The MG 5 will join the Focus class before the end of this year in China before reaching the UK in mid-2013.
The MG 5 is designed to slot beneath the slightly larger MG 6 that has just gone on sale in the UK. By the time of its UK launch, its dynamics and some aspects of its design will have been reworked to suit European tastes.
The production version of the Concept 5 revealed in Shanghai last week is codenamed AP12 and rides on a version of the MG/Roewe 350 platform.
It will initially be powered by the existing NSE petrol engine range of 1.3 and 1.8-litre engines, but in 2014 it will get a new range of downsized petrol engines that SAIC is co-developing with General Motors. Codenamed SGE, they include 1.0, 1.2, 1.4 and 1.5 turbo engines developing between 115bhp and 162bhp. The 5 will take at least the 1.2 and 1.4. A 1.9 diesel will also be offered.
MG and Roewe design director Tony Williams-Kenny said MG is being pitched as “youthful, on trend and progressive”. He added, “It’s a global brand, with strong British values.”
The MG 5’s chassis will consist of MacPherson struts up front and a twist beam torsion axle at the rear, a less sophisticated arrangement than that of the bigger MG 6.
It’s not yet clear whether the MG 5 will be produced at Longbridge, but its appearance will certainly strengthen a fast-growing range and, with the MG 3, take the brand back into the UK market’s heartland.