider but slightly lower than the Skoda Octavia.
Buyers will get the choice of two 1.8-litre four-cylinder engines – the same all-aluminium units used in the company’s strong selling Roewe 550, a car with which the MG 6 shares much of its mechanical architecture.
In range topping turbocharged form, the four-valve-per-cylinder engine with variable valve timing delivers 160bhp and 158lb ft of torque, while a naturally aspirated version kicks out a more subdued 133bhp and 125lb ft. Among the gearboxes on offer will be a five speed automatic from Japanese specialist, Aisin.