Chinese-owned MG celebrates the marque's centenary with a hard-hitting, multifaceted electric roadster

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MG was established, all the way back in 1924, specifically for the production of sports cars - yet the last time an all-new sports car bearing the famous octagon emerged, your correspondent wasn’t even born. As such, this MG Cyberster is very significant indeed.

Further to that, MG under Chinese ownership has been totally transformed as a brand into a maker of budget-conscious family cars, with until recently not even a pretence of sportiness. Further again, this is the first electric sports car priced within reach of the ordinary enthusiast. 

MG is launching the Cyberster in celebration of its 100th anniversary. The idea actually dates back to 2017, when a group of designers at the SAIC studio in London sketched a modern vision of the iconic MG B. They weren’t told to do this by the high-ups; it was a passion project. Indeed, the project was nearly cancelled several times as it progressed, especially during the trying pandemic years.

But when SAIC chairman Chen Hong saw the enthusiastic reaction to the dramatic concept at the 2021 Shanghai motor show, he approved it for production instantly. Who said the public’s voice is never heard?



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Carl Gotham’s design is intended to convey a more ‘distinctly electric message’ than previous MG EVs have, perhaps counter-intuitively through the medium of classic sports car proportions. And despite it being more than 0.5m longer than the modern roadster archetype that is the Mazda MX-5, we would argue that it has succeeded.

The Cyberster avoids the slightly too-high side profile that makes many EVs look a bit awkward, thanks to SAIC’s ‘ultra-thin’ battery cell design (at 110mm, the 77kWh pack is less than the height of a Coke can), which sits within an extra-long wheelbase to avoid displeasingly long overhangs (cough, cough, BMW Z4). Does it look like a modern MG B? No. Instead it looks convincingly like a modern supercar (an impression furthered by the powered scissor doors and black masks on the rear end that mimic air tunnels). Love the arrow-shaped rear indicators, too.

Calling it a baby supercar is absolutely not a stretch, by the way, when the Cyberster shares its headline 0-62mph time with the deified McLaren F1. Yes, really, for £50k. How have they made it so affordable? The use of proven parts certainly helps: the platform is shared with the 4 EV, as are the permanent magnet synchronous motors. The configurable steering was co-developed with Bosch, the brakes are from Brembo and Continental and the EV-specific tyres are Pirelli P Zeros.

However you might feel about MG’s new Chinese identity, it’s gratifying to know that a not insignificant amount of the proper work on this trad-not-trad roadster was done in the UK, at Longbridge. Engineers contributed to the tuning of the ride, handling, steering, springs, dampers, roll bars, powertrain and ADAS, refinement, lights and charging system.


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Those UK-based engineers also suggested lowering the Cyberster's driving position by a few more inches; adding adjustable lumbar support; creating a one-pedal driving mode; fitting a rear wind deflector; and carving out a few more valuable litres in the boot such that golf clubs could fit inside.

Better still, they adapted UK-market cars for British tastes, making the digital screens ‘less animated’, improving their usability, creating a more ‘sophisticated’ pedestrian warning noise (Chinese cars sound like they’re playing a song), and adding in a surprisingly likeable fake engine noise that seems to combine a distant four-pot with a space laser (only when you floor it; otherwise you’re free to indulge in your music through the banging Bose stereo, or enjoy the singing of the birds).

I only wish those screens were less important as well. On the centre console is a smartphone-esque touchscreen for adjusting the many, many vehicle settings and the climate (there are also haptic icons for adjusting the fan speed and heat above it), while the digital instrument display is flanked by two small touchscreens, the left-hand one for your media and sat-nav and the right-hand one for various other things.

Quite apart from wondering why I would need to see next week’s weather forecast while I’m driving, or a pie chart of what exactly has been consuming energy within the car, and being alarmed that the system won’t prevent you from typing in your email to log into MG’s website while doing 70mph, there’s the issue that the steering wheel, no matter how high or low you position it, blocks large portions of the flanking screens. That inherent flaw should have been, ahem, blindingly obvious to the designers.

Praise must go to the comfort and support of the faux-leather bucket seats, as I didn’t feel any aches or pains after four hours of driving on undulating roads. But I do wish that I could sit just another few inches lower, as there’s still the feeling of being perched atop the battery, rather than cocooned within the car. Furthermore, colleagues over 6ft tall felt they had to crane their necks to avoid unpleasant wind blustering. Refinement is otherwise beyond reproach, whether the fabric hood is up or down.


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The standard Cyberster Trophy must live alongside the brilliant Porsche 718 Boxster, being priced from £55k – but its rear-mounted electric motor is a bit up on that flat-six engine, at 335bhp and 350lb ft. Then, for just £5000 more, there’s the Cyberster GT, which gains a second motor at the front for 503bhp and 535lb ft, as well as four-wheel drive.

Pleasingly, you don’t get the full brutal peak power production in Comfort mode; there's some more of it in Sport; and the whole lot becomes available in Super Sport. These are selectable via the right-hand ‘shift paddle’, to MG’s credit, while the left one adjusts the regenerative braking (here styled after Formula 1 as KERS) through three levels of strength.

One unexpected tug of the steering wheel while on the side of a mountain was enough for me to pull over and disable all the mandated active ‘safety’ systems, but the lane keeping assistance worked fine on the motorway. I couldn’t find the adaptive cruise controls anywhere on the steering wheel, though.


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We all know that there’s far, far more to this game than just pure numbers, though, don’t we? Thing is, the Cyberster is actually very good to drive – far better than I had hoped for when I read that the GT would weigh more than two tonnes once I’d belted in. On the trying Highlands roads of our test route, it was always remarkably composed. 

The suspension – double wishbones at the front, a five-link arrangement at the rear – always feels very supple, never too firm, and never harsh, even though body roll is all but undetectable even when you’re cornering hard and fast. Mid-corner bumps at speed aren’t problematic, and any unwanted body movement that does result is very quickly remedied. Even potholes don’t cause issues. On one dual carriageway that resembled an elongated QR code, it genuinely wafted.

With so much weight so low down, four driven wheels and serious rubber, the GT feels impossible to confound. It seems that no matter how early or hard you pour on the power through a corner, it will just nonchalantly shrug, dig in and surge out through the exit. In this regard, it feels like… well, a GT, rather than a sports car. There’s something of a fiery Audi in the way that it’s so sure-footed and neutrally balanced (indeed, the weight distribution is a perfect 50:50) – except that its ride quality is leagues better than the TT RS’s.

The steering, though lacking in feel, being electric, inspires confidence with its accuracy, especially in Sport mode – something I preferred in conjunction with Comfort mode for the powertrain.

In other modes, the ferocity of the Cyberster's performance level is simply too much for my brain to keep up with. And as for Track mode? Crikey, if the sickening blast that the red button on the steering wheel provides for caravan overtakes is anything to go by, it's to be deployed with plenty of care on the road.


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Efficiency during our test drive was around 2.5mpkWh, which is pretty poor in the wider scheme of things, but then I wasn’t hanging around and that still equates to a range of 200 miles.

At its most efficient, the car suggested it might be capable of more than 300 miles to a charge, after which most drivers would probably want a 30-minute break anyway.


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So, the Cyberster GT doesn't set new standards for the sports car class, but nor is it really outclassed in any way. It isn’t twinkle-toed like a Mazda MX-5, and it isn’t fabulously finessed like the Boxster. But it is a properly multifaceted thing and genuinely good, safe fun – all while being an electric car. Considering that MG hasn’t designed a new sports car of any kind since 1995 and China has never made a roadster at all, this is a quite marvellous achievement.

Oh, and guess what: the Trophy is even better. Weighing 100kg less and without the front motor, it’s more agile, more playful – cheekier. You can feel the body moving around beneath you as you go in and out of corners and even get the rear to indulge in a little sideways squealing. Just fun. Unlike with most EVs, here you pay less to get more

What a delightful surprise the Cyberster is. In one way, it doesn’t change the game, because there are other roadsters that do the various things it does a little better. In another way, it’s a real landmark – a beacon that shows sports car fans that there’s still fun to be had in the future.