The prototype MG X-Power SV-S WRC (William Riley Convertible) you see here is the very first and only example of the supercar. The drop top is the British maker’s second new model since the marque was bought by former racing driver William Riley from the ashes of the MG Rover collapse.
Hand built at MG X-Power’s production and development centre in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, first cars will be completed by January before production is moved to a new facility in the West Midlands early next year. Customer deliveries are expected to begin in summer 2009.
The SV-S is powered by a 5.0-litre supercharged V8, while the Kevlar bodywork means the convertible gains only 12kg in weight compared to the coupé. A manual cloth hood dispenses with the need for heavy mechanical moving parts, too. Every car will also come with a removable hard top, which Riley claims will make the SV-S “a true all-weather convertible”.
Performance is astonishing, with a claimed 0-62mph sprint time of 3.8 seconds, so the supercharged convertible loses none of the coupé’s crushing acceleration. However, top speed drops slightly to 195mph. A non-supercharged version will be available, too. Called the SV-R WRC, it will have 420bhp, but it will still do 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds and have a top speed of 185mph!
With a price tag of £87,000 for the supercharged version, the WRC has supercar heavyweights such as Porsche and Aston Martin in its sights. However, Riley hopes the hand-built ‘made in Britain’ status of the SV will win over enthusiasts looking for something unique.
For those seeking similar thrills on a lower budget, another version of the is on the way. This model will be powered by a 3.5-litre Ford V6 and uses fibreglass in place of the more expensive Kevlar chassis. This model is set to cost less than half the price of the flagship.
While fibreglass will provide the necessary strength and stiffness for a powerful sports car, it is a slightly heavier material. However, the lighter V6 under the bonnet should counter the increase and still provide excellent pace.
Set to cost less than £40,000 when it goes on sale by mid-2009, this ‘entry-level’ model – which will be available as a coupé and convertible – should plug the gap left by TVR. MG X-Power aims to sell 700 of these cars in the first year of production, ramping up to 2,000 the following year.
While sales targets are ambitious, there’s no doubt that the MG X-Power SV-R WRC is an exciting addition to this competitive sector of the market. One thing is certain, though: with MG X-Power around, the future of the British sports car seems alive and well.