How many really good MGs have there been? There were many before the war, from the pretty little PB to the giant-slaying K3, and a few after, like the TC. Unquestionably the MGB was in touch with its times, but it broke no new ground even in 1963, something you could say about every car to sport the octagon since. Fact is, the overwhelming majority of MGs I’ve driven in nearly quarter of a century doing this job have been disappointing.
And yet there seems to be nothing that can be done to kill the public’s affection for the brand.
Time alone will tell what the world thinks of this MG6, but for now I can tell you it feels like a car from a time gone by. Not inherently bad, just entirely out of date.
This should be no surprise as it is something of a mongrel with parts of its design dating back to the Rover 75 and the rest of it derived from something called the Roewe 550, a car produced by MG’s Chinese parent SAIC.
There is little that is actively unpleasant about the MG6 save for its rather dated and ugly dashboard, but too little to provide grounds to recommend it to anyone save those intent on going about their daily business in a MG. Reasonable performance is extracted from its lightly turbocharged 1.8-litre engine but the gearing of the five-speed manual ‘box is absurdly long, fuel consumption poor and engine refinement little better than adequate. I didn’t much appreciate it constantly flashing red ‘change up’ warnings at me, particularly when I was in top gear.
Its chassis fares better thanks to its well-judged suspension which features a properly independent multi-link rear end. The car has pleasant steering and a balance that’s unusual to find in such cars. Even so, grip levels are modest and traction surprisingly poor at times.
Actual strengths are too few and far between: the car is well packaged and offers good room in the back, but if you’re looking for a USP beyond that badge and the fact that its final assembly takes pace in Longbridge, you’re going to struggle to find it. Nor will I be alone in fearing for its residual value.
It is to be hoped therefore that the MG6 is just the start, a means of getting the name back out there before introducing cars perhaps more worthy of the brand. The truth is, 10 years ago the MG6 would have been more than adequate. Today it seems barely mediocre at best.