What is it?
The MG 3 supermini is the next step in the regeneration of MG by its owner, SAIC. If all goes to plan, it will join the MG 6 in Longbridge’s cavernous assembly halls, where the last 20 per cent of the assembly process will be performed on semi-complete kits from China.
It’s a long way from turning rolls of sheet steel into motor cars, but this is a major step forward for what was a virtually dormant plant. And like the MG 6, the MG 3 has largely been designed, engineered and developed in the UK.
What we’re sampling here is a pre-production MG 3 built to Chinese specification; a European version is also under development.
As with the MG 6, that will mean tweaks to the suspension to provide a more sporting feel, weightier electric power steering, different interior upholstery and, it is hoped, significant upgrades to the cabin quality. But the car is essentially as you see it here, and in mechanical terms it’s entirely conventional.
What's it like?
Tested here is a 1.5-litre automated manual with optional two-tone paint – China’s top-of-the-range specification. The MG’s deep flanks, shallow glasshouse, back-swept grille and sizeable rear lamps make it quite distinctive, especially with the two-tone paint, but the end result looks close to a Skoda Fabia and threatens to date over the next 18 months.