MG's first SUV comes in three trim levels: Explore, Excite and Exclusive, costing £14,995, £17,495, £19,495 respectively. MG's first automatic gearbox is available in top-spec Exclusive trim for a total price of £20,995.
The GS has a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.
Despite undercutting the Qashqai's starting price by around £4000, MG insists that the GS will not be a budget version of the competition, but an alternative to class leaders such as the Kia Sportage, which costs from £17,320.
MG acknowledges that the SUV and crossover segment is the fastest growing in the world, and hopes that the new model will act as a catalyst to help dramatically increase its sales volumes. Initial sales of 700-800 in the first year and 1000 the following year are the manufacturer's target.
The GS was styled under the stewardship of MG design boss Anthony Williams-Kenny, in a collaboration between MG's Shanghai and Longbridge design teams. He explained the brief behind the new car's styling, saying: “The world is changing quickly in terms of what we expect from a product, so our goal is to bring the most up to date design trends to our own.
"With MG’s first SUV, we wanted to design a car that would fit in with the MG family and have a slightly different look, of confidence and dynamism, that sets it apart from the other models.”
Key styling elements include a simple grille featuring the traditional octagonal Morris Garages badge, a heavily adorned two-tone front bumper, trapezoidal headlights, sheer surfacing, structured flanks, blacked-out pillars and an angled tailgate.
At 4500mm in length, 1855mm in width and 1675mm in height, the GS is 73mm longer, 46mm wider and 8mm lower than the Volkswagen Tiguan.
Autocar has already driven the Chinese-spec GS, and MG has assured us that the chassis, engine, handling, specs and interior will all be different to the Chinese model. While earlier speculative reports suggested the new SUV was based on the same platform as the latest Ssangyong Rexton, MG says the GS rides on a new scalable SUV architecture developed in partnership with SAIC.
MG has only confirmed the 1.5-litre engine that produces 168bhp and 184lb ft engine for the GS, but others are planned to follow, according to officials from SAIC’s UK engineering headquarters. The in-house-developed turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine delivers a class-competitive 217bhp and 258lb ft of torque.
On the initial GS model, drive is channelled through a manual gearbox, or the standard six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Buyers will be offered the choice of either front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. In four-wheel-drive guise, the new MG is claimed to accelerate from 0-62mph in “around eight seconds”. However, more detailed performance and fuel economy claims are yet to be made public.