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The MG Mustang

Just thought you'd all like to know it's finally here - the MG ZT 260 V8. Ford America's 4.6 litre 260bhp V8, 0-60mph in 6.2 secs, top whack limited to 155mph and it's yours in entry-level trim for £27,995. And it's rear drive instead of front drive.

Sounds like naughty fun to me...


THe Growler    on 22 September 2003

Got that sharky front too, looks like a proper car not something designed by Nanny. Should go well.

Altea Ego    on 22 September 2003

And I hear they will sell you one thats not limited and is good for 185

nick    on 23 September 2003

Sounds like my kind of car, is this for real? It sounds too good to be true; a proper car, rwd, big V8, heaven!

3500S    on 23 September 2003

I've looked at the press release and no wonder it's taken so long to engineer, I suggest that all your more technically minded drivers look at what they crammed into the car. Limite slip diff at the rear, completely new suspension system that reads like a who's who of the performance world. And all the kudos of the Ford Mustang V8 as well as a specially re-engineering Tremec gearbox. The engine has been 'de-tuned' to deliver 260Bhp and 410Nm of torque !!! No wonder this was shrouded in total secrecy, it's a stunning car.

And all yours for £28K. Who's the daddy now? What kind of BMW can you get for £28K? Not something that can compete with that.

The press release photos are superb, it has presence, looks bang up to date and I bet the engine note off the quad exhaust is fantastic. Personally, I'd love a slightly less sporty looking Rover Vitesse, same car, more 'gentlemanly' exterior.

All I need to do then is sell my granny, I'm sure she won't mind.

Don't forget the 385Bhp version is due for release in a few months time.

T Lucas    on 23 September 2003

How many do they need/expect to sell?Lotus Carlton anyone?

THe Growler    on 23 September 2003

Agreed. The first Mussie to do justice to the image since the last Boss 351 rolled off the line. And that's over 30 years ago.

Phoenicks    on 23 September 2003

I dont know if i'm the only one who is cynical here but we're taking all these views from a press release, without anyone driving one!

Firstly great new engineering, with great new hype, and a great long wait till it arrives does not create a great drivers machine - Ford Focus RS anyone.

Secondly, who fancies 15mpg? I'd guess thats what it would be.

Thirdly, Its still a rover, with rover reliability, and rover resale. cheap to buy initially, and cheap to buy second hand. watch that depreciation curve go d

Fourthly, For £28k i'd rather buy a second hand M3 than a new rover. It'll still sound great, be far quicker in the real world and i bet you a lot more reliable. Now thats a BMW i'd rather have....

I really applaud manufacturers who give things a go, but if a car is bad, it deserves no mercy, regardless of history. I hope i'm wrong thought, i really do. It would be great if it creams everything else in the group tests tho.

Just dont read the first verdict from Autocar - We all know how they like rate cars as great before they've even driven them....

Burnout2    on 23 September 2003

Sounds like an appealing mix of luxury and brutality at a reasonable price. Good looking without being ostentatiously aggressive. And the muscle-car vibe definitely offers something different in the sub-£30k sports saloon sector. The sole competitor with similar pace is the 9-5 Aero.

What they really need is something to plug the gap between this and the slightly tepid ZT-190 - if the latter had some proper grunt then my patriotic instincts may well have prompted closer investigation by now.

GrumpyOldGit    on 23 September 2003

"Just dont read the first verdict from Autocar - We all know how they like rate cars as great before they've even driven them...."

So not like Phoenicks then, who rates a car as poor before he's even seen one. :-)

A used M3 is not a comparative car. You could probably buy a used Ferrari for 28K - would that compare? There is no new BMW available for £28,000 that comes close to the ZT 260.

This is a real British muscle car, albeit with a US engine. If I had the cash I would be at the dealer today placing my order. I wish the very best of luck to MG-Rover!

Phoenicks    on 23 September 2003

No i dont rate a car as poor before i've seen it, i've just been around long enough, and been reading Autocar long enough to forget the initial hype, and take a good honest view that until its been tested and driven by a good few sources that it could go either way. I just dont jump on the bandwagon, and with due respect in this case, Rover, sorry MG, havent really got a reputation for dynamically good cars. Its still based on a 75 chassis, and you cant polish a turd....

Regards the BMW thing, you forget the 330i. Quicker than the Rover, and dynamically i could not see how its going to get its rs kicked. its also RWD and has a fabulous engine.

Marcos{P}    on 23 September 2003

Does anyone have any links to pictures of this car?

GS    on 23 September 2003

Picture in this week's Autocar and here: Click on latest updates.

3500S    on 23 September 2003

I think Phoenicks you should read the Press Release, it might look like a 75 and has some very nice engineering to it, Tremec gearbox, Dana limited slip rear diff, Eibach springs, Bilstein struts & new AP Racing brake system. Not to mention reengineered floorpan, engine subframe etc, etc, etc.

As for the 75 being a turd, hmmm, maybe you've missed the 30-odd awards it's won. It's still only beaten by the BMW 3-series in its segment for sales after four years in production.

There's a few pictures about:

Incidentally, you could buy two Audi A8 4.2 V8's secondhand for the price of this if you wished.

As someone that knows V8's intimately and understands MGR's heritage in V8 cars, this one had to be very special, I think it will be. This car is an absolute steal at this price and 0-60 in 6.2secs it leaves a lot of competition at twice the price behind in its wake.

3500S    on 23 September 2003

Incidentally, as for a 75 not being dynamically a great car, here's a boring fact for you.

Handling is determined to a great extent by torsional stiffness of the chassis. Suspension setups can be changed ad infinitum, if the chassis bends and shakes under load then handling is greatly compromised.

The Rover 75 has one of the stiffest chassis available on the market. Stiffer than any BMW including an M3 which relies on a torsion bar over the top of the whole engine because the front struts are not anywhere near as 'fat' as they really should be allowing them to shoehorn that measly 3.2L straight 6 under the bonnet.

Burnout2    on 23 September 2003

Is the 330i quicker? It's down on power and the quoted 0-62mph is almost identical at 6.5s vs 6.6s (manual). Given a considerable torque advantage of about 80lb/ft, I would be very surprised if the MG didn't win convincingly on every measure of in-gear acceleration.

Anyway - they're not really direct competitors; the 3 is considerably smaller. And I hardly think the use of AP Racing brakes, Eibach springs, Bilstein dampers and other specialist performance components counts as turd polishing! The combined mpg is 21.5mpg - about as good as you could expect from a big V8.

On the subject of Autocar's credibility and MG's potential quality 'issues', you may have more of a point...!

Phoenicks    on 23 September 2003

I believe it is in terms of 0-60. I've seen a 330i tested at 5.9 0-60 by EVO, but i suppose 0-60 is meaningless in the scheme of things. I believe the 0-100 is quicker in a 330 (about 15.7 if i remember rightly)I would be interested in the stats when they come out. I think the V8 75 has a few more kg's to lump around tho so the torque benefit may be negated. Also the power plant is going to be pretty heavy in the front end and so handling may be a touch 'nose heavy' i would presume. Again i'd be interested to see how it does.

Regards the competitor bit, well Rover are happy to churn out '' or something biased like that and portray the 75 in the same league as the 3 series, so it will end up with general comparisons.

The combined MPG is pretty irrelevant too. It combines motorway and town driving, light and hard, but i bet you it will plummet the minute you even sniff the throttle....

I hope its good, i really do. i'm just not expecting much.

T Lucas    on 23 September 2003

All very intresting,but does anyone know how many they expect/project/need to sell,because that is going to be the all important thing,getting punters to part with their hardearned.

3500S    on 23 September 2003

How is biased? It was independently conducted with two equally priced cars.

There isn't a 5-series that can be had for £20K.

A MG ZT260 is 350mm longer than a 3-series and only 90mm shorter than a 5-series.

As for the performance of a 330i, BMW has it down as 6.5 secs 0-60, MGR have said the 260 does it in 6.2 secs. The 330i Sports is the closest in price to a 260 but way down on technical spec.

As for fuel economy, you boot any car you get poor economy.

Burnout2    on 23 September 2003

I think you're underestimating MG's engineering inegenuity - anyone who can conjure a credible performance car out of a Rover 45 deserves to be given a certain amount of benefit-of-the-doubt.

In fact all the MG-Z cars seem very well sorted - I've never seen an unfavourable road-test - (and a ZT-190 undeniably offers considerably more pace and space than a BMW 318i).

It remains to be seen how the ZT V8 drives, but as I know from personal experience of our own 328i, BMW's straight-sixes are themselves perfectly capable of sub-20mpg economy when driven with enthusiasm!

Phoenicks    on 23 September 2003

To answer both of your posts:

Regards the press release, sorry to break it to you, but its erm, biased. You can put all the names on with heritage but if the final product is not worthy it matters not a jot. Again, i mention the Focus RS. A car that has a special LSD with great promise. poor execution. The set up has to be right.

Regards the awards, you're right. I cant remember the last time it beat the 3 series, the a4, or even the 93. 30 awards. Would that also include the italians most beautiful car award?! oh how we scoffed...

>>As someone that knows V8's intimately and understands MGR's heritage in V8 cars, this one had to be very special, I think it will be. This car is an absolute steal at this price and 0-60 in 6.2secs it leaves a lot of competition at twice the price behind in its wake>>>

Oh how i laughed at that. I appreciate your moniker on here, so guessing you're pro rover, i liked the way you assume a V8 will make a great car (mustang SVT cobra anyone???)and that no one else could appreciate what it means. Good for you understanding the heritage, but heritage doesnt mean A THING. If the product is poor, its poor. buy a car for the sake of fond memories of bad electrics, rust and inability to be desirable - more fool you. You are right about the 6.2 leaving a lot of the competition behind for 0-60, but gets pipped by the, oh wait for it, BMW 330!

Thanks for your tutorial on suspension and chassis. I knew that however. What i also know is that even tho the 75 is very stiff it has not won one major handling test unlike the 3 seies. Stiff yeah. Good? - No , merely average.

Look, i am neutral on this. My name above is not pro any car make, nor do i support one over the other. What i am saying is before you and everyone trumpets it as the greatest car on sale with a v8 and will save the company and how fantastic it will be, perhaps we should wait until it is driven before saying how great it will be. I hope its good, i really do, but look past the hype and marketing spin.

If i'm wrong i'll happily admit it :-)

3500S    on 23 September 2003

The Focus RS does have a limited slip differential.

On the front wheels which also have to do the steering.

Phoenicks    on 23 September 2003

Thats wasnt my point. My point was about getting excited about technology promised as good, but turns out to be poorly executed. As could happen here.

3500S    on 23 September 2003

Its execution looked great at Silverstone a few weeks ago even in the wet. Myself and friends thought it was a tuned ZT190 until the driver did his party trick of smoking the rear wheels on the grid. It got most of the crowd's attention then!

We'll see in the mass of road tests this car is going to get. I think as Burnout said, they've re-engineered all the Z-cars to be very impressive indeed. I've heard bits and pieces about the ZT260 on trips home as family friends are and have been involved. It was quite a huge undertaking going much further than its original brief.

There's still the XPower 375 and also Extreme 500 to come in the spring.

king arthur    on 23 September 2003

Sorry Phoenicks, but it does appear as if you're one of the people who delights in "Rover bashing", despite your protestation that you're "neutral" on this.
Thirdly, Its still a rover, with rover reliability, and rover resale.
cheap to buy initially, and cheap to buy second hand. watch
that depreciation curve go down

There are some cheap high mileage 1.8 75s around, but generally residuals for the 75 are reckoned to run at around 43% at 3 years old. Not exactly in Mondeo/Vectra league, is it? Rover relaibility? Why does the 75 keep appearing near the top of customer satisfaction surveys then?

SjB {P}    on 23 September 2003

If only Rover could have kept to their original launch date.

The 260 BHP derivative of the ZT-T estate is what I really wanted come car change time earlier this year, but (a) the timing (with no release date even in sight then) and (b) concerns about being one of the first purchasers, put me off (I prefer not to buy a new model when first released to market)

Fitting a longitudinal 4.6 V8 under the bonnet of a car designed for compact transverse V6s at most is pretty impressive. I've seen the fit, and it's TIGHT!

I'm pleased that externally it looks identical to a normal ZT-T, bar exhaust pipes. Quite a Q-car. I've also heard one when on site at MG Rover on business, and if sound can be described as delicious, this was.

Anyway, thank heavens I'm delighted with my new V70, the way it goes, and the way it looks! Methinks V70 refinement is likely to be in another league too, but we come back to that sound again... oh for a V8 rumble even if I do like the Quattroesque (intentional capital Q) beat of the five pot 2.4T when poked.

I'm sure that the V70 is also by far the more sensible decision, and far more useable as an estate, but I know how I'm going to feel the first time I see a ZT-T 260 on the road...

pd    on 24 September 2003

Bearing in mind this seems to be a major engineering job (probably as much as creating an estate from a saloon etc.) does it stand much chance of actually making at a profit at the numbers its likely to sell?

Good to hear that the RDX60 production line is going in - this car is desperately needed as the 45 must be completely dead in the water in sales terms.

The Rover 75 / ZT is a good car which seems to have sold well (in the UK at least and although it sells in small numbers the 75 is outselling the X-Type in Germany) but what's the future? MGR has an installed base of customers but the 75/ZT is due for replacement in 2006 so can they come up with a new model to capitalise on 75/ZT success?

3500S    on 24 September 2003

The RWD drive 75 platform is almost a complete re-engineer reading the tech spec so I imagine that will see some more use not just in MG either. There's a 75 trim update due in 2005, as for a totally new car, the platform itself is still very competitive. I think the RDX60 and also the 25 replacement will be done before the 75 platform is even touched.

I wouldn't be surprised that there'll be a 75 Vitesse on the new RWD platform due as well. This has a lot to do with the lack of exterior changes on the ZT260, the design was deliberately low-key to accomodate sportier Rover owners.

A Vitesse makes a lot of sense, Rover and MG will have a proper flagship car. The XPower models are almost another brand in themselves with the 375Bhp version due in Spring and they haven't ruled out the Extreme 500 (the engine has been deliberately low compressioned so expect turbo-chargers)

I've heard rumblings that there's more from the TATA colabouration as well, expect to hear about a MG Midget based on the Aria concept as well as joint work on a small saloon/hatchback for the Indica replacement which MGR will want to work on for its 25 replacement due sometime in 2006.

Also RDX60 has a couple of specials lined up for 2006, a new TF based on the platform and also a TF Coupe. If this is true, then it's expected to get a much bigger powertrain with the 2.5L V6 touted. This would also tie-in nicely with X70/71.

As for the ZT260, I was speaking to a dealer today about getting parking radar retrofitted to my 75 (I can see nothing out of the back) and mentioned the ZT260, he said the phone has not stopped ringing since Monday (when it was launched), MGR are expecting to make and sell a 1,000 a year which he thinks is not enough to meet demand. The dealership I spoke to had 75 definite orders already with deposits paid.

T Lucas    on 24 September 2003

1000 cars a year is quite a big number for what is a rather 'special'car,the numbers of 'flagship models'and 'range topping'cars sold in the UK is really very small,often not getting anywhere near 3 figures in a year.
As to the dealer having 75 deposits,i think he is very much talking with forked tongue,that is moving a lot of metal,no chance.

pd    on 25 September 2003

The 75 platform is competetive and several manufacturers use a platform for two generations of cars. I still think the 75 will need replacing (albeit by a car on the same platform) by 2006-7 to remain competetive. Nearly all manufacturers work on 7 year model cycles these days so by 2006/2007 virtually all of the 75's competitors will be onto a new generation.

I'd be surprised if MGR couldn't sell 1000 of the rear drive models a year - there is no where else you can get a decent V8 rear drive saloon for that sort of money and that will appeal to some people. I also agree there will probably be a Rover version and a large rear drive Rover saloon using an American V8 would surely use the Vitesse name as the old SD1 Vitesse is still quite fondly remembered.

Garethj    on 25 September 2003

So let's get this straight, there's the ZT 260 but will there also be the entry level 1.7 HLS?

Good luck to them anyway, let's hope they're in business to make a profit.

Big Cat    on 25 September 2003

This car is just the thing Rover needs - well done to all involved in the project. Let's hope we see a lot more of this type of development from Rover.
In the meantime, there are some good pictures of the MG at

king arthur    on 25 September 2003

So let's get this straight, there's the ZT 260 but will
there also be the entry level 1.7 HLS?
Good luck to them anyway, let's hope they're in business to
make a profit.

Actually there is now a ZT120, with the 1.8 K-series engine.

Pugugly {P}    on 27 September 2003

Iwonder if it can be sold in the states - now that would do MG's image a shedful of good. Not my kind of car but certainly a proper real car.

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