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MG6

Hatch is firm’s first all-new model for 15 years – and we tried it at Goodwood

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

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Until we can get behind the wheel of a final UK-specification production model, it’s hard to make a fair judgement on the MG6. As it stands, what we have here is a promising start, but there are too many minor problems for it to stand out in a very competitive sector of the market. However, if engineers can deliver on their performance promises, then the 6, and MG as a brand, both have an extremely bright future.

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The MG3 is the marque’s future, but what about its present? The MG6 will be the first new model to wear the octagon badge since 1995.

Auto Express took the wheel during the Moving Motor Show at Goodwood’s famous hill-climb to see what customers can expect from the Ford Focus rival when it’s launched early next year.

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the MG6

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Based on the Chinese-built Roewe 550, the newcomer has been designed and engineered in the UK at the new MG Birmingham facility at Longbridge in the West Midlands. In the coming months, engineers will update the interior and dynamics of the car, which is still set up for the Chinese market.

The bold fastback design can look a little awkward from some angles, but on the whole, its smart and stylish appearance is sure to win many admirers. Intricately detailed headlights and the optional alloys fitted to our model add a dash of style.

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The interior is well built and the quality of materials good, especially the soft-touch finish lining the dash. Bosses were keen to point out, though, that UK models would get extra sporty details, such as new dials and brushed metal inserts. Stiffer suspension and tweaked power-steering should also inject the 6 with the sharp handling that has characterised MGs of the past.

As it stands, the steering is too light and there’s too much body roll – but these areas will be improved before the hatch goes on sale in the UK.

Our other concern was a slightly jittery ride, although UK models will benefit from a more comfortable and supple suspension set-up.

The 158bhp 1.8-litre turbocharged engine is the only unit available at launch, and despite some turbo lag low down in the rev range, it still manages an impressive 8.5-second 0-60mph time.

Its five-speed manual box is precise, and the well insulated cabin means the MG6 is quiet and refined at high speeds.

Economy will be around 38mpg. A more efficient turbocharged 1.9-litre diesel powerplant will follow after the initial release.

There’s no word on prices yet, but the 6 should start from around £15,000, with the flagship model around £20,000. The final production version will be unveiled in November and is expected in showrooms early next year.

If MG can deliver on all the improvements it has promised, then the 6 will be a worthy flag-bearer for the rebirth of one of Britain’s most famous brands.

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