Steve Cropley
22 November 2012

What is it?

This is the MG6 diesel we were promised. When this first of Chinese-owned MG’s all-new range hit the UK market 18 months ago, only optimists reckoned it would make any impact. Why? Because there wasn’t a diesel option, and in the Focus-Mondeo market segments the car aimed to straddle, petrol sales account for not much more than ten per cent. It drove nicely, and we were told a diesel was in development, but for now it was barely relevant to the UK market.

What is it like?

Now it’s here, and it’s good. Generous power is provided by an all-new UK-designed 1.85-litre, four-pot diesel that is powerful, refined and has a wide torque spread. Peak power of 148bhp chimes in at 4000rpm, while peak torque begins at a relaxed 1800rpm, and is maintained into the 3000s. Combined fuel consumption of 53.5 mpg and CO2 output of 139g/km are competitive without being best in class: MG reckons further improvements are coming.

Meanwhile, the whole car has received impressive updates. The all-independent suspension, already one of the MG6’s better features, has been carefully refined (with new spring, damper and anti-roll bar settings) to handle the diesel’s extra 60kg of mass, and to improve low-speed ride and refinement while preserving agility, grip and balance. There’s a new electro-hydraulic power steering system. The front brakes are beefier, and there’s an excellent new six-speed gearbox whose top gearing, close to 40mph/1000 rpm, gives the car long motorway legs.

MG is just beginning to build diesels at Longbridge and expects to deliver the first customer cars next March. It aims to sell the 6 across two classes, comparing it with the Skoda Octavia for exterior size and performance, and — surprisingly — with the Vauxhall Insignia for interior space. It easily beats both for equipment: our DTi SE test car (whose £18,200 on-road price compares spectacularly with the £17,500 quoted for a petrol SE 18 months ago) had the two-zone climate control, heated and folding exterior mirrors and hill-hold that go into every single MG6 — even the base S-model — plus sat-nav, parking sensors and cruise control. The top-spec TSE shares even more gadgets with the single-spec Magnette four-door.

On the road, the MG6 is a major surprise. It rides with classy body control on typically horrible British B-roads, yet offers supple and quiet bump absorption. The steering is light and impressively accurate. There’s lots of stopping power from the bigger brakes (nicely tuned for a subtle first touch) and the powertrain refinement — the way the engine, gearbox and clutch cooperate at high or low speeds — is exemplary.

Should I buy one?

It’s fighting some great cars, but it definitely deserves consideration. Dynamically speaking, it’s a great car for British roads. It’s a hoot to drive, and roomy and well-priced with it. Downsides? Depreciation and lasting quality still need to be proven, and to our eye the car rather lacks visual character. The base shape is fine, but there isn’t enough “MG-ness” about it. We reckon it’s time for the designers to live up to what the engineers have already achieved. Then you’d have a great car.

MG6 SE DTi

Price £18,195; 0-60mph 8.9 sec; Top speed 125 mph (est); Economy 53.5mpg (combined); CO2 139g/km; Kerb weight 1605 kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1849cc, diesel; Power 148bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 258lb ft at 1800rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
42

Seriously, spell check or

1 year 22 weeks ago

Seriously, spell check or proof read this stuff before hitting publish.

 

"hill-hold that go into every single MG6"


As for the car, I wouldnt spend my money on it. I will be shot for saying this, but it is my opinion, when MG died they should have just pulled the plug

Getting better

1 year 22 weeks ago

"when MG died they should have just pulled the plug" paul896

Paul, this statement does not even make sense, if something has died then the plug HAS been pulled. 

I have always liked the shape of this MG and now that it has a much better engine plus other updates, then I feel MG is going in the right direction.

To make a hit of this new diesel model they need to make it more aggressively priced.

??

1 year 22 weeks ago

paul896 wrote:

Seriously, spell check or proof read this stuff before hitting publish.

 "hill-hold that go into every single MG6"

 As for the car, I wouldnt spend my money on it. I will be shot for saying this, but it is my opinion, when MG died they should have just pulled the plug

Actually, as "hill-hold" was part of a list of equipment of the equipment on the car, it is correct to say "go" as opposed to "goes" (if it had been a single item) ...

Anyway ... My only other comments are that:

1. I thought that the MG was "assembled" in Longbridge (not "built") from Partially Knocked Down (I think is the technical term) units from China?; and

2. I agree that it doesn't look very "MG-y", though given the long-term corruption of that brand by Austin Rover and MG Rover, before the Chinese got their hands on it, what is a "MG" anyway?

Why bother, does the market

1 year 21 weeks ago

Why bother, does the market really need this, it's not exactly cheap regardless of kit and interior space and it looks dreadful. Just who will buy them?

MG6 Diesel

1 year 21 weeks ago

Actually I think it looks quite good - must surely appeal to the potential Octavia buyer, but it does look a bit dear despite the spec.

Sounds good to drive though, but I doubt potential Octavia buyers have driving dynamics at the top of their list of requirements.

Shows promise

1 year 21 weeks ago

I can't see risk averse fleet buyers touching this car with a bargepole.  But I think the Chinese have been quite clever in making this an attractive proposition for private buyers, most of whom would prefer to buy British branded car "made" in Longbridge rather than a Chinese import which is what this car really is.

If they sell a few of these MGs at anything like list price, then I'm sure that the car will be judged a success.  

Marc wrote: Why bother, does

1 year 21 weeks ago

Marc wrote:

Why bother, does the market really need this, it's not exactly cheap regardless of kit and interior space and it looks dreadful. Just who will buy them?

I agree and no one on a Fleet will give up their silver German machines.

Having driven the petrol version, I wondered why they bothered with it at all, outting an oil burner in doesn't make things significantly better.

Expect them to turn up in the hire fleets (Which is why I was unfortunate enough to be driving the petrol version) Hire companies will try and then drop them as well

Still not good enough

1 year 21 weeks ago

The CO2 and MPG are simply unacceptable and more or less the worse in that segment. There are no excuses for this and it deserves to sell poorly (which it will). I have no idea why the article describes them as "competitive" because they are not in the slightest.

Too expensive

1 year 21 weeks ago

I'm not keen because it's so much a rip-off of what the Germans do. It might make an interesting Octavia alternative when they've acquired a bit of critical mass. An estate car would be good.

But it's way too expensive. £18,000 is not a cheap car. Especially in a world where you will soon be able to get a Dacia Duster for eight.

jer

looks fine - just no kudos

1 year 21 weeks ago

I can understand the reservations, but if both depreciation can be checked and there is some underlying quality to the engineering it has more than the measure of the aging Octavia as a fleet option.

Please register or login to post a comment.

Our Verdict

Can the MG Motor MG6, the company's first all-new car under Chinese ownership, hit its mark?

  • First Drive

    MG6 Magnette TSE

    As uneven as the hatch, so an excellent chassis, big cabin, crude drivetrain and patchy finish
  • First Drive

    MG 6 1.8T TSE

    Accept a few compromises and you'll have an involving budget performer

Driven this week