The MG3 has been around for a while now but has already made itself a firm favourite up at MotorMartin Towers so this refresh was always going to cause a stir. And what a job MG Motor UK have completed on this, their excellent city car.
With the MG ZS SUV already a best seller it was always going to be a major influence on the styling of this new MG3, with the all new signature front grille and superb looking LED daytime running lights creating a distinctive and memorable silhouette that reflects the brand’s new found confidence.
What else is new? There’s a revised rear to the car that blends it’s subtly revised rear light clusters with a bold new bodywork crease that sweeps horizontally across the boot and looks fantastic. In fact, when you put the bodywork changes together with the strong side profile and what you’ve got is a thoroughly modern and sporty looking city car.
A myriad of thoroughly modern styling and design options allow you to make the car your own, a simple job to complete as you get six stunning body colours, eye-grabbing graphic packs, variable mirror caps and 16” diamond cut alloy wheels to decide between.
The exterior of the MG3 benefits from MG’s desire to embrace their 95 year reputation of building sporty and distinctive cars, a result clearly achieved whilst still providing the new family resemblance desired.
And then there’s the inside. The ‘old’ MG3 has a decent interior with a decent level of kit but it’s not a patch on the 2018 version, a point clearly made as you make yourself comfortable in the easily adjustable, sporty feeling front seats and take in your surroundings. An 8” colour touch screen dominates the centre of the console and includes the ever impressive Apple CarPlayTM, DAB radio with USB, Bluetooth telephone and audio streaming. Air conditioning (with dust and pollen filter) is taken care of by separate physical controls, whilst the vents themselves mirror those in the larger MG ZS and look all the better for it. There’s even a stability control system somewhere within the car.
But despite all that, the item that makes the biggest impression over that of the previous model is the all new stitched leather steering wheel with remote audio and cruise controls, it just looks so much better than the old one and feels great being fed through your fingers on a tight and twisting road. It really does make a massive difference to the look and feel of the car. Lovely.
What MotorMartin liked about the original MG3 was the combination of style, fun, price and the link to that historic badge. Despite the naysayers, the MG3 is indeed a proper MG. And it is no different with the latest 2018 edition as the car instils the same feelings as before with those improved looks sweetening the already excellent car.
Under the bonnet the MG3 sports the same 1498cc 4-cylinder normally aspirated engine as before, putting out 105bhp @ 6000rpm and providing the driver with 101 ft/lb torque @ 4500rpm, you also get a combined mpg of up to 42.3mpg. This is certainly no bad thing as the engine’s reliability is already proven and MG are confident enough in the power plant and car as a whole, to offer a warranty that is fully transferable to future owners and lasts for up to 7 years or 80,000 miles, whichever comes first. So, from day one to the end of the car’s seventh year, you can rely on the support of MG Motor UK if anything untoward actually does happen. Impressive.
Back to the car. What’s always been one of the major plus points with the MG3 is the car’s handling prowess especially as it’s ability to slay a twisting country back lane provides another link to the past and MG’s of old. The reason for such expertise is really quite simple though as although the car is built in China, a major part of the MG3’s design and engineering was completed from their historical Longbridge home by engineers testing out their ideas on British roads under British conditions. All of which means that the team behind the MG3 have created an innovative chassis that improves the driving dynamics and, more importantly, the fun for the driver.
Keep the revs in the upper reaches of the engines range, leave the gearshift in third and you have the ideal opportunity to see what the MG can do once town driving and traffic have been left behind in it’s wake. The engine may well have ‘only’ 105bhp but that is more than enough when it’s powering an unladen weight of just 1,200kg as a 0-60mph time of 10.4s and a top speed of 108mph testify. And that’s important when it comes to understand the MG3.
Heading out on the B6161 outside of Otley, West Yorkshire and you have the perfect environment for the MG3 to display it’s links to MGs long gone. Madness? Just because this new city car has a profile more akin to the MG Metro than the classic MGB GT, doesn’t make it any less fun on a stereotypical British B road where you need to keep up corner speed over any hunt for ultimate top speed. With plenty of feel through the steering you get a real sense of what the front of the car is getting up to as it dives towards the corner seeking out your chosen line. The lack of ultimate power doesn’t hinder the MG3 as the flexibility on offer from the engine allows you to keep pressing on through a series of bends enjoying the excellent capabilities of that Longbridge developed chassis. Again, it’s MG’s expertise on real roads, the types of roads that you or I actually drive on day to day, that rises to top and provides you with an opportunity not offered by all. The opportunity to have serious amounts of fun.
To get the best from this smallest new MG you’ve a great feeling 5-speed gearshift, with a short throw, that is a real pleasure to use and helps make matching bends to revs to speed a real pleasure and helps to create a bond between man/woman and machine. That surely is what you want from a modern MG, something that you can bond with, a car that offers a sporting drive, enough power to have fun and yet still delivers all those modern sensibilities that we, the consumer, demand of our cars these days.
As with all good things, the B6161 eventually comes to an end and offers you the chance to relax, to chill and to enjoy the other side to driving in the MG3. Stick cruise control at 60mph, sit back and enjoy the feeling of space on offer from the well appointed interior and the views through the expanses of glass that surround you. After all, this is a car that does long journeys on straight and dull A roads and motorways just as easily as it does twists and turns.
What more could you want? The MG3 offers the discerning driver a modern city car for not much money. Starting at £9,495 for the basic Explore edition and rising to £12,795 for the top of the range Exclusive you are getting incredible value for money, especially when you compare the MG3 with other rivals from more well known manufacturers. You are not going to get the same mix of fun, practicality, technology and feeling from anyone else and that is something to be admired and embraced. Congratulations MG and here’s to the next 95 years.
Where will you go?