New MG Hatchback!

AutoExpress is reporting that MG is expanding their line with a new hatchback model. Auto Express has learned that Nanjing Automobile – the Chinese company who owns the MG brand – will launch a new Ford Focus-sized hatchback in the UK as soon as 2010.
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Images of the new model appeared on a Chinese website recently – and we’ve been able to grab them along with pictures of the car’s interior for the first time. Based on the forthcoming Roewe 550 saloon – which is shown alongside the newcomer and has been developed by Nanjing’s partner, Shanghai Automotive (SAIC) – it will be built at MG Rover’s old home of Longbridge, in the midlands.

The model is the first stand-alone new MG to be developed in the UK and according to sources, engineers from Ricardo are tweaking suspension settings at the Millbrook proving ground in Bedfordshire.

As you can see, it’s a lot sportier than the Roewe version with deep air intakes, a low front splitter and a complete absence of chrome. There are also side skirts too and although the tail isn’t particularly stylish, its hatchback will give it added practicality over the saloon.

Inside, the newcomer gets a classy cabin, with a BMW-style centre dashboard featuring a large central display. As you can see, the model shown here also boasts an automatic gearbox, which will be available as an option next to the standard manual model.

Although the car is badged MG6 in these pictures, it’s believed that the Longbridge-built model will carry the ZS tag like its predecessor.

Power for the new car will come from a 1.8-litre normally aspirated petrol engine and a 1.8-litre turbocharged unit, with outputs ranging from 120bhp to 160bhp. Production of the MG TF is due to ramp up later this year at Longbridge, with the new MG ZS leading a new range of MG models that are rumoured to include a revised TF, a supermini and a large saloon too.