Production MG 3: First Pictures

Just published are the clearest spy images yet of the MG 3, a new supermini that will go on sale in China next year and could make it to the UK in 2012. The small five-door hatch has neat, inoffensive styling – although it falls some way short of the racy Zero concept that was shown at the Beijing show.

The MG 3 will offer a choice of four-cylinder petrol engines: a 1.3 producing 67bhp, and a 107bhp 1.5. The standard gearbox is a five-speed manual, although the 1.5 will be offered — in China, at least — with an automatic option.

There will also be a diesel; MG owner SAIC is in discussions with a number of potential suppliers. The firm also has a turbocharged version of the 1.5 petrol; with 156bhp on tap, it could form the basis of a performance variant.

The interior looks rugged but spacious. The test car’s fascia keeps branding to a minimum, although an MG 3 logo is visible at the bottom of the steering wheel.

This car is a top-spec model; the giveaway is the CD player slot, because more lowly trim levels will get a solid-state memory-based MP3 player only. The car is aimed at buyers between 18 and 28 years of age; the iPod-like controls on the steering wheel reflect this.

Later next year SAIC will launch an MG 3 ‘cross’ – a version with extra body cladding. It will be a successor to the MG 3SW (Streetwise), a Rover 25-based model that is a big seller in China.

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