MG, once most famous for its sports cars, is to dip its toe into the SUV crossover market for the first time in its near 90-year history with this CS concept, which will be shown at the Shanghai Motor Show next week.
The CS is based on the platform of the MG 5 hatchback, a Focus-sized car that will be making its European debut later this year, following on from the recent launch of the Mondeo-sized MG 6.
MG is, of course, Chinese-owned these days, ever since the brand was taken over by Nanjing Motors and subsequently forcibly merged by the Chinese government with Shanghai Auto, which had bought the tooling for the old Rover 75, but not the use of the Rover name. The CS’s debut at Shanghai then will be something of a home game, even if much of MG’s design and engineering work is now carried out at a facility built within the grounds of the defunct Longbridge factory in Birmingham, where Rovers, Austins and MGs were once turned out in huge numbers.
Enough of the history lesson though, what about the CS itself? Roughly Juke-sized, and due to make its debut with new 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine with about 135bhp (MG is still lagging in terms of making diesel engines, sadly) the CS is still officially a concept car, but since the Chinese buyout MG hasn’t wasted its time making concepts that haven’t gone on to become production models, so expect this car to be making its way to Europe hot on the heels of the five hatch and three small car. Even the retro-styled Icon SUV concept (which seemed to have the grille and lights of an old MGB roadster grafted on to it) hasn’t gone to waste – the rear end of the CS is recognisably derived from the Icon.
According to MG, the CS “oozes British design flair while embracing the sporting DNA of MG, an iconic brand.” Certainly it’s a handsome thing, and has clever multi-faceted lights that, when viewed from just the right angle, form the famous octagon MG badge.
Expect a production version to be priced well below the levels of competitors, but it will have to overcome both its lack of a diesel engine and thus far lukewarm reviews for the new generation MG’s quality and refinement if it’s going to make an impact.