When the gates were closed at Longbridge a few years ago, it really did seem like the end of the line for Rover.
Having allegedly been fleeced and then run into the ground by four rather greedy men, Rover’s future went up in smoke and with it went all sorts of perfectly good cars, one of which was the MG TF.
But last week, as if by magic, an all-new MG TF was delivered to Autocar HQ and, having been quite a fan of the original versions, I was keener than most to have a go. I wanted to know all sorts of things.
Would the build quality be any good under new Chinese ownership? Would it be anywhere near as sweet to drive as the original versions were? And would it really feel worth the £16k its new owners are asking - as much as a base MX-5?
Mechanically and visually it’s virtually unchanged from the cars that rolled down the same line at Longbridge under the previous regime. Same 1.8 K-series engine with 133bhp, same steel suspension (the TF ditched the original MGF’s Hydragas suspension when it became the TF in 2002), same compact cabin featuring the same hilariously compromised driving position.
Within a few miles I had most of the answers to most of the key questions. In many ways the new car drives better than ever. It always did have a great ride, decently accurate steering and fine mid-engined chassis balance and, as far as I could tell, things have only got better over the past couple of years. Bottom line; give me a TF over an MX-5 any day for pure driver enjoyment.