Two new coupés, one based on the MG TF, the other on the Rover 75, have been revealed by MG Rover in a surprise double-headed announcement. The cars, both described as concepts but both feasible for production, are timed to coincide with the two marque anniversaries the company celebrates this year – Rover’s centenary and MG’s 80th year. The two new coupés are intended to demonstrate that, besides its headline plan to develop an all-new range of models in partnership with giant Chinese conglomerate Shanghai Automotive, MG Rover also has an eye on developing its existing models in imaginative and emotive ways. It believes such cars could well find buyers in Chinese and in Far Eastern export markets, as well as Europe. For now, MG Rover won’t commit to production plans for the two cars, but is concentrating instead on developing them into full, working prototypes. However, it admits both coupés have been created with maximum use of existing production components, and to comply with current legislation. The true future of the cars, as ever, will depend on their public reception.
MG GT Coupé
Considering its ultra-close relationship with the TF roadster, it’s remarkable how much MG’s new GT coupé looks like an all-new car. Its pretty fixed roof and new window shapes look exactly as if the car was always designed to have them. They give the MG a ‘face’ it never had before, and despite the car’s compact size make it seem both more expensive and more ‘grown-up’ than the TF. In the metal, the GT seems to be a credible Audi TT rival, which puts its notional entry price in the mid-£20,000 region, and would push it over £30,000 for the best-equipped versions.
The styling is exclusively the work of MG Rover’s in-house design department led by Peter Stevens – famous for shaping several Lotus models and the McLaren F1 supercar, among many other projects. Like its Rover 75-derived sibling, the car was built in just six weeks. It has a composite roof panel which incorporates a second, smaller side-window on each side behind each door, and a neat, curved rear window which gives the GT a completely new look,while allowing the existing TF bootlid and rear wings to be used. Access to the mid-mounted engine is via the usual access panel ahead of the boot, now inside the cabin. ‘We even use the same piece of carpet on the cover itself,’ said Stevens, who knows the car’s chances of production rest on reducing its need for unique and costly parts.