MG 6 Turbo Review: Fastback and furious

A sporty turbo-charged improvement on the MG 550, the MG6 is a bundle of sporty traits, practical utility features and most of all, a novel alternative to many sedate sedans at its price.

158 hp @ 5500 rpm, 215 Nm torque @ 2500-4500, Max speed (set) 205 km/h, ABS with EBD, 16” and 17” tyres, 0 – 100 in 8.4 sec (company figures), Fuel efficiency: approx 8km/L, Boot space 429 L, Price: TBC

 

The Drive

With its air-ship like contours, The MG6 is designed to impress at sight. Created as a sporty and more powerful improvement to the 550, the MG 6 also has one of the better handling skills in its category. The light and fluid steering is easygoing and reasonably accurate, though it lacks the taut and tight feeling that marks sport sedans of pedigree. The drive train, unlike the MG 750, reflects the Chinese avant-garde auto industry rather than the very British Morris Garages lineage. Led by SAIC Motors, the brand seems to be bracing itself for a torchbearer status in the Chinese automotive industry’s world conquest plans.

The engine is rather silent and pleasant to the ear, though it sounds heavier than the 1800cc it actually is. The throttle parts with its 158 bhp peak power rather smoothly except during hard acceleration, which is when it sounds strained – though some might dare call it a sporty snarl! However, it settles comfortably into a balanced cruise. Despite the clumsy and somewhat rickety gearshift lever, the drive is especially smooth and enjoyable once it gathers speed.

The MG 6 Turbo steers surprisingly well. The car holds steady but its steering does not – it felt wobbly in my hand but, thankfully, did not disturb the surprising accuracy of the manoeuvres one bit. Unfortunately, the MG6 Turbo seemed to have got its braking messed up for its otherwise silky ride.

The MG 6 Turbo also has one of the better handling skills in its category with a light and fluid steering that is easygoing surprisingly accurate. But it seems to have its braking messed up.

The Design

The MG 6 is designed as a sporty sibling to the 550. With a 2705mm wheelbase, which is one of the longest in its class and the vantage fastback design, MG has achieved the golden ratio of 50:50 in weight distribution. The aggressive front and the matching sides give the car a solid, formidable stance and the car definitely demands a second glance on the move. The cross-eyed look of the front headlamps in the MG 550 has given way to a more elegant and sharper look.

In trying to add premium-spice to the pot, the designers have overdone the wood paneling. While it looks good on the door sides and dashboard, it’s quite a mismatch on the transmission console, and monstrous on the handbrake lever. Extending the black theme of the dashboard and the rear console throughout would have been a better idea. The 4-layer combination of soft-touch dash, matt aluminium, beige and wood is indeed, overkill!

The console is well designed with no frills and the control panel elegantly conceals the fact that the buttons are one too many! The screen could’ve been made better use of in this department.

The fastback design in the rear is not only a perfect tailgate to the sporty car, it’s a functional marvel that offers great stowaway space both behind the seats and inside the spacious boot.

The cabin is spacious and comfortable but the 4-layer combination of soft-touch dash, matt aluminium, beige and wood is indeed, overkill!

Cabin and controls

Hardly any car I tested in the past few months ever came with an ignition key. And so doesn’t the MG 6 Turbo. Instead, it uses a rather meek-looking electronic case to be inserted into a slot on the dashboard to bring the heavily improved K-series engine to life.

The driver’s seat comes with a lumbar support button while some might find the overall seating too firm for long hauls. Yet, the ride and cabin comfort doesn’t give much to whine about, and together with the spacious boot make for many pleasurable Friday jaunts. The moon roof can be slid back to the degree you please using a turn dial next to the rearview mirror.

While the high-perched window design looks good, the rear seats are placed so low that a couple of more inches of glass would have saved passengers from straining their necks. This rather ‘elevated’ design of the windows narrows down the view of the driver too, especially when taking close right turns.

The fastback design in the rear is not only a perfect tailgate to the sporty car, itoffers great stowaway space both behind the seats and inside the spacious boot: as my Chief DriveMate finds out!

The music system comes with an 8-mode equalizer to choose from Jazz, classic, pop, rock and more on the touch-screen. I found the on-screen listing of the radio channels quite convenient to make a selection. However, the car spares just enough driver info on a screen on the instrument panel.

Uniquely MG6

Innovation is evident in the design, from the European styling of the tailgate to the cup-holder that pops up from its concealed pocket under a wooden strip. (Wooden strip… that bit on the handbrake is still hard to get over!)

The rear windscreen slopes at an unusual 45º angle or so, almost giving it a refractive index. The road behind is caught as a panoramic view on the equally wide rear view mirror. The report is complete as though you’re viewing the scene through a peephole – only the narrowness of it might take some getting use to! For the same reason, the sprawling deck behind the rear seats is pretty useless – anything you stow away could hinder the already shrunken view!

All said, the sheer strength of presence of the British design, the undeniable sportiness of the engine and a roomy cabin should push the MG 6 Turbo into those linear minds that have been lulled to complacency by conventional sedans.

The throttle parts with its 158 bhp peak power rather smoothly except during hard acceleration, which is when it sounds strained – though some might dare call it a sporty snarl!

UPSIDE: Powerful engine with impressive low and mid range acceleration, Impressive fast-back design, Excellent steering response, Steady road handling, Comfortable ride though a bit firm for some tastes

FLIPSIDE: Unsure and flimsy gearshift, Horizontally narrow rear view, Fastback design adds to storage space in boot but hinders seat-back storage, Drive refinement not on par with European legends, Console wood trims are plain overkill

Drive Courtesy: AW Rostamani

Picture Courtesy: Supplied and shot

About Sudeep Koshy

One of the earliest toys I had, like most men, was a car – that came with a driver, who I was accused of gobbling up. Decades later, I haven’t given up the devouring passion (for cars, not for drivers). I guess, after 15 years as an Ad man, learning to balance skewed thought with sober observations was a part of growing up. Helping five top automotive brands place their wheels on firmer ground in the Middle East is another little thing under the bonnet, as I take the wheel as a roadrunner and storyteller rolled into one. Every car comes with a tail-pipe and a tale. I believe Car Reviews too should feature both. And so to my page...
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