The MGF GT Concept of 2004 was another pretty coupe that never made it into production. Like the Ford ‘Anglo’ Saxon (see blog below) it was a logical development on an existing platform. Based on the MGF, it still looks good enough six years later to be worth the attention of MG’s European Design Centre, opened in June under director Tony Williams-Kenny. In 2004 MG-Rover tried to portray it as a successor to the MGB GT of the 1960s but it was far better than that. This would have been a worthy competitor to up-market coupes like the Audi TT.
The style of MG-Rover’s Peter Stevens was better than its publicity. Maybe that was part of what went wrong and the company’s demise saw off the smart little coupe. This rump of the British Motor Corporation, which once had 30 per cent of the British market, had slumped to 3 per cent under the Famous Four led by John Towers and what could have been a premium priced product never got past the prototype stage. It was to have been powered by the 2.5litre 24-valve quad cam KV6, with 200bhp to provide 0-60 in 6sec and a top speed of 145mph. The body had a drag coefficient of 0.31 and the only downside might have been access to the mid-engine.
The MG GT concept was announced with 17in Gunsmoke five-spoke OZ alloy wheels, similar to those on the MG XPower SV. There was probably not much time or resource for wind-tunnel testing although the designers included an extended front aero splitter and a long tail-spoiler integrated into the boot lid, which it was said would reduce lift at speed.
MG Motor UK is owned by SAIC, the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, and the new Design Centre has a studio for 20 designers, next to the SAIC Motors European Technical Centre (SMTC) on the Birmingham site. Williams-Kenny described the centre as, “A huge step forward. The advanced technology and dedicated team make us one of the most professional design studios in the world – we may not be the biggest, but we aim to be the best. We will be finalising details of the new MG6 from this studio and it gives us superb tools and facilities to go forward on projects such as the MG Zero concept and beyond.”