MG Owners Club meets the MG Cyberster for a look into the future
No one is better qualified to pass judgement on the new EV than these aficionados
Releasing beautifully shot, artfully composed images is the usual way to introduce a new flagship model to the public. But is there another way to tell the world just what your latest model can do, as well as cementing it in the minds of potential buyers? MG certainly thinks there is, and instead of taking the new Cyberster racing or using it to break some obscure world record, the company is sending its new two-seat electric sports car on an epic trans-continental expedition from London to Shanghai.
With professional adventurers – and identical twins – Ross and Hugo Turner at the helm, the Cyberster will cover more than 10,000 miles on a seven-month-long journey to reach China by 5 May 2024. If all goes to plan, that will be just in time for next year’s Shanghai Motor Show, which was the venue of the original Cyberster Concept’s debut back in 2021.
The Turner Twins will need to cross the Middle East, Southeast Asia, India and China on their 21st century reimagining of the Silk Road, but their first port of call in the Cyberster was the MG Owners’ Club headquarters in Cambridge.
Said to be the world’s largest single-marque car club, the MG Owners’ Club has something in the region of 20,000 members worldwide, the majority of whom are spread across the UK. One of the first people to cast their fastidious eyes over the Cyberster was Roche Bentley, the man who founded the club 50 years ago in October 1973.
“When I saw the car pull up here, I thought it was totally beautiful,” he said. “In fact, my first reaction was that Ferrari will be unhappy. But will I be able to get out of it? Probably not.
“I remember when the MGF was launched in Geneva,” Bentley continued, “a journalist said to me, ‘What don’t you like about the car?’ and I said there’s nothing. I told him, ‘I’m in love and when you’re in love, you love with all faults found, and I can’t find any faults with this MGF’; and I’d say the same thing about that [the Cyberster].”
David Parker, who’s owned a total of 12 MGs to date, also gave his two cents on the Cyberster: “I think it looks very good in the flesh. The only thing I’m not quite sure about is the rear tail-lights with the arrows, but everything else looks in proportion, very smart and bang up-to-date, and I also like the interior.”
Meanwhile, Keith Herkes, owner of one of the three MG 18/80 Mk2 saloons left in the world, described the design of the Cyberster as “absolutely phenomenal”.
“The front-end view of it is so iconic as an MG sports car, despite the fact it’s got all the stampings of a modern car and it’s a modern design.”
The Cyberster’s reception was overwhelmingly positive, based on what club director Richard Monk overheard. When asked if the Cyberster was a worthy addition to MG’s heritage, he replied immediately: “Absolutely. You look at it and it does exude MG.”
“We’re definitely excited about it,” he said, “and as far as MG owners are concerned, and the owners’ club, I think most will embrace the fact that it’s an electric car with an MG badge on it.”
“There’s a lot of debate about electric cars, and petrolheads don’t want them, but nowadays we’re all being steered towards EVs, so why not have something like this [the Cyberster] and have a bit of fun.”
“I think a lot of people think it’s great that the MG name is still alive and kicking,” he said, “and that they are bringing out products like this in the modern idiom.”
Eastbound, roof down
British adventurers Hugo and Ross Turner – the Turner Twins – have already rowed across the Atlantic Ocean and sailed to its remotest parts. So you might think an all-electric two-seat sports car isn’t the most obvious choice for a mammoth expedition like the one they’re undertaking.
To Hugo, though, it makes complete sense: “One thing we put at the centre of all our projects is having that pioneering sense of adventure, and that pioneering spirit is in the Cyberster.”
How and where they’ll charge the car is a particular concern, especially when they leave Europe and enter the Middle East and Southeast Asia. But the twins are confident they’ll use that time wisely, as Ross explains: “we’re going to be in the car every day, so we’re going to see if we can go for runs, and charging gives us that hour or two hours to have a look around.”
The twins will also have the support of the MG dealers in the countries they’re planning to visit, who have offered to help if needed. And while the Cyberster they’re currently driving is a prototype, come the new year, they’ll have a production version to take them the rest of the way to Shanghai.